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Articles Home » Music Talk » Black Water Rising Interview with Rob Traynor By Nina McCarthy
Black Water Rising Interview with Rob Traynor By Nina McCarthy

Black Water Rising

Interview with Rob Traynor

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio




“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!” --BWR Bio



BRR: Your bio says you were “formed from the ashes of various national touring acts.” Can you give me a brief history?

RT: The original guitarist is no longer in the band. He was in a band called Stereomud, which had done a lot of touring. I was in a band called Dust to Dust and we did a lot of touring with Type O Negative and bands like that and Dave Navarro. Mike (Meselsohn, drummer) was in a band called Boiler Room and they did a bunch of touring with different acts. We were in a bunch of different bands and I was friends with Mike for many years, the local clique of local musicians all playing in neighborhood bands.


BRR: And you’re from NY, so there is a lot of that there. My friend Matt lives in Long Island and he has seen you guys several times.

RT: Our bass player, Oddie is from Long Island. I moved down to New Jersey, but I am originally from Brooklyn, as is Mike. Dennis (Kimak), who is our new guitar player now, has been in the band for over 8 years now...so much for new, but he is from Jersey as well. We are really a New York band. We rehearse in Manhattan.


BRR: When you started releasing music with Black Water Rising, you took off really fast, didn’t you?

RT: We got lucky at the beginning because Sirius XM Octane’s program director had heard an early demo of the song “Brother Go On” and it was on a four song EP we released. He heard it and loved it and wanted to add it to rotation. It wasn’t even done. It was just a demo I was handing out. Before we knew it, I had sent them the new copy of it and he said he was going to put it in regular rotation and we said, “Awesome!” He started playing it and we got over 2,000 spins on Octane and it really started opening up other doors for the band. We had gotten some record deal opportunities and offers but everything was so bad at that point, and it’s even worse now. They want everything and you get nothing. We are somewhat seasoned guys. We’ve been around for awhile doing this. We’re from a different time, pretty much, when you got a $200,000 record deal. Those days are over now. The last deal was a $50,000 signing bonus and you don’t get things like that now. We weren’t really into the deals we were getting offered so we decided we were going to do it on our own. With the internet and how everything was going, why did we need to sign everything away to a label when I know about hiring a marketing company and hiring publicists? So, we decided to go that route and it was working out for us at first but then the whole ‘buy on’ thing with tours started happening and it got really bad. We weren’t going to buy on a tour with some of these acts that were asking us for like 50 grand to go out with them. They were playing rooms that you were lucky to have 200 people at. We were playing a lot locally and we did go out and did some runs with Kings X and some other bands that were taking us out without us buying on. We went out to SXSW, a month run with Kill Double Hill, which was really cool because we got to share the bus with Rex Brown and Vinny Appice and they were the coolest guys. It was just cool to be around them because I grew up being so into their bands, Black Sabbath, Dio, Pantera...and it was the Pantera bus, so there was a lot of history with Dimebag having been in there. We started releasing videos and I think spending about $6000 on a video might be better than buying on a little tour where you’re only playing for 50 people a night if you’re lucky. This way we can put a nice quality video out on the internet and market that and I think it would reach more people, so we did that. You know how it is, you are from the same generation as me. There’s no proven way to best do it. We go out and do it because we love to do it and have fun. I still have a family and a job and other responsibilities.


BRR: You have to really love it and want to do it to continue these days.

RT: Exactly. When this tour (With Flaw) came our way and the price was right to get on it, we decided we’d go out and do a bunch of dates.


BRR: What message does your music spread?

RT: I write from my experiences. I’m not going to write a song about an 18 year old kid going out and partying every night; that is not the life I’m leading. A lot of the lyrics I write are more sociological and somewhat political based, but not taking any kind of side on anything. I like to keep things up to the listeners’ imagination. I just basically write from the standpoint of a working man in this day and age and what I see going on around me. I try to make the lyrics empowering. That’s what I go for when writing. With the type of music we are playing, I feel the lyrics should be empowering and have energy to them and I think we achieve that. People are always writing to me and telling me they like the lyrics and that they make a lot of sense to them. I don’t write about just going out and having sex and partying. We’re not Motley Crue.


BRR: It’s very meaningful. The music drew me in first but then I listened closely to the lyrics. There is a lot of metal in my area, so I appreciate straight up rock when I hear it.

RT: We call it riff rock. It’s funny because people come to us now and think we are cutting edge but they are just too young to know different.


BRR: And like you’ve said in the past, your philosophy is that you are “not looking to reinvent the wheel, you just want to give it a much needed alignment.”

RT: I keep it real, even down to my gear. I get on stage with a Les Paul and a Marshall cabinet and that’s my thing. If it was good enough for the forefathers of rock n’ roll, than it is good enough for me. I’m not looking to do anything different. As a songwriter, my objective is to just write a good song. I’m not looking to create this type of music where people say, “Wow, I’ve never heard anything like this before!”  Ironically, a lot of people aren’t familiar with bands that do this type of stuff, riffy and more rock oriented, and are busy listening to the newer type of metal, which is great too. But they think what we are doing is unique. That is why I like this tour because we are all doing a little something different so it mixes it up a little. We bring our own flavor to the front and it’s heavy in its own right, it’s just a different type of heavy. Some of the heaviest shit I’ve ever heard has been Pink Floyd with just the progression and the riff. It’s not just about down tuning your guitar or Cookie Monster vocals into the microphone. That’s not the definition of heavy, at least to me.


BRR: Exactly, I like to hear the lyrics. Now, Electrified came out in 2017. Any new music coming out?

RT: I am working on some new stuff. We are doing some writing and what not. The way things are these days, I feel like there is no expiration date on anything, which is good. That is the positive thing about the internet. I came from a time where you had to get music out there right away and get on that tour and nowadays, and I guess because we don’t have a lot of money to do it that way without the label support being there, I feel that now you can take a different approach to the way you do things. This is not the type of band, the guys I play with, we’re not looking for the overnight gratification. We are just looking to do what we enjoy doing and if we build up two fans a week or five fans a week that are into the band, that’s fine. I’m cool with that and we have always been cool with that. We still sell music. We have our music on TuneCore and every month, to this day, I’m selling albums, so it’s good and it self sustains the band, so it’s been great.


BRR: Electrified is an amazing album, and like you said, it’s still timely two years later. 

RT: Right. I don’t feel like there’s an expiration date on it and we just go with the flow. I tell people we have a new album out and they asked when it came out and when I say, “Almost two years ago,” and they look at me funny. We have a catalog of music though with three albums. The only thing I feel bad about the situation is that I feel we should have toured more and that would have helped us to build up a bigger following. We have a lot of fans but it’s spread throughout the world. If we could get them all in one venue, we’d pack it. We try different things, but we don’t stress about it. We just do what we do and take one day at a time. Since day one, it’s all about having fun for this band. If it gets to the point where it’s stressful, then I don’t want to do it anymore.


BRR: What music do you listen to while on the road?

RT: I listen to a lot of different stuff. I have a very wide palate of musical interests. I listen to everything from electronic dance music, some country, I listen to some new metal. I’ve been listening to this new band Periphery. I enjoy it and it’s very influenced by Meshuggah, which I was always a big fan of back in the day when they first came out. We listen to Priest, Maiden, all the classics like Zeppelin.


BRR: Is there anything else you’d like your fans to know before the show begins?

RT: We’re out there and doing our thing and there will be some new music to come in time, but right now we are just focusing on playing in front of some new audiences and turning some new people onto what we are doing.


BRR: That’s all you can do! Good luck and I look forward to continue following Black Water Rising!


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