By ROB DUGUAY Even though it's going to be a bit different this time around because of COVID-19, Black Friday is still going to be a drag. Overly eager shoppers are still going to be camping out in department store parking lots trying to get that great
Even though it’s going to be a bit different this time around because of COVID-19, Black Friday is still going to be a drag.
Overly eager shoppers are still going to be camping out in department store parking lots trying to get that great deal on the hottest new Christmas item. You might take the smart route and shop online, but there’s always those swindlers buying up all of the items to sell them on eBay for double or triple the price. It’s still going to be a stressful day no matter the method of shopping you choose, and who needs anymore stress during this crazy year?
Perhaps some good music that evening in a socially distanced atmosphere could calm the nerves and help you chill out.
That’s what’s going to be happening at Ted’s Stadium Pub at 1145 Park Ave. in Cranston as funk-soul act New Nova comes through at 6 p.m. to perform as a duo.
I had a talk ahead of the show with keyboardist Jonathan Grice and drummer Cole Calise about how the band started out, Calise’s love of the New England Patriots and bringing happiness during dreary times.
ROB DUGUAY: First off, how did New Nova start?
JONATHAN GRICE: It started with just the both of us, but before there was even New Nova we met up through another group we were playing with. When that fell through, we still hung out and together we came up with an idea where we just wanted to create a group where we would focus on music, play and collaborate. We want to have fun with it, and also during this time with the pandemic we want to be able to find safe opportunities to gig out and put on a good time for people.
COLE CALISE: One day, Jonathan came to me and he explained to me this vision, which I was all for. Then, during that same week, I found the musicians that we were looking for, the ones that we had a good idea of just wanting to have involved. We clicked with them, everything ran smoothly and we were all loving what we were doing. Every time we played together we were getting better and everybody got more into it with each show. Not one person was feeling left out, we included everybody in the best way possible.
When everybody is having fun and everybody is feeling the music, then that’s the best thing because we’re all feeling the same energy. We want to bring that feeling to this current world we’re in and spread positive messages and vibes with our music.
RD: That’s a great outlook and approach to have these days. What do you consider to be the main influences behind this funk-soul sound New Nova has?
JG: I would say it comes naturally, but everyone’s background is very musically diverse. The thing is, with soul music it’s very universal and it has very deep roots in jazz and a lot of the earlier music that makes you feel something bigger than yourself. We kind of came together while already having common knowledge of songs that make you feel that way. Basically, with our sound and everything we just want to put everything everyone has on the table and what we could agree on.
CC: We don’t really have one main influential person or group. We’re kind of making arrangements of songs in any genre, that’s the thing that we’re going for. Honestly, I want it to be just a different take on songs, and also our influences are akin to walking through a record store and hearing stuff – hearing a lot of funk, rock, soul, R&B, and we do different takes on it.
RD: Now Cole, outside of music you also played football and did wrestling at La Salle Academy in Providence. Do you consider yourself to be as much of a fan of sports as you are of playing the drums?
CC: Yes, I am a true diehard Patriots fan and I love sports in general. The tenacity these athletes have and the motivation and drive they have for wanting success and just to get to 100 percent is inspiring. I do admire athletes like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Muhammad Ali, especially him because he has this fighting courage.
RD: That’s cool how you take inspiration from one place and put it towards another. Jonathan, when you started pursuing music, what made you want to gravitate to the piano and keyboard? Out of all the instruments you could have chosen, what about them do you love the most?
JG: My mother. She immigrated from Jamaica to the United States when she was 14 and ever since she was very young she has always played violin and piano. When I was growing up, I would always see her playing music in the house. Either it was hymnals or songs that she wrote herself or it was classical music. She didn’t have time to teach me, so when I started going to an arts-centric magnet high school, I wanted to learn for myself. I started teaching myself and it’s funny to say it, but my initial inspiration was girls. I just wanted to play songs for them and take my shot at impressing them while playing what they like to hear.
As I continued playing piano, I realized that I could do it for everyone in general. I love to be able to change the whole mood inside of a room, and that’s why I love piano. I play because it represents life and it can be great with the right emotion and the right sound to fit any occasion.
RD: The upcoming show at Ted’s Stadium Pub has you performing as a duo under the New Nova name, so what do the both of you plan to do differently than what you would do with the other band members?
CC: Jonathan and I have a deeper lexicon of songs to play together than with the whole group. We’ve been jamming a little bit longer than the rest of the band has, so we’ll do a little bit more variety to our sound and I won’t even be playing a full kit, I’ll be playing cajon. We’ll be doing different styles of the other arrangements we do, so basically I would say it would be more eclectic with us as a duo. Also, it’s just about trying new things out, too, because if you do that and people respond to it, then we can bring more ideas to the full band. With each other, we’ll do songs like “Fire & Rain” by James Taylor and a couple others that just stick with the two of us.
It’s a bit of a different vibe, but I feel like both us as a duo and the full band are all about having fun and a good time. If we can make people forget about this whole COVID-19 thing and handling this reality while thinking positively, then that’s what we hope to do.
To learn more about New Nova, like the band’s Facebook page or visit www.newnovamusic.com.