Rob Traynor of Black Water Rising discusses song structure; originality
Posted by Christine Palmer
Black Water Rising hails from Long Island, N.Y. and from the moment this writer came across them back around 2007ish, I was hooked. The power driven drums and bass punch you square in the chest from the first note. The guitars have enough balls to grab you by the neck and slam your senses into submission as the vocals of Rob Traynor, more power and no frills, complete the assault. They have you thrusting your fist in the air and banging your head along with the songs and never let you go. Their ‘Bio’ on Facebook simply says it best;
“BLACK WATER RISING is a collection of soul baring, angst ridden, riff heavy material that is proudly anchored in the foundations of traditional Hard Rock song writing. Giant guitar driven monster riffs served up on a bed of crushing grooves with soaring melodic vocals and big hooks. Basically, NO FRILLS RIFF ROCK! Lyrically the message is socially and politically driven by the dark times we live in. With darkness seemingly growing by the day, BLACK WATER RISING is a name that fits this band like a glove. The philosophy of BWR is simple, they are not looking to reinvent the wheel; they just want to give it a much needed alignment in these musically stale times.”
Vocalist/Guitarist Rob Traynor generously took some time to speak with me about who they are, where they have been, and where they are going. Enjoy.
David – Let’s go from the beginning, when and where did the band begin?
Rob – The band has been around now for about 4 years. Around 2005 I sat down and wrote a bunch of songs that would later become the BWR debut album. I had turned Mike my drummer on to the songs demos, he liked what he heard and we headed into the recording studio to rerecord the songs with real drums. We decided to form a band. After we completed about 5 songs we were introduced to Johnny as we were looking for another guitarist. Johnny introduced Oddie who filled out the band on bass. The chemistry was there, we jelled as a band and the rest is history. After finishing the album we set out to release the album and entertained some record deal offers but none seemed worth being involved with so we decided to do things on our own. We are all from previous bands that had record deals. Johnny was in Stereomud, Mike was in Boilerroom, and I was in Dust to Dust, so we had been down that road before with record deals so we were a little hesitant to get involved with anything that didn’t seem worth it. We started a Myspace page and released a few songs one of which was picked up by Octane on Sirius Satellite Radio here in the states, called “Brother Go On,” the song did rather well and ended up staying in rotation for over two years! A buzz started building on the band, we started making a lot of fans and we got the album out through SONY RED distribution here in the states. We did a little touring around the Northeast and Midwest here in the states eventually, interest came in from Europe to get the album out there, so that’s when Metalville Records came into the picture and here we are today.
David – Black Water Rising, how did the name come to be?
Rob – I was listening to a Clutch song called “In the wake of the swollen goat,” and heard the line “Black water’s rising and it ain’t gonna stop.” I said to myself that would make a cool band name, and it fits the vibe of the band so I ran with it. Black water is a geological event that occurs when there is an earthquake and muck and mud on a swamp or lake floor is dispersed into the water above and turns it black and murky. Or you could just imagine a broken public toilet if that is what you fancy. Just another struggling black band.
David – What is the bands recorded history and where can they get it?
Rob – Our debut CD is in most record stores worth a shit. If it ain’t there, demand it. Everywhere online, iTunes, Amazon, etc.
David – How does your writing process work? Do you have a certain philosophy?
Rob – I write a riff which may lead to a melody, which then leads to the creation of other parts that eventually comprise a basic song structure on which other melodies are written. From this the vibe directs my lyrical approach. Most of my songs really write themselves, they build themselves. The pieces fall into place. Lyrically I write what’s on my mind. Political and sociological themes seem to make up the majority of my lyrics because it is these two categories which affect all of our lives on a daily basis. Through my music I have a voice to express my thoughts. I write from a lower middle class, blue collar, working mans point of view. Caught in the daily struggle, and just trying to get by. You may agree or disagree with what I have to say, and that is totally cool, but I speak my mind. I believe my music and message is empowering and positive with substance. I have something to say. Anyone can write about being a wanna be millionaire gangster, panties and parties, or how your Mommy or Daddy didn’t give you your allowance this week. That’s not my world, save that shit for the Lady Ga Ga’s, Kanye West’s and Justin Diaper’s, I don’t write about that shit nor do I have the desire to. As for what song lyrics mean the most to me, I mean what I say and I say what I mean. Not much to it, I just make it rhyme and I feel them all.
David – I had a band say, the song comes first, originality second. I wasn’t sure how to take that. What are your thoughts?
Rob – I agree. Write a good song; don’t worry about sounding “different.” I get off on a great song that moves me, not whether a band sounds unique.
David – What is in the works now? Any new video plans? Are you guys working on a new album yet?
Rob – Just finished a video for “No Halos” from the debut album and we are wrapping up a new album for a 2012 release. Very excited about the new album, and i cannot wait to turn folks on to it.
David – Who have you played with and toured with, and what’s in the future?
Rob – Lots of great bands, I couldn’t mention them all. We toured with Kings X that tour sticks out, shows went over great. We are working on some tours for the New Year.
David – I see so many bands giving the store away for free these days online. I also never see these bands getting signed. What advice would you give to someone taking that road and trying to get signed?
Rob – Just keep pushing your stuff out there, if it is any good it will get recognized by fans and industry. Sharks smell blood, so if you are starting to create a buzz they will come. Deals aren’t what they once were and most are awful.
David – What does Black Water Rising use to get your sound, gear head question?
Rob – I think the sound really comes from the music style and vocals. Our gear is really your standard LP’s into Marshalls, Jazz bass into SVT, and Ludwig drums. Rock band 101.
Nothing fancy, just tried and true.
David – Thanks for the time and I look forward to hearing more from you guys, hands down one of my favorite bands.
Rob – Thank you brother!
You can find Black Water Rising on-