Riala has had a busy year so far. But despite opening for prog metal heavyweights, playing a festival, releasing new music, and completing a tour of the West, the best is yet to come for these guys. Haymaker Records correspondent Tommy Walzer had the pleasure of talking to drummer Morgan Greenwood and guitarist/vocalist Nick Turner about the Kansas City math rock band’s upcoming projects, DIY, oranges, and more.
So first and foremost, you guys just came off a big tour of the West Coast. How was that experience?
Nick: I’d say it was pretty good. A lot of shows turned out to be way better than I was expecting. That sounds kinda shitty…
Morgan: Same with me. I was really surprised by the turnouts at all the shows?
Awesome. People were really receptive?
Nick: For sure, and also just the sheer amount of people that decided to show up. It was impressive.
What was your guys’ favorite city to play in and why? Can you talk about the scene there?
Nick: Probably San Francisco. We played a sold out show there. It was pretty incredible.
Was that the only sold out show on the tour?
Nick: I guess it depends on what you consider sold out. In Denton (TX) we also had like 200 kids show up, it was a house venue though, so it wasn’t “sold out.”
Morgan: Way over the fire limit though.
That’s pretty good. If you get dangerous conditions that’s always a plus.
Nick: It adds a certain intensity to the show for sure!
So you played some house shows in addition to actual venues?
Morgan: Ya, I’d say maybe a third or so, maybe half at the most.
Did you like those better than the venues?
Morgan: I mean I think it’d be hard to objectively say whether we preferred one over the other. They definitely have different dynamics, each of which I think we appreciate on some level. I think at a house show, the atmosphere is way more relaxed and people are generally there to just sort of “turn up,” if you will, and party. House shows are generally really relaxed. The people wanna come out and party but they were also super supportive, especially in a city like Denton because it’s such a music and art focused city. The kids there are really like, about everything, which is really cool. So that’s sort of juxtaposed by like, real venues, if you will. It’s cool to be a little more structured, and also you’re working with a sound guy and a promoter and all that. So everything is going pretty strictly by the books. And the people that are there, they’re obviously trying to party and drink too, but the atmosphere is a little different. But I think they’re both valid and I think they’re both fun, just in different ways.
So at the house shows, was it more like a straight up DIY kinda thing, or do the hosts there help you with your gear and sound and all that?
Morgan: I mean, people who own the space obviously were running the show, so they always had that on their plate. Certainly more DIY, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. There’s nothing less valid about that.
Nick: It really depends on which house show though. Like Denton was done really really professionally actually. They were really strict about time and stuff, which actually worked out pretty well. But compared to Albuquerque, which was also a house show, they were way more relaxed. And we had guys running sound for us and sort of helping us out with the gear [for the Albuquerque show]. But as far as the time allotments, it was way more chill.
Awesome. Another thing I was wondering about…You guys have a pretty good relationship with Kansas City natives Via Luna. I know they were on that tour with you and you also released a split with them not too long ago. How’d you guys originally meet?
Morgan: Umm, I think I was probably the first one to meet them. I was just sort of walking around one night, cruising through Westport, and I heard them playing at Harling’s. It was like an upstairs bar that used to do shows. But their windows are open so you can always hear the music on the street whenever you’re walking past. And I was like, “This actually sounds pretty cool!” I don’t know…I feel like based on the kind of music that we are, it’s always a pleasant surprise to find music in Kansas City that is like, similar on some level. And I think both bands respectively sort of realized that, and so we got along pretty well. But they’re also just pretty good dudes, you know? They’re fun to chill with, so it works out pretty well.