Interview: Heavy Alt-Rockers Raviner Discuss New Self-Titled EP, The Hard Rock Scene In Nashville, & More

Balancing the darkness of metal with the shine of cinematic music, Nashville rockers Raviner have been crafting their own unique blend of alt-metal since forming in 2015. 

The band was started when Kamber Kigin (lead vocals, synths) began collaborating with Rob Shollenbergera and Jon Wisecarver. After a brief hiatus in 2019 however, the band came back looking pretty different. The group would get a bit of a makeover, this time featuring Josh Maher (guitar), Jordan Armstrong (bass/vocals), Christian Nicks (drums), and Kigin still leading the charge.

In 2016, Raviner released their debut EP, Disconnected, and would follow it up with their even more fine-tuned second EP, Beast. Even after their hiatus and through the chaos of the pandemic, the group still managed to stay creative and put out some meaningful music.

Their newest EP, the self-titled Raviner, released on September 15, 2021. It features arguably their best, most polished writing to date, and the band has received critical acclaim far and wide, including the superlative, “Tennessee’s Best Unsigned Band” from the Alt Press.

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We got the chance to chat with the band to learn more about their latest EP, the Nashville hard rock scene, and more.

So I was hoping you could tell us about the inception of Raviner and how y’all got together. 

Raviner emerged while I was in the studio working on a new EP for my band (I was performing solely as ‘Kamber’ with a backing band at the time). The studio sessions were filled with a lot of beautiful performances juxtaposed with a lot of creative tension and discord. The tumultuous sessions turned into Raviner’s first ep, [Disconnected]. I was exploring a darker and more cinematic sound. I had a lot to express, and it was almost as if Raviner was this other entity coming alive. It’s always been a collaborative project – I’ve always had the desire to form a true band in every sense of the word. At the same time, Raviner’s sound will always be an extension of my artistry and style – it’s always growing and evolving which is an exciting thing. 

This band has seen its share of lineup changes – breakups, life changes – both professional and personal – led to a disband and a hiatus between Raviner’s foundational members. But, it’s paved the way for true growth and rebirth. As painful as those experiences were, I know that we count ourselves blessed and are beyond grateful for what we learned and experienced. 

Raviner as we are now (Christian Nicks – drums ; Jordan Armstrong – bass ; Josh Maher – guitar) was formed during the pandemic. I wrapped up the self-titled EP days before the initial shutdown began in March 2020. A few months in I started jamming with Christian who I met at a local Nashville event we were both playing. We auditioned Jordan Armstrong and Josh Maher and started rehearsing, writing, and touring. It’s been incredibly organic and we’ve grown so much together. It really feels like a family.

How does being in Nashville influence your musical direction? 

As a working Nashville musician, I think there’s always this constant musical interchange. We are here because Nashville has something to teach us. Taking in the energies of classic songs and standards inevitably fuels us, while simultaneously there is constantly a call to create something new – always alongside friends. We’re proud and blessed to live here. 

What’s the hard rock and metal scene like in Nashville these days?

It’s an interesting thing from our angle – we had a season where we were mostly playing with Nashville’s heavy scene – we were kind of the outsiders trying to find our way in the current scene led by hardcore bands and heavy bands. We’re finding ourselves now carving out a newer scene alongside some amazingly powerful female-led rock acts. It’s an exciting thing to watch it progress and unfold.

How does the songwriting process work within the band? 

We love to experiment with how we create. Sometimes it starts with a guitar riff, or something I’m working on with the piano, a drum groove, a bass line, or a synth pad – we just build it out from there. We’re big believers in shapes and structure to get our ideas across while also creating beautiful soundscapes for the songs to live in. 

Talking for a second about your new EP, who had production duties on the project?

Colt Capperune (Dark River Studios – Ashland City) was our producer. Even though Jon Wisecarver (guitar), Rob Shollenberger (drums), and I agreed that we would disband as our current unit because of personal and professional life changes, we wanted to finish the work that we started. We were so proud of the songs. We were very intentional with our time and energy – we arranged the songs as a strong and focused team with Colt’s direction. He was awesome to work with. 

Is there a common theme or motif throughout the album?

Absolutely. This record explores themes of transformation – death and rebirth, as well as healing and freedom. 

The cinematic and synth textures throughout the EP are extremely interesting. Where did you get the inspiration for those parts?

Raviner has always utilized soundscapes, sonic textures, and ambience. As a pianist and keys player, it’s often something that fuels the energy of my songs. Specifically, we’re heavily influenced by bands and artists that like to create a sonic bed. We love pairing cinematic beautiful soundscapes with heavier aggressive instrumentation. 

What would you like fans to take away from the music on the EP?

Our biggest goal is that our listeners feel what we feel – whether it be a bold cathartic release or if folks are just grooving with us hard. That’s our favorite part. 

What does a dream gig look like for the band?

We’d love to hit Europe. 

What are some of Raviner’s goals for this year? 

We’re expanding ourselves with touring a lot this year and releasing some new music. We’ve grown so much as a band and we’re excited to stretch out a bit this year.

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