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"Transparency is important. We like to keep our fans in the loop with everything we do. They are part of our journey." - WRM

Posted: September 10, 2023
Fan engagement - is the act of providing an end-to-end experience for a sports audience their entire journey; before, during, and after an event, game, or match.

Recently, I was at a concert by Marc Anthony. I was amazed by how engaged the crowd was. Dancing, singing, shouting, etc. It was the ultimate example of fan engagement displayed. However, it wasn’t one sided either. Marc Anthony has been around for many years, and simply could have sung his popular songs, and that would have sufficed. However, there is more to it. Artists like this knows, that fan engagement is a must. Otherwise, you will not differentiate yourself from the other artists.

After singing one of his popular songs, he just stood there in awl. Because everyone in the crowd would yell and scream at the top of their voices. He was amazed, even after all the years of performing. His fans loved him for the performance he gave.

The same things occur at other performances. Fans engage, but the artist is less appreciative of what is happening. A performance is not enough. Not anymore. Fans want to be entertained, and they want a display of appreciation by the artist or band they have come to see. Entertainers in the music industry, at this level cost a lot of money to see. Tickets can easily range from 100.00 to 1,000.00 depending upon the seating, artist, and venue.

The same process should be considered at any level of your career. Regardless of where you are performing. Fans remember. They talk to their friends and engage others on social media. They talk about the performances they have seen. One of the first things mentioned, is their disgust over what the artist may or may not have done.

I can truly say that I have never been to a concert, where the artist or band failed to engage the fans. The only time this didn’t happen is at the smaller venues. Usually these are the places where new artists perform, and they don’t quite get the process. Which is one of the most undervalued parts of their performance.

Our guest today isn’t Marc Anthony, but a group that knows the importance of fan engagement. When Rivers Meet are adored by many fans in the U.K. Including other countries worldwide. Their fans have come to love them because there is a two-way street of engagement. They prepare fans to get involved, and they follow suit. What they do has worked. The level of success is a result of fan engagement. Let’s talk about the band When Rivers Meet a bit more.

ABOUT WHEN RIVERS MEET

Combining powerful and heartfelt vocals with thundering guitar riffs, Essex-based Rock band When Rivers Meet offers originality with both talent and authentic personalities. Grace Bond leads with her incredible vocals, as well as bringing raunched-up mandolin and violin instrumentals. Her husband Aaron Bond commands attention with his imaginative guitar and cigar box playing and complements with compelling vocal harmonies… a winning formula.

Since releasing their first EP in 2019, the duo released a second EP and two critically acclaimed studio albums: We Fly Free (2020), which reached #1 in the Blues Album Charts on iTunes, and Saving Grace (2021), which charted #2 UK Official Jazz & Blues Albums Chart, #5 UK Official

British husband and wife blues rock duo When Rivers Meet announce their debut album ‘We Fly Free’ will be released back in November 2020. Grace and Aaron Bond release their self-penned album ‘We Fly Free’ following their critically acclaimed EP’s ‘The Uprising’ and ‘Innocence of Youth’.

Album Downloads Chart, and #6 UK Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50. Their third studio album goes on pre-order in March and will be released this summer.

When Rivers Meet were the first band to win four awards at the UK Blues Awards 2021 and another three awards in 2022, including Blues Band of the Year on both occasions. They were nominated again this year and won Blues Band of the Year inducting them into the UK Blues Federation Hall Of Fame. In 2021 WRM were voted Best New Band at Planet Rock’s The Rocks Awards, and in 2022 won the Blues Power Award and Album of the Year (Saving Grace).

When Rivers Meet have developed a powerful live reputation and with their first headline tour last year, which they played to capacity crowds across the country. This is set to continue into 2023 with the Breaker of Chains UK Headline Tour and festival performances such as Steelhouse and Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea Mediterranean Cruise.

Their passion for blues rock shows through with an underpinning of traditional blues and classic rock. The duo has made a concerted effort to keep to a genuine, gritty sound using authentic techniques, including tube tape echo and reverb chambers, which have created a live sound that keeps a truly vintage vibe that not only has energy but is also a true representation of the ever-evolving sound this duo produces.

“Grace and Aaron bring a definite chemistry to their music which works on so many levels. Vocally both are strong, and harmonies are just wonderful. It's fabulous to hear a few non-standard musical instruments used as well, which altogether make this full album a treat for your ears.”

- Two Finger Media

“A genuinely interesting, eclectic mix of songs produced in a retro-style, the mix being deliberately almost muddy at times. Although the songs have different styles, the arrangements are slightly limited, so you do need to be a fan of blues, slide guitar and this slightly ‘woolly’, retro mix, particularly on the vocals, but there’s undeniable talent at work here!”

– Velvet Thunder

INTERVIEW WITH WHEN RIVERS MEET GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: We are very proud to have you interview with Guitar Thrills Magazine. You are genuine, and your contribution to the music industry cannot be matched. How important to you is fan engagement?

When Rivers Meet: Thank you so much for having us, it is a real privilege to be in such an awesome magazine. It’s massively important to us to have engagement with our fans. As independent artists it wouldn’t be possible to have any career without fans and were getting to know the music industry and how it works. If we were with a label, would we have the same interaction? Possibly not. How many tiers would a fan have to get through to get in contact with the artist? That’s one of the great things about being independent, we know all what’s going on with everything WRM and that includes being in direct contact with our Rapids (WRM fans).

Guitar Thrills: Do you believe you would be as successful without fan engagement?

When Rivers Meet: Definitely not. Power of the people is the thing when you’re independent. We don’t have some big engine room of a label powering its way through. We need our fans and If people know you, like what you’re doing, then they will back you. Especially nowadays, more than ever. We are so great full to have such great fans.

Guitar Thrills: Since fan engagement is a two – way street, is there something special that you do before, or during a concert that encourages them to get involved with the show?

When Rivers Meet: Yeah, it’s so important for us to be transparent and genuine with our fans. We like to keep them in the loop of everything WRM because they are part of our journey. If we can offer a special limited number of people meet and great before a show, or a competition for free tickets to one of our shows we do it, along with a meet and greet after each show to sign merch and have pictures with. As well as our Rivers meeting place fan group, which is open to anyone, we also have a special fan group that you can buy into when we crowdfund our albums called the Inner Circle. In this group we offer lots of WRM goodies, including behind the scenes stuff and loads of other things.

Guitar Thrills: I could go on talking about this subject for hours. Because it is one of the main things that will capture and hold the attention of a fan. They recognize that you value them. They might forget portions of the concert, but they will never forget the interaction between you and the audience. As I mentioned in the introduction, I didn’t forget what Marc Anthony did to stir up the crowd. This is a sign of the ultimate performer. I believe you have that as well. Singing before a crowd is difficult. Do WRM prepare in advance, what you will do to engage fans? Or is it spontaneous?

When Rivers Meet: We love the idea of fans getting involved. We want to give our fans the best experience at one of our shows that we can. This includes making the right choices of venues, the best and appropriate special guest act, meet and greet and signing of merch after each show, and getting involved with the audience. That sometimes means we go out into the crowd whilst playing. It all makes a great show with moments throughout the night.

Guitar Thrills: As an artist that has performed numerous times. What is one of the takeaways from a performance?

When Rivers Meet: If we feel we’ve given everything we possibly can in a show, then we feel we’ve done our job. People are there to see you, and they want you to be great, so already they’re on your side. We just give it your all, every time. And why wouldn’t we? We’ve got an amazing job. To be able to perform in front of people that want to see you do well, there is nothing better in the world.

Guitar Thrills: Do you both do a self-analysis of how you can improve?

When Rivers Meet: All the time, you can never stop evolving and growing. There are always new things to learn. For example, stagecraft. Depending on what kind of show it is dictates what you give and how you move. We like to rock out and move all over the stage mostly. But at times if you slow down during a set, maybe play an acoustic tender song, going onto one mic and standing still gives another moment that could be the highlight of a show. There are so many things you can think of that can improve a show.

Guitar Thrills: We talked a lot about performing before an audience. When is the next time you will be performing before a large audience?

When Rivers Meet: We a right now preparing ourselves for Joe Bonamassa’s third Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea Mediterranean Blues Cruise that departs off the coast of Athens, Greece, We will perform four shows in six days. We’re really excited about this massive opportunity.

Guitar Thrills: I can imagine, you get lots of feedback from your fans. Do you ever get a chance to respond to your fans on an individual basis?

When Rivers Meet: All the time, we make sure of it. We want to give our fans the very best experience with everything "When Rivers Meet" and that also includes in us responding to everything we possibly can.

Guitar Thrills: What are your favorite instruments of choice? What specific brands are instrumental in performing when you are on stage?

When Rivers Meet: I love all my guitars. I don’t really have a favorite as they’re all so different and have specific jobs. For example, I have a three string non fretted CBG that I use on several of our songs that just sound amazing. It was handmade for £100 back in 2020 and I have bought more since that cost a lot more from a proper luthier, but I always go back to that one because it just sounds so good. Grace has a couple of handmade electric mandolins made by Bell muse that she loves and a 1700 French violin that just sounds amazing.

Guitar Thrills: When Rivers Meet, has been on the front of many popular magazines What does that mean to you? Is it a sign of your success and popularity?

When Rivers Meet: We are very honored to be on the front these magazines, because they have supported us for a while now, and that means a lot to us. It’s always been a big thing to be on the front of a magazine and we just must pinch ourselves when it happens, even now. It shows that these magazines are taking you seriously and have faith in you as an artist to want to put you on the front cover. It means a lot to us, and we are forever grateful for the ongoing opportunities and support.

Guitar Thrills: Wow, it has been amazing to interview you for just a short period of time. We want to leave to leave room for another interview. Hopefully, we can arrange for another topic, with some question and answers. Would you like to come back for another interview?

When Rivers Meet: Absolutely, anytime. And thank you again for this interview and your time.

Guitar Thrills: Awesome. We look forward to it. Make sure to check out the latest album release called When Rivers Meet’s new album “Aces Are High” is available from www.whenriversmeet.co.uk

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