2015 Artist to Watch: Rafiki Grove | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

2015 Artist to Watch: Rafiki Grove

(Left to right) Cody Warren, Steven Tadlock, Daniel Norris and Van Doren Lee are indie-rock quartet Rafiki Grove.

(Left to right) Cody Warren, Steven Tadlock, Daniel Norris and Van Doren Lee are indie-rock quartet Rafiki Grove. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

Indie-rock outfit Rafiki Grove may be new to the Jackson area, but guitarist and vocalist Daniel Norris and guitarist Cody Warren have been writing together for nearly six years. They first formed as The Collared Shirts in 2012 but didn't seriously pursue the project until drummer Steven Tadlock joined after graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi in December 2014.

They brought in bassist Van Doren Lee soon after, completing the current line-up. The band just began booking its first shows last February, but it has already opened for local favorites including Light Beam Rider, Fides, Living Together and Dream Cult.

"It's been pretty amazing," Norris says. "Everything's blown up really fast. We didn't expect that we'd be playing so many shows this soon and being asked to come in and join bands. It's encouraging."

The band's style ranges from pop-infused surf-rock to grungy alternative. While most Rafiki Grove songs are new compositions, others are a result of Norris and Warren reworking earlier tracks, which can be challenging.

"It's a long process—a lot of stress," Norris says. "It's hard to pick apart a song, and you know, most of these were written on an acoustic guitar, but we're trying to turn them into electric songs. It takes a lot of sitting down, tinkering and thinking about ... how we're going to basically reshape it for an electric world."

Although Rafiki Grove has demos and several videos of live performances available online, the group is currently in the process of raising money for its first studio project, which the musicians hope to release before the end of 2015.

For more information, visit rafikigrove.com or find the band on Facebook.

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