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Groove Armada: “Play for the crowds, but do it with integrity”

For nearly two decades Groove Armada has been established as one of the planet’s best loved and biggest selling dance acts.

As comfortable on the big stages as they are in sweat soaked basements, the boys cross genres and styles with ease. We had the chance to talk to them about their new EP, 20th anniversary celebrations and Fabric’s closure. Here’s how it went…

Electronic Groove: Hi Andy and Tom, it’s a pleasure to chat with you guys after following your music for so many years. How’s the summer going so far?

Groove Armada: Summer has been great thanks. Really enjoyed Ibiza with Viva warriors, with Ants and Elrow – all wicked gigs which have been a genuine pleasure to play. Eastern Electrics on our own ‘Switchyard’ stage was a massive highlight also. On the downside today we have heard that Fabric’s license has been revoked, so as a clubber and and Londoner I am reeling from that news.

“I don’t believe for a minute the decision by Islington Council has anything to do with drugs”

Electronic Groove: Terrible news indeed. What’s your point of view about Fabric London closure?

Groove Armada: It’s just desperate news. I don’t believe for a minute the decision by Islington Council has anything to do with drugs. I think that there’s a huge redevelopment of Smithfields taking place, a lot of developer’s money on the table for the Council, and it’s inconvenient for all of them to have Fabric sat there, changing the ‘tone’ of the area. So I feel like this decision was financially motivated and utterly opportunistic. I hope we haven’t heard the last of it, the decision really stinks of corruption to me. Fabric have always had a really tough stance of drug use, have you seen the way punters are checked going in to the club? There’s a massive disconnect between people making these decisions, and people trying to enjoy this city for what it really is – and not this post Boris Johnson arch capitalist version of London that’s being forced on us…

Groove Armada

Electronic Groove: Talking about more happy news, your new EP “House with Me” is coming out this September on Riva Star’s label Snatch! Records. Tell us about the production process?

Groove Armada: Well these days, with me in the big smoke and Andy in France, tracks fly back and forth across the internet. It’s not the ideal way to work but it works for us. We both knock together grooves but Andy ultimately mixes ‘em down, it’s a process called ‘The Cato Roll’.

Electronic Groove: House legend Parris Mitchell is part of the EP’s titled track “House with Me”, how did he influence the track’s sound? 

Groove Armada: Well it’s a filthy kind of vocal, so that lends the music a direction right away. It’s been a huge honour being part of the ‘Dance Mania’ family. We both now have the entire Dance Mania back catalogue which runs to around 850 trax – it’s the history of house in one playlist. Hopefully we’ll find more collaborations in it somewhere… would be hard not to… 

Electronic Groove: Next year Groove Armada will reach 20th years since its first single “At the River”. Are there any plans to celebrate this very special occasion?

Groove Armada: There are. We have a GA 20 comp, we kind of had to! And the rest is still under discussion. I honestly can’t say any more…

Electronic Groove: How do you feel your sound has evolved comparing it to the Northern Star days?

Groove Armada: I think there’s something in the way we make music that somehow holds those two eras together, and yet they’re kind of hard to compare. We’re completely different people now… it’s a very different world. We’re probably better at what we do now in a way, but our lives have changed so we don’t spend 24/7 doing music anymore. But yeah there’s always been a Groove and there always will be in what we do… 

Groove Armada

Electronic Groove: After many years of successful albums where do you find the inspiration to keep releasing top charted music?

Groove Armada: I’m not sure it’s that top charted anymore ;( But you know we still love what we do, it never stops being a buzz playing music you love to an appreciative crowd. And more than that there is nothing that beats playing your own tunes to that same appreciative crowd, that thrill never goes away. So that’s the main motivation.

“My godlike heros are Prince & Stevie Wonder”

Electronic Groove: What does Groove Armada listen to on its free time?

Groove Armada: Ah man anything and everything. I have a love of real ‘guilty pleasures’ music – sort of ‘yacht rock’ vibes – Michael McDonald, Ned Doheny, Hall and Oates and crew. I loved the Lewis album “L’Amour”, think Kendrick Lamar can do no wrong, the latest Frank Ocean album is genius. My godlike heros are Prince & Stevie Wonder.

Electronic Groove: After many awards and achievements, what would be your advice to the artists/bands that are starting their electronic music career?

Groove Armada: Play for the crowds, but do it with integrity. Disappearing up your own arse is never a great look. I think it’s great to have heroes, people that inspire you. There’s plenty is dance music right now that keep me wanting to be better. If you’re not enjoying it do something else.

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