INTERVIEW: Roland Hansen of Greener Grounds talks Denver’s music scene, P Groove, and 2016
Last week I had a chance to talk with Roland Hansen of Greener Grounds. With an upcoming opening slot for Perpetual Groove around the corner, along with a steadily growing fan base in Colorado’s front range area, Greener Grounds are slowly becoming the local favorite of Denver’s electronica scene! Here’s our conversation on Greener Grounds, Denver’s music scene, and what the future holds for this promising group.
DubEra: Tell me a little bit about how the band got together
Roland Hansen: Joe and I started the band about two years ago just for fun, but it’s gotten a lot more serious obviously. We both knew Mathew Buelt (lead guitar), then we picked up AJ Gillman (Drums/Percussion), and then we finally added Danny Littler on bass. It all came together pretty organically, and it’s all happened really fast. We have only been playing shows for about a year and a half, but now here we are playing festivals and doing tours.
On December 5th, Greener Grounds will be opening for Perpetual Groove at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver. Tell me how it feels to be opening for such a large act, and what kind of preparation goes into a performance of this magnitude.
It’s amazing; P Groove [Perpetual Groove] is certainly an inspiration to all of us and it’s an honor to be able to play a show with them. A year ago I could of never guessed that we would be opening for P Groove. Preparations are going well, we aren’t nervous, we are confident in our sound and ourselves. Right now we are really focused, just making sure the songs that we have are being kept very tight; as well as writing new music.
What artist’s influence Greener Grounds the most, and how do you let those inspirations shine in your music?
Some people say that we sound like Lotus, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, and Disco Biscuits all smashed into one band, and in some ways I feel like it’s true. We all come from different musical back rounds individually, and we all came into the jam scene at different times. I think it’s all the different musical back rounds that really creates our diverse cocktail of jams. It’s really cool for us to have different influences all in one band; I think it brings up some cool opportunities.
I feel like the jam scene is certainly taking a turn for a more electric style, similar to Dopapod and Papadosio. Do you think this is where the jam scene will continue to grow?
I think that it’s inevitable that music will go in that direction. The technology is always improving and always changing. In my opinion, the EDM scene has gone a dry, and people are looking for that electronic dancing feel that’s coming from a band with real instruments on stage. I think it’s just where the music scene is right now, but I don’t think classic jams are going anywhere by any means. The electronica jam scene is just the beginning of this new genre.
Being from Denver, what’s it like growing as a band in a music scene that is essentially non-stop?
There are a lot of dedicated fans, and like you said it’s non-stop. There are amazing bands coming through here almost every weekend, almost literally you can go see an incredible band at a well-known venue. When we first started, we talked about if growing in this scene would even be possible with so much already going on. Something that has worked to our advantage is that there aren’t a lot of bands coming up with our type of music locally in that scene. There had been a few bands around that broke up, and we felt like we could fill the jamtronica shoes that Denver needed locally. To have been going to shows there for so long, and now we’re playing the shows; it’s a surreal feeling.
We are lucky to have such an incredible scene with amazing venues. Unfortunately, we lost the 1up Colfax recently.
Ah man, I know. I was so bummed about that. I have to give a shout out to 1up, without them Greener Grounds wouldn’t be where we are today. We had so much help from the 1up, Justin Picard, and everyone else that worked there. It was an amazing place for sure.
Greener Grounds just released a Grassroots California hat, how did that come about and what’s the process like working with Grassroots?
Yes, we released that hat little over a month ago and sales are going well. The hats are beautiful. We got to sit down with Grassroots and coincidentally the guy designing the hat with us was a good friend of mine from college, so we discussed that we really wanted something “earthy” with a natural organic feeling to it. They ran with our idea, and now that hat is out and available for purchase.
This past fall tour, Greener Grounds were fortunate enough to have a lot of cool sit-ins from a lot of different acts. How do those happen, and what was it like to play with other artists outside of your band?
We had Ben “Smiley” from The Main Squeeze sit-in, Rob from Kung Fu, and others from YAMN, Sunsquabi, and a few other bands. Basically, before the show or a few days before we would ask them if they want to sit-in and play with us, and usually the answer is yes. We’ll pick a nice funky jam, throw them up on stage with us, and kind of just see what happens. They always love playing and we obviously love having them play with us. It’s always a real treat, because it’s one of those things that might never happen again.
What’s the difference for you guys when you’re in the studio compared to playing a live show?
We bring a lot of energy to the live show, and I think that’s what it’s really all about. But we are also trying to create that same high energy when we are in the studio. Our EP, Photosynthesis, came out earlier this year, and we love it. We are just about ready to get back into the studio and get a full album out, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Hopefully we can release it late winter or early spring of next year.
Other then a new release, what can fans expect from Greener Grounds in 2016?
2016 is going to be big. We have winter tour that’s getting announced on December 7th, then a spring tour, and then hopefully record that new album after spring tour. After that, festival season is going to kick off and we are going to try to stay as busy as possible, have as much fun as possible, and try to grow this beautiful thing we got going on. 2016 is going to be a big year!
Thanks for taking some time to talk to me Roland; I’m sure we will be hearing more things about Greener Grounds in the year to come!
No problem, thanks Jesse.