John Speed of Montreal added this comment to our recent discussion on groove, offering additional insight on just how hard it is to 'get into'. Perhaps sequencers and quantization have taken too much of our attention recently…
“I think this is the first time I have heard someone really try to talk about the issue of groove. Lots of musicians say the word but few know how to get there.
I have been working with two professional musicians, bass and percussion, for three years now. The bassist is about 90% technician, a hard worker, perfectionist. We work hours on counting beats and bars and trying to hit the click track or, more so, make it disappear.
I am an intuitive singer songwriter, not a great player but competent. I have learned a lot from this work and my playing has improved but the band doesn't really “work”!!
Over three years of practice and gigs I think we have hit the groove for maybe a total of 3 minutes of playing time. When I play alone I hit it often. I recognize it immediately when it happens but it comes seemingly by chance and we do not seem to know how to get there by design, even though we often discuss the fact that we need to find this magic if the music is really to become acceptable. We owe this to our audience.
I tell myself to just keep working, it takes work, lots of work, and this is the only way there. I would like to hear from others on this subject, I feel like I am missing something very important. Many thanks for your good work.”
Further comments on groove will be very welcome.