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|Page added in April, 2014||More [Interviews]|
Dan McAvinchey: Ivan, when did you first discover music, and what led to your interest in the guitar? |
Ivan Rivera: I started playing when I was twelve. A friend of mine showed me the AC/DC "Live At Donington" DVD and he also had a guitar. I didn't start taking it seriously until I was sixteen. Up until then it had been just me learning by myself from tabs. Then I started learning blues records solely by ear. That's when it all really started for me.
Dan McAvinchey: Was your latest album self-released, and was that your intention from the beginning?
Ivan Rivera: I'll be releasing three instrumental EPs and they're all being released independently. The first one ("Darker Shades Of Blue") is out. There wasn't much of a market for instrumental blues-rock in 2014 I guess so I just decided to release them myself. The songs weren't written so I could become a rock star and get rich so I didn't really want to go through the whole label thing. They were personal recordings, and I enjoy playing the hell out of them. I just hope that other people dig them.
Dan McAvinchey: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
Ivan Rivera: I play instrumental blues and rock. Freddie King's instrumental records really had an impact on me. I can't sing but those records showed me there's still a lot you could say without vocals. I guess a lot of what I do is the structure and feel of those songs with a heavier edge from other influences like AC/DC, Guns 'n' Roses and Pete Thorn.
Dan McAvinchey: How did you write the songs for your most recent album? Was it a collaborative approach, or did you work alone?
Ivan Rivera: I wrote the songs by myself. They came organically. I would jam and explore different concepts and I would find a riff or lick, and I would expand it and find other sections. And the solos were mostly improvised.
Dan McAvinchey: Let's talk guitars, amps and pedals - what do you find you favor when playing and recording?
Ivan Rivera: My main guitar is a '61 reissue Gibson SG, and an Eric Johnson Strat for some of the more straight up bluesy parts. I use a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe as my amp. All of the dirty tones come from my pedals: Suhr Riot, Ibanez Tube Screamer and a Keeley Fuzz Head. The Suhr Riot makes any amp sound like a JCM 800 and I fuckin' love it. And the Keeley Fuzz Head can be switched between germanium or silicon transistors, which I like to use a lot.
Dan McAvinchey: Are you using any social media sites like Twitter or Facebook to promote your CDs and music career?
Ivan Rivera: I'm using a few sites. I have my Facebook and Twitter pages but mostly I enjoy using Soundcloud and Reddit. As far as Soundcloud goes, it's like status updates but with audio, which is way more awesome. On Reddit I try to contribute to the r/bluesrock subreddit. It's probably my favorite one. I'll also be starting a few guitar lessons on YouTube.
Dan McAvinchey: From a publicity and promotion standpoint, what do you find is working best for you?
Ivan Rivera: I think for now just trying to be sociable on a few sites and reach out to one person at a time is really starting to get me some small but focused attention. Eventually I might want somebody to help me in that department but I really enjoying keeping it personal and getting to interact one-on-one.
Dan McAvinchey: What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?
Ivan Rivera: I like just being able to write and record without anybody telling me it isn't commercial enough. Not in any control freak way; I just think that it keeps it a bit more honest. I guess the only disadvantage would be not having label resources and different people focusing on different aspects but I wouldn't give up full control of doing the music that I want or getting to interact one-on-one with fans for anything.
Dan McAvinchey: Time to dream a little - if you could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, who would it be?
Ivan Rivera: I would do anything to have been able to do an instrumental album with Freddie King. But of course his voice is amazing. So maybe it would have to be a double album; one all instrumental and the other with vocals.
Dan McAvinchey: I'll mention now that fans can check out your latest EP on SoundCloud and buy/download the tunes from. Bandcamp. Let's close with your future plans, what do you have on your agenda for 2014 and beyond?
Ivan Rivera: I'll be releasing the rest of the EPs soon. The next one is more traditional blues and the last one is an all-acoustic, delta style album. I'll also be doing some tunes with a friend of mine who is a vocalist. The first one is a blues about zombies. But the main thing will be releasing a full length album after all of that is done. I'm extremely excited about it just because I enjoy the whole process from creation to recording to release.
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