Elemental Groove Theory
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Elemental Groove Theory

Athens, Ohio, United States | INDIE

Athens, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Groove Street Fest / September 24, 2011 / The Dairy Barn Arts Center"

Story and Photos By: Brooke Bunce, Contributor
Sunday, September 25, 2011

...Members of Elemental Groove Theory joined First Street Heat on stage and vice-versa, transitioning the two acts virtually seamlessly for an antsy crowd. Both Athens favorites and multi-membered, the two soulful bands delivered high energy performances that crowded the tiny festival stage. As always, EGT and FSH put on eclectic, funky, soul-inspired and ethnic-infused sets that left the crowd stomping their feet, swaying their hips and wanting more... - ACRN's Scene and Heard

"Local Band Grooves Through 1st Album"

Bridget Mallon • Staff Writer • bm257008@ohiou.edu

Eight months after its initial in-studio recording session, Elemental Groove Theory's premiere CD is ready for distribution.

The eight-person ensemble recorded 11 original songs for its debut CD, EGT, which it began recording less than one month after its first official show on Halloween last year.

Five of the band's eight members had been playing as a smaller group before they decided to add a two-person horn section and their singer, Rachel Maxann.

"The interesting thing about music is the product is often fleeting; you have a performance and then it's gone," bass player Matt Urminski said. "But with a CD, you can capture a moment and share your art with a wider group of people, and that is very beautiful."

To pay for the recording sessions with producer Bernie Nau at Peachfork Studios in Pomeroy, Ohio, Elemental Groove Theory played live shows and open jams. The combination of spending time in the studio while continuing to perform live was beneficial, said trumpet player Dustin Bastin.

"Recording really helped us become better musicians," Bastin said. "You can't hear everything when you're in a bar, but you get the chance to fine tune your music in the studio."

Although Nau recorded, mixed and mastered the CD, Urminski said at least one band member was present when Nau worked on the CD.

"We were involved in every part of the production," Urminski said. "We made sure to maintain artistic integrity; the reason it took so long is that we wanted the album to be as good as it could possibly be."

Creating the best album the band could meant changing some of its original plans after recording had already started, Urminski said. Elemental Groove Theory decided to include "Back to You" and "Trifecta" after it was already far into the creation of its CD.

"We worked on those songs after most of the others had already been laid down," Urminski said. "They ended up being some of the easiest for us to record because we had been working in the studio for a while and had some experience."

After months of recording, deciding what tracks to include on the album and waiting for it to be mixed and mastered, Elemental Groove Theory will share EGT with Athens at its CD release party at The Union Bar & Grill, 18 W. Union St., Thursday.

"We're so excited for the future," saxophonist Kyle Slemmer said. "This has been a real growing process for us and we finally have a legitimate product. I can't wait to see what we can do with it." - The Post, Athens, OH

"Band Mixes Elements in First Album"

Bridget Mallon • Staff Writer • bm257008@ohiou.edu

Elemental Groove Theory will bring its funk infused rock music to The Union, 18 W. Union St., tomorrow at 10 p.m. for its CD release party.

EGT, the band's first full-length album, will be sold for $8 to attendees of the release party instead of its normal $10.

The release party will give the band the chance to share its music with Athens, lead singer Rachel Maxann said.

"We're hoping for our old fans to come, and we hope new fans do too," Maxann said. "This CD is our brainchild, it's all of our hard work. We hope everyone will like it."

First Street Heat will open up for Elemental Groove Theory, taking the stage at 10 p.m. before Elemental Groove Theory starts playing at about 11 p.m. Maxann said First Street Heat was asked to play because of its similar type of music.

"They complement our style," Maxann said. "They play in a similar genre, and they're all good friends of ours."

The two bands have a working relationship. Ben Stewart, a vocalist for First Street Heat, appears on one of the songs from EGT, and Elemental Groove Theory's two horn players are featured on First Street Heat's upcoming CD.

"We're part of the same music community as First Street Heat," bassist Matt Urminski said. "About half of our band has played at one of their shows."

Playing with other Athens' bands is a great way to form a sense of community in the local music scene, rhythm guitarist Dan Perez said.

"There are so many different genres and different groups around town, and it's important to promote the music scene together," Perez said.

The CD release party will be a chance for the band to show fans how it improved while in the studio as well, keyboardist Mike Brokamp said.

"One of the underlying elements of our sound is funk, and all the instruments have to hit together," Brokamp said. "The recording process made us all better musicians, and we play together much tighter now."

Elemental Groove Theory will play songs from EGT as well as some songs that have been written since the CD was made. The band has high hopes for the event's attendees, Maxann said.

"I hope they take on a new idea and appreciation of what music can be like," Maxann said. "I hope they have a new experience, a good time, and I really hope they leave with a CD." - The Post, Athens, OH

"Elemental Groove Theory Brings the Funk Back to Athens"

By Kevin Rutherford, Senior Critic
March 11, 2010

It’s a Thursday night at The Union, and a late one at that. Crowds have been slowly straggling in for the past hour, while Athens funksters First Street Heat play a rollicking set to those already in attendance. Dispersed into the attentive and appreciative audience, which is quite substantial for a Thursday night, are members of the headlining band of the evening, Elemental Groove Theory.

Elemental Groove Theory. Interesting name, isn’t it? In a world where decidedly mundane band names like The Killers and Hoobastank reign supreme, finding a band with a name that actually sounds, you know, interesting, is like a breath of fresh air before you even judge their music.

“[The band name] was a big issue for a while,” guitarist Dan Perez had said a week before at the band’s home base in Athens. “We ended up democratically voting for what words we liked best and then placed them together. It ended up being this description of us.”

“Each of us brings a different element to the group,” added guitarist Mark “Mavis” Meredith. “[Keyboardist, Mike] Brokamp is ice, Rachel [Maxann, vocals] is fire, I’m light. It really did come to play as a description of our band."

He’s right, you know. Once their set begins a little past midnight, the Union becomes a wild dance party, full of flailing arms, sexy bass lines and more trumpet and saxophone than you can wrap your head around. It’s an Elemental Groove Theory kind of night, and you best have brought your dancing shoes.

Since the fall of 2008, the eight-piece has been playing to crowds both in Athens and across Ohio, slowly gaining members as they go along. It’s been a long process, but the band seems to have finally found its footing with a set lineup. According to Perez, it all began when he and bassist Matt Urminski started jamming.

People continued to join up, lead vocalist, Maxann being the seventh member since this past summer when she was approached about doing some vocals on the band’s first demo. Trumpeter Dustin Bastin was the final addition in October 2009. “We just slowly absorbed people,” said Perez of their tactics.

Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of Elemental Groove Theory, besides their live shows, is the music itself. Many bands in the area can be broken up into different genres. With these guys? It’s a bit more difficult.

“People will say to us, ‘I don’t know what kind of music you guys are, but you’re a breath of fresh air, something new, something good. Not all this bullshit we’ve been hearing for so long,” said Meredith.

“We’ve gotten the trifecta: epic funk rock,” added Bastin, laughter ensuing. It’s clear that even the band members themselves are unsure of what exactly they are, but they’re willing to add or subtract whatever they need to in order to make it work. “We don’t want to be like every other band out there that plays the same songs,” said Meredith. “We want to make every song a bit different because our influences are all over the place, from Latin and jazz to rock and hip hop. We listen to everything, so why not incorporate everything?”

A notable aspect of Elemental Groove Theory is that despite the large amount of musicians in the band, there is a sense of keen dedication and organization. While at their home, Perez points out to me a white board, which has just about everything anyone would need to know about the band. “It has a lot of our information and what’s coming up,” said Perez. “Every Monday we have a band meeting and figure out goals for the week. We’re getting very organized and trying to push our name out there.”

That is something the band seems to be doing quite well. They put in hours at a time sending out emails to people, trying to book shows and thrust Elemental Groove Theory into the public mindset outside of Athens. This labor has resulted in upcoming shows in Boston and Chicago, as well as a date at spring’s Hookah in the Hills.

“We’re starting to get accepted into these venues, like we got accepted into this place that is literally right across the street from Fenway Park,” said Brokamp. “This is all through our own personal legwork, being personable with everybody and just trying to express how badly we want to play music with each other the rest of our lives. We’re getting responses. People are ready for us.”

“We have a song called “Live Your Style.” When I hear that song, it always gives me hope,” continued Brokamp. “My dad told me my whole life, ‘Find what you love to do and the money will make itself work.’ And I told him, ‘I want to be a musician,’ and he said, ‘but you won’t make any money.’ I listen to this song and it’s talking about how we are all on the same page that even if we’re just providing for ourselves, I cannot be happier living in this existence as I am.”

“We’re very passionate about this. We want to do this the rest of our lives. I have great faith in this band,” said Meredith, as our interview ends. Those words flash back into my mind as the set finally begins, seven men and a lady climbing onstage as the sound check proceeds. Three members (Meredith, Urminski and Bastin) have already had a bit of a warm-up by joining the lineup of First Street Heat for a few songs.

Fog begins to descend upon the stage. Drummer Eric Wright dons a nifty pair of sunglasses (he sported an afro the size of Rhode Island during the band’s performance the previous weekend). Urminski approaches the microphone. “Now, where were we?” he asks the crowd, referring of course to their criminally shortened set at the Backdrop show days earlier. Some dude behind us projects a potent green laser onto the wall amidst the crowd and then it’s on.

Elemental Groove Theory is one of those bands that can match its audience’s raucousness live. Brokamp leaps and bounces from behind his keyboard on one side of the stage. Urminski can be found anywhere between the stage and the drum kit, sometimes even perching atop the slightly elevated drum stage, cranking out some of the funkiest bass lines this side of the Mississippi. And don’t blink or you might miss Meredith as he bounds around, at one moment standing directly behind Bastin and saxophonist Kyle Slemmer, and the next moment, next to Perez on the other side of the stage. Of course, Maxann is the lifeblood of the performance, grooving around the stage, demanding your undivided attention while singing but respectfully stepping back when the instrumentalists take their turns on abundant solos.

“This song is brought to you by the letter F and the number 69,” announces Maxann with a sly grin as they transition into a new number, this one is still familiar sounding and yet inherently different from all of the songs before it. Slemmer and Bastin both break into some powerful solos when apart, while their sound swells powerfully when playing together. Urminski’s bass can be heard for miles; whoever said that bassists should be seen and not heard is hereby a moron. The full band pulls off a fortepiano, diving low to the ground in sync as the music softens considerably, and then rising back up as one when it crescendos, and of course, the crowd is just eating this up. If it’s a crime to be moving this much at a show, I don’t want to ever be right again.

The band runs through extremely worthy covers of Hendrix’s “Fire” and Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” as the night wears on past one in the morning. Still, even an hour into their set, the energy level somehow stays constant the entire time. This isn’t one of your “let’s come out swinging, settle down halfway through and then end big” kind of band. They start strong and keep that going the entire show. No breathers allowed.

The show winds down at close to two in the morning, the crowd still hungry for more but the bar cutting them off. As those in attendance slowly begin to file out of the venue and into the cool Athens night, I am reminded of a quote from Mike Brokamp during our interview: “We hope to be the band that could bring real music back to popular music,” he said.

Not every band makes it in this world. Some do, some don’t, and sometimes the wrong ones get big while the right ones go broke. With that being said, Elemental Groove Theory is no doubt a band that should be on the cusp of breaking out, if this world that we live in is a fair one. As the clichéd saying goes, “only time will tell.” But until then, Athens, enjoy these fine men and woman while you can.

Elemental Groove Theory performs again this Friday night at Jackie O’s at 9 p.m. - ACRN - The Rock Lobster, Athens, OH

"Album Reviews: Elemental Groove Theory"

Elemental Groove Theory:Elemental Groove Theory [2010]
Rating: 9.5
By Travis Boswell
September 14, 2010

Key Tracks: "Live Your Style, "Static on the Radio," "Solset"

After touring for over two years, the Athens-based "eclectic rock" group Elemental Groove Theory has finally decided to settle down and release their debut album. Before listening to Elemental Groove Theory, a few questions may come to mind, like, "How can they trim down epic 10+ minute live jams into an album? Will they get some covers on here? Is that really a didgeridoo?"

By the time you've finished asking these questions, you'll likely be too busy nodding your head to care if they will even be answered.

Elemental Groove Theory's debut album is relentlessly catchy, expertly polished and definitely eclectic. Album-opener "Live Your Style" is a funky tune punctuated by electronica-inspired keyboard riffs and a guitar lead that sounds as if it may have been recorded underwater. "Static on the Radio" replaces the synths and organs with a grand piano, which adds to the somber tone of the lyrics, and includes a staticky rap that you'll need to replay a few times to understand, cleverly tying it to the overall message of the song.

The most successful experiment on the album is "Solset", which, by the way, is where the didgeridoo comes into play. A strong Latin influence is experienced in the acoustic guitar and congo solos as the song breaks down in a tribal fashion, which sounds like it wouldn't work in theory but is superb in practice. Elemental Groove Theory do whatever they want in their songs, and somehow they always make it sound good.

It is the album's balance that is its most impressive aspect. Each song gives every band member a shining moment. Vocals back up saxophone solos, drums keep up with hectic guitar leads -- especially on the album's closing song -- and recurring riffs keep multi-layered songs like "Trifecta" from getting too out of hand. The album briefly falters on closing track "The 751," which loses focus over its 10-minute duration, but it's a minor misstep. Listening to Elemental Groove Theory, you can hear how much fun the band is having playing the songs. Don't be alarmed if you find yourself dancing or singing along by the time the album is over. The response is perfectly natural. - ACRN - The Rock Lobster, Athens, OH


The Basement Sessions (2009)
Live at Jukebox (2010)
EGT (2010)
Summer Sampler (2011)



Elemental Groove Theory is a dynamic band that fuses rock, funk and other styles for a sound that is familiar and a style that is completely unique. The members of EGT pride themselves on the collaborative creation of original music which bridges many styles and tastes. They look forward to continued travel across new borders, both physical and musical, and to the proliferation of music which is intricate, fun, fresh and infectious.