Chicago – Best New Bands recently discovered L.A. band Groves aka the band that will soon be your latest obsession. The three-piece creates Americana-infused indie rock, inspired by performers such as Elvis Costello, Phoenix, Blink-182, and The Beatles, making for a truly unique and infectious sound, highlighted by melodic guitar and dark synths and underpinned with passionate vocals. Groves is comprised of Texas natives and best friends Stephen Salisbury (vocals/guitar), Reid Guidry (bass/synth), and Will Smith (drums). The three met in high school, at the age of fourteen, and in 2011, they packed up and moved to sunny California, to pursue a career in music. The three eventually formed Groves, around 2014, but Salisbury notes Groves was truly born with the release of debut single “Ender,” in 2015. Salisbury told BNB the band’s name came from the place they all love, where they “all learned to play music, which is Groves, Texas.”
After hitting the L.A. music scene hard, Groves was discovered by MDDN – the management company formed by brothers Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte – at a show in L.A. The discovery led to the three signing with MDDN. The trio has been hard at work writing and recording its debut album in L.A. When talking about the band’s upcoming debut album, Salisbury enthusiastically said, “We have so much music that we can’t wait to share with everyone!” Though, the guys have had to take a bit of a break from working on their debut, but for good reason: Boy George himself handpicked Groves to tour with Culture Club. The trio has been supporting Boy George & Culture Club, touring all over North America.
Best New Bands caught up with Groves, while finishing up the final leg of the tour. The three musicians talked touring with Boy George, performing with Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, and of course, BBQ!
You moved from Texas to California, in pursuit of your dreams. What do you miss most about Texas, and what have you grown to love about living in L.A.?
Stephen Salisbury: The thing we’ve learned to love in L.A. is you can step out your front door and there’s all kinds of different activities, especially with music. Everywhere you turn, there’s something new going on. As far as Texas goes, we obviously miss our friends and family, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we all miss the food also!
Ah, BBQ, huh?
Stephen Salisbury: Oh yeah!
Reid Guidry: I second that!
The music video for “Swim” highlights the beauty experienced living in California. It pairs perfectly with the gorgeous, glistening guitar and intimate lyrics. I especially love the line, “We’re getting lost on borrowed time. We ask ourselves. ‘Can I get found?’” What inspired these lyrics?
Stephen Salisbury: We all had a daydream in our heads, when we were writing this song, about when you’re in a simple moment, it’s easy to get lost in it… a simple moment like swimming with someone, is really all you need.
Reid Guidry: Sometimes we’re writing about a specific subject and a lyric comes in with a different meaning. For me, that lyric always stood out… We were in Madden Brothers Studio, and we were getting lost in the studio, on borrowed time… Which is different than what Stephen is talking about, but…
But lyrics speak differently to everyone, right?
You’ve been hard at work on your debut album, which is set for release this fall. What can you tell us about the album?
Will Smith: I think the overall theme of the body of work that we’re working on now is about following your dreams, believing and trusting in yourself, and trusting in the journey that you’re on and taking it for what it is.
You’ve been touring with the legendary Boy George and Culture Club. How has that experience been?
Reid Guidry: It’s like a dream, and it goes really fast. It’s crazy that we’ve already done I don’t know how many shows with them – like twenty something – but it’s hard to describe when you’re doing something that you… never dreamed of doing.
Stephen Salisbury: We try to take every day as it comes. We’ll never be in this position again, being a new band getting to experience this for the first time… it’s just been the greatest experience, and obviously, seeing a band on that level, who’s been doing it for so long, it’s very inspiring to see. It’s something we all hope to accomplish in our musical career.
I was checking out your Polaroid Tour Diary and saw you guys went to Jack’s in Nashville. That is my favorite place to stop when I’m down there. What have been some of your favorite places to visit while on tour?
Will Smith: Jack’s was amazing! That was probably the best barbecue that we’ve had [on tour] because you know, we know barbecue, we’re from Texas, where it’s just so good. A lot of the venues that we’ve been visiting have been pretty amazing. McMenamins [Edgefield] in Portland. Chateau St. Michelle, the winery, was amazing, as well. Then we played the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, which was just legendary. That place will forever hold a place in our hearts.
Reid Guidry: The Chicago Theatre was the the first venue we played on this tour, and I never dreamed I’d get to play there!
Stephen Salisbury: Every day we drive up to a brand new experience that just blows our minds!
Will, you mentioned San Francisco, and I saw the YouTube video of you guys performing “Psycho Killer” with Jerry Harrison and Boy George this tour, which is just beyond amazing! What was going through your minds?
Stephen Salisbury: Don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up, don’t fuck up! [everyone laughs]
Reid Guidry: Honestly, I couldn’t help but just smile the whole time. You can see that in the video; I was cheesing out… When we got to soundcheck and got together, we got to the point where we just really wanted to do a great job and play the song respectfully for Jerry and for George.
Reid Guidry: And it was a little nerve-racking that we literally had never played the song [prior to this tour]. We learned it in our heads, individually, in a hotel room, the night before. We still weren’t sure if George was going to sing it, but then it all happened on that day. It was weird to be so unrehearsed, but come off as so well put together, when none of us had played that together before.
You guys did a great job!
Will Smith: It’s something I’ll take to my grave, for sure. Highlight of my life, I’m comfortable saying!
We’re comfortable saying you’ll love Groves! The trio is on tour now. Tour dates can be found HERE. “Ender” and “Swim” can be purchased on iTunes. Follow Groves on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.
You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.