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A Dirty Dozen with SEAN FORLENZA from RIVER CULT – April 2020


According to a recent press release: “Heavy-leaning Psychedelic trio RIVER CULT have released their sophomore studio album Chilling Effect, today via Tee Pee Records. The physical album is available via Nasoni Records. The NYC-based band premiered the title track from the album exclusively via The Obelisk. The new record serves as the follow up to the band’s 2018 debut full length, Halcyon Daze.” We get Sean to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I would hope that the live vibe comes across from listening to the album, but we recorded all of the instrumentation live in the studio with only a handful of overdubs later. We strongly believe in capturing the live aesthetic of a group playing together. Not sure if this counts as a hidden nugget but we messed around with vocal doubling on this album, which was new to us. I did two different vocal parts for, “Neo Dog,” and, “Fool’s Gold,” and we layered them.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I always loved music and even as a kid had some vague idea that I would be doing it in some capacity later. I was in bands in high school, just singing (or, screaming, rather) but didn’t seriously start writing music on guitar till I got to college and was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan’s early electric albums and trying to play like both him and his lead guitarists (Mike Bloomfield, Robbie Roberston, etc.).

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I saw Michio Kurihara play with Boris during their, Smile, tour back in 2008 and was floored. As corny as it sounds, I started writing more heavy psychedelic stuff from that moment on and spiraled into an obsession with Japanese psych and went back to listening to early Sabbath constantly. And of course, became a huge Boris fan.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Black Sabbath, Keiji Haino, John Coltrane, Peter Green, and Daniel Ash.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Michio Kurihara! For all of the above reasons.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I like to tell people we make heavy psychedelic rock music. It’s better to be a little more vague and general I think… if they press, I’d say we sound like a modern version of early Sabbath that’s much more psychedelic, spacey and noisy.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

For me, just playing with my band mates. It’s just an amazing feeling to nail the song with the amps cranked and just loose it. It’s probably the most singular feeling that I personally encounter.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Hah. In terms of cooking, Danny’s pizza near our practice space does most of it for us. I wouldn’t say any of us are the type to break into song but Tav would be the first to grab a guitar and start playing I’d say. We are more of a weed band! But I definitely do most of the drinking for us.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

I saw Malcolm Mooney perform the old Can song, “Thief,” with a group called, Das Audit, a few years back and was just so floored. I worship that whole album, Delay 1968, and Malcolm Mooney is just amazing on it. I said hello to him after and shook his hand and told him how I felt about his music. He was a really humble and nice guy.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Well I think I’d say being a musician for my actual job would be my dream job, hah (although I’m not even really sure about that). If I wasn’t a musician though maybe I’d try acting or writing (writing was my original plan).

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not really. I’ve learned from everything I have done in the last ten years or so playing music in NYC and I just keep learning and moving forward.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d be the guy holding the mic in the crowd at the, ’77 Live, Les Rallizes Denudes show. It’s just an amazing capture of an absolutely mythical band during a crazy time right at their peak. They are just the coolest.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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