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Groove Armada- The End of the Beginning

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Monday, May 23, 2005
"The whole dance music scene is in a massive state of flux at the moment and you definitely see some bands that look like they're on the way out. I get the impression that Faithless won't do another record while Basement Jaxx seem to be doing incredibly well with their singles album, while Underworld look like they've retired as far as I can see. Then you look at The Chems (Chemical Brothers) and they're having a bit of a revival. We're probably somewhere in there but not quite up with some of them."

Chatting down the line from his North London studio Tom Findlay is the first to admit both he and his Groove Armada considered splitting up when they released their Greatest Hits last year.

"Quitting was definitely something we though about, we sensed that might be an option though since then Andy's moved out to Spain and lives in Barcelona and I think that's worked well for both of us. I don't really DJ much with him anymore either, I see him about once a month and we're not getting "under each other's skin (annoying each other- slang ed) like we did before," he says.

"You get the love back a bit. We've both been working on some solos and I think we'll be working on a Groove Armada album in the summer, but quite differently, more in the way that aband like Massive Attack work; where you're not actually in the studio together for that much of the time."

In the interim the pair are collaborating closely on the small matter of their very own music festival, Victoria Park's Lovebox on July 23 and 24, where they've helped pick the line-up as well as decided to play live on both consecutive nights.

"The original plan wasn't to do any shows this summer but then we thought since we're going to be recording a new album for next year this could be one last opportunity to present the live show in the way we've been doing it for the last 12 months- with a greatest hits kind of approach. This will be the last weekend of Groove Armada as it was and I don't know what kind of shows we'll do next year. We want to approach the whole live onstage and offstage thing quite differently next time."

Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): You must have been playing some of the greatest hits for ten years . . .

Groove Armada: "Yeah but the songs change a lot and what we do live is always radically different from what we do on record. We've been playing this current set for about a year to eighteen months so we're not that sick of it yet."

Skrufff: What criteria have you used for picking guests for the festival-

Groove Armada: "It's essentially a dance festival, we were looking at some other options on Sunday along the lines of the more guitary bands that we thought might be able to cross over to a dance crowd. There's already a big crossover in that Shoreditch/ Hoxton thing between people doing that electro-house scene and bands like Bloc Party and we looked at that but the other major festivals made it impossible for us to book anybody. They slapped exclusivity clauses on everybody which is a shame because we would have been interested in having more diversity on the Sunday but there was nothing we could do. It's a dance festival but a dance festival with a bit of funk in it; it's certainly not a Godskitchen. We've got bands like Plantlife and Mylo, DJs like Todd Terry and Kash Money, there's a hip hop stage, we've got biggish names, basically people we've heard over the last 15 years of DJing who we think are brilliant."

Skrufff: How much have you been caught up by this Hoxton/ electro scene-

Groove Armada: "It's the emperor's new clothes, it's still house music to me, there's still basically a kick drum and it goes on at 130 beats per minute and in that sense it doesn't feel that different, it doesn't feel like I'm having to adjust to a new form of music. But yeah, I think it's really valid and like every scene there's some good stuff that comes out of it and some rubbish too. I think bands like Spektrum are fan