GROOVE THINK: Proficiency and Accessibility

Groove Think

Back in July, Austin, TX progressive rock trio Groove Think released their new full-length album entitled ‘Me, the Machine.’ The group was recently featured on our Progotronics compilation. Guitarist Frederick Jones speaks for Prog Sphere.

Define the mission of Groove Think.

Write, record and perform music that highlights technique and proficiency, but still maintains a level of accessibility… and is fun to play!!

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “Me, The Machine” and the themes it captures.

Most of the songwriting was done either individually, where one person brings one or more parts and a rough song structure to the group, and the remainder of the song is fleshed out from there, or the parts and structure are written more collectively and on-the-spot. Songs inevitably go through many iterations before we are happy with them – sometimes even after recording, which is the beauty (and pain) of doing your own recordings. “Me, The Machine” is a continuation of our first album, “Intellect” both explore the growing relationship between humanity and technology.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Me, the Machine”?

“Me, the Machine” employs similar thematic devices used in “Intellect”, while presenting the theme in a different light. “Intellect” served as more of a cautionary tale, whereas MTM celebrates the potential that technology could provide. MTM also touches on concepts such as free will, corporate greed, making compromises in one’s life. MTM also questions humanity’s role as computers begin to act more human, while humans become more like cogs in a machine.

Groove Think - Me, the Machine

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Usually we take quick recordings of promising ideas and songs on our phones. Between that and our memories, not much is documented until we decide to formally record it.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

We started with a basic story arc for the album. We had a plot and a number of themes that were planned in various parts of the story. So when we went to write the individual songs we had a heading for what the song was about and how it fit into the larger narrative. The album was also intended to be listened to continuously. We made the transitions between songs seamless, with some parts being added just to improve the flow of the tracks.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It all starts with the drums. Once we have a good sounding master take for each song, we begin layering the other instruments into the mix. Tracking guest musicians is probably our favorite part for two reasons. First, our guest musicians are way better at their instruments than we are. Second, they bring new ideas we hadn’t considered before, giving us more content to work with, and ultimately bringing a better, more professional sounding product to the final mix.

After all the instruments and vocals are finished tracking, we take our time, sometimes painfully long periods of time, to polish each part and give it a home in the mix.

We did a new thing this time around by mastering the album in house as well as the usual tracking/mixing, so we were super involved throughout the whole process, to get the finished product we really wanted.

How long was “Me, The Machine” in the making?

This one took a while. About 4 years. [laughs]

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Definitely Dream Theater and Vulfpeck. Maybe some Muse and even System of a Down at times. You can hear a lot of fusion in this album too – similar to Greg Howe, Victor Wooten, etc. Also, Shrek… lots of Shrek.

What is your view on technology in music?

Like salt to a steak. When well balanced, they are a perfect combination.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We named our band Groove Think because we wanted to make enjoyable, thought provoking music. We hope that this album is enjoyable and inspiring for people to listen too. We also want to instill thought that stems from the themes presented in the album.

What are your plans for the future?

We’ve already begun writing new material for another album, and possibly a couple of singles to release. Though, the next few releases will not be part of the “Intellect” saga. Once the pandemic is over, we plan to resume gigging, potentially at an international level.

Me, the Machine is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow Groove Think on Facebook.

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