Groves are a noise/punk/hippie three-piece band from Manchester (They are not the five-piece who recently played the Now Wave stage at Sounds from the Other City). The ‘throat-splitting’ vocals are provided by Luca Corda, the ‘thunderous drums’ by his brother Mattia Corda and the gut-drilling bass by Richard Clarke. There are a few reasons why I asked them to be interviewed for us. I had already heard of them, and when I saw they were organising a launch party called ‘Arc of The Horizon’ for their latest release Give It Some Thrape, I decided to go and check them out.

In the middle of the Longsight desert, I found myself transported into another reality. Hosted in a magnificent medieval mansion with an immense garden, the event was one full day of performances by local musicians and poets, vinyl DJ sessions and an annexed market of records, cakes, homemade brews and art. All set in a welcoming chilled-out atmosphere of what it felt like an urban hippie commune.

After watching their psychedelic performance seasoned with black lights and fluorescent face paint that I was appointed to put on people’s faces, I saw the light: Groves are noise hippies grown up in club culture who mix it all up in a fantastic blend of fun and drunken bonfires. They label themselves ‘fun+loud racket from Manchester’. Let’s see what the Groves themselves have to say and what their general philosophy is. I met them in the bohemian Northern Quarter for a 90 minute session of laughs and friendly reciprocal piss-taking.

You seem to have a pretty busy schedule at the moment, things seem to go really well for Groves. Are you happy with how it is going?

LC Yeah, it’s going.

People clearly enjoy your performances a lot. We can see that you enjoy yourselves and it gets back to us, it’s a flow that feeds itself.

MC A very wise lady once told me: there are two ends to a telephone line…
LC …and it helps if the two ends are connected.

Which musicians inspired you and what is your musical background?

LC People would say, among the obvious ones, Shellac, probably Nirvana, anything grunge, basically.
RC Jesus Lizard. Tia? He must have an influence there…
MC Bach…

Tia, it sounds like you have a classical background… 

MC Yes.
LC Tia’s background and training is more grounded in classical music. He is a wonderful theorbist, great pianist, average conductor [laughs]…
RC …guitarist…
LC Whereas me and Richard grew up more with popular music, a rock’n’roll thing.

I had thought of Sonic Youth and Pavement…

MC/RC Also, definitely.
LC For me and Richie, I think, a big influence is a British band called Cable, whom we got to see twice last year.
RC They are a band from Derby, formed in the 90s, between Britpop and grunge. They produced very interesting songs and three albums. Then they disbanded for a while and reformed recently.
RC It’s a band you can always go back to and enjoy, a massive influence for us.
LC They are flipping great! Are we allowed to swear?



Of course.

LC They are fucking great!

Is there anything that you dislike or were inspired by in old or contemporary bands? Attitudes, behaviours…

RC Ooooohhh! One thing that annoys me is when a band just looks like they are not having fun. It’s just fashion and looking cool on stage. What are you doing? Why are you on stage? Why are you not having fun?!?
MC There are two ends to a telephone line! It’s 50% the audience and 50% the band. It’s two way. You’ve got to work together with the audience. Get them all in circle holding hands and get their vocal chords vibrating.
RC True!
LC It’s a choice that we make, something we consider. We want to be connected and involved with the people, but for a lot of performers this is not what they’re all about. For us it’s a big factor.
RC It has taken us a while to get to this point, performing live and then adding this extra element of getting the audience involved, but it’s kind of what we want to do. If a band does not want to do that, if they just want to play their music it’s fine. Some bands don’t say anything to the crowd, but they can be very engaging to watch anyway.

Do you think that when performers are not able to connect with the audience this can be due to anxiety?

MC Perhaps Richard would like to answer this question. Richard has a phrase that begins with ‘release’.

RC ‘Release the inner child! It’s just about being silly, letting go and not take yourself too seriously.

Which is why I see you guys as ‘noise hippies’!

RC ‘Noise hippies’, wow!

‘Noise’ and ‘hippies’ are two categories that don’t usually go together. It’s either noise, cool, distorted guitars from New York or folk, flowers, long hair and beards from some small town in Southern England. The ‘noise hippy’ is something new!

RC I had never thought of that!
LC Hey, we may have hit the niche market there!

You label yourselves as ‘punk – noise’. In which way are you ‘punk’?

RC Well, for me punk is about being open to everything.
LC Be who you want to be and do what you want to do.

True, but punk also conveyed a strong political message. So, does your punk have anything to do with politics? The first time I saw the video of ‘Frack the Shit Out of It’ I did wonder if it could be a sarcastic reference to fracking and how it is imposed on territories and communities without anyone agreeing to it.

LC Personally, I’m not heavily into politics.
RC I do think you don’t like fracking, though.
LC There are obviously things that do sound like daft ideas, such as fracking or building a massive rail network just to save a few rich people 5 or 10 minutes on the train to London.
MC I think you’ve put it all marvellously, Luca. I do agree with you that fracking seems like a daft idea and probably that’s the message that our song maybe wanted to portray, even though it seems counter-intuitive. That’s, perhaps, our sarcastic side.
LC Yeah, I think the title has a hint of sarcasm. We are all anti-fracking, but we are not activists.
RC We are all definitely very anti-fracking.
MC Personally, politics doesn’t influence my drumming style one bit.
LC Does politics influence you, Rich?
RC It does influence my life, but I wouldn’t say the music so much. It’s more on a personal level.

Groves' Merchandise

Groves’ Merchandise

Luca, what is it with your screaming? (I’m very jealous of your screaming). It’s your main vocals mode. Why? What is it that drives you to scream like that? I ask because it’s quite strong, quite intense.

LC I have a bit of history of the screaming. Back in York, many moons ago, after the band with Rich [Treehouse] when I was 12, then I got in a band called Loki, a metal band, when I was 18-19, and that’s when I discovered how much joy I got from screaming.

Why is that? You seem so quiet..

LC I don’t know. It’s just an amazing release.

Release of what? Anger?

LC It’s not really anger. You know, sometimes you get a build-up of shit in your brain, for whatever reason: a silly day in work, someone saying something mean to you, or you feel a bit down about something you’ve said. You get a bit clogged up in your brain, or I do. Today for example, we hadn’t been playing together for a few weeks, and then to go and have our rehearsal, after a day of work, my head is just clear now after a bit of shouting, it’s like an eraser, a rubber. But I actually fell out of my relationship with screaming for a long time.
RC You nearly fainted once.
LC Yeah, I used to nearly pass out! I gave up, and I was enjoying singing a lot and when we got back together with the Groves, then I tried it again and it was like YES. I enjoy it!
RC And you don’t faint any more now.

Do you never feel the need to sing a melody?

LC Absolutely, I think that’s where we are heading now with the new tracks.

Are you going pop?

LC A little…
MC I’d probably use the word ‘wet’.
LC …and soft. Yeah, there’s gonna be singing now!
Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
LC It’s a punk thing, because we do what we want!
RC And it feels right at the moment. I’m loving it.
LC I think we are all enjoying the new stuff. There’s a bit more melody there, we’ll still have some punky rocky stuff though.
RC Just a bit more varied, I’d say.

Let’s talk about the merchandising, which plays a very important role in shaping the Groves identity. I love the fact that you basically hand-make everything.

LC So far…

So far. I merrily purchased the tape from the Groves briefcase and I got a digital download too, but I don’t have a tape player, so I was not able to listen to the extra song on tape. Why this choice? Do you really want people to listen to your music on tapes?

RC It’s like with vinyl, having an object to hold, an object that you go and buy. When there’s something that you really appreciate it’s so much nicer than just a standard CD that you see in a shop and you buy hundreds of the same things over and over. We couldn’t afford vinyl, so I guess tape was the best option, really.
LC If we had some label involved, even just a small label that could help us with funds to getting a record pressed that would be great. Cassettes and vinyl are getting back in, the physical format.
RC It’s just stepping away from the digital and CD that is just so common right now. It’s nice to have something different that is kind of unique. I don’t know, you might dig a tape from your mum’s loft, pop it in and see what happens.



Having used them all, tapes and vinyl as a child, CDs as a teenager and digital as a grown up, and having had to carry dozens of boxes of tapes, vinyl, CDs and VHS when moving house, I have to say that I prefer the portability of the digital format. Also, tapes and LPs were so common when I was a child that perhaps I am not able to grasp this vintage fascination.

LC There is something different, though, when we listen to that tape in the tape player, through those rattly old speakers. It’s quite different.
RC [does the rattling sound] The whole process of getting it out, I don’t know if it’s like a reminiscence or if it brings out old memories if you got a tape player: get it out, put it in. I remember doing this, or recording off the radio.

It’s a bit of 1980s nostalgia then.

RC It is a bit nostalgic, yes.

You guys printed some text backwards and included a tiny plastic mirror to read it! What an idea! That required a bit of effort!

LC Good!

You clearly target people that have got time and take time to listen to your things and want to have that little extra minute to place a mirror in front of your tape inlay!

LC Did you do that?

Of course I did.

LC Brilliant!

Beside the credits, which include Manchester taxis for being so expensive, what was the other philosophical bit about?

LC ‘Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out’.

That’s the one. Where does that come from?

MC I forget the source of that. I believe that came from the Internet, possibly.
LC That is linked to the production of that record, because one thing seems to lead to another. We had the initial idea: let’s screen print some CDs! Then it moved to making some tapes, then we started making the inlays, and then Richard suggested: ‘Oh! Why don’t we reverse the notes and put little mirrors in?’
RC That comes from work, actually.

From work?!?

RC I practise writing my name backwards and upside down, just when I’m bored. And then it popped into my head: the mirror! Because I do it all the time. That’s us just trying to engage the audience.

I did try to use the little mirror provided, I was very active: I even used an extra mirror. It was not an easy business, but I appreciated the idea a lot, it was fun.

LC As long as the thought was there, I’m sure that you found the way to read it.

And then I read the sleeve in my big mirror and the text was revealed to me.

MC And how did that make you feel, after you had achieved it?



Success! ‘I’m initiated now’, I thought.

LC There you go!
MC There is a famous saying that goes: No pain……No gain!
MC Well remembered!
LC May I just say what I was going to say earlier about that text. Between saying that you are going to do something and completing it, it takes a lot. That’s why that saying was fitting for us. It did take us a long time, didn’t it, Rich and Tia?
RC A long, long time.
MC Those two gentlemen over there….The amount of hours that they spent in the production line is unbelievable. The courage that this chap Richard showed screen printing those sleeves is quite something.
RC I’ve had a lot of help. We are quite lucky because our friends are absolute legends!
MC On the merch thing, we need to thank all the people that have helped us. Our sister Daniela Corda designed some of the badges, and a great friend of ours, Cecile Hoezelle, designed the t-shirt logo.
LC And our friend Dan Vallins designed the album cover.

Let’s talk about the dresses. Why did you decide to wear dresses on stage? I like them very much and you all look wonderful in them. Is there any gender-bending agenda at work there? 

LC This is the question I thought we might be asked.
RC Some are quite tight to put on… Did it come from the video? [‘Frack The Shit Out Of It’]
LC No, I don’t even remember the first time.
RC Is it after that night we walked home and then just… It all revolves around our house.
LC Me and Rich were walking back from a wonderful day, I don’t know what happened on that day.
MC There was a lot of ‘false energy’ included.
LC We were feeling the love for everyone, really. And we were walking home from a gig.

Synthetic love?

LC Even before that, that came after. There was just a pile of kaftans in the street, so we picked them up and we thought: ‘these are beautiful!’. And then we put them on and went into the house and…

As simple as that? Is this how it started?

RC Yes. We were just enjoying wearing them and we took it from there, I think.
MC Another gift from the universe, 5 words.
LC A gift from the universe, there you go.

Do the dresses have anything to do with gender boundaries then?

MC I’m not sure the boys would agree with me on this issue and it’s not necessarily related to the band. For me, personally, an issue like that is a little bit too specific for my philosophy. I would probably think more generally about human beings expressing themselves in any way, shape or form they wish to, and gender for me focuses a lot on specific issues that are maybe deeply rooted in people having a need or feeling to express themselves in another way. So, perhaps the dresses are one manifestation of us expressing ourselves or feeling comfortable with an audience or bridging that gap, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s about gender …We could quite happily convey that message without the dresses.
LC I find it strange that people even notice that. I get a lot out of it and I think it’s very important to be in touch with your feminine side as a guy and your masculine side if you are a woman.

Groves Cassette

Groves Cassette

I dream of a world where these concepts of masculine and feminine did not even exist. So are you happy when these borders are crossed?

LC Extremely happy. As long as people express themselves as best they can and feel comfortable, that’s fine.
RC It’s interesting for me because I found it quite hard to put on a dress the first time doing it, but now I love it. I enjoy it and it’s given me more confidence on stage and I can just express myself more and I feel more open to…whatever. It’s really interesting and it also somehow relaxes people, it intrigues them, they go: what’s going on here? We are so used to chinstrokers at gigs. They seem more engaged.

It depends on the context. In some contexts men wearing a dress is definitely no big deal. At the same time, in rock-indie there are quite strong stereotypes about the image of a rock or noise musician. And this is related to where we started from and how Groves break this mould of the ‘noise’ band.

LC Maybe we do without being totally aware of that ourselves.
MC Well, if you want a stereotype of the rock musician and the rock’n’roll lifestyle then definitely 2/3 of the band fit the bill for that one. Look at the two boys in the smoking area, enjoying a little puff on a cigarette and their pint and a smile on their faces.

Since we mentioned the amazing video for ‘Frack The Shit Out of It’, shall we name its very talented director? It looks like you had a great time shooting it. Who had this idea of the masks? Was there a concept behind it or was it just random improvised fun?

RC I’d say it was spontaneous.
LC The guy who did the video was recommended to us. His name is Jordan Greenwood, from Halifax, and I believe he just recently finished his degree in Film and Media Production. His art name is Jordangelo. I think we cobbled the storyline together.

Are you involved in other individual or collective projects?

MC I’m a passionate lute player in a very successful chamber ensemble called The Castello duo. Luca is involved in many projects, perhaps the most prominent being the band Locean, which are…
LC …improvised noise and poetry. I play the drums.
MC You may not approve the way the band relates to the audience. Locean take a slightly different stance.
RC I’m involved in a band called Easter, from Manchester, with my brother and two other friends, and I play bass there too.

Would you say that Groves is the main project?

RC I would say so.
MC We’ve all got to pay the bills, haven’t we, Francesca?
LC Well this is definitely not doing that!

Alright guys, thanks a lot for the very lovely conversation. Before we go, I’d like to ask Groves what is the main message that you want to share with our readers?

LC It’s a big question.
RC Don’t drink drunk!
LC That’s not a bad one, Rich. The one that pops to my head is: Have fun with what you do.
RC Don’t take yourselves too seriously…
LC …if you are performing and if you are watching.
RC yeah, just go with the flow.
LC Be yourselves, be sound. It takes a lifetime to learn life. Enjoy every moment.
RC Appreciate every moment.

The extended Groves interview is available here.

Groves will be playing in Manchester in October at A Carefully Planned Festival in the Northern Quarter. Their music and merchandising are available from

Groves Bandcamp| Facebook | Twitter

Francesca Nottola

I write, translate, edit texts and take pictures. I solve problems for pensioners and create problems to everyone else. Sometimes a history researcher and language tutor, I would happily live in a national archive or in the head of professional musicians. Unfortunately, I say what I think