Revisiting my musical past: “Don’t Lose The Groove”

You might recall that a couple of months ago, I entered a “best piano/keyboard performance” contest on a web site called TalentTrove.com. I came in second place by one or two votes, mostly because the rules said one date was the final day of voting while the voting system itself was set to end 2 1/2 days earlier.

Anyway, despite that experience, I have entered another TalentTrove.com contest…this time for music considered “electronica.”

Now, even when I was into mostly synthesizers, sequencers, samplers and drum machines, I never really considered myself in the genre of “electronica.” I always thought of myself as pop, techno or — in the early 90s — industrial.

And techno-industrial is what I want to talk about right now. As I have written many times before on this blog, my friend Christian Beach and I have worked together musically — on and off — since 1986 or ’87, I guess.  While we were in the ill-fated band TMC & The New Generation (a techno/pop/rap  project that I like to describe as “Run DMC meets Depeche Mode”), Christian and I started listening to music generally classified as industrial or — in some cases — cyberpunk. In any case, we really started to get into Ministry, Front 242, Nine Inch Nails, and Nitzer Ebb, among others. Hence, our writing started getting heavier and our songs became angrier and full of more samples. At this point, we convinced our rapper that we needed a name change and we began calling ourselves Interläken Probe, which borrowed from the name of the town to the west of Allenhurst, NJ, as well as the model of car I was driving at the time (a Ford Probe). The “ä” was used to make it look European.

Anyway, one of the last things we worked on as Interläken Probe was a song called “Don’t Lose The Groove.” The phrase had been mentioned during the recording of another song, but it had always stuck with me. When I was trying to come up with lyrics for “Groove,” I thought the phrase fit pretty well in the chorus. In the context of the song, it referred to the idea of the human race all flowing with the groove, and that each of us does our part to screw everything up by losing the groove every now and then (some more than others, of course)…kind of like a record skipping when a needle loses the groove.

Anyway, despite promoting world peace and unity, the song was kind of angry and full of somewhat violent samples. Here is the original rough mix of “Don’t Lose The Groove” that Christian and I recorded around 1990.

OK…back to the present. While thinking about the TalentTrove.com electronica contest, I decided to update one of my old techno songs and submit that for the competition. But which one?

Well, that answer came to me when I stumbled upon “Don’t Lose The Groove” on my iPod. I decided to rerecord “Groove” into GarageBand on my MacBook and bring it a little up to date.

First, I tamed it by removing the samples. While keeping touches of its industrial origins, I made it a more of a dance track. I tried to actually sing the lyrics instead of screaming them like I did in the original. But it just sounded better when I screamed them…although the newer version features more restrained and refined vocals than the original.

Anyway, you can hear “Don’t Lose The Groove (2009)” below.

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