As a longtime fan and follower of LA based Nashville replant, I was pleased to hear Madi Diaz teamed up with her friend and longtime music partner Emily Greene to create RIOTHORSE. Madi’s work has seen a tremendous growth moving to Nashville from Boston after two years of music school in 2007. Her vocals are on point – full of a characteristically bold expression and unique delivery that can’t be compared to any other female singer-songwriter. She is a true voice in the industry.

The duo’s new group, RIOTHORSE, branches into the folk genre with minimalistic electronic beats and guitars which enables the listener to focus on the vocals and the message. Their harmonies are strong, and their unison is undeniably smoothly blended – something that is far too seldom in current music. On their current track, “Rabbit Hole”, (available to stream on http://www.riothorse.net), Diaz and Greene produce an alluring melody with simply a guitar line and kick drum – seductive and truthful at the same time.


Long Legs. Leather Jackets. The Lower East Side The dressing room of Rockwood Music Hall in NYC on a Monday Night. Sitting across from me are LA based indie rock sirens RIOTHORSE (Emily Greene and Madi Diaz).

Both having trotted between Nashville New York and LA, it’s needless to say they rocked both the interview and the performance.

P&W: Why do you guys blend so well together? What makes your relationship as a band work?

M: Our relationship is built off of honesty and trust, and I think that we really both work to keep it very open and real.

E: Yeah, we get along very well, we both have the same mindset, we have similar families, similar upbringings, similar musical stuff, similar parents who do musical stuff, we’re both writers, we’re both artists, we’re both instrumentalists – well, I didn’t play tonight but (yes she did) – laugh – I don’t know, it’s good to write with Madi.

P&W: Do you think that it’s hard to find people to collaborate with?

M: Totally, because when I get into a co-writing session, you know – I’m a fighter. I always think it’s me that’s fucked up, or who’s not doing the right thing, and I’ll like, muscle it into the place where I know it’s a good song, but sometimes it doesn’t ever really click. You know, it’s never been a fight with Emily.

E: I think finding people to collaborate with is the easy part. What’s hard is finding collaborations that strike their own sound, light up, spark, and catch fire….

What do you like about LA and the scene?

M: I love it.

Madi, you made the move from Nashville to LA a few years ago. How do you compare the two cities?

M: There’s just more in LA. It’s twenty million times bigger. There’s an art scene, there’s not just an indie or americana – it’s not structured so heavily around co-writing and it’s easier to focus on yourself and your own project – which is funny because we both met in LA (laughs) – “it’s so easy to focus on yourself when you’re in a band” haha. There’s something about LA that is kind of freeing because everyone comes there to work on themselves. In Nashville, you know, when I was specifically still looking for what it is I wanted to say, and I had a great community of nurturing people that wanted to help me figure out what I wanted to say. Now that I KNOW what I want to say, I have to figure out how to do that by myself.

E: No you don’t. [everyone laughs]

What was the studio process like for “Monster” and “Rabbit Hole” – how far do you stray from the idea in your head when you’re recording it?

E: I think it changes a little bit every time. Madi and I both have great ears and we’re both good musicians. We go in with an open mind and try to be vulnerable and creative. When we write, we compliment each other’s assets and we’re both intuitive and we’ve been through similar things. We have a similar vocabulary.

P&W: In what ways?

E: In all the ways. You know, like when I says the chorus doesn’t land, she knows exactly what I’m talking about. Or – let’s be ahead of the beat, there’s no momentary uncomfortable feeling there, haha.

There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen. RIOTHORSE.


Article by: Hillary Barleaux

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