On 21 February 2016 the end of Riverside seemed to be sealed. On this day, guitarist Piotr Grudziński died completely unexpectedly. The 40-year-old darling of the audience played a big part in the success of the band with his lyrical melodies. It seemed impossible to continue the group without him. Two and a half years later, Riverside are no longer the same band. With their new album "Wasteland" they reinvented themselves as a trio. Mariusz Duda, Michał Łapaj and Piotr Kozieradzki are ready to continue their story. It is no less than the rebirth of one of the most important contemporary bands of the scene.
End of August 2018. Duda is ready for vacation. Three exhausting album productions with Lunatic Soul and Riverside as well as three festivals lie behind the 43-year-old. Also the increased interview workload in the course of the publication of "Wasteland" has left traces. Because Duda is still singer, bassist, main composer and mouthpiece of the band in personal union. After the interview with eclipsed, Duda left the band for a week before rehearsing for the upcoming tour in October/November.
eclipsed: Last year Riverside returned to the stage as a trio. How painful was it to look to the right and not see Piotr there, but a guest guitarist?
Mariusz Duda: It was very difficult. It already started with the recordings for "Eye Of The Soundscape". When Piotr died, we had to go back to the studio and finish all those songs without him. So if someone asks me now if it was difficult to record "Wasteland" without Piotr, I have to deny that, because it is already the fourth album without him for me. The first gig in February 2017 was also marked by deep emotions. On and before the stage, endless tears flowed. But we became stronger and more confident with each show. And sometime in the middle of the tour it felt as if we had really risen from the ashes.
eclipsed: Was it important to you to re-establish Riverside as a live band before a new studio album could come into focus?
Duda: We wanted to say goodbye to Piotr with the tour in a certain way. That's why we called them Towards The Blue Horizon. I had originally written this song for a friend of mine who had died in 2014. And within two years, I lost Piotr, my next close friend. That's why the song became Piotr's song. A new Riverside album wasn't even possible at that time. I wanted to go back to the studio, but I wanted to concentrate on Lunatic Soul and my personal demons. I had no idea how and whether Riverside would work at all. But suddenly it happened.
eclipsed: You're talking about it: There are exhausting months behind you. With "Fractured" and "Under The Fragmented Sky" you finished two albums of your side project Lunatic Soul and with "Wasteland" also the seventh studio work of Riverside. Do these albums go together for you?
Duda: Yes, for me it is even a thematic trilogy in which I deal with the themes of death, dying and survival. On Fractured, I wanted to deal with the death of Piotr and my father. But the seriousness of the subject was finally reflected on the following two albums.