An Interview With LA Band GROVES On Their Latest Tour With Culture Club, Fave Artists, Biggest Surprises in the Industry and Much More!
Los Angeles-based GROVES is comprised of Stephen Salisbury (vocals/guitar), Reid Guidry (bass/synth) and Will Smith (drums). The Texas natives met in high school at the age of 14. After years of sharing the same affinity for music they moved to LA, in 2014 started GROVES.
Inspired by Elvis Costello, Phoenix, Blink-182 and The Beatles, the band’s sound is broad, honest and experimental. Highlighted by tight grooves, melodically rich guitar interplay, dark synth underpinnings, and vocals that are at once urgent and passionate.
GROVES signed to artist development/management company MDDN (formed by Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte). Earlier this year, they revealed their first music video for the debut single “Ender”, which premiered on Yahoo Music’s Rising artist. “Swim”, is the band’s second single which premiered on Fuse and feels like a follow up to visual Ender. Each video is a story that connects the music to dream like visual. Their debut album is set to release Fall 2016.
“Ender is a call to arms and represents the rebirth of our music. “We’re very excited to show you the rest of what’s recorded” – Stephen Salisbury.
GROVES is fresh off a month long residency in June at The Hi Hat in Los Angeles supported by Tobi Talks of Alt 98.7. GROVES and took that momentum straight into supporting Bad Suns near their home town in Texas. Most recently GROVES hit the road supporting Culture Club and Boy George for 38 dates all over the United States from July 25th – September 11th.
Learn more about Groves in the following All Access interview:
Now that we are more than half-way through 2016, what are some words you would use to describe it? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for your music?
In 2015 the highlight would definitely be releasing our first video and song called “Ender” which came out in October. It was one of the best feelings to finally get to show people a small piece of the music we had been working on all year. For 2016 some words to describe would be something along the lines of How did that happen? After releasing our first song we landed an Alt 98.7FM residency in our hometown at sweet new venue called The Hi Hat in Highland Park. We thought it couldn’t get any cooler than that and then next thing you know we get a phone call to go out with Culture Club. We honestly don’t know how these things happen. It’s like magic or something. -REID
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
Growing up I was always attached to music. My dad was a music lover and started bringing me to to concerts when I was 10. When I was 14 he brought me to see blink 182 and I knew immediately that’s exactly what I wanted to do. – WILL
How did GROVES first come together? How did you all meet each other? Why did you decide to name the band after the city you are from?
The three of us met in the early years of our teenage lives in a small town in southeast Texas. We grew up in an area with a collection of small towns next to each other. In the middle of that was a town called Groves. All of us played our first shows there right around our freshman year, and all agree it’s the place where our musical roots started. Fast forward to 2014, we’re living in a house together in Eagle Rock CA, demoing and writing music in a house for an entire summer. We threw around thousands of names during that time. GROVES was the only one that felt right. The band was born that summer. – STEPHEN
What’s it like being signed to the artist development/management company MDDN? Why do you think it’s the right fit for your music today?
It’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by successful people who genuinely have the best interest for your band and career. MDDN is a brand new company with some really amazing artists and creatives so even just the energy around the new headquarters in Burbank, CA is very inspiring. It’s a great place to spend time and get involved in every aspect of the industry under one roof, whether it be your there to create a song or take a business meeting or do a photoshoot or come up with artwork. There’s a lot of awesome reasons why MDDN is the right fit for GROVES, but probably one of the coolest things is that we’re being managed by other artists. -REID
How has your tour with Culture Club and Boy George been going? What have your learned from them?
It’s been the best experience of our lives. Touring with such an established and iconic band is very inspiring to be around. From the moment we confirmed this tour, we’ve been aware of how rare and special of an opportunity this is. We’ve gotten to play some of the coolest venues in the country which has been a dream come true on its own. Also seeing what it takes to operate and run a tour of this size is something you can’t help but appreciate. Every day the crew makes everything you see possible for a band to be able to come in, set up and perform every night. – STEPHEN
When do you hope to release your debut album? How different or similar with the songs on it be to your previously released singles “Ender” and “Swim”?
We have so much music recorded that we cannot wait to share with everyone. Before we played our first show, there was almost enough music recorded for an album. It was extremely important for us to do that right away and really find and grab ahold of our identity and sound. After spending so much time in the studio, we were ready to get out and play a few shows and experience the other aspects of being an active band. Those few shows turned into an LA residency and 2 nation wide tours back to back. We’ll be headed back to LA from this tour in a few weeks and we’re anxious and excited to dive into mixing/mastering and wrap up our first release. I think you’ll find a few songs that find a home between Ender and Swim, but you’ll find more that change what you thought you knew about GROVES. – STEPHEN
What if anything has surprised you about the music industry? What do you think has been your biggest challenge? And what do you think has come really naturally to you?
This industry always seems to surprise me. It’s just very unpredictable in its nature. The ultimate challenge that bands and artists face is sticking to our guns and always following our hearts. There are a lot of people constantly trying to point you in one direction or another but at the end of the day if something feels un natural it probably isn’t the right move. One thing that comes naturally and I always find fun is just hanging and talking with other bands and creatives. The Internet has opened up infinite lanes and platforms for artists to reach and connect with people. I really enjoy having conversations about what’s next and how to connect. – WILL
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you all love to work with in the future?
We’re all influenced by so many different types of music so these questions are always tough to pinpoint them all but some of our favorites artists off the top of my head would be Phoenix, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Metallica, Talking Heads, Tears For Fears, My Morning Jacket, The Killers to name a few… I think working with someone like Pharrell or Mark Ronson or maybe even Dre would be tight. – REID
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
That’s hard to say. I feel like for as long as we continue to be a band, our message may change over time. Maybe not, but can’t help but think about how even in the past few years, my mentality and perception of the world has changed dramatically. They say, “The more you see, the more you know.” I hope to “know” as much as possible in this life. I can only imagine how I will feel in the years to come and how that will affect my writing process. With that being said, I feel comfortable saying that I think the overall message of GROVES thus far is to believe in yourself, chase your dreams, and reach for the stars. I was consistently trying to remind myself of that during the writing of these songs. At the end of the day, I hope it just makes the listener feel something. – STEPHEN
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
I really can’t wait for people to hear the music we have coming their way. Releasing a body of work and getting to play it live for everyone is going to be a dream come true. – WILL