A perfect, powerful and smashing progressive rock/metal band from Warsaw returns to Budapest to present their latest album. The tradition of the 70-ies with the power of the XXIst century...
The story of Riverside began in Piotr Kozieradzki’s car while he was travelling with Piotr Grudziński. An idea was born in their heads to play neoprogressive music. This idea later materialized in the form of a new band – Riverside. At that time, Grudziński was playing the guitar in a metal outfit Unnamed, while Kozieradzki was playing drums in death metal bands Hate and Domain. To the surprise of Grudziński, “Clutching at straws”, a song by a neoprogressive group Marillion, was being played through Mittloff’s car speakers. It turned out that they were both interested in progressive music and would both like to have a try in this genre. A suggestion to meet at a rehearsal was put forward and it came off some months later, in late 2001.
Another person that took part in that rehearsal was Jacek Melnicki – a keyboard player that owned his own recording studio. That first jam session was allegedly not too inspiring but the second one changed everything. Melnicki brought in a new musician – bass player Mariusz Duda. From this point, the newly-founded project was a quartet what is even more important, during one of the rehearsals that followed Mariusz revealed his vocal talents. The other musicians liked his vocal improvisations used in then-still-instrumental early musical sketches and Mariusz became simultaneously a singer and a bass player.
Mariusz Duda was the last part of a jigsaw that completed the first line-up of the band. He did not need much time to prove how valuable he become to this new band. The moment he started to sing, it was obvious that he become a very important member of the band. Being a singer and a bass player, he would soon find himself to be the focal point of the band and its leader on stage. Before joining Riverside, Duda had already been a versatile musician. Apart from the bass guitar, which he played proficiently, he could also play keyboards and the guitar. I play several instruments but the two I love the most are the acoustic and the bass guitar – he told a journalist from „Mystic Art" magazine – I compose using an acoustic guitar. In the band I play the bass because I love the rhythm. This instrument has also other advantages according to Mariusz: depending on musical genre and the song’s overall mood, the bass can be used in many different ways, e.g. it can control the whole situation.
The musician explained his versatility and his choice of the bass guitar in one of the interviews:I was never able to concentrate on just one instrument. I was always more focused on composing than on perfecting my playing skills on any of the instruments I was playing. Over time, it turned out that I had the biggest confidence when playing the bass guitar. I liked Geddy Lee’s or John Wetton’s playing.
Duda, as befits a searching artist, listened to a wide variety of musical genres and as he admitted: restricting myself to one musical style would be unthinkable. That is probably why progressive rock was the most important genre for him – a genre with hardly any limitation. On the list of his favourite albums, we can find highlights of progressive rock’s history. When asked about his favourite albums, Mariusz lists the works of 70s giants Genesis and Yes, neoprogressive seminal band Marillion as well as the most important band of modern progressive music – Porcupine Tree. Apart from these, he also mentions albums by Tangerine Dream, Pain Of Salvation, Dead Can Dance and Vangelis, which serves as a proof of his extensive musical search.
When looking into interviews with Mariusz one may come to a conclusion that singing is somewhere at the very end of the list of his musical interests, dimmed by composing and playing the instruments. In an interview conducted by Maciej Stankiewicz from Mystic Art in 2004 Mariusz explained:singing? It always comes just like that and it doesn’t matter whether I sing at the particular time. I’ve been singing for about 10 years now but it was in Riverside that I learned how to use my voice properly. I never had any vocal lessons. But it is the vocal that became one of the most impressive parts of the band’s compositions, a crowd-pleaser, its distinctive feature. High vocal abilities of the singer were clearly heard as early as on the first demo. Duda could easily generate anxiety, create an overall climate or simply, without any needles ornaments, tell a story. Delicate melodic singing was just as easy for him as strong, metal-style roar.
It is worth mentioning that Duda is the only member of Riverside with any progressive past. In the 90s he was a member of Węgorzewo-based progressive band Xanadu (an album “Wczorajsze Ślady” from 1996) in which he was a keyboardist. He reflects on that period: It was a great school of playing the instrument and working in a band.This band from Węgorzewo never really took off and its rarely available recordings have become a sort of curiosity among Riverside fans.