Directions in Groove
Acclaimed Australian acid-jazz / groove / funk band Dig (Directions in Groove) have toured internationally playing along artists such as Herbie Hancock and Bootsy Collins, with the original lineup - featuring keyboardist and vocalist Scott Saunders, saxophonist Rick Robertson, guitarist Tim Rollinson, bassist Alex Hewetson and drummer Terepai Richmond, alongside new guest vocalist Laura Stitt.
How do you describe your music to people, Scott?
I know it is a cliche but like many groups or artists our music keeps changing. The original idea was based around mapping Jazz style improvisation onto dance grooves, a kind of Jazz/Funk hybrid that is more about the groove. It used to get labelled "Acid Jazz" especially in the UK. Over time we incorporated elements of Hip Hop, Trip Hop, Drum & Bass, Electronica, Synthesisers etc.
On our current album we have several tunes that have a featured vocalist and a shorter pop song structure.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
My father loved Jazz and played Piano Semi-Professionally. He also had some great records, especially pianists and organ players, and some Miles. I had piano lessons from the age of 8yrs to about 15 and developed a good basic technique but I was always wanting to sound like the records I loved. I just kept listening and analysing those recordings and then learnt from other players. My interests kept expanding to take in soul, funk, gospel, hip hop etc, but I see them as all interconnected.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
To chill out in an isolated beautiful natural environment.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Co-ordinating 5 very individual individuals! In other words, getting the band together.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
At one stage I thought I would be a scientist, or maybe a naturalist with a 4 wheel drive and beard studying animals in the wild.
In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I think there is something in the isolation of Australia that breeds innovation. It is probably changing now because of the rapid changes in communications, but when dig started we were just experimenting with our own formula for mixing jazz and grooves. It was only later that we discovered that something similar was going on in the UK. When we played in the UK we seemed to stand out as having our own distinct style as opposed to some of the more formulaic Brit acts. I also think that in some ways the scene is more open. Before dig I played in a Gospel act for a while. I imagine that if I was in America perhaps I wouldn't have done that as there would be plenty of Black Gospel acts around covering that territory, but in Australia that's not the case so you can "have a go" at anything as we say.
What other artists out there do you love?
I love all kinds of music. D'Angelo, The Roots, DrDre, Mavis Staples, Kraftwerk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Nina Simone, John Cage, Steve Reich, Parliament, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, Amon Tobin, The Clash, Matthew Herbert, jamie Liddell, Square Pusher, Aphex Twin, DJ Spooky,Frank Sinatra, Cinematic Orchestra, Morton Feldman, Olivier Messiaen, Marcel Duchamp, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tito Puente, Chucho Valdes, Horace Silver, Gil Scott Heron, Ahmad Jamal, Schubert, Beethoven,
What does your future hold?
Making new and interesting music both with dig and in my own projects, completing a Masters Degree in Music,Teaching, and being there for my family.