Marlon Williams Shares Video for New Song “River Rival”

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022
 






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Marlon Williams Shares Video for New Song “River Rival”
My Boy Due Out September 9 via Dead Oceans

Jul 13, 2022

By Mark Redfern

Photography by Steve Gullick


New Zealand singer/songwriter/guitarist Marlon Williams is releasing a new album, My Boy, on September 9 via Dead Oceans. Now he has shared its third single, “River Rival,” via a video for the new song. Steve Gullick directed the video, which simply features a wet Williams singing the song in one close-up shot, no edits. Watch it below, followed by his upcoming tour dates.

Williams had this to say about “River Rivals” in a press release: “This tune began with an idle Google search. The Latin noun ‘rivalis’ means people competing for the same source of water. That got me excited and seemed to hit upon a central occupation of the record as a whole. Resource scarcity, very generally construed, is at the heart of most conflict: economically, materially, socially. Musically, it started out as a bleary-eyed Nick Drake-esque acoustic rambler but somehow, perhaps counterintuitively, it felt too heavy that way so with a bit of fussing and redressing (largely in pre-production with Mark Perkins) it gradually morphed into the cyclical synth rock-roller before you. Under Tom Healy’s guiding hand, Cass (Basil) and Paul (Taylor) then built up the rhythmic intensity, each stanza pushing the point a little more urgently every time.”

Of the video he says: “I reconnected with my buddy and ‘Vampire Again’ collaborator Steve Gullick to make the video in a studio in Cambridge while on the recent tour with Lorde. I was so tired I couldn’t be bothered blinking.”

In May Williams shared the album’s title track (also its opening track), “My Boy,” via an amusing video. “My Boy” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then in June he shared the album’s second single, “Thinking of Nina,” a song inspired by the Cold War spy drama The Americans. It was shared via a film noir-esque video and was also one of our Songs of the Week.

Williams opted not to record My Boy with his long-time backing band The Yarra Benders. Instead he demoed half the album with Mark ‘Merk’ Perkins. Then he worked with producer Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, The Chills) at Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios in Auckland in late 2020. There he worked with LA-based drummer Paul Taylor (Feist), bassist Cass Basil (Ladyhawke, Tiny Ruins), and Healy on guitars and synths. There were also appearances from Delaney Davidson and Elroy Finn (on drums and percussion). Dave Kahn is the only member of The Yarra Benders to play on the album.

“Having new personalities in the room allowed me to escape myself,” said Williams in a previous press release. “When everyone’s still working out each other’s roles, there’s an unsettling and exciting tendency to go off in different directions…. It happened naturally. I was listening to more steely, New Romantic stuff, like Duran Duran, John Grant, Perfume Genius, the Bee Gees. All those things fed into the machine.”

Of the themes on My Boy, Williams said: “There’s a lot of male shapes on the record. Growing up an only child, I had to outsource my brothers and build a world around me. So while masculinity is a big theme, it’s really subsumed by broader explorations of vitality, and the social and cultural value placed on legacy.”

Williams’ last full-length was his sophomore album, Make Way For Love, released back in February 2018 via Dead Oceans. In 2019 he released his first official live album, Live at Auckland Town Hall.

Williams has also been acting of late, appearing in the Netflix DC Comics TV adaptation Sweet Tooth, as well as acting in the films The True History of the Kelly Gang, Lone Wolf, and The Beautiful Lie. Williams also appeared in the hit Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga musical romance A Star Is Born, playing himself as a younger star tapped to lead a Roy Orbison tribute at the Grammys instead of Cooper’s somewhat aging rocker Jackson Maine.

“I’ve always explored different character elements in my music,” said Williams. “And I think the more I get into acting, the more tricks I’m learning about representation and presentation. I’m trying to make my worlds feed into each other as much as possible. To get braver and bolder with exploring shifting contexts and new ways of doing things.”

Read our 2017 interview with Marlon Williams on Make Way For Love.

Read our 2016 interview with Marlon Williams.

Marlon Williams Tour Dates: Wed. Sep. 14 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair *
Thu. Sep. 15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Made *
Fri. Sep. 16 – Washington, DC @ The Miracle Theater *
Sat. Sep. 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
Mon. Sep. 19 – Toronto, ON @ The Great Hall *
Wed. Sep. 21 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
Thu. Sep. 22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club *
Sat. Sep. 24 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake ^
Tue. Sep. 27 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern ^
Wed. Sep. 28 – Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theater ^
Thu. Sep. 29 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater ^
Mon. Oct. 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour ^
Wed. Oct. 19 – Dublin, IE @ Button Factory #
Fri. Oct. 21 – Glasgow, IE @ King Tuts #
Sat. Oct. 22- Leeds, UK @ Brudenell #
Sun. Oct. 23 – Manchester, UK @ YES #
Tue. Oct. 25 – Birmingham, UK @ Hare & Hounds #
Wed. Oct. 26 – London, UK @ Koko #
Sat. Oct. 29 – Paris, FR @ La Maropquinerie #
Sun. Oct. 30 – Zurich, CH @ BogenF #
Wed. Nov. 2 – Munich, DE @ Ampere #
Thu. Nov. 3 – Berlin, DE @ Hole44 #
Sat. Nov. 5 – Copenhagen, DK @ Hotel Cecil #
Sun. Nov. 6 – Oslo, NE @ Parkteatret #
Mon. Nov. 7 – Stockholm, SE @ Nalen Klubb #
Wed. Nov. 9 – Hamburg, DE @ Nochtspeicher #
Thu. Nov. 10 – Cologne, DE @ Artheatre #
Sat. Nov. 12 – Antwerp, DE @ TRIX #
Sun. Nov. 13 – Amsterdam, NE @ Paradiso #

* = with Jo Schornikow
^ = with Merk
# = with Reb Fountain

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