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Jazz-fusion band Super Groove Technology seeks to spread joy to listeners

Nathan Trux smiles while playing the keyboard. The second-year computational and systems biology student plays the keys and saxophone in Super Groove Technology. He said he met his bandmates in high school where they all played in the jazz band. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

By Ava Allam

April 16, 2023 8:45 p.m.

With inspirations from “Mario Kart” to Louis Cole, Super Groove Technology aims to bring heart to jazz fusion.

Composed of second-year computational and systems biology student Nathan Trux, guitarist Jalen Blank, bassist Logan Postmus and drummer Sam Archer, Super Groove Technology seeks to spread fun and lighthearted energy through their music on Instagram and TikTok, Postmus said. Keyboardist and saxophone player Trux said each band member has been able to bring their own jazz influences and combine them with funk, electronica and avant-pop into what has become Super Groove Technology. The four members met in high school in Thousand Oaks, California, where Blank said they all played in the jazz band.

“It (the band’s music) is like CASIOPEA meets Louis Cole meets Vulfpeck,” Blank said. “It’s a lot of the big ’80s synth and guitar sounds and slappy bass paired with Sam’s drumming that allows us to make really cool groovy music. If you listen to ‘Mario Kart’ and us on the same playlist, it’ll make sense.”

(Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)
Trux holds up a red keyboard guitar. Super Groove Technology usually posts videos of rehearsals in small spaces such as Trux’s dorm at UCLA, drummer Logan Postmus said. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

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Super Groove Technology is largely inspired by the sounds of Japanese jazz fusion, old-school jazz and electronica to create a heavily synth-infused ’80s-inspired sound, Archer said. In addition to Charlie Parker, Trux said Louis Cole – vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the electronic jazz duo Knower – is another inspiration for his saxophone playing.

The band’s creative process usually starts with a member sending or bringing in chord charts for a song, which originates as a jam and then becomes a song or an Instagram video, Postmus said. Trux’s roommate, second-year data theory student Ved Phadke, who often watches the members practice in his dorm room, said the band treats rehearsals with the same seriousness as their live performances. Though the group has fun performing and doesn’t limit itself to rigid guidelines, Blank said the band stays committed with frequent rehearsals and a wholehearted attitude in improving its skills and creating new music.

“(Our live performances) are pretty regimented. … We have little sections of improvisation,” Blank said. “But for the most part, all of our songs are very put (together) into this nice little Tupperware of happiness.”

Phadke said the band, and particularly Blank, is able to engage audiences with onstage antics, such as wearing rainbow glasses for the performance at Groovefest, a small music festival hosted by the Groove Plug, a creative production company. At Super Groove Technology’s show at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, he said Blank asked everyone to sit down and listen to him play very quietly over a slow jam, demonstrating Blank’s talent in crowd control.

Even though Super Groove Technology usually posts videos of rehearsals in small spaces like Trux’s dorm at UCLA or practice rooms at Cal State Northridge, Postmus said the band has adapted to fit into whatever spaces are available. However, the group is used to performing in small spaces, Trux said, as it started out by playing at an open mic in Westlake Village every Wednesday. He said the band also frequents the Sunset stage on the Hill, playing some of their earlier songs such as “Sam’s Volvo” and “Beach Tune.”

Super Groove Technology hopes to bring an air of joviality, whether it be playing a gig or filming a video for Instagram, Postmus said. The group’s Instagram is purposefully ironic and light-hearted, which Postmus said is reflected in Blank’s humorous editing, featuring zooming in and out and other editing techniques that contribute to an overall feeling of joy. He added that the band’s Instagram also serves as a timeline of the shows it has played, including Groovefest, gigs at Delta Sigma Phi’s night markets and UCLA’s Dance Marathon.

(Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)
Trux plays the saxophone. He credits Charlie Parker and Louis Cole as inspirations for his saxophone playing, with each band member adding their own jazz influences. (Grace Wilson/Daily Bruin)

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Super Groove Technology’s central goal is for people to enjoy themselves while listening to their music, Blank said. The group approaches making music with an attitude of intention, he said, as the members want their music to reflect the complexity and work they put in. Postmus said they are excited to spread the happiness in their songs with their audience. He added that he believes Super Groove Technology’s music speaks for itself, leaving room for the band members to simply enjoy themselves and spread that positive feeling to others.

“I just think a lot of it is not taking ourselves too seriously while letting the complexity of the music be the serious part,” Postmus said.

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Ava Allam
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