An Interview with Liver Down the River’s Bassist, Derek Abt
What it Means to be a Small Town Funkadelic Band, on the Rise
What are your intentions for your musical future?
“If you asked me five years ago, I would have said we’re headed for Red Rocks,” Derek said in a phone interview last week. Now, he seeking and reaching for a joy-seeking experience.
The road to Red Rocks carries more stress than you may initially guess. The band members of Liver Down the River work full time jobs on top of their creative endeavors to give their band a name, but also a future. Derek, who currently works for Web Services Management in Sales, graduated from Fort Lewis College in 2012. He works to enjoy his time as the bassist in this lovely band, but also to be able to afford Durango’s lifestyle. Typically, the millennial generation has struggled to find success and all-around stability in Durango. Liver Down the River members are no different. They work full time and utilize their extra time and energy working on their music.
Derek’s journey as a band member parallels with the genesis of the band itself, which began in the dorms at Fort Lewis College in 2008, which eventually moved to a house on the grid, near downtown Durango. Liver Down the River’s distinct bluegrass, funk, or “funkadelic, psychedelic bluegrass” genre is unique to the sound of each band member individually. Derek’s background stems from guitar lessons as a kid and an interest in rock and punk music, in contrast to his current musical endeavors. However, his musical talent is impressive, regardless.
Could you give me an insight into your creative process, individually and or as a band?
Derek and the other band members choose to “bounce ideas off one another and create an open environment” to write songs and work together as a band. Often, Derek explains, one band member creates a piece of music and presents it everyone else to spark collaboration. The group tends to meet in each other’s homes and rotate hosts, which explains the degree to which Liver is an all-around Durango-based musical group.
In the age of Spotify and Apple Music, how do you go about selling music and making money?
Liver Down the River, as a small town band is mostly known through their live shows and word of mouth around town. They stream music through Spotify and Apple Music, but have a new opportunity for fans who want more content. To find the latest music and content from Liver Down the River, visit Patreon.com. Or for live shows, visit https://archive.org/details/LiverDownTheRiver. While they sell music through streaming services, their bookings tend to come “not from people you know, but who knows you,” Derek explains. Their gigs and shows are highly popular in Durango. Just last Sunday afternoon, you could find Liver Down the River jamming at an all-around packed show they put on at 11th St. Station.
What’s your role as a member of the band, on and off of stage?
“(I’m the) Bassist. And generally play the role of general manager.” As we chatted on the phone, Derek sifted through a junkyard to find pieces to fix their travel van, he talked about individual roles of his band mates. Naturally, he assumes the role of the person who does much of the “dirty work” to make sure their car is running, they’re insured, and every day band tasks are completed.
Liver Down the River is uniquely Durango, funky, and fun. If you’re interested in hearing them live or following along on their upwards journey, check out their site for tour dates and more information about the captivation group. https://liverdowntheriver.com/