Saturday Afternoon Artist: Groove Armada

Groove Armada are a band with a split personality.  They create one set of tracks to release as recordings, and another set of remixed dance versions of those songs to play live.  Members Tom Findlay and Andy Cato met in London in the mid-90s, introduced by Cato’s girlfriend.  Both had played in live bands growing up and had grown to love electronic music.  They were influenced by performing DJs the Chemical Brothers who not only play their own compositions to get the audience going, but add intense visuals, live instruments and beats to get the groove to take control.  And, more than a decade later, they are one of the best live electronic dance acts around.

Their recordings range from the high energy feel of the live show, to dreamy downtempo tracks that are lush and deep. Groove Armada released their first singles in 1997.  Their debut full-length “Northern Star” came out the next year and went largely unnoticed. In 1999, their 2nd album “Vertigo” hit the British charts and the single “I See You Baby” (remixed by  Fatboy Slim) became a dancefloor anthem.  On that album they also had gorgeous trip-hop songs “Dusk You and Me” and “Blue Skies (Inside My Mind)”. This success earned them an official U.S. release tour as the opening band for Elton John.

Groove Armada has, since then, alternated remix releases (with songs used in their live shows) with studio albums. The most successful studio albums being “Goodbye Country, Hello Nightclub” and “Lovebox.”  The dance songs tend to be edgy and heavy hitting, with the emphasis on tightness and repetition. Some of the non-dance tracks having strong lyrical impact. The sparse feel of the songs and the live vocals add to the dimension and metaphysical weight coming from the speakers.

This week Groove Armada dropped “Red Light, Volume 1″...  5 new songs. It’s a studio release of dance music.  Can’t wait to see them perform these tracks!  They are playing only in Europe now, but you can stay up on the news at groovearmada.com.

DJ Michele Myers chooses the music and hosts Saturdays on KEXP from 3-6pm. Every week she brings you a Saturday Afternoon Artist feature with several songs in-a-row. Her full-time gig at KEXP is as the producer/creator of KEXP Documentaries. Michele also recently interviewed Fatboy Slim and other London DJs for a feature on the history of Big Beat for NPR Music.

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