Written by: Jeremy Copp
James Lewis has a lot on his mind. And he’s not afraid to share it. In fact, he thinks it’s a musician’s obligation to do so. “As artists, we have a responsibility to report what we see to the world” he says, because he believes the media will only tell us what they want us to hear. And right now, James sees the world as a slightly dark and chaotic place. As the lead singer and songwriter of Hurt and the Heartbeat, he shares hurt, pain, suffering, happiness and joy. He is of the mindset that it all keeps us in balance, like some great cosmic yin and yang. That is really the essence of his band’s name. There is the yin, which is hurt, but there is also the yang, that heartbeat that keeps the blood moving and pushes the body and mind ever onward, towards healing. And that’s the thing. James Lewis is an eternal optimist, with an unshakeable faith in the power of positive thought. He believes that the only way to truly effect change is to spread positivity to each and every individual; and because we are all interconnected, it’ll spread like a contagion. And if he has his way, his band will be the next big epidemic.
Hurt and the Heartbeat originated ten years ago, when James met bassist Raundi Moore Kondo in the park while strumming the guitar in what James refers to as an “organic happening.” But then they drifted apart. Fast forward to two years ago, when James moved into an apartment with rhythm guitarist Richard Cadman, and the two of them focused on working up as much material as possible. James reconnected with Raundi, and they booked their first shows. However, they still needed a drummer. With fortune smiling upon him, James basically ran into drummer Timo Prietto on the street. As James tells it, “Timo just had that energetic look of a musician.” And just like that, the core lineup of Hurt and the Heartbeat fell into place.
James is adamant about not having Hurt and the Heartbeat pigeonholed into any particular style of music. “The most boring question is ‘what genre are you?’” he states bluntly. He prefers to walk out on stage and perform to a crowd that has an unadulterated point of view. Hurt and the Heartbeat has purposefully kept their website and Facebook page devoid of any description of their sound. Therefore, there will be no such spoilers here. Instead, here are some examples of what Hurt and the Heartbeat DON’T sound like: Tool, Outkast, and Rammstein. Hurt and the Heartbeat’s music will make you want to drive through the California desert with nothing on the horizon but endless highway and the late afternoon sun, brilliant and glowing in the sky.
Hurt and the Heartbeat truly want people to react to what they are hearing in the moment. And if James has his way, what people will be reacting to is raw emotion. For him, the emotion of the song is much more important than the sound quality. As James describes it, he has had a rather turbulent relationship with music, even going so far as to give up playing guitar or writing songs for ten years. And then he realized that he was much better off emoting his problems through music. “I’m just like everyone else,” James claims, “F*cked up and trying to deal with my pain on stage instead of with alcohol and drugs.” His openness is refreshing, and he tries to bring that to stage every time Hurt and the Heartbeat performs.
At the time being, Hurt and the Heartbeat are trying to slow down their performance schedule to focus on recording. James says that they are writing their second album, and he already has the songs for a third album in the works. So see them live soon, while they’re still gigging incessantly. Chances are you will find their passion, honesty and energy highly infectious.
See Hurt and the Heartbeat at Groove International’s Sunday Funday Bash on July 12 (House of Blues-Main Stage, Anaheim, CA).
For more information on Hurt and the Heartbeat, visit:
Written By: Chelbi Olsen – Groove International’s Assistant Operations Manager
The Suicide Doors – Inside Scoop
The Suicide Doors are a DJ/Producer combination made of up DJ Roueche and DaCapo. I asked them both to to answer some questions that would not only shed some light into who they are as a group but individually. What their goals are, their motivations, their journey, and what we can expect from them in the future. This month we are happy to announce that Groove International will be holding their upcoming CD Release! They will be playing at our Masquerade Bash on June 26th at the Avalon’s Bardot in Hollywood! This date is exceptionally special as both their birthdays are this month and it is on DeCapo’s actual birthday.
DaCapo added that he is, “ reversing in age getting younger by the day. You know…The Benjamin Button/young Will Smith type.” So, naturally, everyone should come check out this fabulously aging man and his partner DJ Roueche .
How would you describe The Suicide Doors?
DJ Roueche describes The Suicide doors and an experience, “ Whether we have shows that are with our Conga Drummer and Saxophone player or a straight DJ set, we’re performing, not just hiding behind the DJ gear. Our original music, remixes and shows all have an energy to them that sets us apart from most DJ/Producers.”
DaCapo also noted that, “Engaging with our supporters is everything. We want to make sure that every single person after seeing a Suicide Doors show says ‘wow…that was pretty freakin’ awesome…and just DIFFERENT.’ They gotta get their money’s worth & that’s why we pride ourselves on doing everything LIVE.”
What are your goals as DJ’s and producers?
“As The Suicide Doors, our goal is to have us traveling the world playing DJ sets with our own originally produced music while getting into studios with artists and making amazing music for people to dance to.” (DJ Roueche)
“We don’t want to just ‘blend in’ the scene. As we progress in our art we want to establish our own scene; our own sound. This is an opportunity to leave our fingerprint on a music industry that is more receptive to change than ever.” (DaCapo)
Who have been your motivations or influences to creating music that not only moves you, but your audience?
“For me, my biggest influences have been Diplo, A-Trak, Timbaland and The Neptunes/Pharrell. Especially A-Trak. A-Trak is the true definition of a DJ/Producer. He won the DMC Championship (Turntable battle) at the age of 15 and now tours the world showing everyone you can actually DJ live and still put on an amazing show with your own produced music.” (DJ Roueche)
“Hmm…my biggest influences are Quincy Jones, Kanye West, Dr Luke, like 3 of DJR’s picks, and DJ AM on the decks. I’m really big on being able to be versatile and still killing it in different genres and all these guys do that to perfection.” (DaCapo)
How long have you two been interested in DJ’ing and producing music?
“I’ve been DJing since I was 17 and I’ve always been interested in producing music. I just never knew how to get started. DaCapo and I used to put a mixtape out together every year starting in 2009 and after we dropped a mixtape in the summer of 2011, we decided 2012 would be the year we release an EP of our own music. Luckily DaCapo had already started getting into producing and I made some friends who knew how to produce and they all helped me get started. Producing feels like the next natural step from DJing for me.” (DJ Roueche)
“I started DJing my senior year in high school. Got hurt playing sports, so I needed something else to splurge my time into. I remember my first set of decks were these crappy plastic Numark belt-drive turntables that I got off of eBay for like $150. It was one of those just add water DJ starter kits. I only had 5 vinyl records at the time. So The Prince Revolution and the Star Wars Soundtrack saw the most action. If I was really feeling brave I would throw in The Fat Boys from time to time. My 20 minute old school set game was strong! haha I was always interested in producing when I started djing, but I sucked at the time and I knew it so I stuck to just DJing. One of the most important things about music is knowing what’s not hot. haha. I fully picked up producing in 2012 full force and here we are now.” (DaCapo)
Why did you two decide to start playing together in 2008? What were you drawn to about one another?
“DaCapo contacted me in 2008. I have my own DJ company and he was looking for some new gigs. We chatted and hit it off right away. I knew early on we had the same mindset about DJing and the music business. Working with DaCapo is seamless for me as we are both always on the same page when it comes to where we want to take The Suicide Doors.” (DJ Roueche)
“DJ Roueche is my brother from another mother. It’s kinda scary sometimes how we are almost always on the same page. Dj Roueche’s professionalism is what drew me initially and it’s just very difficult finding someone who is a straight-shooter. No BS. and that’s why we get along so well. and by no fault of his own….the ladies love Roueche. It makes me look better too. LL Roueche is what i’m going to start calling him now. haha.” (DaCapo)
In 2012, you two went from playing with one another to The Suicide Doors. What were your goals in creating this collective?
“Calling ourselves The Suicide Doors was to brand ourselves as something different than the DJ names everyone had known us as individuals up to that point. I wanted to produce music under The Suicide Doors name and with the DJ/Producer world the way it is now, with these big name DJs traveling the world playing their own music, we decided since we already know how to DJ, let’s also perform as The Suicide Doors but make sure it’s a different sound than what people were used to hearing from us as individual DJs.” (DJ Roueche)
What is it about The Suicide Doors that set you apart from other DJ’s?
“We always mix, scratch and beat match live when we perform. Not all DJs do that these days. We can also perform with a Conga Drummer and Saxophonist which always makes for a really cool performance.” (DJ Roueche)
“Like I mentioned a bit earlier, crowd engagement is everything. We like to be one with the folks we party with. You might see me singing some of our lyrics live in the crowd or see DJ Roueche playing the tambourine standing on top of the bar. You name it, and it’s fair game. Nothing’s safe!!! mu-hahaaa.” (DaCapo)
What do you hope to bring to your audience with your upcoming CD release?
“Our first EP was in 2012 and even though we’ve released some remixes, bootlegs and produced a few songs for some singer/songwriters, I hope this EP shows our growth as Producers and gives people an idea of where our music is headed.” (DJ Roueche)
“We want to bring a good time. We want to take our audience on a ride. Different tempos. Different arrangements and compositions. Just a different take on EDM. Even if you’ve never listened to Electronic Dance Music a day in your life, we want that person to appreciate just plain good music.” (DaCapo)
How has your experience been working with Groove International? What do you like about working with us over other promoters?
“Working with Groove International has been great. What I like the most is how professional everyone is and we all want the same thing, to give everyone who comes to a Groove International event, an amazing experience.” (DJ Roueche)
“The folks at Groove International have been really good to us. Straight up and fair and I agree with DJ Rouche. Professionalism is big for me. I’m also all about positive energy and these guys have it locked.” (DaCapo)
Is there anything you would like to add?
“Yes, we wanted to take this time to simply thank our supporters that continue to ride with us in everything that we do. All of the rehearsals, sleepless nights in the studio, everything, is all to give our folks the best that they deserve. So THANK YOU! You inspire us.” (DaCapo)
We are proud to announce that Groove International is expanding our events into the prestigious Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego! To celebrate the expansion, we will be hosting our infamous “Sound The Groove” music bash on their rooftop poolside, Float, on Friday, July 17th, 2015! (21 & Over Event)
Our expansion parties are notorious for being over the top. And now that we are expanding further into our beloved City of San Diego, we want to make this as big as we possibly can. Come join us for a wild night filled with live bands, DJs, dancers, photographers, models, beach balls, hosts, and everything else we can throw in the mix! Our last expansion party was PACKED so be sure to come early!
| RSVP to our Expansion Party on Facebook! | Purchase Tickets Online |
Editor’s Note: Annyette Preston is performing at Groove International’s Pink Ribbon Riot event for breast cancer awareness on Thursday, May 28th, 2015 at House of Blues Sunset Strip in the Foundation Room of West Hollywood. Come support a great cause and witness not just beautiful music, but a beautiful soul!
MUSICIAN FEATURE: ANNYETTE PRESTON
Written By: Melissa Zamora
“The writing never stops. It’s a constant flow to feeling. I have a mobile studio that I am always singing and writing in, Oti.”
Annyette Preston is one of those magical human beings you don’t really expect to meet in Los Angeles, CA. Her song “Lay You Down” had been on repeat in my head for days, wondering to myself what kind of person could command such a voice. Her music, a mix between Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, Nat Cole, and a hint of country; radiates strength and heart, filling each melody softly and smoothly till you find yourself hitting the repeat button to get lost in her world all over again.
Annyette is a woman with soul. Not just the musical kind of soul – but a soul who knows who she is, where she is going and what kind of person she wants to convey to the world. Whether we were discussing family, charity, music, fans or the future, she spoke with passion and a fearless drive to succeed, teach and love in all aspects of her life.
Question: How long have you been singing for?
For those of you who don’t know, Annyette is hilarious. She not only expresses things through her music but with laughter and her natural knack for humor. Every time I remember her response to this question I can see the stars in her eyes and a smile from ear to ear, her facial expressions filled with such vibrant youthfulness
“Old enough for my mother to tell me to shut-up.” She then went on to recall her first gig on the back of her aunts pick up truck singing to the Dixie Chicks.
Question: For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words.
“I’ll do you it in 3! Sexy, crazy, cool.”
Question: Who inspires you and where do you draw passion for your music?
“There are a variety of musical influences that have inspired me throughout my life but my inspiration comes from my family members, my elders, and as of late – my younger cousins. It’s so incredible watching them grow and discover their own talents and for me, I want to teach them that no dream is too big to go after, and to give them the confidence to pursue the things they are most passionate about in life.”
Question: What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
“I have a few that keep me steadfast in my journey. One is from Deuteronomy 31:6. ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’ And while playing softball one of the teams I played on lived by these three mottos that I had really taken to heart.. And kept with me throughout my career as a student-athlete, applying them to all areas of my life; hard work and dedication, a relentless belief in yourself and your team, and APS a passion to succeed.”
Question: If I were to turn your iPod on right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recent playlist?
“Amy Winehouse, The Nat King Cole Trio, Steve Miller Band, Katchafire.”
Question: If you could open up for any artist on tour who would it be?
“Annyette smiled and you could see her reliving a moment in her mind before divulging. “No Doubt.” As she looked up at me with a grin on her face she said “When they were doing their reunion tour and Paramore opened up for them my uncle took me to that concert. It was my first concert ever. He was my best friend. We immersed ourselves in their music for a week or so before the concert. It was amazing. Unfortunately, my uncle had passed from melanoma but those moments with him live on with me forever.”
Question: Are you ever nervous to perform these days?
“I love being on stage it’s like baking a cake then getting to eat it. All the hard work you do and then the big celebration!”
If you’ve ever had a chance to watch Annyette perform live you can see there is no fear, just fun, confidence and a style all her own.
Question: Tell me about your foundation, The Bucket Club..
“Giving back has always been apart of my heart. In college I had volunteered to take notes for one of the deaf students on campus. We became friends as I continued to take notes for him and the program throughout my four year stay. On top of taking notes I spent a lot of time out in the community volunteering extra time giving back to the people that made our program (softball) a possibility. The amount of hours that I had put in helped to raise awareness, spark involvement, and get more of my peers out in the community as well. The Bucket Club is is my way to continue on the tradition, still give back , and support.”
Question: Are you excited to be performing for Groove again and what do you expect to bring/contribute to the vibe of the event this time?
“Well its not my first time with Groove, I expect to bring what I always bring, my personality, a good time and great music.” Annyette is especially excited to be apart of The Pink Ribbon Riot event since it is being held for Breast Cancer For a Cause.
In meeting Annyette I found a very rare woman who has passion, knowledge, heart and talent beyond her years. A legend who writes and co-produces her own music, plays a mean air-horn and has the best before and after performance ritual by kissing her fathers cheek. She’s a breath of fresh and to use her own words “an encounter that changed me a little, a piece of her charm to learn and take with me.”
Question: “What is on the horizon for Annyette Preston?”
She inhales deeply, takes a moment to look down at the table exhales and looks up with the world in her eyes and pure bliss on her face. “Greatness.”
Written by Monica Sorenson
Getting to Know Franny:
Franny Eve is an easy-going breath of fresh air with an underlying drive to succeed in balancing her passions in life. She talked with great enthusiasm about her perseverance in her studies and dreams to become a teacher, as well as her devotion to the art of go-go dancing. Franny is easy to chat with and she offered me some great tips on fitness and healthy eating during this interview. I hope you get a chance to meet her at one of Groove International’s upcoming events. Franny is determined to have it all and have fun while doing it!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start in entertainment, specifically, go-go dancing.
I got started in entertainment in high school when I was on dance team and developed my love for performing. Once at arelaxed black light runway shows I knew I would have the flexibility to express myself as I got to the end of the stage. Wearing a pair of fluffies with the designer bikini I was modeling, I performed an impromptu go-go dance for the crowd and with a great response from the audience. Before I left the stage, a woman handed me her business card. I went home and called the number and found out that she was the owner of a new San Diego club opening up and she wanted to have me as a resident dancer! The rest is history. It was my first experience of practicing “Fake it till you make it”.
When you are performing, what motivates you to give your very best?
Of course the music is the biggest motivation, I like a lot of bass and different genres of music. The crowd however motivates me even more than that. A room full of people that are excited and enjoying the music is contagious and helps me perform better. Eye contact and smiles from the audience are super important! I want to know that people enjoy my performance.
How important is your appearance in your profession?
Appearance is important because you want people to enjoy watching you. That being said, energy and passion is even more important. I sometimes see go-go dancers who don’t necessarily have a great physique but they have tons of energy and they love what they do. These are my favorite entertainers.
What do you do to enhance your appearance and fitness level?
I practice yoga every day. If I cannot do it for a full 30-50 minutes, I always get at least 10 minutes in. I also experiment with different types of yoga to learn new ways to stretch and move my body. I drink fruit/vegetable smoothies as often as I can. I make sure that they contain some type of vegetable (usually spinach or kale) and some type of fat-burner/skin-toner such as aloe vera juice or coconut oil. These smoothies give me a deeper appreciation for life because they fill me with lasting energy and endurance.
Tell us more about the impact of exercise and healthy eating in helping you succeed?
Fitness and a healthy diet are two keys to my success because when I feel my best, I perform my best. Meditation is also a major game changer. I meditate whenever possible in the day and every night before I sleep. This practice keeps me positive and helps me manifest what I want into my life.
What is the best part about professional dancing?
The best part about professional dancing is that my job does not feel like work, it is play. And who wouldn’t want to get paid to play?
What do you find to be the most challenging about your job?
This can be a challenging job because go-go dancing is such a competitive job scene and not all employers treat dancers with respect. It brings me great joy to dance with Groove International because this is a company that honors the dancers’ needs and the quality of talent we bring to the performance.
I understand that you are planning to teach as well as continuing to dance. How will you balance your two passions?
I am in school right now to complete my teaching credential. My degree is in English Education. My long term goal is to either create or join an alternative school that incorporates not only regular school subjects, but gives students important tools to use in everyday life that will help them achieve their dreams. I am always finding innovative ways to reach students in new ways and make learning interesting for them. For now, I plan to complete my teaching classes and then take some time off before student teaching to perform as much as possible because right now, this is what makes my heart smile the most.
What advice would you give to other young women who are interested in this field?
I would say always see your body as a work in progress. I always do. I am by no means perfect, but I can continue to set goals and continue reaching higher. For aspiring dancers, never stop dancing. Always take different types of dance classes and learn to dance to every kind of genre there is. Don’t be afraid to go to auditions because if there’s a chance you won’t get it, there is also a chance that you will. Never be afraid to shine. Positive thinking goes a long way! It took me three tries before I got into my high school dance team and I am so happy that I never gave up.
What are your aspirations for the future? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
My biggest dream as far as gogo dancing goes had been to dance for Ultra Miami Music Festivals and to dance internationally. During Spring Break, I accomplished my goal of becoming an Ultra Angel and travelled to Miami to perform on some of the biggest stages. This was one of the best experiences of my life. Yesterday I just got a modeling agent and this year I plan to get an acting agent. In ten years, I will have accomplished all of these goals and I will also be teaching kids and adults alike to love themselves and become successful in whatever they choose to do because that is what life is for!
Groove International is proud to announce that we are officially bringing our fun-filled “Sunday Funday Bash” to the Main Stage House of Blues San Diego! This 18 & Over event will have everything from live bands, DJs, beach balls, inflatable zebras, drinking, dancing, and plenty more! Because lets face it.. Sunday is still a part of the weekend. Let’s get weird!
Our first San Diego “Sunday Funday Bash” will be on Sunday, January 11th, 2015. Get your tickets early!
For bands and DJs looking to perform in our events, contact us here!
If you would like to model or dance at our events, contact us here!
It’s that time of year in sunny-California again! The leaves are turning brown, the temperature is still at 70 degrees, and every coffee shop and shopping mall is blasting Christmas music like it’s already mid-December. And it is with that said, that we are happy to announce that we have officially begun scheduling our Winter Wonderland theme parties for 2014!
We will be hosting our highly-popular holiday bashes at various House of Blues locations throughout Southern California. We will have live-bands, DJs, sexy-santas, fake snow (considering there won’t be real snow within 100 miles from here), presents, and everything else that makes the holiday season festive!
We currently have events scheduled at House of Blues Foundation Room and the Main Stage of House of Blues Sunset Strip. We will be announcing an event date for San Diego soon as well!
For bands and DJs looking to perform in our events, contact us here!
If you would like to model or dance at our events, contact us here!
Groove International takes great pride in hosting our interactive concert-themed parties, and we make it a point to work with only the best nightclubs and concert venues in Southern California. 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for the company, and we are humbled to announce that Groove International will officially begin hosting events at the Avalon Nightclub in Hollywood as of January!
Our first event will take place on the glorious “Bardot” rooftop of the club on Friday, January 23rd, 2015. Groove International will be arriving at the club in full force with live-bands, DJs, go go dancers, beach balls, masks, and everything else that makes us.. Us. Brace yourselves for a wild night filled with dancing, drinking, laughing and whatever else happens under the moonlight of Hollywood proper.
BANDS/ DJs: If you want to perform in this event, fill out our Online Musician Application.
MODELS: If you would like to model or dance for this event, contact our Modeling Department.
Please Note: Like all new locations with Groove International, we are expecting to have a full house. Advance tickets will be available in November. We highly suggest people purchase their tickets early.
Editor’s Note: Groove International conducts professional photo-shoots for all of our event flyers. Here are some candid and professional shots from our “Captain America” shoot with Jennifer Lang.
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