With his new album ‘No Ocean In Ireland,’ New York native and singer-songwriter Brendan Rivera has produced a stunning collection of delightful Americana indie rock that which proves to be thorough and cohesive with and Rivera being compared to the likes of Mumford & Sons, Jimmy Eat World, Cassino, Good Old War, and Brand New.
Although Brendan takes a gentle, sincere approach to his music, he has toured with the likes of Silverstein and A Day to Remember and ‘No Ocean In Ireland’ sees him working once again with Gregory Dunn of ambient rockers Moving Mountains.
Originally part of New York collective Looking Glass Wars, ‘No Ocean In Ireland’ is Rivera’s second full-length and sees him teaming up with Veggie Co. Records, as well as producer Mike Kalajian.
Already Heard recently spoke to Rivera to find out more about ‘No Ocean In Ireland,’ being compared to the aforementioned bands, working with Veggie Co. Records and more.
Already Heard: Hi Brendan. For those who are unfamiliar with your music. How would you describe your sound to first time listeners?
Brendan Rivera: This has been a really hard question for a very long time. I have three solo albums and each of them have different sounds. As of right now, I would say Irish-Americana Indie Rock. You can expect very powerful drums, a dream-like atmosphere, flowing guitar work in an open tuning, soft vocals, and a banjo taken from the country and placed into the bowls of the city, haha. Obviously this is how I would describe it to try and lure a first time listener.
AH: You’re just about to release your new album ‘No Ocean in Ireland.’ What is the album about and what can old and new fans expect from it?
Brendan: The album is about a protagonist that is setting sail to his next journey in life. Everyone fights reality with fantasy, and the protagonist in the story metaphorically boards a ship to find his kingdom which he’s created in his imagination, with the help of one he loves. There’s an ocean splitting the couple figuratively and literally. They make up a place they would love to settle in as their dream home and set out to meet there. During the journey they learn more about themselves and each other through separation, doubt, and excitement. Old fans can expect the usual style in hooks, catchy choruses, and diversity. New fans will have to listen to the album front to back to understand the direction of the music. Hopefully both will relate to my words and emotions.
<a href=“http://brendanrivera.bandcamp.com/album/no-ocean-in-ireland” data-mce-href=“http://brendanrivera.bandcamp.com/album/no-ocean-in-ireland”>No Ocean In Ireland by Brendan Rivera</a>
AH: How does the record compare to your last album ‘Body of Land’?
Brendan: Both albums have influences of a wide range of genres but still mesh together to tell a story. Other than that, I think they are fairly different.
AH: On the album you’ve worked with Mike Kalajian and Gregory Dunn of Moving Mountains again. What made you want to work with them again and what input did they have in the record?
Brendan: When I was writing the album, I was thinking about production ideas as well as vocal ideas and instrumentation. When I was writhing my previous albums, I just wrote thinking about creating 3-4 minute songs with typical structures. I’ve been friends with both Mike and Greg for a long time and have grown into their sound, production-wise. I did my first two albums with Mike as well as the Looking Glass Wars EP, so my comfort and trust in Mike is astronomical. Being big fan of Greg’s band and his production style, I felt that I could produce something different with a wall of sound and capture the dreamy aspect of the album. Since I had both of them agree to work on the album with me, I was able to think deep into production ideas and making that a very important part of the writing process. Mike played and produced drums on the album. His style and ability provides a very strong backbone to the album, and all of my albums for that matter. Greg was able to help create the dreamy feel and pronounced the dynamics from soft parts all the way to the heavier pieces.
AH: Your sound has been compared to the bands such as Mumford & Sons, Jimmy Eat World, Good Old War, and Brand New. What are your thoughts on this?
Brendan: I can see little comparisons in sound or approach. I mean, all of these bands are huge and amazing songwriters and performers. I would much rather be sharing the stage with these bands than compared to them, haha. There is one thing these bands have in common though, they’ve made albums that are great front to back. Those are the kind of albums that will allow a band to be timeless, and enjoy long careers. That would be something.
AH: Do you consider any of those bands as influences?
Brendan: I think every band I like could be considered an influence. I never try to emulate anyone’s songs or sound, but sometimes you can have little hints of them subconsciously. I think their approach to music and ability to perform live at an outstanding level should be an influence on anyone trying to make it in the music industry.
AH: For new listeners, which track on the album best represents your sound?
Brendan: I think the second track, “No Ocean In Ireland” best represents the sound of this direction. It’s fairly diverse within itself, and that’s the idea I’ve always tried to write with.
AH: The album is being released through Veggie Co. Records. You’ve released material on the label before. What drew you towards working with Veggie Co. Records again?
Brendan: Their love for music will always make me want to work with them. Everything they do in the music industry is fueled by what’s going into their ears.
AH: Before the albums release, you’ve been streaming the record through Bandcamp. How much of advantage is this for you?
Brendan: The stream has allowed people to give a listen to the entire album. I think with an album like this where the songs basically roll into one another, it’s important for the listener to hear the whole thing in its entirety. Since we’ve put it up, I’ve been getting a ton of feedback from people. Whenever anyone says something about the music they use the words “album” or they say “No Ocean” rather than, oh I like that song, blah blah.
AH: In the past you’ve toured with Silverstein and A Day to Remember. Your sound is somewhat different to those bands. How was the crowd reaction at these shows?
Brendan: Haha, my sound is insanely different. Believe it or not the crowd was very receptive to my set. When I started off with just a guitar, I could see some confused looks on their faces haha, but towards the end of the set they got into it a little more. They were always very respectable, fun to talk to, and both tons of albums. Both bands have a tight knit, loyal fan base. At the time A Day to Remember was on the verge of becoming enormous so the crowds had an exciting vibe, rightfully so. Silverstein had more of an older fan base which I believe worked in my favor. It could also just be Canada. I’ve done two tours there and Canadians have just been great.
AH: Following on from the album release, what else do you have planned for the following months?
Brendan: Well I play every Friday in Brooklyn, NY. I’ll continue to do that while looking to book some short tours along the East Coast. Other than that, the goal is to get the album played in as many ears as possible. I’m already antsy to do the next one, so maybe some writing as well.
AH: Do you have any final words to close the interview?
Brendan: Yes, please check out the album front to back. If you like the album, maybe even scoop it up from iTunes. And…oh yeah…GO YANKEES!
‘No Ocean In Ireland’ by Brendan Rivera is available now on Veggie Co. Records.
Words by Sean Reid