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Blue River Baby - Newsletter Interview: Blue River Baby

25 Sep 2018 // An interview by Paul Goddard

Blue River Baby is a powerhouse New Zealand six-piece originals band. A wondrous infusion of soul, funk, psychedelic rock, ska, rhythm and blues.

Originally formed in 2016 the bands members are a drawn from current and ex members from Whole Lotta Led, My Golden Soul, Julie Lamb Band, Rodger Fox, The Deville Brothers, & Circa Improvisors.

Cam gave Paul from Muzic.net.nz the low-down on all things Blue River Baby:

The Blue River Baby Band (BRBB) has a lot of members with varying musical influences. How would you say that has influenced your sound?

Although we’re a diverse bunch culturally and age wise we’ve got a shared love of 60’s – 70’s era, Soul, Funk, Blues, Rock and Reggae.

Our six-piece BRBB sound has that distilled vintage DNA running thru it, which to me feels totally current now, we believe it’s coming from the right place and we’re playing what we enjoy.

When getting the group together did you have a feel for the style of music you wanted to make or did you just “let it come out”?

Originally we wanted to create music that would sound great live and calls on those earthy Soul, Funk, Blues, Rock and Reggae influences, without trying this style came naturally with ease in our earliest Jam sessions. The music was relevant, authentic, connected to its environment, dynamic, sounded cool AF to us, was fun and interesting to play, and then if it was enjoyed by those that come to our shows then great.  It needed to give us options to express ourselves individually as musicians and that the sound would be more than the sum of its parts.

Who is the leader in the band or is it a complete democracy?

BRBB is a democracy with robust discussion, helped along with a highly active FB messenger group. We have roles in place so that we maintain focus and momentum.

Creatively we bounce ideas into the group then get onto them on a Sunday.

The strongest material always floats to the top, if it’s rubbish it’ll get burned pretty quickly, none of us are afraid to share our opinions and are mature enough to let the ego take a back seat when needed.

You are busy putting the finishing touches to your debut album. How is it going?

So, we recently finished the mastering of the album with Mike Gibson at Munki mastering.

It’s a pretty amazing feeling to sit back and hear these songs. We’re now debating which ones will be the strongest singles and have a few other ears in the know helping us with that decision. Next is to push the button on our release framework and finish some videos.

Was the recording process a pleasant experience or did things get a little fraught? Any good stories from the studio?

We went with Dr Lee Prebble at his Surgery Studios in Newtown. We loved the experience, Lee made us feel totally at home and he’s a consummate pro. His studio is totally dialed in which certainly helped us to record everything live and capture the energy and BRBB vibe

It’s an amazing process but challenging, we were pretty spent afterwards.

What are the plans for world domination once the album is released? 

We’ll just let the baby loose, get it heard across all major platforms, and look forward to performing to as many people as we can, Tour the major NZ centers, play some festivals NZ and overseas, open for some visiting acts and take it as far as we can.

Are there any gigs people can catch you at over the summer?

Yes, we’re headlining the NYE Countdown in Nelson on the steps to an expected 10,000 people, then we’ll have a few more appearances around the country March and April followed by a bunch for our album release and tour dates TBC.

With so many people in the band do you find it difficult to organize things sometimes, gigs, rehearsals etc?

Not really the core 6 is totally manageable everyone is committed, we’ve got set times for a weekly practice which everyone works around.

What would you say is the main dynamic that drives the band and forms the music?

Passion and Musicality, individually we’re all listening, and our individual pieces work together in the group. The music is diverse and gets our juices going.

What band are you most excited to see soon in NZ (International or local)?

We would all have different answers to that, Steve Gadd, Phil Collins, Toto, James Carter, Living Colour, Florence and the Machine, Kora, L.A.B, Bay Dreams line-up.

What is your favourite venue to play in NZ?

San Fran, Waterfront, The Grand, Kings Arms in Auckland – but sadly that’s gone now.

What advice would you give anyone looking to start or join a band?

Find the best musicians you can and reliable people you enjoy playing creating and growing with. Record your practices, especially jam sessions when you have them “you never know what gold nuggets may reveal themselves”, keep a journal handy for lyrics, nurture talent when you see it, practice, be committed and expect the same from others, look after your gear, respect other musicians and try to get to their gigs to support them. Ask for direction from people and other musicians that you respect. Perform live, Stay true to yourself. Have a supportive family and be ready and willing to go when the opportunity’s turn up. Don’t be a dick!!!!

OK some quickfire tongue in cheek short answer ones to finish;

Milk or Almond Milk?

Almond Milk

Ardern or Bridges?


Wellington or Auckland?

Wellington is home I was born and grew up in the valley, I love the city and live amongst it now, it’s got great energy and a vibrant music scene with oodles of talent.

Auckland is like a second home and my wife is from the Shore, plus I’d be a brave man to say otherwise.


About Blue River Baby

Formed in 2016 Blue River Baby 'B.R.B' are busy recording new music for their second album with the first singles releasing mid 2021. This highly productive Poneke / Valley 6-piece funk dub & soul collective brims with fresh new talent and amazing lead vocals from Ree Thomson.

The bands self-titled debut album was recorded with Dr. Lee Prebble who has been instrumental in projects from L.A.B. and The Black Seeds. Released 2019 B.R.B's first album hit #1 on the NZ Indie (IMNZ) Top 20 Album Chart and #8 on the Official NZ Music Top 20 Album Chart, and held three weeks in both charts in the company iconic acts like L.A.B., Six60, BENEE, Drax Project, Troy Kingi, Katchafire & Aldous Harding.

B.R.B received a bunch of ongoing commercial and student radio play around NZ 2019 and into 2020. In March 2020 they re-entered the (IMNZ) Top 20 Album Chart at #12.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Blue River Baby


Blue River Baby
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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