Indie-folk band Wild Rivers reflect on their exciting year

By Abra Richardson, Staff Reporter

Wild Rivers takes over Thalia Hall as fans watch them on a Monday evening. Abra Richardson

From releasing their sophomore album “Sidelines” to touring across Europe and North America, 2022 has been a big year for the indie-folk band Wild Rivers.

Devan Glover, the all-in-one singer, guitarist and keyboardist for Wild Rivers, spoke about the band’s beginnings during their college days.

“[Khalid Yassein] and I went to college together, and we were both independently pursuing music on the side,” Glover said. “We weren’t studying music, but we just always really wanted to be involved with it, and it was a big part of our lives since we were young, so when we were looking for people to collaborate with, we were just asking around and and seeing who was out there.”

Glover said the duo met through a mutual friend and “instantly bonded musically and personally” after singing a few cover songs together.

Devan Glover on guitar, keys and vocals looks out at the massive crowd on Sept. 12. Abra Richardson

Eventually the two met their third member, Andrew Oliver, and started performing around the Queens University campus together.

In the beginning, Glover was only writing poetry but said she did not have the confidence to translate the poems into songs, while Yassein had been writing songs for a long time.

All three of them learned different songwriting techniques from each other and explored different sounds that fit their voices.

“It’s kind of interesting because we all kind of came from different backgrounds,” Glover said. “We met in the middle on a lot of artists, and we still do, and I think that helps with writing because we kind of bring different influences into the writing process and just see what works.”

Khalid Yassein performs on the keys as the band takes the stage. Abra Richardson

Glover said she is drawn to pop, R&B and British indie rock genres; Oliver had a keen interest in hip-hop and rap; and Yassein listened to alt-rock.

According to Glover, all of the members appreciate the songwriting from ’60s and ’70s artists including Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and Joni Mitchell, allowing them to pick up on their techniques and sound.

After all the time Wild Rivers spent working on music, Spotify added one of their songs to a coffee shop playlist, which helped them immensely.

“That was like the luckiest thing that happened around the album release,” Glover said. “Because … ‘Wandering Child’ got on a coffeehouse playlist and then that spiraled into more playlisting, and then we got all the data from where people were listening.”

Glover, Yassein and guitarist Andrew Oliver perform their song “Bedrock” for the big crowd at Thalia Hall. Abra Richardson

Since then, the group gained enough traction to start touring and build their fanbase to what it is today, with 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify and more than 36,000 followers on Instagram.

“We’ve been a band for six years now, but it does not feel like that; it still feels like we’re learning every day,” Glover said. “We’re so lucky that our audience has grown. … It still feels like we’re a young band, kind of trying to find our audiences in different markets and just find the people who are listening and who are supporting and still having a lot of fun with it.”

Aside from their European tour earlier this year, they also went on a North American tour where they did a mix of headline shows and music festivals and released their sophomore album, “Sidelines.”

“I think this time it was different because we do have a label now and an amazing management team, and we were able to release [the album] in a more intentional way than before,” Glover said. “[Like] when we were just throwing it on Spotify and hoping for the best, but we’re still learning, we’re still putting our heads together and trying to find ways to get the music out there and just play as much as we can.”

Fans of Wild Rivers can follow their journey through social media, look out for updates on their website and listen to their music on all music streaming platforms.