Rio Goldhammer is a musician, filmmaker and writer from the West Riding of Yorkshire. He is best known as the vocalist for Bradford post-punk legends 1919.
Rio cut his teeth on the Leeds underground scene in the mid 2000s, eventually setting up Bunnysnot Records in 2011 as a vehicle for releasing his early work. In 2014, Rio started working with 1919’s founding guitarist Mark Tighe as he set about re-forming his cult group. Not wanting to waste time, the pair released a video for their demo of Revenge as a transitional line-up in which Rio performed bass in addition to vocals. Whilst this video would ultimately catch the eye of Mick Reed and see Tighe’s ambition for a 1919 renaissance realised, the interim period saw the pair join up with legendary Leeds producer Will Jackson on a project called Circle of the Absurd (COTA).
COTA though, was indefinitely shelved when the 1919 reunion got into full swing. The band self-released a live CD, 2015: “The Madness Continues” Sessions (subsequently released on vinyl by Old Skull in 2018), which contained classic 1919 songs alongside four new tracks which would become the Death Note EP. Amidst a busy schedule of European touring over the next year, 1919 signed to Westworld to release their second studio album, Bloodline, to high acclaim from fans and critics alike. This was followed up by the D.N.A EP, the inaugral physical release on the band’s Cry Wolf label, after Tighe’s death in 2017.
During Tighe’s illness, Rio re-started work on the COTA album hoping that his bandmate would be able to hear some of it finished. Thanks to the hard work of producer Jackson, who also provided programming and synths for the album, and filmmaker Carl Arnfield (who had made the Revenge, Death Note, and Bloodline videos), Rio was able to release the eponymous Circle of the Absurd video just days before losing his friend to cancer. The first four completed COTA tracks were released as a limited edition cassette on Bunnysnot Records later that year, and Rio’s video for A Hymn to the Night, the second A-side track on D.N.A, featured performances from Tighe’s daughters in a moving tribute to their late father. At his insistence and with the family’s blessing, 1919 continue to go from strength to strength in 2018. On September 21, Rio released his debut solo EP, RUSSIA*IRAN*DISCO*SUCK, at Minicave festival in Germany, where healso performed songs from COTA.
In 2016 Rio won a Carnegie Faculty studentship to research identity in Yorkshire post-punk at Leeds Beckett University, where he is also a part-time lecturer. Previously, Rio had completed a BA (Hons) in Cultural Studies and an MA in Political Theory at the University of Leeds. In 2018 Rio’s debut short documentary, Punk Rock Politics, was released on Amazon Prime. Filmed in 2016, the film documents the final days of Rio’s unsuccessful campaign to be elected to council in a provincial ward of Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The film was an official selection in 2017 for the Workers Unite Film Festival in New York and the London Labour Film Festival, with the latter awarding it a Highly Commended status as the runner-up for its Short Documentary prize.
As a writer Rio has covered a broad range of subjects relating to art, identity, and politics. His work has been published in Metal Music Studies (Intellect) as well as in international news publications such as Newsweek and The Independent. He is also a regular contributor to Souciant and The Conversation.