Groove Think, a relatively new band, is comprised of an energetic music loving group of young men. They are packed with diverse influences from funk to jazz to the blues, and they use this eclectic range to infuse their music with a sound that is all their own.
Frederick Jones (vocals, guitar), Corey Isaacks (bass) and Ryan Staten (drums) may appear to be just a group of friends who enjoy playing together, but at their core they are three musicians who are technically compatible with one another and use this connection to create something they all can be proud of.
While their sound overflows with a patchwork of musicians they have gravitated to, Groove Think doesn’t “want any musical boundaries to hold us back or make us play a certain way,” Jones explains. What’s important is that they take the time to separate themselves from a particular genre. Isaacks clarifies this by saying, “it is this blend of genres that defines our sound.” He elaborates further and discusses the importance of letting the music happen. Groove Think is a band that allows their instruments to be a playground for the music they create.
The musical poetry they create comes from a variety of procedures with which they write their songs. There is no set recipe for song writing– a song will strike when the time is right. Sometimes Isaacks will come up with riffs and Jones attaches lyrics to them, while other times they may come up with a cord progression and Staten will help with the lyrics. The one constant thing, however, as Isaacks puts it, is that “it is a collaborative effort.”
This collaboration is a theme that runs throughout the band’s structure. They take cues from each other and will even alter their live shows accordingly. There is room to maneuver during their shows that allows Isaacks and Jones the freedom to play with their solos. With Isaacks’s direction, these solos are nudged in a certain direction, something that is easy to do with only a three member band.
However, the three members of Groove Think aren’t the only thing that leads the charge when it comes to their live shows. They also take a cue from the audience. “We like to bring an energy to the show, we’re a bit in your face, but within that, we still like to gauge the audience,” Jones says. “When it comes to our set lists, we leave the order open because we like to feed off of the crowd’s energy.”
The audience has even prompted them to work on a song length, and cut it from it’s original long fifteen minutes to a much tighter, friendly song. Isaacks says that they tend to be influenced by the audience’s participation to try something new, even being blown away by their reception. To bring it all together, though, Staten says, “I feel that if we are playing how we want and are having a good time, we will get a good response out of the audience.”
It’s hard to believe that Groove Think has only been playing live shows for about a year and a half. The way they talk about their music and how they perform you would think they are veterans in the business. This may be in part because they formed during the new age of the music business when things are very much a Do-It-Yourself approach.
This past march, Groove Think self released their EP “Discovering Phonons” both online (at http://groovethink.bandcamp.com/) as well as CDs available at their live shows. Like the band themselves, the opportunity to record came from an admirer of their music. Even though they had a producer, they were still able to “do what we wanted, but I think its a double edge sword because we would like to have someone help with marketing since we fell short with promoting it,” Jones says.
This is a common downside with DIY bands, but Groove Think has been able to use the new age of social media to spread the word about the band and their album. Staten credits Jones with a lot of the movement online, but also points out that, “As technology advances and becomes more prevalent, there are more means by which a band can achieve what it wants.”
They may be doing a lot of the business side on their own, but they understand that all good musicians have to wait their turn, pay their dues, before they are among the elite Austin bands. The members of Groove Think don’t see this as a challenge, but as an advantage. They acknowlege that this progression from smaller venues to larger ones helped their musicianship. “I think the tier of venues a band has to go through has helped us as a band, with our portfolio and shows our growth.”
A natural stereotype of a fresh band like Groove Think is to think that their goals for the future is to be a big signed band oozing with fame. Like the boundaries they break with their music, this stereotype has also been broken. While they would appreciate being a part of a small indie label, the members of Groove Think, Frederick Jones, Corey Isaacks, and Ryan Staten just want to play music. “I think we would all like to see the band progress into something more substantial. We want to continue playing as long as possible,” Staten concludes.