The Great Equalizer: Run River North on Recording, Self-Assurance and this Strange Thing Called the Internet

By condensing from a sextet to a trio, Los Angeles’ Run River North has streamlined their indie folk sound, offering a sharper and more direct version of the band, as heard in their latest singles, “40g,” “Rearview” and “Hands Up.” Their new approach both widens the scope of their sound, adding synthpop and stadium rock influences, while also bringing the band closer to fans, offering an intimate glimpse at the band and who they are as people.

Celebrating their second time at Union Stage, we got to chat with the band over email while they travel the country sharing their music. Run River North plays US on 5/7, tickets available (for now).

Interview by Isobel Mohyeddin

US: First off, congrats on the success of the recent singles from your upcoming record –! Apple Music, SXSW, KROQ, you’ve been getting quite the buzz! Are you surprised by the reception? Did you imagine you’d make such progress?

RRN: We are amazing. You can be amazing too. You just have to work hard, get your butt kicked, work harder, get humbled, and work hard again, and maybe you’ll make some progress. But you’re still amazing through it all. So, not surprised, but humbled!

US: I know that y’all hail from LA, but can you tell us a bit about how the band come about?

RRN: We are a couple of Korean kids that grew up in the valley (San Fernando). We all knew of each other from rival bands but we decided to join forces and form a super band.

US: How has the creative process changed or evolved since the change from a group of 6 to a trio? 

RRN: Definitely easier. The vision is less compromised and we seem to get a lot done, quicker.

US: Looking back at yourselves in that fateful “Fight to Keep” music video, what is one piece of advice you wish you could give yourselves?

RRN: “Hold on to your butts”

US: Do you think your roots in L.A. have shaped or contributed to your sound?

RRN: No, not in any particular way it would if we lived in another city. There’s this strange thing called the internet that was created but basically it’s the great equalizer and made all music accessible.

US: How was your SXSW experience? Any recommendations for new bands thinking of attending next year?

RRN: SXSW is an experience like no other. There’s a technology convention every year held in Las Vegas called CES. Companies show up to preview and sell their product, and buyers come to preview and buy those products. Some sellers have huge fancy displays that attract a lot of buyers while some sellers are startups and have not so great spaces. We’re the companies and the industry are the buyers. It really is quite beautiful.

US: What’s been on your personal playlists lately?

RRN: Most recently, lots of The Killers, The Strokes, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

US: What does this era look like for Run River North, and what can expect to see from y’all in 2019?

RRN: We’re calling this era “Joy”. You can expect a lot of music that makes you dance in any emotion or situation you’re going through.

Looking to contribute to the Union Stage blog? Please contact with any inquiries, pitches or questions.