Consistency is key for Riovaz - until it's not. He was once told by an old friend when he felt like quitting, that instead he should continue creating and be persistent, which is a sentiment that Riovaz has now taken on like an oath. When it comes to his music and art, all consistency is thrown out the window. It's rare that any two songs sound the same when listening through his catalogue, and when asked about future music he plans to release, Riovaz shares: "Upcoming music is confusing. You're gonna listen to it and not expect what you're hearing," further proving that he'll never stay the same but he'll always be persistent.
We chatted to Riovaz about the impact of TikTok, what a great song sounds like, and tunes that you can scream...
COUP DE MAIN: You started making music out of your parent's basement - how essential is that experimental phase of music creation to the growth and longevity of an artist?
RIOVAZ: Being an artist and experimenting is all about failure and trying and knowing what works and what doesn't along the way. I've come across a lot of bumps and stuff that hasn't worked out, and I know now what does and what doesn't. I still have so much to learn - it's the process of an artist.
CDM: With your origins set in this quite solitary musical process, do you find that you work more productively by yourself? Or is collaboration easier?
RIOVAZ: Definitely by myself because I'll feel more comfortable in my own space and my own aura. The basement is so special to me - so many ideas have been brought to life there. Being alone is definitely just been super helpful.
CDM: If you could tell yourself from 5 years ago a piece of advice, what would it be?
RIOVAZ: Damn, five years ago, I would have been like 13? I'd say: just don't listen to it. Don't listen to the voices around you. At 13, I was surrounded by people that just took my aspiration for music as a hobby and that really affected me. I would tell myself: just do you and listen to your gut, and listen to the voices in your head of what you want to do.
CDM: Is the concept of 'genre' dead?
RIOVAZ: Yes, it's dying! I think now more than ever, I feel it now more than ever. There's so many artists that I see on TikTok or whatever, blending genres now, and it's becoming more of a common thing. I think it's so cool.
CDM: Do you think genre can be hindering for artists?
RIOVAZ: I feel like as an artist, you're gonna get boxed in no matter what from people who think they know what you sound like. That could take a toll on you as an artist, but you gotta just keep doing you and making your own sound.
CDM: I also love the video for 'You're A Parasite' and the kind of stop-motion aspects of it. What can you tell me about the creative process for this video?
RIOVAZ: I was working with Tommy Killjoy. We made that video in New York - it was really, really fun. We were just running around New York, sort of like a running gun type of video. We were just going down in the subway and random streets. It was just like hanging out with a friend with a camera.
CDM: What is the true difference been a good song and a great song?
RIOVAZ: I think a great song sounds like a movie and a good song sounds like a TV show.
CDM: You once said that you've just always imagined yourself making music - do you think creating art is a choice or a calling?
RIOVAZ: I think it's a calling. Ever since I was like a little kid I was dressing up as Michael Jackson and pretending I was him and wanting to be an artist and feel the fan love and creating art, and that never left me. I feel like I was just born that way - it's definitely a calling.
CDM: With TikTok playing a huge part in new music discovery nowadays, how do you think this both helps and hinders new artists today?
RIOVAZ: It can definitely help an artist, as much as affect an artist's career. With TikTok, you never know what really goes on and I don't know what TikTok is really like because a song could go up on TikTok and it could be a moment, but as an artist, you have to make sure if you have a moment on TikTok, you have to grab that moment and make it way bigger than what it is and make it long-term. Moments really do affect an artist's career.
CDM: And sometimes songs on TikTok they can blow up from five years ago and it's like: how do you grasp onto that moment of a song?
RIOVAZ: This band Buen Chico, they're a band from 2000... TikTok found them like a year ago and now they're blowing up - it's really crazy. The coolest part is that stuff from decades ago could really have an impact now.
CDM: Is there a lyric that you're most proud of writing?
RIOVAZ: It was a song I made called 'My Youth'. I made the song specifically just for nostalgia and the first line it was: "Endless tears of mine drop softly, I despise the fact that time has been flying by." That's my favourite line I've ever written.
CDM: What does a perfect day look like to you?
RIOVAZ: A perfect day is probably just me being in my basement and making sounds. Ending the day on something I was proud of making - that's the perfect day. Waking up and then making a song, and then sleeping and then thinking back on that and be like, 'Damn, that was a good day. I made something.'
CDM: You've said that you had just watched 'Donnie Darko' before making the song and video for 'Tell Me Your Fears' with that film being the last piece of the puzzle. Are there any other films that inspire your music?
RIOVAZ: There's this movie called 'The Florida Project' that I watched almost two years ago. It was just so real. It's about a family who lives in a motel and the kids have to deal with seeing the tragedies of life, living in poverty. I love films that have just a real-life aspect to it that's easily relatable. It's with William Dafoe - the Green Goblin from 'Spider-Man'.
CDM: You've also announced you'll be playing some shows across the US next year - what songs are you most excited to play live?
RIOVAZ: 'You're A Parasite' - it's one of those songs that you could just scream. I played that in New York a couple months ago. The fans were just screaming that one, either that, or 'I Feel Fantastic'.
CDM: And finally, what can you tell us about upcoming music?
RIOVAZ: Upcoming music is confusing. You're gonna listen to it and not expect what you're hearing. You're gonna be surprised because it's just a different take on the dance music I've been doing and a different side of me as an artist. You're gonna see a sneak peek of the progression of what an album will sound like.
Watch the video for 'Tell Me Your Fears' below...