Greener Grounds, from Denver, CO, has been quite busy this past year and shows no signs of slowing down. Even amongst touring, they have found time to record a new album, Momentous, where they push the boundaries of their already unique jamtronica sound. We reviewed their past album, Photosynthesis, in a former issue of Appalachian Jamwich, and loved it so much that we kept the record on repeat for a whole day. We are so excited to see what they have coming up, so we caught up to learn more about them and their music.
Members of the band are:
Joe Shur – Lead Guitar
Matthew Buelt – Rhythm Guitar
Roland Hansen – Keys/Synth
Jay Rieder – Bass
AJ Gillman – Drums
Interview with Matthew Buelt:
How would you describe your sound, and what song do you think most sums up your music?
Our sound is very eclectic. We are a jam band, but like to incorporate electronic sounds and apply many different elements to give a high-energy feel on top of a four on the floor dance beat. We are trying to develop a style that is ever changing and interesting. Each new tune touches on familiar styles of instrumental jam music and mixes them together in unique ways. As musicians we look to open possibilities in instrumental music and when one of us comes up with something new say in a jam or for a song, the other members learn to adapt their playing to complement it. With two guitars, bass, drums, and keys it’s easy to sound jumbled or like you’re playing too much; we try to avoid that by working on a “group” sound.
We try to maintain an organic live sound, and are focusing on how to develop contrasting ideas/sections with natural flow and progression in between them. A good example of this is one of our new songs “Brainwash.” This song is more through composed; it’s sections sort of flow into each other, but there are various styles incorporated throughout. It starts with a heavy electronic into, switches to hard rock, and then dives into a trancy section later on. There is continuous movement, change and spontaneity. I think people really enjoy that especially in a live setting. We try to hold on to your attention and not meander around the same idea for too long. Lately we have been working towards embracing more electronic elements into our songs, and incorporating more dominant synth lines using Ableton Push.
Tell me about your new album Momentous, when did you find time to record?
The music on this album is meant to capture the new sound Greener Grounds is working towards. We are working towards bringing the magic that we create on stage into the studio to put on an album. In other words, we are looking to create our version of a masterpiece. Momentous is being recorded at the Decibal Garden in Denver, CO. Right now the record contains 8 completed tracks. Half of them are newer songs that have been performed live in recent months like “Momentous” and “Resonate.” Others have never been performed our heard by anyone. We just finished the bulk of the tracking in five days and started the whole recording process only eight days after returning from our east coast tour. We still have a great deal of polishing, overdubs and samples to add, but we are very excited about how it is turning out. We want to make this album perfect and we won’t settle for anything less. We are pushing the boundaries of jam and electronic music, and Momentous will shine a new light on the jamtronica music scene.
What’s it like being in the studio working on your music?
It has been a fun and also a very educational process for us. The most fun has been making new music in the studio. Recording a song that’s never been performed is completely new to us and it really has given the tracks a fresh sound. For some existing songs we had to come up with composed parts for sections that are usually improvised. Being a band that jams a lot and experiments with our music onstage, we sort of have to think differently when entering the studio. You sort of have to make set instinctive decisions about how you want jam sections to sound. We want to try to capture the live energy you experience from one of our shows without going overboard, so it has definitely been a challenge. I think we’ve captured a good balance between live experimentation and studio solidarity in the songs we tracked out.
When does the album come out? Tell me about the Kickstarter campaign, how is that going? How can we help?
The album will be released in early July. We are planning to do a major release. Digitally Momentous will be on all major listening platforms, and physical copies will be available for pre order as well as at our album release party in Denver and on our website. The process of recording, mixing, mastering, physical pressing, marketing, etc. is very expensive so we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for fans to help fund the album and be a part of the making of Momentous.
The Kickstarter campaign will run through the month of March, and we are just about to round the halfway point of our $4,000 goal. We ask all of our fans to please contribute and help out in one way or another. We ask YOU to please view our Kickstarter video, check out the incentives, and donate today! We’re offering a ton of limited edition items including hat pins, signed snare drum heads, signed commemorative Momentous posters, an invitation to a backyard BBQ with the band, backstage passes to our album release party, an intimate dinner with the band, and so much more! Click here to check out our Kickstarter campaign and pledge today. Beyond that, sharing our kickstarter link and our music with friends online goes a long way as well!
Tell me a funny story about winter tour. What’s it like being on the road?
Hahaha. There’s an absurd amount of funny moments that happened. One that sticks out was the night we played in Providence, RI. We played at the Spot Underground, a venue that was attached to I think two or three Jersey Shore style nightclubs. During our set about 1,000 people showed up to party at these clubs. Every so often you’d see a group of guys run through our venue, jam for about 10 seconds, then run off. All the girls looked confused. The looks on their faces were hysterical. I think we made a few new fans that night though haha.
Being on the Road was great, for the majority of the band it was our first time seeing the east coast. We flew out with our guitars, keyboards, and pedal boards, and met up with Philly based Jamtronica band Tweed, who quickly became family to us. Checking all our gear was expensive, but it was worth not driving. The first few days of tour we had to use a rental mini van, because our band van we purchased was waiting on a part in the shop in Connecticut. We barely had room to fit six people, some of us had to sit on road cases. Once we got the right vehicle, everyone was much happier! The first day we got our band van we drove through Manhattan, which was hilariously insane, and a first time for the majority of the band.
Finding lodging in some places was definitely fun too. In a lot of spots we had connections to friends or family to let us crash. In others we had to rely on making friends with someone at the show who would host us. Other places, someone would throw an after party and whoever claimed a couch got to sleep. The last option was buying a hotel room, but we’ve gotten pretty good at only booking a single or double bed and fitting six people in the room, always ask for extra blankets!
What was a favorite venue or city you visited?
I think the whole band would agree that our favorite venue on the tour was probably The Foundry at the Fillmore in Philadelphia, PA. All of us in the band have been to the Fillmore in Denver, so we were pumped to see the new one. The foundry is the upstairs room of the Fillmore, but we got to use the empty Fillmore ballroom as our green room, which was cool. We got to do some other cool sight seeing: the Liberty Bell, Times Square, and we even got into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland for free as a touring band. We were a band “going on tour while on tour” as we like to joke haha.
How long did you tour with Tweed? How did that go?
We toured with Tweed for two and a half weeks, and played 14 shows in 18 days on the east coast onwards to Ohio and Michigan. Overall it was a fantastic experience and probably the most fun we’ve had ever playing music. We met Tweed on the first leg of the tour when we played with them in Durango, CO and Taos, NM. They’re all great guys, incredible musicians, and we’re like a big family now. They supplied our backline for the entire tour, which was a huge weight off our shoulder as we flew out to the east coast so a HUGE thank you goes out to them for that! This also led to a ton of sit-ins from each band throughout the tour making every show have a certain surprise element to it, which we strongly believe in. By the end of the tour I’m sure each band could recognize the other’s entire catalog of music haha, I still have Tweed songs stuck in my head after being back. Definitely check out Tweed’s website and be on the look out for their upcoming album titled, Chunky Life. We will all look back on “Tweeder Grounds Tour” with fond memories of so many magical moments.
What do you have planned for this summer? What festivals are you playing?
The summer has a lot in store. We’ve just been announced at Highberry Music Festival, and are excited to announce that we will be hosting the Official Highberry Music Festival Pre Party at George’s Majestic Lounge on Wednesday June 29th. We are also confirmed for a dozen other national festivals so far in 2016 so stay on the lookout for more announcements. For now we can say Paradise Music Festival, Joshua Tree Music Festival, The Untz Festival, Beanstalk Music Festival, LoHi Music Festival, Sonic Bloom, and Highberry Music Festival. In between festivals we will be doing non stop national touring with various bands and hosting our Momentous album release party in Denver in early July! More info TBA.
Where can we listen to your music?
We always recommend heading over to our website to listen to our latest releases and to check out the latest videos, etc. http://www.GreenerGroundsMusic.com
We are on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Radio, and all of the major listening platforms. You can also follow us on Soundcloud, YouTube, and listen to fan recordings on our archive page. Free downloads available on our BandCamp! We’re all over the net!
Stay up to date with our Momentous album and be a part of the making by supporting our Kickstarter campaign! We will see you on the road throughout the rest of the year so stay tuned for a major tour announcement coming soon. For more information and a full list of Greener Grounds tour dates please visit http://www.GreenerGroundsMusic.com