Interview with Grooving in Green by Tzina Dovve
Tzina: As l understand, Pete, you have played in various bands before Grooving in Green. What prompted you to form this band back in 2008?
Pete: I was in a couple of bands, and had left the music scene due to the actions of some within it. But music has a way of drawing us back in, at a low point I started realising how much I missed it all, and on an impulse started a myspace page, designed a logo and GIG was born.
There have been some changes throughout the years with some members of the band. What is the current line-up ?
The current line-up is Pete Finnemore on Guitar, Switchblade Switch on Bass, Simon Rippin on Drums & Keys and Tron Bison on vocals.
The band’s third album ‘A Second Chance’ has just been released this month. What makes this album different from your previous releases?
Tron: I think the most immediately noticeable difference is the fact the band now has a real drummer and a dedicated bassist. Previously we used a drum machine and Simon Manning played bass on the albums/backing of the first two albums as well as sharing guitar duties (to a much lesser degree on the second album Stranglehold).
With a full time real drummer as well as a dedicated bassist I feel this has revitalised the bands sound – the music flows more organically and the songs have a different feel & energy as a result. Simon & Switch bring both a powerful post punk energy at points that we never really had before with so much music on backing tape as well as allowing us to be able to strip back certain songs to the rhythm and percussion. Again – previously this wasn’t really viable.
Pete is now the sole guitarist in the band so he has been pushing himself further and in new directions on this album.
Simon has also handled keyboard duties for this album and I think the sounds he has brought along compliment the songs and bring a more varied palette to the album.
Who is the main song writer for Grooving in Green? Do you work together as a band in the writing process? What are your musical influences?
Tron: Grooving in Green is a collaborative effort between the band. On the first two albums Pete & Simon would have brought an idea to each other, contributed to each others instrumental and then brought it to me to handle the vocal melodies and lyrics.
Now the band jams together in a rehearsal space – sometimes from something as simple as starting with a guitar riff, bass riff, drum pattern or keyboards to set the mood and be expanded upon. In the case of 3 of the songs on A Second Chance I started singing lyrics I had previously written and then the band wrote around that – again, this was something that wasn’t really possible with the initial line up for the first two albums. It’s been pretty exciting having new members to come up with new ideas to bounce off each other.
I like to think we all bring our own influences to the table from other bands and genres. We share a love of certain bands and would also have other individual influences.
I could list a bunch of beloved artists by myself but don’t know how much of their music has influenced mine! (For instance – I am pretty sure no one is going to be hearing any influences from my love of prog rock haha!)
As l understand, you have been a very active live band throughout the years… Your last tour was playing with Killing Eve. How was that experience?
Tron: The tour with Killing Eve was great – they were lovely people as well as musicians and we had a great time hanging out together before & after the shows. I think the fact we had the album arrive from pressing unexpectedly early was a real booster to our energy too. It was great to see old & new faces enjoying the new songs. It was also a joy to play Scotland for the first time as well as other parts of the UK we’ve not previously had a chance to visit.
Are there any upcoming shows in the UK and overseas?
Indeed there are! For the UK we are playing with Sometime the Wolf for their album launch on September 14th in London, with Faces of Sarah for their 20th anniversary in London on October 19th, with Wayne Hussey, Inkubus Sukkubus and SYD.31 at the Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival in Whitby on November 2nd and with The Nosferatu in London on November 29th.
Overseas we will be playing the new Trondheim Crawling Festival in Trondheim, Norway on
The band is also making plans for further gigs both this year & next.
What is more gratifying for you as musicians? Recording in the studio or playing live?
Tron: Personally I prefer to record music in the studio as I have issues with anxiety that make playing live quite intimidating for me! However, I am definitely enjoying performing live more these last few years with the band to how it used to be in the past – the energy of a full band behind me is exciting and gets the adrenaline going like nothing else on Earth.
Pete: I have no preference, the buzz of playing live or the excitement of creating something new. They both hold a special place. I think people attending can feel the energy on stage and I think it is infectious
How do you see the dark/alternative scene evolve over the years in the UK? Do you believe it is different in other countries?
Tron: I can’t really speak for other countries as I tend to have only been around their events and gigs when performing with the band rather than experiencing their club nights and gigs as a punter. They are always very welcoming however and that is something I’ll always cherish.
It feels like each country has it’s own personal preference for which subgenre of alternative music it caters to more so – for some it is more geared towards EBM, Metal or Industrial and then other countries seem to love the post punk sound above all else. Within the UK it has been interesting to observe certain sub-genres go through peaks of popularity. Bands and promoters can come and go – some focused only on one sub-genre but it’s heartening to see both Infest & the relatively new Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival expanding their line ups to cater to various different sounds now rather than pitching their tent in one particular camp. Variety is the spice of life after all.
How difficult do you believe it is for smaller bands to survive in the music scene today?
Tron: I think it is very uncommon nowadays for a band to be able to make a living off their music on a full time basis. The major labels and even indie labels don’t really take any risks these days unless an artist happens to go viral and it feels like it’s every other year that some major artist or label head declares the notion of selling an album as being “dead”. Throw in the fact that streaming music & playlists are more popular than ever – where having a song played millions of times can net the artists virtually no income whatsoever and well- it’s not exactly easy to survive. You have to do it for the love of the music you are creating and the joy of playing live more than ever. If you happen to get a bunch of supportive fans who want to see you play live frequently, buy your music and merchandise that’s a bonus.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your fans?
Thank you for continuing to support us, for coming to our gigs and listening to our music – new & old! We’re excited to release our new album “A Second Chance…” which I feel is the best thing the band has released to date – I look forward to playing more new material live and seeing you at future gigs.
~arrangements for the interview provided by DJ Jason~