Interview/Listen: The Rive Project - Open Road

London-based indie-pop band The RIVE Project are releasing their debut EP ‘Wanna Change’ at the end of September. The project is the brainchild of New Zealand singer/songwriter Christy Whelan and Israeli ambient guitarist Arli Liberman. 

Ahead of their EP release, Lost in the Manor chats to Christy and Arli about their future plans and why they moved to London.


Hey guys, thanks for chatting with us at Lost in the Manor.

Thanks for having us!

You met in Auckland, but relocated to London, has the whole move and the different people/cultures had an influence on your music?

This trip hasn’t yet as we had everything recorded for the EP before hitting the road but it certainly will do — we’ve loved our travels in different parts of the world so far and London is an amazing melting pot of a city.

How is the live music scene in New Zealand? What made you move to London?

There are some killer acts and great venues but the reality is that it’s a small circuit offering little to no money that is easy to saturate quickly. We chose London for a change, a chance to swim in a big pond famed for its guitar music and because we think it fits our style.

How did you decide to start your own label? Are you looking into signing other bands too? Or is it solely Rive Project’s own label?

We’re inspired by many indie acts and labels and [singer/songwriter] Christy even studied as a lawyer, so has some experience in helping labels and musicians with their contracts… It’s just us at the moment but we’d love to expand into working and collaborating with other artists as part of the label.
Your ‘Wanna Change’ EP is out at the end of September. What can you tell us about that?

It’s a short EP of four tracks that captures the sound we’ve developed over the last 18 months. It was recorded with a friend of ours (and NZ indie legend) Jol Mulholland in Auckland. We’re proud of it and it’s a taste of things to come.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Not for the single but we have a live video on the way for the EP title track ‘Wanna Change'.

Is there a particular theme to the upcoming EP?

Not intentionally, but it’s all personal reflection so the songs essentially end up telling the story of being restless and longing for change — but now we’ve taken change into our own hands by moving abroad! It’s exciting!

Is your EP going to be released digital only or maybe pressed on vinyl and CDs?

Just digital for now but we’re working on a follow up and the intention is to press a double EP on vinyl containing this and our next EP.

How long have you been touring in the US for now Arli [guitarist — a famed ambient musician in his own right]? Has it been hard to get ready for the release of the EP being in different continents?

I've been touring in the USA and Europe for seven weeks now with over 35 shows!
Yeah it's hard, not just due to distance, as I'm playing a completely different style of music from the Rive Project.

What was the most recent gig you went to see?

Christy: A local London gig at The Islington by a guy called Benjamin Folke Thomas (amazing voice). 
Arli: Stephen Marley, LCD Soundsystem  

What would be your dream venue for a headline show? It can be London or anywhere in the world, maybe New Zealand?

Red Rocks in Colorado. Arli went there recently to see LCD Soundsystem… amazing!!

What’s the best release of the past 12 months for you and why? 

We couldn’t stop listening to Bowie’s Blackstar. An artistic masterpiece from a man with nothing to prove but still proving his genius over and over again (even from the afterlife).

Are there any artists or singers about at the moment that excite you?

Not a new one but we love Radiohead so were very excited by the release of their latest album!