Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Netherlands based DeathDoom band, River Of Souls. Huge thanks to guitarist Paul Beltman for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hi, I’m Paul, guitarist in River of Souls. River Of Souls started as a project band in 2014 consisting of Bart (vocals) , Benjamin (bass guitar), and me on guitars and drums. In 2017 we released our debut full length titled “The Well Of Urd’. Since then, we have released an EP and a digital streaming single, and recently we released our 2nd full length album titled “Usurper”. Nowadays we aren’t a project band anymore, we have played a few shows and once the Covid19 stuff is over, we will play more shows. The current line-up is Bart on vocals, Mathijs and me on guitar and Koen on drums. Sadly, Benjamin quit playing recently, but we have a temporary bass player to fill the gap.

How did you come up with your band name?

Initially we had the name Fateweaver, but then we noticed there was another band with the same name. So, Bart came up with a truckload of possible band names, River Of Souls was the name we felt fitted the lyrics of the debut album best.

What country are you from and what is the metal/rock scene like there?

We’re from The Netherlands, the scene here is fairly good. There are many excellent bands here, and there are also a lot of venues to play at. However, the Dutch metal scene for some reason seems to be fonder of foreign bands than Dutch bands. Which I find strange, there are many really good bands here.

What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our latest release is the full-length album “Usurper”, which gets many really positive reviews and other feedback from all over the world. We’re currently investigating a few options for distribution in the US and Europe.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Even though I’m trying to ‘steal’ the ideas from all kinds of genres, I think the first metal bands that I listened to, and that have convinced me to pick up an instrument, have influenced me most when it comes to composition.  So, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Helloween, Annihilator, and I think Morbid Angel should also be mentioned. Not saying we sound like any of those bands though, hahaha!

What first got you into music?

Well, the bands that I just mentioned are the ones that convinced me to become a musician. Especially Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Slayer.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Hahaha, dreams, dreams, dreams! Well, there are many people of whom I’d be honoured if they would be willing to appear as a guest musician on a future River Of Souls album. To name a few : Aaron Stainthorpe, James Murphy, Mike Wead, Devin Townsend, Andy LaRocque, Michael Denner, Hank Shermann, Frank Mullen, Steve Vai, etcetera.

On the composing side, I think collaborating with someone like Adrian Smith or Steve Harris, Lars Ulrich, Andrew Craighan, Jeff Waters, or Anders Nyström, would be something really interesting for me.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Eeehhhhh…Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium, I think. Why? Because I usually only see really big and well-known bands there, hahaha. But I’d also settle with Wacken Open Air, Dynamo Metal Fest, Fortarock, or any other big open-air festival…hahaha. I don’t think we ever will reach such status!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

That was with a band I played in in the past : a bracelet, from a cook in a venue in Poland. He was immensely intrigued by our performance; he gave me his silver bracelet as a thanks for the show!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Eehhhh…’Peace! and respect each and every one !’ Or something like that. I’m actually some kind of modern metal-Hippie.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Ronnie James Dio! And in case I have resurrected his soul myself, I’d command him to make a new record with Black Sabbath (Iommi/Butler/Ward). And he has to sing a few lines on a future River Of Souls album of course, hahaha!

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I actually enjoy playing live the most. And by that, I mean playing, meeting people and talking to fellow musicians, and usually I find travelling also cool. What I hate, aside handling much heavy equipment, as that playing in a band isn’t just making music. In my case, and just temporary, River Of Souls is currently more like 5% playing/composing. All the other work is promotion, production, management, social media, etcetera, etcetera. But it is what it is, without the additional stuff, no one will check out the music, no shows will be booked, no albums will be made.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

The end of music through the internet…but that will piss many people off I guess…?

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

All is fine by me, as long as the musician gets paid an honest fee. (not talking about myself here, I’m saying this for the musicians that try to make a living with their art). Spotify and such services are killing the indie artist, and also the need for an album. In case you want to be fruitful on the streaming market, you’d better release many singles instead of a single release of an album…Also, on streaming, people usually check a single track, instead of a complete album. In our case, chances are high that people listen to 1 or 2 of our tracks, and don’t get a proper impression of our sound. We make albums that have multiple faces, and those albums make a musical journey. If you heard only 1 single song, you cannot say you’ve heard our music.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

With River Of Souls ? That would be Dutch Doom Days 2018.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

The same as I’m doing now: Full time job, and a family life. But then with more time for my other hobby’s, which are all kinds of technical stuff. Wood, metal, home improvement, electronics, etcetera.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

My best friends! Michael, Peter, Ingmar, Jacco, Ferry, and Benjamin.  That’s 6…. Well, all or none.

What’s next for the band?

There’s a lyric video coming up for ‘A Spirit’s Weight’, we consider to release one of the bonus tracks of the CD on the streaming services later this year, and, we’re also preparing our drummer’s rehearsal room for recording, so, we might do a live studio set for youtube, or, we’ll start around October 2020 with the recording of a new EP, or something similar.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?


Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Hahahaha! Definitely cakes. They’re too soft to be called a biscuit, imho!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for this interview! And in case people check us out, please take the time to experience the complete “Usurper” album. Thanks!

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