Words by Crystal Mioner
Photo by Jonty
Geographically, Detroit and Cape Town are 9,000 miles apart but when River gets on the phone, I feel like we’re joined at the hip, the warmth from her voice transmitted with ease across the Atlantic. It’s a Leo thing, that ability to radiate and draw people into your universe. A quick glance at the collaborators for LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME, their latest remix album, shows how far reaching Rivers galaxy goes. With tracks from Angel Ho, Ase Manual, Bapari, Byrell The Great, and Diego Hauz, River Moon provides keen insight into who’s who of the black diasporic club scene.
“I told them, you know, I’m giving you a pack, do whatever you want on it. Like, however you want to change the song, change it. If it sounds like a completely different song, I don’t care. Just like, make it yours, you know? And these are like people that I know would not fuck up my song,” says River in response to my questioning of how the process went to obtain the remix.
Existing loosely in between New York and South Africa, she has built a strong network of producers. Trust is an essential part of the independent artist experience. That and the ability make things happen. She’s self released all of her music over the past 8 years she’s been producing. “I’m scared of labels…I don’t want to like, owe people and I don’t want to be owned. I’m not going to be no slave. I want my freedom. I don’t want no white man controlling me,” she says in reference to an infamous electronic label who tried to sign her. “I burned that bridge but may all the bridges I’ve burnt light my way.“
River hovers in the sweet spot between uncompromising but not stagnant. From her early RnB flips to her latest contemplative experimental release MARTYR, which LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME first appears on, she is creating a legacy uniquely her own.
“That’s why like, I always say, like, I have no desire to be famous. Yeah, I just want my music to be heard. And I just want to be, you know, remembered, like, I want to leave a legacy. I don’t want to be like, you know, popcorn bitches popping up this year then they’re gone. Yeah, no, I just, I need to create something that’s more of like, it was a moment in time. You know, you could read about it in history books or whatever.“
Photo by Jonty Knight
Edited by 3rdeyechakra
In addition to creating her own moment, she’s also looking out for her community and has aspirations of building a formal music family. “I feel like now, or in the next year or two, I would like to start something like, not a label, but like more of a collective of black people who are doing these techno and leftfield and experimental electronic music and stuff like that.Cuz there’s really no platform for us.“
She states, “I think mostly just community, it comes down to like community because we only have us. I don’t want to rely on you know, the powers that be. I feel like when we’re together, we’re more powerful. And I want to be, I just want the kids who think like, Oh my god, maybe I can’t do this because I didn’t grow up with money. You know, I just want them to feel like it’s possible. You know ? You could, you could be black and you could make any type of music because most of this music, all this music, is fucking black music.”