Smitty: Well, if there is ever a groove, it is owned by this next cat that joins me here at Jazz Monthly.com. He is fresh out of the studio with a great new record. He’s “livin’ large” with this fantastic new groove and it “just feels right.” If you love to groove, you will certainly love this next cat and his new record. It is called Born 2 Groove. Please welcome the amazing Narada / Blue Note recording artist, Mr. Euge Groove. Euge, how you doin’, man?
Euge Groove (EG): How can I follow that up, you know? I mean, I am truly out of the studio. I don’t know how fresh I am, though. I think I injured myself making this one.
Smitty: (Laughs.) Oh, man. I love this record and I love the title Born 2 Groove.
EG: Yeah, it’s kind of a fun thing and I think it’s kind of a take off like I did with Livin’ Large and a little bit of play on the name Euge ‘cause everybody mispronounces it “huge.”
EG: So it’s kind of a little takeoff of that, but it was really about—I was trying to make a spiritual record and I think the music came out in sort of a spiritual sort of way, I should say, and this just seemed appropriate. I think that we’ve all been given gifts in our life and fortunately I’m able to use them, I guess.
Smitty: Yeah, well, that’s always good when we can use those gifts in such a beautiful way, man, because what jumped out at me right away when I first listened to the record was, man, it’s got this phat sound and then I found out later you recorded it in HD and it’s like, man, this is really cool.
EG: Yeah, it’s interesting and people ask me about the HD thing, what does it do, and especially since people are listening on iPods and whatnot, being these little compressed files, and it’s totally apparent. Basically what it’s doing is you’ve got this high definition recording much like you would on HDTV or the definition and the clarity, you know how dramatic that is. Even if you’re watching on a non-HD set, if you’re looking at an HD channel, it still looks so much better. The same thing with the music. Each individual instrument gets its own track. In other words, the kick drum, the snare drum, the high hat, each individual tom, the bass, the electric guitar, the piano—every instrument gets its own individual recorded track, and when you do it that way at such a high definition, when it’s mixed down, even if it’s shrunk down to a small file, each individual track still retains that clarity and that definition, and it’s pretty astounding.
I mean, I think it’s an absolutely beautiful sound. I love working in the HD. It certainly brought up a lot of issues because it revealed a lot of things that you don’t necessarily want revealed on a recording, just like in TV, and I tell people if they’re not really sure what HD’s supposed to sound like or what the difference is, play for example, my Livin’ Large disc that was recorded in the old school digital and then play this new cd, which was recorded in the HD, and it’s like astounding, the difference.
Smitty: So what gave you the idea to go with HD?
EG: I think I’m a techno geek anyway when it comes to recording stuff and I had never really been a fan of digital. I had done pretty much all of my albums in analog with the exception of—some form of analog, maybe analog hybrid—with pretty much of the exception of Livin’ Large, which I did in one of the first generation of ProTools systems, one of the earlier systems, but now the technology is there to be able to do HD on an entire project and these songs have 50, 60, 70 separate tracks to some of these songs and just up until a very short time ago it wasn’t available to do that many tracks in HD, and it’s really expensive to work this way and it was a major conversion for the studio that I work with, my pre-production studio, and then I had to go into a more expensive bigger studio to work in, so it was there and it was more expensive to do, but I felt that it was worth recording this way.
Smitty: Yeah, you talked about how it’s a challenge when you go into HD because so much is revealed with the sound, but talk about what a challenge that was. Just give me an example of what that’s like.
EG: Things that maybe had worked in the past for me, like the microphone placement on the saxophone or the type of microphones and pre-amps and rooms that we’d work in, didn’t necessarily work this time and we kinda had to rethink and go “Wow, that mic that we used to always use didn’t sound as good this time around. Let’s change around.” So it kinda mixed a few things up a little bit. For sax players, our thing is all about the saxophone reed, that little piece of wood that vibrates on the mouthpiece. They sound so infinitely different, but in the HD you can really hear the difference between a good and not so good reed, so things like that would have me spending a little bit extra time and pulling a few more hairs out than normal.
Smitty: (Laughs.) Yeah. Well, you’ve enjoyed a lot of success on the charts the past few years and when you’ve enjoyed success like that, what does that do for you going into the studio with the next record?
EG: Yeah, you know, it’s funny you say “enjoy success” because I haven’t really enjoyed any success. I mean, I think that I fortunately have been very successful at radio but I’ve never once sat back and sort of enjoyed that and take that in, and I think almost to a fault people would be like “Relax. You’ve got a number one single.” I’m going “Yeah, but which one are they gonna come out with next? I hope they come out with the next one and I hope people are gonna like that and I gotta finish this new record,” and it’s like it’s sort of never enough, you know what I mean? It’s like by the time that the single gets out and goes through all these steps to maybe reach number one, hopefully it’ll reach that point, there’s ten other things on my plate, and I’ve never really taken a breath to really kick back and sort of enjoy that, so it’s interesting that you would say that, but I try to, I try to relax.
Smitty: Yeah, you gotta do that, man. You gotta stop and smell the roses because we all work hard at what we do.
Smitty: If people only knew what goes into making a record and what goes into doing the things that we do, it would probably blow their minds, but after that is done, it’s so important to enjoy a little bit of it, you know? Because it’s kinda like waxing your car and then you kinda stand back and say “Mmm, it looks pretty good. I did a good job on it,” you know, whatever the case may be.
Smitty: You know what I mean?
EG: Right, well, there are some moments of that where I can say I can be really proud of something and it’s generally not from a reward from outside. It’s more from a reward from inside where I can kick back and go “You know what? Even if people don’t get this, I’m really happy with it.” There are moments like that.