‘The Rave Princess’ of the future: River Moon on her rise to becoming the electro music superstar of the galaxy

The universe, in its entirety and all its glory, truly gained star when all-round saint, River Moon first decided to post her plush music remixes online. The popularity of her music production spread like wildfire and has seen her share credits with names like Queezy, dJinns, Angel-Ho, FAKA and Lizzo’s Truth Hurts producer, Jesse Saint John. Soundcloud served as the setting for her musical success story and her music has gleamed over 30 000 combined plays on the platform. More popular for her flawless, hard hitting remixes, River’s journey in music production has earned her a record label deal and the opportunity to release an official project of her own in the coming year. ‘The rave princess’ has a signature style of homogenising classics with futuristic beat arrangements and sonics that has listeners convinced that she’s one of the most important rising music producers of our time.

“I was born from a boombox in a loud, smoggy rave.” Being raised on hip hop, house and jazz heavily influenced River’s initial music-making style, RnB. “I was like 9 when I recorded my first song on this tape recorder from the 80s my mom gave me.” River was a multi-instrumentalist from a very young age and remembers being drawn to the piano and belting out her best Alicia Keys impersonations. At 13, she started producing music on GarageBand but it was at 15 years-old when she started attending raves that she’d have a series of cathartic musical experiences that would prove instrumental to the artist she is today. The introduction to electronic music had River feeling more alive than she ever had. “I felt accepted by that environment and felt my body and mind become one and come alive. I developed my taste in a space I was warned to stay away from. Now, I consider myself the future of electronic music. Thank God for being a rebel.”

The influence of rave music is heard in most of her online shares. Embellishing timeless classics with pounding dance music beats and sound effects like looping, swells and noise edits have made her sound all the more contagious. The growth but mostly, variation in her sound is easily detectable in a listening session of her discography. In her earlier work, her ability to inject just the right organic sounds in accordance to her samples, to the feel and progression of a song is what sets her apart from the rest. Her party starter track, Kundalina Jolie which is strongly reminiscent of vogue music, is a prime example of this.  Now that she’s added electronic music to her list of specialties, there’s absolutely no stopping her. “I make electronic music. That’s what I’m good at. I can do anything but that’s the world that feels like home to me.”

Photography by Tom van Schelven

When it comes to pop culture, fashion trends, social politics, good music, new and old, it’s easy to tell that River is someone who’s undeniably ahead of the curve and mass influential. “Don’t call me a man. That’s gross. Men are dumpster juice and smegma.” River’s pronouns are she/her and she’s always used her social media platforms to make it clear that the pronouns that belong to her and other trans-people always be learned, adhered to and respected. Outside of being an artist, River’s a sharpshooting, witty and drop-your-phone hilarious Twitter icon whose online engagements amplify her likeability. Affectionately known to the online community as ‘Saintiana’ and ‘Rave Doll’, her fanbase is one that spans continents and her social commentary is always concise and to the point.

At only 21 years-old, River has lived in cities like Cape Town and New York and dreams to move to Berlin: the epicentre of underground electro club culture. This is evident in her music research and worldly appeal. Her international successes range from having big names and her influences, SOPHIE, Kim Petras and Charli XCX dance to her music at parties, legends like Coko from SWV reposting her music on their online platforms, New York superstar Fatima Al Qadiri and Berlin producer LSDXOXO who were among celebrities who’ve reached out to River, directly, to give kudos to her music. “It’s so crazy watching people all over world listen to shit I made in my bed when I was bored or depressed or manic or drunk. It’s wonderful.” A more recent milestone for the young talent was producing an exclusive track for the New York Fashion Week show of clothing label No Sesso’s Spring Summer 2020 collection which she says was a dream come true.

With credentials like these, it’s understandable why River sees herself as an innovator of her time and a force to be reckoned with. “I’m not studying my influences, I’m studying their influences and always going back to see who the originator is. I’m always studying the innovators and originators because I want to be original.” And maybe that’s the key ingredient to any sort of success and longevity. Music is something she’s taken seriously for as long as she can remember and she admits to wanting to quit pursuing it a year and a half ago. She thinks it’s important that if you want to change the world with your art, you reach as many people as possible. River’s expansive know-how on the genres she’s most interested in, the people who influence today’s best musicians and their creative processes is evident in the content she puts out and has given her the added superpower of trusting her work and knowing just how out-of-this-world it is. “I don’t want to be just a fad. I’m way too talented for that. I will change the sound of popular music and underground music. And I will be one of the defining artists of the 2020s.”

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