Saturday, 17 January 2015

Happy New “Year of the Groove”; an interview with Worldwide Groove Corporation

New Year’s Resolutions; why make them? January is a month that always really ticks me off for two reasons. One, the terrible weather in the UK and two, all the newbies at my gym who pack the place out solidly for three weeks, then you never see them again. Their sweat is barely dried on the seat of the exercise bike and they've already broken their resolution.

A novel way to stick to a resolution is to start it in July. That’s exactly what Worldwide Groove Corporation did when they started the "Year of the Groove”. The electronic music duo from Nashville have set themselves the challenge of putting out one release a month for at least a year. 

Their musical fingers have been in a range of pies with their work being used in film and TV and even as part of a partnership between WGC and the Right to Know organisation that aims to increase public awareness about genetically modified foods. They were even responsible for the Supermodel Astronaut Challenge; a social movement that spread as far as Europe and landed them a feature in the Huffington Post. With so much going on, I wondered how they even found time to work on their music.

As soon as I came across the “Year of the Groove” concept, I wondered what inspired them to set this challenge. For me, a release every month would be tough! I tend to release songs in bundles after spending months fiddling with them and going backwards and forwards until I snap! Perhaps a strict deadline is just what I need? Let’s see how it’s working out for them so far….

You've set yourselves the "Year of the Groove" challenge. What motivated you to do this?

"This is what we came up with to solve a few things that were keeping us from putting out any new music. We'd been working for 7 years on new music since our last album in 2007. It felt like it would take another decade before we could finish, since all of this is a side project and we pay our bills with other music work for clients.

After a time, we realised that the music market is more singles driven than albums driven, so it makes sense to simply put put songs as a series of smaller projects. That way we could finish them with graduated deadlines and they didn't all have to be cohesive with one another.

Once a month is actually keeping us working at a very fast pace. But this has been a great experience so far during the first six months. I just hope we survive the last six. HA!"

You pioneered the Supermodel Astronaut Challenge, a social movement that spread as far as Europe. What was the inspiration behind this challenge?

"The thought behind the Supermodel Astronaut Challenge was partly inspired by the ice bucket challenge, in terms of how it's structured, but the concept of it was fuelled by simply seeing so many amazingly strong and beautiful women and girls who don't even recognise their own accomplishments or gifts on a daily basis, because they're so distracted  by the things about themselves that they don't feel measured up. I wanted to endow them with a fitting title that would empower them to celebrate themselves just as they are and quiet that nagging voice of never measuring up because that is soul killing." 

Are these challenges you develop attempts to go viral and market your music in a really original, outside the box way? 

"Yes, but not just that. While it's quiet good to have something new to talk about each month and a reason to stay on people's radars through the "Year of the Groove", it's also driven by the need for regular deadlines or we would never ever finish any of it. The money work always seems to prevail! So when the idea got formulated, it seemed to solve so many problems at once.

As for Supermodel Astronaut,that did gain a lot of traction and landed us on Huffington Post which was really exciting! I'm not expecting it to go viral since that tends to be something that's hot for a moment then it's old news. I'd rather it have a slow burn where as people stumble across it, if it resonates with them, they can take the challenge and spread the word. The response from the girls and women who've seen it so far has been pretty much all positive, so I'd love to do more with the concept at some point. But for now, I'm in it so deep with the "Year of the Groove", there simply isn't enough of me to develop any more Supermodel Astronaut offshoots until I've got a little more time on my hands."

"If we didn't challenge ourselves this way, we'd still be sitting on several unfinished recordings and I' be feeling very creatively frustrated. You can only do so many music jobs for clients before you start to wonder if you're creative soul is still alive and able to create just for the beauty of creating".

If you were giving advice to other artists considering taking on a "Year of the Groove" for themselves, what would you tell them?

If I was going to do it again, I'd change the following...start in January just because it makes more sense, make sure I didn't have too many other obligations, maybe have most of the songs pretty much ready to go before we even begin, also maybe space out the releases a little more than one a month. But hey, we're doing it this way and we're not planning on stopping. Giddyup!

You can see more of Worldwide Groove Corporation's work here:

A full list of songs released as part of the "Year of the Groove" is available here:
 and for sale here

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