Scene and Heard: The Groove Orient
The beginning of the Groove Orient all started two years ago at a festival on the Rollins College campus. A few of the members hosted their own radio shows on WPRK 91.5FM and decided on a whim they would perform at the festival. Suddenly, there was a confirmed slot in the Rollins Festival line-up reserved for a band to play, but a vigorous part of all this was missing.
“As soon as they confirmed our slot on the line-up we then realized we didn’t have a band, so we had to make one,” Chuck Magid, manager, guitarist and vocalist of The Groove Orient said.
So they did. And the result was a contagiously powerful band made up of passionate musicians. The other members of the band in addition to Chuck Magid include: Harry Ong on bass and vocals; David Vanegas on Percussion, bass and vocals; Tommy Shugart on keyboard, guitar and vocals; and Paul Terry on drums. All studied music together at Rollins College and decided to take their cravings of creative art to the next level.
Chuck Magid told us a little bit more about the band’s development after they officially became a band. “After the first ever show we took about 5-6 months to really put together a repertoire of music before we had our next show, which was August 30 of 2013. We landed a weekly residency that next month performing at Tanquerays in downtown Orlando every Tuesday which has really helped us get our name out there as well as develop our performance. Since then, we have toured all over the southeast United States and have released two EPs. Both recorded at North Avenue Studios in Orange City, FL. With the highlight being our latest release “Generation Y” at House of Blues Orlando for over 1300 people.”
A collective group of music lovers on a newly inspired path had joined forces to produce art together, but there was a vital ingredient still absent in the creation of these rock n’ roll enthusiasts, a band name.
“We had to come up with a name before our debut performance and while walking back to the music building on campus David Vanegas just blurted out ‘What about The Groove Orient’?” Magid reminisced.
Although The Groove Orient is a band that originated out of Orlando, they have had the opportunity to play with big name artists at several different festivals including Gov-Fest, The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, Earthday Birthday and Florida Music Festival.
“Performing at festivals is definitely a treat. It gives the band an opportunity to perform in front of people that have never heard us before and it also gives the listener an opportunity to hear music they have never heard of,” Magid said.
“It also gives you a chance to really connect with new people and fans. You can hang out with these people you just meet and really get to know what they are looking for out of the music they listen to and you can take that conversation and relay that message through your music.”
Songs to Know
I asked Chuck what song they would recommend to someone who had never heard their music before.
“All of our songs are different. Every single member in this band writes music and brings songs to the table, which really brings a diverse mix to our sound. But if I had to recommend a song for you to judge us by, I would have to say ‘Bananas’ off of our debut EP “Welcome to the Show.” The song is short and sweet with some catchy vocals and heavy riffs and will have your attention the entire time. But I recommend that you listen to all eleven songs we have released.”
After the release of their first EP “Welcome to The Show,” TGO prepared for their next EP, which they released earlier this year. The new EP “Generation Y” was filled from the first second of the first song to the last with funky feeling tunes, which did not go on to disappoint The Groove Orient fan base.
TGO emphasized their desires to “want everything [they] do to be a little better than before even of its just one more song on a CD.” Because every member of the band writes music and brings ideas to the table when collaborating together, the inspiration for this album is unique to each individual songwriter.
Magid went on to describe the album in a way that won’t disappoint the fans. “‘Generation Y’ is a good representation of The Groove Orient and what we are trying to say. Our music is different and from the very beginning of this CD you get that vibe with the opening song “Bad Man” being over 7 minutes long. It’s a musical journey right from the beginning and an opening song being that long isn’t typical for a CD but neither are we.”
The Groove Orient closed their show at The JAM Thursday night the same way their new album “Generation Y” begins — fiery with the resonance of their song, “Bad Man.”
This performance was dense with their electrifying rock n’ roll sound and The Groove Orient had no problem taking the crowd on a rowdy journey into the band’s enthralling world.
Halfway through the show Tommy Shugart, the primary keyboardist, flaunted another talent he harbors, as if his hypnotizing skills on keys wasn’t enough. Shugart pick up a power-driven guitar in the midst of an already captivating song and went on to slay a chilling riff that turned the crowd into an even greater frenzy.
Now The Groove Orient is two EPs deep and have their eyes set on an official full-length album. They are already lining things up to style their next studio project in a way that is bigger and better than all of their former work.
“We are definitely excited for the future and even though technically the length of ‘Generation Y’ is considered a full length album in our minds our next studio project will be the real ‘album.’ I can’t give too much away but it’s going to be good,” Magid teased.
The Groove Orient will be hitting the road in July to tour across the southeast region looking to spread their music to fresh ears and new cities.
“As always playing more music festivals is on our minds as well as making our next studio project something that gathers the attention of the entire country. But for now we are just taking it show by show trying to make everything we do just a little better every time.”
Quirks and Perks
The Groove Orient was unexpectedly named Best Experimental Act in Orlando by Orlando Weekly, and the band was thrilled and honored, to say the least.
“When we found out, we were in Louisville on tour. We just finished a gig and our drummer Paul told us the news. We were pretty pumped and on cloud 9 really. We are just happy that people in the Orlando community recognize what we are doing and for that we are forever grateful.”
And TGO has a lot to say about why they love music and culture, but I think Magid sums it up best when he said, “[Our] favorite part is getting to hang out with [our] best friends doing what [we] love. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Not only is TGO a great experimental band, but they also know how to have a good time and enjoy what they’re doing. Nothing is more indicative of this fact than the last question I asked them: If each member of The Groove Orient were a box of cereal, what would you each be?
Their answer was nothing short of perfection.
“If we told you, we’d have to eat you.”
Featured photo courtesy of: The Groove Orient