Feature: Rick Grove „Reasons“

Interview & Albumreview Rick Grove „Reasons“

Rick Grove Albumreview und Interview; Fotocredit: Helen Røstum

Der Amerikaner und Norweger Rick Grove veröffentlichte am 16. März sein erstes Album „Reasons“ und dabei klingt er als Norweger wie ein typischer US-Indie-Rocker. Nur, dass er sich selbst auf den Feldern Norwegens verortet. „Reasons“ ist auf dem von Mikael Paskalev, Jonas Alaska und Billie Van gegründeten Label Braveheart Records erschienen und von der Musikfarbe her betrachtet passt das super zusammen. Insgesamt 11 Tracks hat der Songwriter auf seine Platte gepackt und darauf klingt er ebenso charmant, wie auch herzzerreißend. Rick Grove kommt nicht aus dem Nichts. Er hatte bereits als Gitarrist für diverse Bands gespielt. Dass er nun Solopfade beschreitet und das mit einer Handvoll Tracks, kostete ihn selbst viel Überwindung. Im Jahr 2022 veröffentlichte er seine Singles „Gun“ „Reptile“ und wurde daraufhin eingeladen, auf den norwegischen Showcase-Festivals zu spielen: By:larm, Vill Vill Vest und Trondheim Calling.

Rick Grove ist ein Talent darin freche Wendungen in seine Songs einzubauen und überzeugt noch dazu mit seinen Gitarrensolis. Zu seiner Band gesellen sich aber noch weitere Musiker wie Teodor Dysthe Lyngstad am Schlagzeug und Gesang, Mikael Gundhus am Bass und Gesang, und Rick Groves Mitbewohner Markus Anskau am Klavier und den Keyboards. Sie sind also ziemlich eng miteinander verbandelt und so wirkt es auch, wenn wir die Songs auf der Platte in einem Guss durchhören. Das harmoniert extrem gut und Rick Grove schafft es aber, dass wir ihn trotzdem als Solomusiker wahrnehmen. „Wherever“ ist so ein schöner Einstieg in diese Platte, ehe er dann mit „Stars“ richtig aufs Gaspedal tritt. Hier überrascht der Songwriter mit genau diesen Wendungen und Luftsprüngen!

„Screw Up“ gefällt mir hier ziemlich gut. Hier erleben wir die stimmliche Varianz des Songwriters. Das holt mich direkt ab und ich mag auch die Mischung von US-amerikanischem Style und norwegischer Kühlheit. Die blitzt hier stets durch. Mit Rick sprechen wir im Folgenden über die neue Platte, die Produktion und welch großer Kraftakt es war, das Album zu veröffentlichen.

Rick, after a few single releases, your first studio album „Reasons“ follows. How does that feel and what expectations do you have of yourself when performing the album or what reactions do you want to evoke in us listeners?

Rick Grove: „Hey! It’s kind of an enormous weight that’s been lifted off. It feels great to have it released, but it also feels kind of intrusive that anyone can listen to it whenever they want. The music is a huge part of me, and has been over the years writing and recording the music. We just played the album release concert in Oslo and that’s the first time we played music that the audience can listen to at home. People sang along! That’s not intrusive, that’s just completely nuts! The album was recorded live. We had weeks in the band room with producer Mikhael Paskalev before we and recorded it. The musicians are my best friends, and we have played in bands together since high school. So when we rehearse to play gigs, we already know how to play the record. Our focus is then to make a concert that we would love to attend as an audience. We make sure to have a blast, and we’ll rearrange the songs and the album, if we need to in order to do so.“

You’re half American, half Norwegian. In your opinion, what is the most distinctive characteristic for you as a musician, being Norwegian and being American?

Rick Grove: „I guess most people grow up hugely influenced by American culture. I was probably even more. My dad taught English at the same school I went to, so we often drove together. We listened to a lot of American music on those drives. Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Eagles, Bruce Springsteen etc. I played in indie-rock bands as well at that time. I can’t tell if that music sounded very Norwegian, or if Scandi-indie-rock is a thing. But whatever it was, I think the Rick Grove album is a crossover between those two influences.“

The production of your album was – to put it mildly – exhausting. Was it worth the effort?

Rick Grove: „Oh yes. But it’s an excellent question. It took three years from when my producer, the band and I decided to make an album, and until it was released. During that time covid hit and a breakup happened. Tons of alone-time made me really question what kind of music I want to make. And who I wanted to be. At that time I was a guitar player in bands, and for other artists. During those three years, I was thinking a lot, I wrote songs and I sang. I also started to figure out how this record should sound, and if I even wanted to become an artist. I couldn’t be more proud and happy of how the record turned out! It is the way it is, and sounds like the way it sounds thanks to producer/mixer/label-man: Mikhael Paskalev, and my day-one’s/the glorious band: Mikael Gundhus (bass and backing vocals), Teodor Dysthe Lyngstad (drums and backing vocals) and Markus Eide Anskau (all keyboards). Engineering-wiz Roar Nilsen recorded the live-recordings of the band on 8/11 songs, and George Tanderø has mastered the album. The album cover (and all single covers and press photos) is shot by Helen Røstum.“

There is so much heart and soul in the 11 songs and you can really hear that. To what extent did you run the risk of it all draining you too much during the production?

Rick Grove: „Well thanks! Actually it was extremely liberating to write those songs. It was a very self-therapeutic and diary-like process at the time. What really drained me was showing those songs to people for the first time. Especially the team behind the album. Just the act of showing it to them was not only very personal, but it also made the songs into real songs and real work. A product. It meant it would be a part of a real album that real people could listen to. That was a draining thought.“

The entry into the record is very contradictory. „Wherever“ and „Stars“ are very different. A lethargic start and a completely euphoric high follows. To what extent does that also reflect your emotional world during the songwriting?

Rick Grove: „In a way, the album has a subtle whiff of concept album coming from it. It’s all in the theme of coming out of a relationship. Songs like Gun, Blur and Google, are about realizing what you have to do. While Good Boy and Thankful expresses the shock and the aftermath of the breakup. Pretty dark stuff. But then you have Reptile and Stars, where I have tried to display the excitement, fear and tragedies in the life of the newly single young man. In the album-opening: Wherever → Stars, I’ve tried to give a preview of the emotional range of which the album will cover. And I think they sound super cool together like that. It took 15 different attempts to get the tracklisting right, but I think we nailed it in the end.“

Can you still remember when you decided to start your solo project back then? What prevailed back then: the euphoria or rather fears about the upcoming changes?

Rick Grove: „Pompously put: I decided to dedicate my life to music somewhere between ages 12 and 14. I was playing guitar and I listened to Led Zeppelin. But I kind of crashed during covid. I was getting a BA in music/performing arts in a world in lockdown. That’s when the solo project started. I put everything on the line back then. I thought I’d give it a year to really go for it. “The artist Rick Grove” what the hell. If it flops, I’m glad I tried. But the Euphoria prevailed! After a while I understood that for me, there is nowhere to go back from here.“



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