Strait Groove | facebook.com/straitgrooveThe greats have always used music as a form of artistic expression. Thoughts are penned down in the form of rhymes and beautiful prose, then gently carried by trickling melodies that add soul and substance in a symphony of birth. These are songs written for themselves in their pursuit of self-discovery, but each and every one of them resonate with such unified frequency that it’s hard not to be utterly lost in their their melodic clutches once heard. And that, is what Strait Groove is all about.
By using their music as a form of expression, they paint all their words into a meld of notes and tunes, writing down their journey thus far into lyrics which are then sung with glorious passion. Each line denotes an experience, each chorus a piece of memory, each song a page out of a diary wonderfully kept all these years.
This has always been Logan Liu’s motivation for starting Strait Groove: a genuine desire for creating music that speaks for itself. It is not really a band but a collective; a gathering of individuals craven with need to share their songs with all the sincerity they can muster. Genre is unimportant, neither is fame and recognition. It’s the music that counts.
With that in mind, the next step was to find like-minded individuals who shared his beliefs. It wasn’t an easy process. “A lot of times, people wanted to do covers, and I always found that it sets a standard of comparison between the original artistes and how we chose to approach their songs. It formed a gap, a certain... disconnect between what we play and who we are as musicians, and I didn’t like that. I wanted to play something that reflected us as individuals, and it was very important that the people I jammed with understood that”, said Logan.
Thankfully, his participation in Sheares Hall Band gave him an edge in finding like-minded individuals. As a matter of fact, all of the current members in Strait Groove now are students living in Sheares Hall, deep within the bowels of the NUS (National University of Singapore) complex. It made everything easier for the band logistics wise. The studio was provided by the hall, their equipment were in their rooms, everybody lived within five minutes walking distance. It allowed the band to focus fully on their songs without needing to suffer through all the nitty gritty chores that come naturally with conflicting schedules and time management.
At the end of the day, it’s the music that matters. We just want to create something that we, ourselves, will enjoy listening.
So this is the entire songwriting process for Strait Groove. Their focus was to be experiential and experimental; amalgamating each member’s creativity and emotions into a single pot, then gradually picking out the best parts and improving on those, bit by bit. To date, the band has had one minor overhaul of its ranks, with one of its former members leaving earlier this year, replaced by two fresh bloods. The current band comprises of Logan Liu, the frontman and main songwriter, with Dannel Low, Tan Ming Tuan, Ben Lim and Greg Sim forming the rest of the lineup. Take heed though, the roster is always changing and evolving. “There’s always this need to bring in more people, for fresher perspectives and newer eyes, because music should never be pigeonholed to a type”, said Dannel with a smile.
Their first album “In Stock Now”, is testament to that philosophy. Available for free download over at straitgroove.bandcamp.com, it is crammed full with songs that can be classified into multitudes of genres. Some are pop, some are rock, some are blues laced with a hint of jazz, but all of them raw and personal. Recorded in a little studio with minimal mixing and edits, it represents a deeply personal conversation from the band to the listener.
Maybe that’s just the way it should be. Unfiltered and unabashed, a simple matter of just letting the songs speak for themselves. A second album is slated to be launched later this year, and promises to contain more diversity, while maintaining all the integrity that makes Strait Groove what it is. I for one, can’t wait to see what these guys will come up with