Episode 36: Mauve Grove: A Powerful Mosaic of Music and Social Consciousness

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WARNING: The content and music track in this podcast contains content that depicts violence and may not be suitable for some listeners.

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Today on the podcast we are featuring the Toronto-based psychedelic-experimental-hip hop-jazz, group, Mauve Grove. Learn more about them and their track “Say Her Name.”

Show Notes and Full Transcript

Hey everyone welcome to the Eat Sleep Breathe Music podcast. I am your host Jeanette Kimszal. For those of you just joining us, this is the podcast where I talk about different musicians and how their music affects me and then play a track for you to listen to. 

So you can check it out and form your own opinion as well. And you can tell us as well if you’re so inclined.

Today I am talking about the Toronto-based group Mauve Grove.

Mauve Grove is a quartet made up of vocalist C.J. Hall, guitarist Donnie Drain, bassist Spencer Bridgwater, and drummer David Jones.

According to their Spotify page and some articles, I found online the band initially formed in 2016 and quickly caught the attention of the local Toronto music scene with their engaging live music performances. 

They released their debut LP Hot Laundry in July 2018.  Then in the spring of 2021 saw a release of their second full-length record. The album was entitled, Lush.

The track I will be playing later is a new release that will be out by the time you listen to this podcast. This song is off their upcoming third full-length record. No date for that yet. But I think they are just dropping singles here and there this year.

When it comes to describing their sound they call themselves Avant-funk and “…pure technicolor in music form.” Taking elements of hip-hop, funk, jazz, and progressive rock they have sure made a rainbow of musical genres.

So definitely something that is very eclectic and very full. Very musical and lush and heavy with lots of different sounds. 

It’s really, really cool. And also it’s cute their Facebook page has a great quote.

It says “you’d love it, it’s not quite hip-hop, it’s not quite experimental, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end.” Which I think is really funny. 

In terms of how their music compares with other groups. They have been stylistically referred to as a combination of A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak, Rage Against The Machine, and BADBADNOTGOOD. Mauve Grove is also said to appeal to fans of these groups as well as Mile High Club.

Talking a little bit about the song itself. According to the band’s Instagram page the song “Say Her Name” is a track that the band has been working on since last year. The song takes on “a psych-influenced canvas to ferociously address the failures and shortcomings of the modern social world.”

Music seems to be an outlet for freeing one’s mind of anguish and feelings is apparent in this song and seems to be a thread in their music. Also, according to vocalist CJ Hall music is a way to deal with emotional stress and get over those feelings of overwhelm. 

Music seems to be an outlet for his mental health. According to Hall, he says

“I mostly write for my own mental health and to help process emotions when they feel overwhelming. Writing is a way for me to get heavy burdens off my chest; I get a lot of catharses through my art and through music in general.”

The nice thing about an artist getting out their emotions. I said that really weirdly (laughing). The nice thing about an artist getting out their emotions into music is it can also help listeners. This track in particular has a power not only in its music but also in its lyrics. 

Musically, the song is a layered mosaic. It is heavy in this 90’s hip-hop with elements of hard-hitting drums that are reminiscent of alternative rock style. They speed up, they slow down, they speed up, they slow down. Then there is this whole other element of three different elements of music coming in. 

You think about most hip-hop songs have like a sampling of different music and this song is different because it’s kind of sampling a lot of different types of music. It’s like this jazz, there’s this fuzzy psychedelics, there’s like this progressive rock.

And it’s just like this huge layer, lush, colorful, you know just culmination of music. It is a really cool music montage.

To me, it sounds as if Public Enemy was mixed with Rage Against the Machine with a little Incubus thrown in. 

This song is so full of music it has these highs and lows that convey so much emotion just with the music alone.

It’s so amazing. It gets even more powerful once you add the lyrics. 

And you start listening to the lyrics. The music paired with the lyrics. It just gives you this fuller feeling.

And these lyrics are these socially conscious lyrics that just give it an even greater intensity that makes it just so highly thoughtful and it is ever so powerful.

It awakens the listener and it makes you stand up and take note of these atrocities that are taking place and the countless acts of racism and bigotry that are still happening in the world today. 

And it hits home with Hall because he says that the lyrics were inspired by his own encounters and close calls of these situations along with stories of people like George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, and countless others.

Another thing Hall wanted listeners to note is that the “her” in the “Say Her Name” chant is a call and response for Breonna Taylor, a woman who was shot and killed by police in a false forced-entry operation. Some of the lyrics are also from the perspective of Breonna’s then-boyfriend.  

Just like Hall says making music is an outlet for him this music can be an outlet for listeners as well. Music can positively affect the psyche. It helps to kind of get out all of that emotion you’re feeling when something bad happens to you. Not only bad things but anything that happens. Music is so powerful.

It may also give people the ability to learn how to be empathetic empathy and understanding of what others may be going through. 

It’s just so powerful in this song. The music on its own is very compelling. It’s eclectic and loud and boisterous and exciting. 

Then you add these in-your-face lyrics it just makes it an even more of dynamic song. It makes it just a rich sound and has so much complexity to it.

And the lyrics complement the music and the music complements those lyrics. And it’s got these crescendos that are so great. They have these crescendos along the really important parts in the song that go with the lyrics so well.

I think it’s an interesting and impressively powerful song.

Mauve Grove has also been getting some love on the interwebs for their music with features in IgniteNews and SarahsHotSpot.com.

And I’m interested to see what their next track is like. According to the information I have here they have a new track coming out in early July.  The track is called “Creepy Crawlies,” and I’m looking forward to hearing what that sounds like.

But I think i’ve chatted enough about the song. Now I’ll give you the chance to listen to Mauve Grove yourself so without further ado here is the track “Say Her Name.”

We would love to know what you think about Mauve Grove and their track “Say Her Name.” You can tell us in a comment on the podcast webpage.

You can also leave an audio comment at the link in the episode summary.

In the meantime you can also find Mauve Grove on Instagram and Facebook at the handle Mauve Grove. That is M-A-U-V-E-G-R-O-V-E

If you are looking for more new music be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you will get the latest updates on our artist features. You can also find more music features on our website at www.EatSleepBreatheMusic.com. That is E-a-t-S-l-e-e-p-B-r-e-a-t-h-e-M-u-s-i-c dot com. 

Thanks for listening and see you in the next episode!

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