Advancing Men: Groove Armada on Warehouse Raves & Moda Black Compilation
British duo Groove Armada has spent the past year exploring its underground club roots, going back to basics by eschewing its live band performances in favor of DJ sets and house basslines.
The boys showcased this sound earlier this year on their three-track Moda Black EP Pork Soda, and dropped their latest single “Advancing Man”—the second installment of a planned trilogy of collaboration tracks with Brodanse—last month. We caught up with the legendary house group, who talked about their upcoming Moda Black compilation album, the differences between festival and club shows, and how much better house music is than EDM.
DJ Times: How did your first collaboration with Brodanse “Sweat” come to be?
Groove Armada: It’s not that exciting to be honest. We met the two gents from Brodanse—brothers Austen and Scott—after a Groove Armada show at Village Underground and got talking. When we heard the vocal from Cari Golden for “Sweat,” it just fell together in a few hours.
DJ Times: The follow-up, “Advancing Man,” was just released. Why did you decide to collaborate with Brodanse again?
Groove Armada: Because we sort of said we’d do a ‘triptych’ and we’re not men to go back on our word. So expect one more, at least.
DJ Times: You have a compilation due out later this year on Moda Black. What can fans expect from the release?
Groove Armada: We’re still tightening up the concept, but the intention is to showcase the more Groove Armada house sound that we’ve been rocking these last few years after releasing Black Light and retiring the band.
DJ Times: You play both massive festivals and cramped warehouse parties. What are the appeals and challenges of both types of events?
Groove Armada: Well, they are utterly different experiences and I’m thrilled to be able to genuinely do both. Big stages, big crowds, it’s rock’n’roll isn’t it? It’s, “Hello Cleveland!” and all that goes with that. House music is I think at its best in a sweaty club or cramped warehouse. But there are things you can learn from both, and we still want to bring an element of a “show” to whatever we do.
DJ Times: Similarly, it feels as though your recent EPs and releases like “Pork Soda” are primed for the underground club scene. Was this a conscious decision on your part?
Groove Armada: It’s not a conscious decision as such, just a reflection of where our heads are at these last few years.
DJ Times: What led to your working relationship with Moda Black?
Groove Armada: They’re good, like-minded people that we’ve known for a few years. We respect and trust them, and they’re mad enough to want to release a record by us.
DJ Times: You’re back in Ibiza this summer with shows at both Pacha and Space. How are the parties and crowds this year?
Groove Armada: Bit too early to tell, but I’ve been really digging the shows at Pacha. The Fridays and Mondays we have played at have been ace. I’ve not done We Love at Space yet, but they have gone for a different thing at the club this year and by all accounts it’s really happening for them.
DJ Times: What’s your current DJ setup?
Groove Armada: Pioneer CDJs—Nexus 2000 preferably, but we’re flexible—2 mixers, a laptop, a laser controller, and two vodka and tonics.
DJ Times: Are there any specific studio tools/synths—software or hardware—that you haven’t been able to live without recently?
Groove Armada: I have a rack of vintage synths which always get a run out: Juno 60 and 106, Jupiter 8, and a Korg M1
DJ Times: What artists and/or releases have you been particularly impressed by in recent months?
Oh man, there’s so much good stuff. Label-wise, Hot Creations is right on it. Danse Club obviously, and WOLFE music is always worth a listen. Freerange Records is still going strong, and Classic has had a massive comeback. Artist-wise, Luke Solomon of Classic, Damiano von Erckert—whoever he is—is like a god to me, Subb-an, and Laura Jones.
DJ Times: Are there any plans for another studio album?
Groove Armada: No, but at the same time never say never.
DJ Times: It seems like the US has been coming around to more house sounds in the past few months. What’s your take on the matter and the cause of the trend?
Groove Armada: ‘Cause it’s roughly 200 times better than EDM.
Stream “Advancing Man” below.