From seedling to harvest: Redtree Groove
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From seedling to harvest: Redtree Groove

Tue 11 Sep 2018 8:36 AM

In the depths of our cobblestone jungle lies a slowly expanding musical ecosystem that we tend to regularly here at The Florentine.

Over the past three years, young Florence-based band Redtree Groove has been twisting its vermillion branches toward the light, landing prizes aplenty and dropping their very first album, As We Burnt the Last Tree, a ripe and juicy mélange of reggae rhythms, pop and funky electronica. We deemed this tender seedling’s yield ready for the plucking and met up with frontman Dylan Alexander Lorimer and bass player-slash-vocalist Martino Catalani for a quick chat.


Redtree Groove / All photos by Mucyo H. Gasana

Both 22 years old, the two have known each other since childhood. The band officially took root in 2015, spurred by the long-standing talent-scouting event Rock Contest powered by local radio station Controradio. “We decided to seize the occasion to make the band official and recorded our first EP, Indipendent Variable, in a week in order to qualify,” Dylan recalls. “We didn’t make it to the second elimination round but at least we finally had an objective and, most importantly, a name.”

Redtree evokes the ancient beauty of redwood forests whereas Groove adds oomph to the otherwise humble word “grove”. It took Dylan and Martino a while to come up with it. “We like the way it relates to nature, to its essential and primordial dimension… but also the way that groove can be both abstract and tangible, rhythm and surface.”

Hailing from different backgrounds, Dylan’s songwriting soars on the warm vibes of hip-hop and reggae, while Martino has more of a penchant for prog rock. The result is a fascinating grafting of genres, further enriched by the arrival of band members Lorenzo Niccolai and Niccolò Frassineti.

Martino Catalani

Released in 2018, the album was actually recorded in 2016. Dylan smiles as he reminisces, “We set the studio up in my bedroom and did everything ourselves with the help of a few YouTube tutorials, sound engineer Stefano Ciardi and guitarist Elia Rinaldi from rock band Finister.”

Of American, Irish, Italian and Slovak descent, Dylan has experienced the many paradoxes of his generation and woven them into song. “Our album’s title As We Burnt the Last Tree taps into mankind’s greed, the fact that many would be willing to burn the last tree on earth in order to make a quick buck. I grew up in the small town of Cortona. Kids from mixed backgrounds were still quite a rarity, so I was considered different and felt very lonely as a kid {…} This feeling increased as I realized that people my age were growing apart through technology, losing their connection to nature and giving in to utter individualism,” he says. “However, had it not been for groundbreaking digital recording software and social networks, we would never have been able to make it this far on our own, so it’s all about finding the right balance and keeping a critical eye.”

Redtree Groove recently released an animated video by multimedia artist Emanuele Kabu of their single ‘Funk Up’. The song is a eulogy to escape, an invitation to take to the streets and have fun together. “We are the in-between generation,” Martino underlines, “born on the cusp of change. We believe that a pop approach can be used to convey a strong message.”

Dylan A. Lorimer

The band is already working on new material, fine-tuning their newborn roots in a city they believe “is made for art but not for artists.”

“When it comes to music, we are under the impression that Florence is more interested in celebrating the past than giving new bands a chance or a real stage,” says Martino, backed up by Dylan. “Our songs are in English, which makes it even harder, since no one takes the time to understand the lyrics…We improvise a lot live, and language barriers can be a real issue. But on the other hand, we are 100 per cent exportable!”

Don’t miss Redtree Groove live on September 15 at Florence’s Festa dell’Unita’ inside the Cascine Park.

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