Foundations: Groove Armada

Tom Findlay selects five vital LPs...

Groove Armada is a project which grew out of a nightclub, the sound of DJs quite literally taking matters into their own hands.

Almost 20 years later, the band – Tom Findlay and Andy Cato – are a near unimpeachable dance phenomenon.

With countless hits under their belt, the group has branched out to incorporate all manner of side projects, and even their own festival, Lovebox.

Set to return to the road this summer, Groove Armada are preparing a set which will span all eras of the group. With this in mind, Findlay sat down with Clash to discuss his Foundations. 

A regular column on Clash (check out the archive HERE), Foundations provides a chance for artists to reveal the albums which have truly influenced them – not necessarily current favourites, per se, but documents which left a massive impact.

"Five albums, then..." (Click the image above to scroll through the covers)

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Michael Jackson  – 'Thriller' (1982)

"It’s the first album I bought, from a market stall in Cambridge. I remember it almost like it was yesterday. The totally brilliant gatefold sleeve, with the soft-focus MJ and baby tiger – which seemed less odd at the time. I think I knew from the start that this LP was a bit special. I still don’t think there’s been a better or more influential album made since."

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De La Soul – '3 Feet High And Rising' (1989)

"This is the first record I was aware of that used sampling. I was in a funk band at the time, using a Tascam four-track, and the word was this album was made on one. It made things feel in one way possible, and in most other ways completely impossible…"

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Stevie Wonder  'Songs In The Key Of Life' (1976)

"I was well into the ‘rare groove’ thing. There weren’t too many great albums in that genre, but lots of killer tracks. But this was one (of the great albums). ‘Another Star’ was a sort of acid jazz classic, but the song that stands out for me is ‘As’, which is just about the best funk track of all time. The build at the end is relentless."

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Grace Jones – 'Slave to the Rhythm' (1985)

"I got stoned a lot to this album. I think in some ways this is what started my interest in music production, though I didn’t appreciate that at the time. It’s a classic Trevor Horn production. Sly and Robbie as a rhythm section – 'nuff said – and all sorts of crazy effects across the record, though Grace and Trevor never lose sight of a good groove."

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Prince – 'Sign O' The Times' (1987)

"'Purple Rain' would be right up there, too, as would 'Prince', 'Controversy' and 'Dirty Mind'. 'Sign O' The Times', though, I think is the perfect album. Nothing on it sounds remotely dated to me, and 'Dorothy Parker' has the best lyrics to a song, ever."

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Honourable mentions for: 'Moon Safari' (Air), 'Blue Lines' (Massive Attack), 'What’s Going On' (Marvin Gaye), 'channel Orange' (Frank Ocean).

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Photo: Dan Reid

Groove Armada (online) have confirmed the following shows:

May
2 Reading Cubed
3 Porthleven Masked Ball 
10 Brighton Great Escape
23 Co. Westmeath Life Festival

June
13 Milan Magnolia (Tom Findlay DJ Set)

July
10 Croatia Electric Elephant (Tom Findlay DJ Set)
19 Brighton Shakedown festival
20 Germany Kiesgrube
26 Amsterdam Welcome To The Future Festival

August
9 London Tobacco Dock

September
13 Castle Donnington Zoo Project

Related: more Foundations features

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