Music

Grove Is Giving Gender Norms The Finger

The musician is putting queer narratives to the forefront with eclectic tracks that chart rave, dancehall and hip-hop.

Hailing from Cheltenham but making a name for themselves in Bristol’s vibrant DIY scene, Grove is the non-binary vocalist and producer whose genre-fluid music is ripping up the electronic music rulebook. With tracks like “Ur Boyfriend’s Whack” poking fun at mediocre boyfriends everywhere or “Sticky” celebrating queer, POC club night Pxssy Palace, they’re celebrating queer joy and rejecting the overly pale, male and stale nature of music production. 

As they get ready to drop new EP Queer + Black, we caught up with them about Bristol’s tight-knit music scene and their fantasy of stepping back in time to steal “gals from their boyfriends”.

 

What were your younger years like?

I grew up in Cheltenham and definitely had a turbulent upbringing, but one that was, at its core, rooted in love.

 

So when did you get into music?

When I was around 14, I downloaded the Garageband app on my iPhone 3 and started using it to multi-track my Casio keyboard – the one with the wicked sound effects, most notably “DJ!”, “huERgH!” and “yeeeeaaah”. Made plenty cringey pop tunes, only gone downhill from then.

 

What’s one album that’s had a formative effect on you?

Oooofff, big question. I would say either Sevdaliza’s Ison or FKA Twigs’ LP 1.

 

And who are the artists that currently inspire you?

Debby Friday, Aïsha Devi, The Bug and Miss Red.

 

You’re based in Bristol right now, which is known for its nightlife. What’s your favourite thing about performing in that scene?

I only existed in Bristol for a handful of months before everyting lock-arfff. During that time I mainly played in small, sweaty and packed rooms, with the most beautifully diverse groups of people. I get a fond heart-achey feeling reflecting back to those times. Long live The Old E!

Speaking of clubnights, “Sticky”, which you released last year, was inspired by your first time at Pxssy Palace – what was so special about that night?

So, for context, I’d not been out in London before and had grown up in a very white, straight space. Experiencing this night, run by queer people of colour for queer people of colour, meant for the first time in my 20 years of living, I experienced a sense of belonging. It was totally perspective-changing and allowed me to take the next step in the journey towards self-love. All while catching a whine, wahooooo!

 

Your latest track “Ur Boyfriend’s Wack” takes aim at all the cis-het boyfriends out there doing the bare minimum, was it inspired by a real-life scenario? 

It’s partially informed by the very real-life scenario of feeling ashamed in my queerness growing up, and partially rooted in the pure fantasy of stepping back in time, stealing gals from their boyfriends and owning that shit.

 

Is there anything you’re hoping to get across with your music?

To be honest, I’m mainly hoping to make things that my peers and friends can vibe to that cover a variety of different topics, politically, racially and sexually. Would love to continue to collaborate with those with a vision of a better future and link together communities through that.

 

Finally, what’s next for you?

More good food, more reading, more soundwaves and more sexing.

 

Follow Grove here. Their ‘Queer + Black’ EP  is available via Spotify here and Bandcamp here. 

23 February 2021