Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicked off on January 4th with seven weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band or Best Live Acoustic and a performance slot at the 2011 OC Music Awards, March 5 at the Grove of Anaheim. And, the voting is open now!
Laguna Niguel quintet, The Gromble, sounds exactly like what you would imagine a band to sound like with a name based off a 1990s Nickelodeon cartoon. Like a food fight at summer camp or a make-out session on the playground, The Gromble evoke feelings of those wild, fleeting moments of rebellious freedom while adulthood loomed in the shadows.
For many, those raucous, free-wheeling teenage years are the only time they truly held the key to complete happiness. The Gromble bottle those transient coming-of-age moments, add some sonic sunshine, a literate sense-of-humor, some brazen guitars and offer you illicit swigs from a flask of youth and hope.
[pullquote quote=”That was actually our main goal for why we started this band: to go party with Disney and Nickelodeon chicks. And annihilate them. With our music. And our minds. And our hip thrusts.”]
Named after the monstrous headmaster from ’90s Nickelodeon cartoon, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Gromble also state that one of their influences is the Polaris soundtrack for another ’90s Nickelodeon show, Pete and Pete, as well as their semi-facetious desire for Nickelodeon and Disney groupie babes, “That was actually our main goal for why we started this band: to go party with Disney and Nickelodeon chicks. And annihilate them. With our music. And our minds. And our hip thrusts.”
This is not to say that The Gromble shouldn’t be taken seriously–they are a perfect fusion of the quirky, fresh tone of both music and pop culture in the 1990s. This self-conscious, playful attitude towards their sound lends them a kind of maturity not seen in other bands in the same peer group; unlike many others in their early 20s, The Gromble are willing to embrace their off-beat natures without fear of not looking cool.
In the end, this makes The Gromble even cooler especially since they’ve perfected a modernized version of Weezer’s wry, crunchy pop angst, The Pixies’ quirky, angular guitars, and Pavement’s acerbic noise pop with a dash of Elvis Costello sophistication.
When it comes to major influences, band members Trevin Eck (bassist), Steven Lindenfelser (guitarist), Spencer Askin (vocalist/guitarist), Stefan Macarewich (drummer), and Michael Lee (keys/trombone/drums) all agree with Askin’s summary of their sound:
“[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Weezer[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Pixies[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Pavement[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Okkervil River[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Polari[/lastfm]s, the band who did the soundtrack to ‘Pete & Pete’; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sleeper[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]That Dog[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Catatonia[/lastfm]; [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Lemonheads[/lastfm]. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Cardigans [/lastfm] are one of my favorite bands ever, oh my god.”
What the listener wouldn’t expect is The Gromble’s sardonic, yet seemingly real obsession with tongue-in-cheek 1990s hip-hop and R&B. Askin quipped:
“I listened to a couple cuts off of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Will Smith[/lastfm]’s album with ‘Gettin’ Jiggy With It.’ I felt really good about it. I don’t know. It made me want to play music, so that’s kind of an influence. ‘Miami’ was great too. ‘Wild Wild West’… A lot of positive rap from the ’90s…[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Positive K[/lastfm]. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Arrested Development[/lastfm]. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tribe Called Quest[/lastfm].[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Father MC[/lastfm]. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]En Vogue.[/lastfm]”
With a self-acclaimed hip-hop super-producer at the helm of their upcoming 7-song EP, The Gromble envision themselves as being the lone indie band on a major hip-hop label. Especially if rap’s largest music mogul, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Diddy[/lastfm], can have a hand in their success.
“Our guy, our super-producer John Adams, he works with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]R.Kelly[/lastfm]. He works at Brandon’s Way down here. He does all the Yahoo! Live sessions, so we can go into Brandon’s Way for free on Sunday, so it took f**king forever to record,” said Askin.
“And I remember one day being at practice, and he texted me at 2am saying, ‘Sorry, Puff Daddy is here and I don’t think he’s going to leave.’ So we couldn’t record because Diddy was doing his business…Is Diddy looking for a band on his label?”
Lindenfelser replied, laughingly: “I tried to page him but he didn’t respond.”
While The Gromble is entertaining and hilariously self-effacing when it comes to their undeniable talent, in reality, they have the sort of indie-pop sound that easily transcends genres and could fuse with hip-hop seriously–much in the same vein as Weezer’s foray into rap collaborations.
Due to their recent name change from Ivy Boy to The Gromble and their relative newness, The Gromble know that people don’t take them seriously yet. However new, they are willing to hustle to show their worth, even going so far as offering Askin’s co-ed sister as trade for a coveted slot on a show with local bands they love. Lindenfelser elaborated:
“We’re really new so no one is taking us seriously yet…We were playing under the name Ivy Boy for a while and we just started using The Gromble a few months ago with Stefan. We got a new drummer and we sound a little bit different with this guy. We only put music up two months ago.”
“We like Semi-Sweet. Strange Birds. We like The Colourist a lot. We’ve been trying to get The Colourist to play with us forever…I offered them my sister. She’s a USC graduate.”
“There’s a lot of soul rocky stuff with big drums going on. And The Colourist are more like power pop, which I think would go well with our sound. It would be good if we played together.”
[pullquote quote=”I feel like it’s less about the competition and more about having a good show. Having a good turn-out. Making friends. Maybe meet The Colourist.”]
Considering The Gromble are contending for the prize of Best Live Band against The Colourist, they just might get their wish at the finals. For a band that describes themselves as “really competitive,” part of the reason they are so excited to play the OC Music Awards is to befriend local bands like The Colourist…and to meet [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Mark McGrath [/lastfm]from [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sugar Ray[/lastfm].
“We wanted this so f**king bad. We were actually super, super jazzed. Seriously. The main reason is Mark McGrath is usually there and I f**king would kill someone–depending on who it is–to meet Mark McGrath…If that’s what it takes to get his frosted tips in my field of vision.”
“But seriously, it’s a huge honor. All the bands are good. We’re just going to have fun. It means a lot, actually.”
“When we first got it, I was super excited about the competition part. I was like, ‘F**k, we gotta rule.’ Now we’re doing more shows and getting closer, I feel like it’s less about the competition and more about having a good show. Having a good turn-out. Making friends. Maybe meet The Colourist.”
When asked if they had special plans for the show, Lindenfelser joked, “We’re going to hire Destiny’s Child to play with us. Live. Only for the OCMA’s. It’s going to cost us each $50,ooo…So, we gotta be honest. This is definitely going to set us back financially for a while. We’re not going to play many shows after this, just because we’re going to be in debt.”
If The Gromble’s live show is anything like their bold, balls-out personalities, there is no reason a popular local band like The Colourist wouldn’t want to play with them.
“We’re going on tour in April up to Seattle and back, but our CD release The Gromble self-titled is going to come out at the end of March. We’re having a big show at Detroit Bar. We’ll have a big CD release blow-out and it’s a self-titled explosion of love and blood lust.
“And we’ll be playing with The Colourist soon.”
The Gromble-“Creepy Crawly”
The 2011 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 4 –February 15 with stops at:
Five Showcase Series finalists in each live category will then move on to the Showcase Series Finals.
2011 Best Live Band winner will receive a performance slot on the four Southern Christmas Vans Warped Tour stops!
Night Two of the OC Music Awards Showcase Series features nominees for Best Live Band on Tuesday, January 18th at the The Gyspy Lounge.
READ MORE INTERVIEWS ON KROQ.COM FROM SHOWCASE NIGHT 3 BANDS:
Friday, January 14th-Strange Birds
Saturday, January 15th-California Condors
Sunday, January 16th-May McDonough
Monday, January 17th- Kiev
Tuesday, January 18th-The Gromble
You have the power to send one Showcase artist to the Best Live Acoustic Finals and Best Live Band Finals.
Cast your vote and enter to win a massive prize pack from the OC Music Awards partners (To be Announced). Voting will begin on December 27 and will be open through the last Showcase on February 15. The votes will be tallied and the band with highest score will automatically move on to their Series Finals! Click here to vote
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM