Frostbite Series: 11-piece The New Groovement plays Victoria-sound funk

The New Groovement shows are filled with high-energy funk, soul, R&B and hip-hop music

Photo courtesy of the band.

Group Dynamic

The New Groovement (TNG) is an 11-piece funk band based in Victoria, B.C. 11 pieces means 11 points of view so the band has to get creative when it comes to decision making. What do we wear? The band has an all-black, red-tie uniform for live shows. Where do we stand? It’s often a tight squeeze on pub and indie festival stages. Bandleader, Reuven Sussman (also the drummer) helps to negotiate and moderate these discussions and it’s a method he’s proud of. “It’s kept us together for the past three years — much longer than the average band.”

Each of the other ten members — Tejas Collison (bass), Ben Scotney (guitar), Geoff Mason (percussion), Kim Maddin (congas), Theresa Pasaluko (lead vocals), Danimal House (emcee), David Chase (trumpet), Jason Dolynny (Trombone), Jonnie Bridgeman (tenor sax), and Brad Justason (bari sax) — have played with Sussman in various bands over the past seven years. In 2012, Sussman had the initial vision for a smaller touring funk band with seconds and thirds for when others couldn’t make gigs. But the vision was shared and led to all participants being full members.

TNG boasts of having 24 original songs and a handful of unique covers in their repertoire. These songs are made in bassist Tejas Collison’s basement with one of two methods. They create them from a jam that starts with a groove, then builds with instruments, then vocals. Or else it starts with an individual who has written out basic ideas and brings them to the group.

Victoria funk scene

Though traveling with a big group is difficult, TNG has brought funk music out of their basement and into their community in a huge way. “We’re very proud to be part of a thriving funk, soul, hip-hop community here in Victoria”, Sussman says. “These large bands [Leg Up Program and Downtown Mischief] that mix up all elements of fun dancing music are really carving out a new sound — the Victoria Sound,” he elaborates.

One of the best ways to hear the Victoria Sound is by checking out Garden City Grooves. The weekend showcases these kinds of up and coming bands. “The purpose is to bring together a community of like-minded musicians who believe in making good music that gets you dancing,” says Sussman.

Photo courtesy of the band.

Campaigning on Kickstarter

TNG is currently recording an LP at the humble Baker Studios with notorious producer, Joby Baker. “What blew us away was what Joby could create with that set up. Every time we hit the studio we grow and learn a lot,” Sussman says. Baker has great qualifications including producing Alex Cuba’s Grammy-winning album and TNG are appreciative of his approach. “He never lets you off the hook with a take that’s just ok. He gets the best out of every band member,” Sussman explains.

TNG’s shows in Revelstoke this Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3 mark the start of a mini-tour, which also includes Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino. On this tour TNG will promote their new Kickstarter campaign that will hopefully help them raise the last $5,000 they need to finish their album.

Cover for the show is by donation at the door.

This story is produced in partnership with Flexproductions, the Frostbite Series and the Revelstoke Mountaineer.