Jim Austin - Groovenics

June 28, 2001

Give us a little background on the band.

Absolutely. We're all from West Palm Beach, Florida. We all live down here now. Everybody is between the ages of 20 and 26. We kind of all grew up together pretty much. The band itself, the name Groovenics, is about five years old but the current lineup is only three years old. We've been playing as is right now for three years. Actually as is right now for six months because we just got a new guitar player. I know we've basically been the Groovenics as we are for three years now.

Who is your new guitar player?

His name is J. B. Interesting name. J. B. I know. Actually I swear I don't even know his last name.

I understand that your music is a mixture of metal, pop, punk, hip-hop, and electronica. How do you manage to blend all that together?

What's funny is it's just everybody's different backgrounds. We've all listened to much different stuff for years and years and years and years that it all comes together and everybody's different. Everybody brings something to the table I guess. It's not like we really have to talk about it. It's not like "let's go more punk here, let's go more rock here". It just happens. We use one brain when it comes to writing music

Who does most of the writing in the band?

I would say that I bring in most of the stuff as a skeleton. I bring in most of the riffs and the writing and everything like that. Then everybody adds their own piece to it. It's always a joint thing. I would never say that I write the songs because I don't have anything to do with the drums or the bass or the rhythm guitar parts or vocals or anything else. I just wrote the riffs. That's it. I'm a guitar player.

So everybody basically writes their own stuff. Like the drummer does his own stuff.

Exactly. Yeah everybody just hangs out at their own little world but somehow it just comes out right. I mean we talk ideas off each other constantly. It's like "hey maybe let's try something like this". We don't try to be able to play so much but just try and touch down a feeling. We go from there.

When you say that the current lineup that you have has been together for three years, but the band's been around for five years, who originally started the band?

That would be Pete and Mike, the bass player and drummer. They were the original guys who started it. Then they added Josh our sampler keyboard player guy. It was with another guitar player, Matt, who actually played on the record but has since left. Then Karl joined. After that they got old Jim which is me and just about six months ago we got John. Karl came I think in '96, I came in '98 or '99, and Joh is 2001.

Your new CD was produced by Michael Wagener who has worked with Ozzy, Skid Row, and Metallica. Why the decision to work with him?

We've always had a different way of wanting to do things. it's always been like pushing that envelope a little bit more. For a new band, it wasn't like every producer was beating down our door. So it wasn't like we had unlimited opportunities. There was definitely some different kinds of people out there that maybe would have been more new metal friendly but we really don't identify that well with that genre in a lot of ways. We're more like rock and roll kids and punk rock kids than we are rap, metal kids. When we heard we had the opportunity to work with him, so many of us have loved records he's made, that it was a no brainer. Go up to Nashville for three months and chill out. Make a nice rock record in the middle of nowhere.

With the cows and the horses.

Believe me there's many funny stories about cows and horses.

Ew.

Nobody banged any cows.

Damn. No beastiality stories.

No not yet but we're still young. Getting ready to be on the road for a while so we'll get lonely out there.

It should be interesting after that.

We'll call you back again and let you know.

Being from South Florida, what was the reaction when you guys hit the music scene?

We got a really young fanbase. We get a boyband of metal tag put on us down here just because little girls come out and they don't know really much about the music. They just like to jump around and play and have fun. Which is all good. We encourage anybody to come out and have a good time. That's what it's all about. It's just enjoying music. Reaction wise, it's such a melting pot of different cultures down here that I that think we provide enough of that something for everybody kind of vibe that everybody is able to get into it. We've always done really well here at home. There's no place like this area to play. Like South Florida for us. The shows are just disgusting. Just hot and sweaty and just tons of kids. We have a great time and do they. Everybody just walks out of the building happy.

With smiles on their faces.

Except for me because I broke my leg last week at a show. It was awesome. First song too. Broken leg, smashed it right up against the monitor. It looked like I had two knees. I had this huge goosebump there. It was just amazing.

Did you do the whole show?

Whole show. Hey, I'm not a quitter. My mom didn't raise no wuss. Actually you get the adrenaline thing. I probably would have started crying like a baby if I had seen it but I had pants on so it's like "oh that's cool". After I sat down backstage I was like "damn that really does hurt". We're fortunate to be off right now for about a month until the CD release party.

Who are some of your main influences?

On a band level it's so different that you're lucky you're not sitting here with all six of us because you'd get a mile long list. On a personal level for me, when I first started liking music the first record I ever bought was Living Colour, Vivid and Metallica, ... And Justice For All. Were the first two I bought on the same day I think. Then I got corrupted by punk rock. I started listening to the Clash and stuff like that which made me probably a worse guitar player but a better musician if that makes sense. I understood songwriting better. I realized you didn't have to be that coordinated and and be technically unbelievable to write really cool songs. Lately we've gone about that would be technically honorable as well as musically on the ball so it's coming to be a nice little area here that we've sinked ourselves into. I think for the most part the band, there's a lot of Faith No More influence as whole. The whole band. I think everybody digs them. A lot of Weezer fans in the band which is kind of odd. You wouldn't peg us as Weezer fans I don't think. Nine Inch Nails. Everybody gets down into that thing. There's a few that everybody digs. Buckcherry. Good old fashioned rock and roll.

I saw them one time. That was an interesting show.

They're good guys. They're coming down here soon.

You've opened up for some major acts such as Motley Crue, Orgy, Everclear, and others. What does your stage show consist of?

Our stage show is absolutely weird. Our mentality with live music is we just go up there and give 200 percent of everything we have in us. We have a lot of fun. We like to do a lot of pyrotechniques and just pretty much go completely insane. That's where I guess the punk rock mentality comes in too from the old school hardcore shows just going nuts. We have a company that comes out and helps us out with pyro. Karl, our lead vocalist, likes to breathe fire sometimes which he does with 51/50 alcohol. I don't know. I'm not a drinker so I'm not really well versed in the alcohol but it's some kind of alchol he blows on those fire stuff.

Might be Everclear. It's some pretty potent stuff.

Something like that. You'll have to ask a drunk. He's a very creative guy. The rest of us just focus on destroying each other as far as throwing each other around and all that stuff. He gets to do the fun stuff. He has free hands.

I understand that before this album there was an album called Wedgie Fever>

You need to delete that right now. Edit, cut and paste, get it out of there. No, there was and that was actually our local release that we did independently. We actually sold, actually it's still selling which is sad, it's up to like 5,000 or 6,000 copies right now. It's something that made us "local legends". We don't even play but maybe two songs off it anymore live. Kids still come out and they're yelling for these songs that we still do anymore. It's like "okay. Buy the new record when it comes out. July 17th can't get here quick enough for us. We want to them hear the new stuff and we're like "go on". The record's three years old. I didn't even play on that as a matter of fact. It's that old. It was great for us at the time and for what it was we had a great time making it. A great time putting it out. It's definitely something I feel and the band feels that we've far, far exceeded anything that we've ever done before on this new record.

That's basically what you're supposed to do. Every new record you exceed expectations.

If I were to say "God, yeah, I wish it was "Wedgie Fever" again, I think we'd have a problem. That's the thing too. We're sitting on our 12 new songs since this record. Since we got back home from the studio. We already have another 12 songs done that we all feel, each and every one, is stronger. If we went in and recorded right now, we'd feel like we made a stronger record than this one. We always thought the desire to be better and I think that that's what keeps people potent musically. When you get relaxed and think that you're great is when you become boring. I never sit there, bring a riff to practice, and think that's it. That's the best I'm ever gonna do. I always think I could do something better or something more powerful or more melodic. There's directions to always push us.

On the new record, which is self-titled Groovenics, which tracks stand out to you the most?

Us and the label feel a pretty mutual thing on that. We all like is "Teach Me" which is track three. I think that's going to be the lead single on the record from what we've all discussed. "She's A Freak" has been one that's been talked a lot about too. "Chopstick" which Karl does the lead vocals on. "Just Right". I think those four are probably the ones and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" of course is something that people get into a lot live.

The songs "Just Right" and "She's A Freak" are the ones that caught my attention especially.

That's cool. Yeah, it's so weird that so many different people have different favorites or just songs that they notice. "She's A Freak" has got that cheesy hook to it. It's repetitive. It beats itself in your brain.

It's funny.

"Just Right" is more of a...I think hat would be a good radio song because it's very straightforward. It doesn't really freak you out too much. Doesn't have too many ups and downs. It's a song of mine truly. I feel a lot of people get into it as well. It goes over really live too. That makes us happy.

You guys had done a cover of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" because you had been asked to do an '80s cover for a show. It was pretty cool sounding. Why did you decide to cover that song?

It just came from this promoter lady down here, Stephanie, who's been a really good friend of the band forever and hooked us up with so much stuff. Threw this big '80s cover show. She called us up and asked if we'd do it. We had no '80s covers. What the hell, we're not going to cover glam rock. She was really nice and we were like okay. We'll do it for her. We covered that song and covered Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me". It was just a two song thing that we played at the show. It was just set up by her to do, like I was saying, just two covers, three covers, of old '80s rock bands. We kept playing it at a couple more shows and kids really responded well to our version of it. It just kind of stuck. It was one of those crazy things that just happen in life.

It's definitely an interesting version.

We kick it in the ass a little bit. We have a little fun with it. I'm sure they hate it. I'll get a call from Phil Collen or whatever his name is. They'll just be ripping me a new one because of my butchering of his riffs. I'm prepared.

Do you feel that the diversity of your new album will open people's minds to different types of music?

I hope so. That's always been our coreage and shows we play are always with different kinds of bands. We'll play with anything from hardcore hiphop groups to hardcore hardcore groups. We love music. That's the genuine unifying factor of this band is that everybody in this band just lives, breathes, and sleeps music. I hope that people can get stuff like "Booty Barn" where it's got that Miami bass kind of feel to it or stuff like "Just Right" where there is a death metal vocal in the middle of it. "Teach Me" has Iron Maiden style guitars. All that stuff hopefully will help people to relate to other music. That will help people who are fans of other music to relate to us better. It's a mutually good system for all kinds of different styles.

Are you embarking on a nationwide tour after the album is released?

Yeah. Actually it looks like we're probably going to be leaving for...getting on the plane the day after the record drops actually. The day after our CD release party which is July 20th. The record comes out July 17th and we're going to be playing shows around that area in the Northeast for a couple of weeks, come back home, and then we pretty much get ready to tour, tour, tour for the next year at least. Which we're all looking forward to.

I found "Ram" an interesting song too because it sounds like someone's connecting to AOL on it.

We got that from Josh, our keyboardist. He sampled it. Said this keyboard guy sampled it from his ex-roommate's computer and we put it up there...kind of stuck it on the track. It's cool because the song is about...I think it's a whole lot like Karl's obssession with internet pornography. He's an odd bird. It's got an interesting feel to it whereas it's got that industrial feel a bit. It goes crazy in the chorus. That's a song a lot of people respond to as well actually. Even at radio, on an early circuit like college radio. I guess they like the web.

How did you guys get signed to Spitfire Records?

We actually shopped for a while and the great thing about Spitfire was, they offered us complete freedom to make our records and the problems we were having with talking to other labels were, they really wanted us to go different directions. They wanted us to, say, like they'd pick a song and be like "that song's your money. Go that way". We can't do that like them. We can't write the same thing 42 times. It's just not us and Spitfire was the one label that kind of just said "I like it. I like what you guys do". They compared us actually to acts like Queen. We have to do so much different stuff. Obviously I can't necessarily agree with us being like Queen. That's a classic rock legendary band. Just in the fact that there is a lot of different stuff going on and somebody gave them a shot too. That's what was really cool about Spitfire. Paul Bibeau who's the president there, they just totally gave us all the freedom we wanted to go into the studio and make the record we wanted to make. Wagener was the same way. He was just totally dead cool with that. That was what made Spitfire such an appeal to us.

Do you have any other comments?

We just appreciate you guys wanting to talk to us cats and hopefully you'll have to call us up a lot more. We definitely appreciate it and we'll be looking forward to checking everything out on the web.

Groovenics