Fresh from critical acclaim as country-rockers Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, including a sold out UK summer tour, River Shook returns with their new band Mightmare to tell us how it came about and who they are.

Hey Mightmare, how the devil are you guys?

We’re good! Just wrapped up our first tour and two of us are still on the road with my other band, the Disarmers. Two weeks Mightmare tour, two weeks Disarmers tour back to back.

Easy question first, where are you right now, and what are you up to today?

Just left Providence, RI, I’m writing you from the van en route to Portsmouth, NH.

Introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is River Shook, we have Blake Tallent on guitar, Ash Lopez on bass, and Ethan B. Standard on drums.

You’re also Sarah Shook & the Disarmers in another dimension, tell me how the idea of Mightmare came about initially?

Mightmare was actually an alternative name I chose to release music under, when I started working on Cruel Liars I had no idea I’d actually get signed (Kill Rock Stars) and have to put a band together to tour with. A few years back I was drinking whiskey and listening to Run Through The Jungle by CCR on YouTube and someone had transcribed the lyrics in a comment but misspelt nightmare as “mightmare”.  It cracked me up and the word stuck with me.  It sounds like a terrifying horse.

How would you describe your debut album, Cruel Liars, in two sentences?

Cruel Liars makes you feel a lot of different things and I think that’s what I like most about it.  Each song has a lot of depth and scope and all the instrumentation was so carefully composed, it’s like steady hands reaching out to pull you to safety and let you exist in the moment.

Tell me about the first song you wrote for the album?

Saturn Turns‘ is the oldest song and I demoed it a couple different times before I got serious about the project.

And what was the last one to make it onto the tracklist?

Easy’ was the last song I wrote so the last addition to the record.

Which song has been most surprising for you, from the start of writing it to how it turned out on the album?

I think ‘Cruel Liars’ surprised me the most, the transformation from the initial acoustic guitar demo to a song teeming with tracks and almost orchestral instrumentation was amazing to work through.

You’ve been touring recently, how has that been?

Yep we just did our first two-week run and it was killer. I was very humbled by the people who came out to see us given we’re brand new and the record had been out less than a week when we started! The venues were so good to us and it was cool to play a few places the Disarmers have played with this new band with a totally different sound and vibe.

Where’s the most exciting place you’ve ever played live?

For Mightmare our Chicago show at Empty Bottle was a highlight for sure, place is an institution.

And where’s the absolute worst?

We didn’t hit one bad venue this run!  The clubs and staff were all aces.

What’s the one thing you’ve learnt from your records as the Disarmers that’s helped in making Cruel Liars?

Lots and lots and lots of pre-production.

What can you tell me about the album cover artwork?

It’s a great photo. I took that in my hallway with a tripod and a borrowed Canon. I had virtually no budget for anything so I designed the album art, too.

With the poor $ numbers from streaming, what’s the best way for people to support you and your music?

Buy physical copies directly from our site and download via Kill Rock Stars Bandcamp page!  And catch us on tour next year, we’ll have merch with us.

What’s your favourite piece of merch you’ve got available? Or what would your dream piece of merch be?

Right now we have a t-shirt I design I’m pretty proud of, dream merch is a full-on line of Mightmare streetwear. My gears are already turning.

If you could recommend one artist to listen to this week, who would it be?

This feels like a good Mitski week.

What’s the question I should have asked you today but haven’t?

Have I voted? Yes! I submitted my absentee ballot since I’m on tour through Election Day. I don’t identify with any political party but the shit the Republican Party has pulled this year is hurting everyday people in real time; I don’t think I’ve ever seen the amount of hate and ignorance and vitriol publicly on display these days. I’m non-binary and queer and non-monogamous and I have a uterus, so yes. I voted. Please vote if you’re able!

To find out more about Mightmare you can visit their official website. You can stream Cruel Liars from everywhere streaming, and buy from their site.


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