rivers & robots | indie worship band
interview and photography: corina esquivel
film by james d white
Tell us a little bit about the band
Jonathan: I started Rivers & Robots as a solo project, doing the first two albums as bedroom recordings at home. My aim from the beginning was always to try and explore creativity in worship. I wanted to worship god not just through words, but through the creativity of the sounds and melodies in the songs. After writing two albums I met the other guys through working at The Message Trust in Manchester as part of their creative team, and we began practicing and playing the songs live, and going on to record two more albums as a full band.
Rivers and Robots is:
Nathan Stirling (Backing vocals / Bass)
Jonathan Ogden (Lead singer / Keyboard / guitar)
David Hailes (Backing vocals / Guitar)
Where does your inspiration come from?
The Bible, mostly. I try and keep my lyrics as close to scripture as I can, often taking direct passages and putting them to music. I love the Bible, and when a verse or a passage sticks out to me, I write about it. I want the songs to be about Jesus, and point people to him, but they're also often through the lens of my own walk and relationship with God. I think songs sound more authentic when they come from a real place, and when you're singing about something that means something to you.
Where would you like to see Rivers & Robots go?
We'd love to continue touring, explore new countries, go on mission trips, and keep exploring different styles of music through our albums. I think we're the kind of band that likes to move trough different styles each time around, we don't want to make the same album twice. And if we can encourage other artists to write and create and point people to Jesus, then even better!
What does success look like for you?
Listening to God and being obedient to what He says. We knot that He's called us to be missionaries and to make Him known through our music, and that's always our aim, we just want to be faithful to that. It could be big or small, but it's not really about that. When we get emails from people telling us how our music has encouraged them in their walk with God or helped them in a difficult time, that's the thing that excites me the most. Even if we can do that for just a few people, it's worth it.
How does your faith play a role in what you do?
It's the reason we do what we do! We love writing the songs and making the music, but the whole reason we do it is to worship god and make Him known. Our faith is the subject of our songs, but also the thing that helps us to keep going.