January 22, 2021

Thank You, Rivers & Robots

One of my all-time favorite bands, Rivers and Robots, has officially announced they will be taking a hiatus. It’s bittersweet news, and reminds me to be super grateful for the time I was able to watch them perform in 2018. 

I was attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, so you can imagine how surprised I was to find out that Rivers and Robots - a Christian indie band based in Manchester, UK - would be touring in the states and stopping in Lynchburg to perform at my university. What were the odds of that actually happening? My university in particular?! I would have gone out of my way to see them perform, drive an hour or more just to attend their show, but instead they were coming to meet me in Lynchburg! 😱

Let me fill you in on the back story of how I discovered Rivers and Robots in the first place. A few years ago, I was at the dentist’s waiting for my mom and sisters to finish their separate appointments. To pass the time, I started to flip through a Christian-based magazine and came across a section that highlighted new Christian music. Not the typical CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) which I was getting tired of listening to; the featured songs were by lesser-known alternative Christian bands and musicians. I decided to listen to every song on the list, but only one of them made a lasting impression on me: “Shepherd of My Soul” by Rivers and Robots. 

The unique rhythm changes and calming chord progressions combined with the theologically rich song-lyrics captured my full attention, and I immediately looked up the band and followed them on their social media. The next few weeks, I started to watch all the videos that their frontman, Jonathan Ogden, was uploading on YouTube. I used to love watching British vloggers at the time, but Jonathan Ogden stood out from the rest of them with his thoughtful video content and humble, easygoing personality. He's got a great sense of humor and he thinks outside the box for his creative projects. He's passionate about graphic design and enjoys meditating on God's Word so anything he produces is always visually appealing and meaningful. He even released a Twenty Four beat tape which musically reflects his perspective on every hour of the day. Like who does that?! (Only creative geniuses!)

The more videos that I watched of Rivers and Robots, the more I grew attached to the band because I could see the heart behind the music they were making. I could tell that their mission was truly to glorify God through their artwork, rather than themselves, which is something that continues to inspire me as a creative Christian artist.

Here are some of my favorite vlogs by R&R:

When I attended Rivers and Robots' show, I felt like such a fangirl (especially when I saw Jonathan because up until that point I only saw him through his YouTube videos, never in real life 😅). Jonathan is passionate about graphic design alongside writing music, so the visuals and lyric videos he projected on the screen above the band made the show that much more exceptional (honestly, Jonathan could have played one song on the keyboard and I would have gotten my money’s worth 😆).

Here are some of my favorite songs by R&R:

After the show, I felt a slight wave of anxiety rush over me because I knew that I’d have to force myself to actually introduce myself to Jonathan. When he walked up to his merch table, I patiently waited for my turn to talk to him. Thankfully, I had enough composure to articulate myself well and give thoughtful compliments on his music. I told him I’ve been a fan of his band since 2016 and even performed a rendition of their song “Shepherd of My Soul” at my university artist showcase. To my utter shock, Jonathan said he remembered watching the video of my performance on YouTube and said I did “an excellent job.” To say I was stunned is an understatement. I asked for a picture with him to which he obliged and then I was on my way. It was only a brief moment in time, but I’ll treasure it forever and will continue to support Jonathan Ogden’s creative projects from a distance! 🤗

I was low key hyperventilating, no big deal

Here's the video that Jonathan complimented:

If Rivers and Robots ever reunite and start touring again, that’d be amazing. Regardless, their music will remain and their time of ministry will continue to ripple outward and impact countless Christians and soon-to-be Christians in the future. That is something I’m undoubtedly sure of. I recommend checking them out if you haven’t already! Especially if you’re into indie music like me. 😉


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