Interview with Albert Suttle from PERPETUAL GROOVE; Playing Atlanta on NYE and Aura Music Festival @blpfam @perpetualgroove @auramusicfestival
Genre-smashing Athens, Georgia 4-piece Perpetual Groove almost as well known for their brilliant lighting and visual stage backgrounds as they are for their music. Gifted, highly musical performers with a lengthy history and extensive repertoire, Perpetual Groove fans all around have lauded over the group’s live show experience and environment.
A featured act on this year’s AURA Music Festival, taking place in Live Oak, Florida from February 15-17th, you can find Perpetual Grooves performing sporadic dates throughout the Autumn and Winter months, culminating with a NYE Blowout taking places in Atlanta, Georgia on (you guessed it) December 31st.
I got in touch with drummer Albert Suttle to talk about their music, touring schedule, stateside vs. international performances, their musical influences, and what they have in store for 2013.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
A- My name is Albert Suttle & I play drums. I’m originally from Del City, OK and got to Georgia by way of the Army Band Program.
G- Can you tell us a bit about your tunes and where did you find the inspiration to write your new material? Do you have any plans on entering the studio in the near future?
A- Sometimes our music evolves naturally from a jam but more often than not – Brock, Adam, Matt or myself will come in with a fully fledged idea or full demo and then work on it together until it’s something we’re all happy with.
We’re hoping to get back into the studio as soon as we can, but more than likely it’ll be after the new year when our schedule naturally slows down. We’re also hoping to get a bit more hands on with the actual production aspect as we’re all pretty confident at this point in our careers that we could handle these details and leave the minutiae to the pros at the end of process.
G- “Amberland” is a widely successful festival event, and has a longstanding relationship with jam fans and circles. Additionally, PG has extensive experience performing abroad… Can you tell us about some of the differences and similarities between playing shows internationally and at home?
A- Playing internationally is a great & awesome experience and one that I hope we get to do more often. For me though, a show is a show – whether we’re playing at Amberland where the band is generally at their most comfortable or at a small club in the middle of nowhere on a Monday, we show up and we do our best to put on a complete & entertaining show. Once the show is over, then we can concentrate on our surroundings & personal situations. It doesn’t always work that way but that’s the general mode of operation that tends to work for everyone. It helps us all work & play together better.
G- Perpetual Groove also performs benefits on behalf of the Jolly Foundation… Can you tell us a bit about the organization and your involvement? Does Perpetual Groove regularly play benefits or endorse any other particular charities that our readers should
A- The Jolly Foundation is a unique case where the family involved in running the charity has close ties to Brock & his family. The band tries to help out with various charities when & where we can but it can be tough with the schedule we keep.
G- Are you guys a party band, or generally pretty mellow? How do you occupy your time on the road and traveling between gigs?
A- One of greatest strengths as a band is that we can change our musical intent depending on any given situation. If we’re playing a show anywhere in the South, certain songs from our first album are always requested and thus our set list will accommodate correspondingly. Conversely, there are times like Amberland and certain more intimate shows where we can switch gears easily and play a different type of show.
G- What should your fans, both old and new, expect of the performances when you guys hit the road? What should some of the first time listeners expect to see when you take the stage?
A- I think the same answer applies for both: We do our best to make each show unique & special. Even if we play the exact same set list from the last time someone saw us (which hopefully rarely happens) we will make each performance as great as we can so that no matter who is watching the show, they may not know what to expect.
G- Since you play a very diverse blend of genres, can you discuss with us about what your writing process is like? Who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you have a primary songwriter, or do you write music more organically through jamming during rehearsals?
A- Adam & Brock are the primary songwriters but once an idea gets introduced that everyone likes, we all add our unique spin to the individual pieces that make up what will become that song. The advent of music programs that can let us add backing tracks of all types give us the ability to realize, quite often, our original intentions for sounds and styles that might otherwise be de difficult to convey in a live setting. The computer lets us add that electronic & metronomic quality that is so prevalent and popular in our scene but also lets us use it as a spice and not as a crutch.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future, or does PG have a Dream Bill that they would like to see happen in the future?
A- We always enjoy working with the band & crew from Umphree’s McGee and there are several other big name groups in & out of the jam scene we’d love to work with but that list changes a little depending on who you ask.
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that Perpetual Groove has played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
A- It’s hard to beat our Bonnaroo 2005 performance where anywhere from 15,000 to 25,000 people were revved up for music & we were one of two acts playing for all those people. The energy was amazing & we gave a top notch performance.
G- Lastly, as a band with loads of studio and touring experience, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
A- Technology & information are moving at such a pace that it’s very easy to get your name and music out there but it’s also easy to get lost in the cacophony of an over saturated market of entertainment. You have to have an artistic product that is unique, good and earnest. All the other factors and what role they play in your success are entirely up to you. And some things you’re inevitably going to have learn as you go along.
Do you wear hearing protection when you perform? Why or why not? Do you think it is important for your fans to protect their ears?
A- Matt & I wear in-ear monitors to help protect our ears and we’re working on doing the same for Brock & Adam. Hearing protection is essential for the longevity of any musician. And like many things associated with the human body, once you lose your hearing, it’s practically impossible to get it back.