Do You Love The Imagination Movers?

Who loves The Imagination Movers? I’d have to say – “We do!”.  My son and I love The Imagination Movers and have watched them on TV and anywhere else possible since he was old enough to watch TV. And I can safely say, that most people across the world also enjoys watching The Imagination Movers on their Disney show as well as their concerts and their DVDs and whatever venue they happen to appear at. It’s too bad The Movers live all the way in Louisiana and not California otherwise we’d be visiting them all the time. But not as stalkers – that would be too creepy – but more as devoted and loving fans.

The Imagination Movers, aka Dave, Rich, Scott, and Smitty have basically become a household name for us. Every day my son would ask to watch The Imagination Movers on TV or on the laptop. Luckily I saved some of his favorite episodes on our DVR and we can always watch episodes through their own website:  http://www.imaginationmovers.com/ and through Disney’s: http://disney.go.com/disneyjunior/imagination-movers. We particularly enjoy the Warehouse Mouse short films – they are hilarious little episodes of Warehouse Mouse’s trials and tribulations as he tries to achieve something at the end. There are also fun games, party ideas, and coloring pages on Disney’s Imagination Movers page as well interesting tibits about The Movers- basically, you can spend a lot of free time on that site and have a lot of fun and learn something at the same time.

The Imagination Movers are like down-home folks, so to speak. They are truly the epitome of all things kids. In fact, their inspiration to start The Imagination Movers was through their own kids. As a fledgling band of good friends, they sang and played instruments together in New Orleans but soon their popularity grew and Disney decided to pick up their show with the same name, “The Imagination Movers”. After that, their fame grew worldwide and soon they added concert tours throughout the nation and in Canada. Their faces became popular in every child’s mind and you can see little “Movers” around the world even. And if you’ve never seen their concerts in person, you’re missing out on some great fun!

This year, The Imagination Movers “Rock-O-Matic” concert tour begins in March and will tour through May. It’s not too late to get their concert tickets if they’re in your area: http://imaginationmovers.com/events/page/1 and you can even buy their “Mini Movers” package which includes tickets as well as backstage Meet and Greet with the Movers. The kids will get a chance to chat it up with the Movers and snack and take photos. Hopefully we plan on going backstage to meet and greet the Movers and take some great photos with them!

With their concert coming up, new episodes on the Disney Jr. channel, and a brand new CD called, “Rock-O-Matic” out for sale, The Imagination Movers have really stepped up their game to bring your kids more fun, more excitement, and more learning opportunities. Below, I had the unique opportunity to acquire some Q&A from The Imagination Movers about their new album, their work, and their personal lives.

Q – How is ‘Rock-O-Matic’ different from your previous albums?

SCOTT DURBIN – There’s definitely more freedom in Rock-O-Matic. Recently, if the song we wrote was not tied directly to a narrative from the TV show, there was no way it would be heard. A tune like “Dance Kung Fu” which is a truly silly dance song or “Buckle Me In” about car seat safety would never have made it on the TV show but it can and does in our recent CD/DVD release. Honestly, we’ve been together writing songs for nearly ten years now but it’s been awhile since we could just do a song without having to wait for it to be approved or not. Our parameters have been removed.  

RICH COLLINS – We’re still a bunch of dorky dads but we’ve gotten really good at writing pop and rock songs over the last decade, so you can hear a little bit of that swagger in these new tracks. It’s probably our most “rock” record to date but it’s quite diverse stylistically. 

SCOTT “SMITTY” SMITH – ROM is definitely indicative of our musical growth and freedom.  It touches on a wide range of genres and is the culmination of a lot of hard work.

DAVE POCHE – Rock-O-Matic is an interesting combination of our music sensibilities from the earlier days coupled with the production and songwriting skills we have gathered over the years. I think there is a real looseness and energy to it. “Everybody Sing” is a great example of the CD/DVD’s upbeat vibe. We set out to make a video that looks like a bunch of people having fun. Once we started shooting it was clear that this goal would be accomplished. You can really feel the energy that was on the set that day.  It was a very positive, validating shoot. 

Q – How does your family inspire you and your music? How many children do you have and what are their ages? Do your children ever get in on the fun? 
  

SCOTT – Our kids have always been a source of inspiration for our music, stylistically and content-wise. Had it not been for them, this idea would not have been born. They act as our focus group, letting us know what works or doesn’t. And we try to have them participate in all that we do, whether being in our music videos or even guest singing on our songs. We’ve always been about family and our work philosophy reflects that.  

RICH – Five kids ages 12 to 3.  They give me ideas and tell me their opinion. They also set the tone of the whole project.  We sing and write and perform essentially to make them smile

SMITTY – Our families are definitely our inspiration… and our test audience.  None of this could happen without their support and input. 

DAVE – My kids are 9 and 12 now, which is hard to believe. Our kids were the inspiration for this entire project. We had kids around the same time and were exposed to the world of children’s entertainment. We started writings songs for, and about, our kids.  Each milestone represented an opportunity for a new song. And it was great to have an audience at home.  We had a little test market that had no aversion to telling us exactly what they thought.  In the earlier songs, you can hear their voices all over the place.  We put them in front of the mic whenever we needed a little voice, or added a part so that everyone got a chance.  When we filmed the show, our kids would look at the script drafts, visit the set regularly and even made a few cameos. We could not have made it without the contributions, inspiration and support of our families.  They give us the energy that fuels the machine.

Q – What sets the Imagination Movers apart from other children’s groups?

SCOTT – What makes us different? From day one to now, there is so much in children’s programming/music that chooses to pacify our children. We’ve always wanted to change that. We truly want to challenge our kids, treating them as creators instead of consumers. We want to empower them to reach high, think big, work hard and have fun. 

With performing music for kids and families, you know immediately what works and what doesn’t so insincerity simply doesn’t have a place here. You have to be genuine, sincere in your efforts and execution of ideals. We feel we are or at the very least aspire to those lofty goals. Whether its reflected in the composition or lyrics we pen in our songs to playing the music live – you’ve got to demonstrate your true colors. We choose to play our instruments rather than rely on lip-synching or tracks because music is organic and is evidence of the beauty of the creative process.  

RICH – We’re real dads writing songs about real ideas and real feelings and playing real live concerts on real instruments AND most important: we can’t dance. 

SMITTY – We are simply four regular guys who had a good idea and with the help and hard work of a lot of people, got to see this project blossom.  Also, We are having fun doing what we love.   This Project comes from the heart.  It wasn’t created in a lab in Hollywood.  It is “US.”  And….  one of us is a full time firefighter in New Orleans.  Not many kids groups can claim that.

DAVE – Well, for one, we are just regular guys, dads and husbands. 4 goofy dudes who are well aware that they are 4 goofy dudes. Filming the TV show or being on tour has it’s moments, but the vast majority of time we are lugging the kids around town, mowing the lawn, washing dishes, etc.  We also have been, are, and probably always will be a children’s band. We were not an adult band who decided to exploit a niche or got tired of doing something else. And we never try to pander to our audience or talk down to the kids.  Our tone is sincere. We write music that we would enjoy listening to with age appropriate lyrics. The goal is to make songs that are able to be enjoyed by young children, older siblings, parents and grandparents.  We try to cast a wide net, and if our Ticketmaster reviews are any indication, we have done a pretty good job of entertaining everyone.

So there you have it. The Imagination Movers are just a bunch of regular folks who happens to enjoy playing music, sing, dance, and have a lot of fun with what they do. Be sure to catch them at their concert and on the Disney Jr. show (check your local listings), and pick up one or two of their newest album, Rock-O-Matic!

The Imagination Movers – An exclusive Interview

What do you get when you cross between four friends who love to sing and dance and a tv show that loves to help you solve every day problems? You get the ultra cool, ultra incredible  Imagination Movers! The Imagination Movers name is synonymous to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Pretty much every kid in the world knows who The Imagination Movers are – and they are a bunch of fun, intelligent, and super helpful guys! Add in a smiling, pretty neighbor and a mischievous pet mouse, and you get a super popular TV show on the Disney Jr. network.

The Imagination Movers with the same Disney show name, is about four guys who solve common problems that we all may deal with through creative storytelling, singing, and instrumental accompaniment. Through their ingenious storytelling thoughout each episode, they are able to weave whatever problems that come to them that day into a clever song and dance and by the end of the show, the audience will have learned something from that episode. Perhaps it’s Disney’s trademark to always find a solution to a problem whether in their movies or television shows, and The Imagination Movers are really great at problem solving. Whether they are helping a monster be less scary or a fairy tale princess find her true love or a baseball player attend his son’s birthday party, The Imagination Movers never let an obstacle stop them from helping a friend in need.  And The Imagination Movers never disappoints either. My son insists on watching The Imagination Movers every day and fortunately we have DVR so we’re able to record most of them. However, we are most looking forward to their new episodes which will start with the Halloween episode in October!

In an exclusive interview with the Imagination Movers, I was able to glean some great info about the band and the four friends and below is what we talked about:

SMITTY (aka Scott Smith)
Q – How do you collaborate in your songwriting – do each of you get to contribute to a song?

We write songs as a team. It may start out with one or two of us having an idea, but we will all add to it. Sometimes it happens while we are all jamming together. That is the most fun!

Q – What do each of you do for fun/spare time?

I love the outdoors, so I spend my spare time hiking, hunting, and fishing. I love visiting our national parks.

Q- What are your favorite foods?

I love fish and oysters. Also, wild duck.

SCOTT (aka Scott Durbin)
Q – You started as a real life band in New Orleans. What made you guys decide to take it onscreen? 

Actually we started as an idea for a local live action kids show based out of New Orleans. Music though took center stage early on, moving the project along. However, we did wind up creating our own video content, as seen in all its glory on our 2004 indie-dvd “Stir It Up.” Videos from that particular DVD aired on Louisiana Public Broadcasting and later on Disney itself. All in all, we had always had the show concept mapped out from the very beginning but thankfully once we signed with Disney we were allowed to see those early show seeds bear fruit.

Q- Do you offer any input on the Disney television series? Such as script, story ideas, song selections, etc.? If so, do the Disney executives take them into account?

We were co-executive producers on the TV show so we were pretty involved in many aspects: casting, scripts, show ideas – you name it. We also wrote and performed all the songs seen on the show. One stop shop we were.

Q – Who/What  do you look for inspiration when you write your songs?

Early on, our inspiration was always our own kids. The subject matter of our early indie releases always paralleled where our kids were developmentally. We did songs about ABCs, manners, sleeping through the night. Later, songs about riding bikes, healthy eating, what to do when you are lost, etc found their way into our discography. Of course, when the show was in full force, we were writing to narratives. This was difficult because you wanted to assist the narrative but still allow for the song to be open-ended so that it didn’t necessarily depend on the story for its understanding – so we broadened concepts and songs like persistence, patience become cornerstones.

DAVE (aka Dave Poche)
Q – Are you planning on releasing a second DVD of your Disney television series?

That’s really in the hands of the folks at Disney. But you can be on the lookout for our new CD/DVD release in late 2011 or early 2012. It is titled “Rock-O-Matic” and will be released in conjunction with the Spring tour of the same name.  In the meantime, all of the shows that have aired on the Disney Channel are available for download from iTunes.

Q – You all play instruments on the Disney television show and in real life – do you have a favorite instrument?

Well, I think we play the instruments that we love the most.  For Scott, that is mandolin and keyboard.  Dave is most comfortable with the bass and both Rich and Smitty alternate between the drums and the guitar, with an occasional stop on the bass.

Q – You are all friends with Nina and Warehouse Mouse on the Disney show.  Are you friends in real life.

Absolutely.  Nina, played by Wendy Calio Gilbert and Warehouse Mouse, played by Kevin Carlson are both great people.  That is one of the things that makes the show work so well.  Everyone on the set, cast and crew, get along and are very respectful to one another.  And filming a season of the show takes 6 months of 12-14 hour days, so it’s very important to have a good working environment. Wendy was also part of our 101 show tour last spring and her husband, Jeremy, helped out with Warehouse Mouse for that run.  We all still keep in touch.  Good folks.

RICH (aka Rich Collins)
Q- What do you do to prepare for your concerts? Do you have any weird rituals?

The more work we do to prepare for each show, the more fun we can have. It’s like playing football or doing your schoolwork or anything like that. Each Mover has his own routines, but we all try to be really familiar with all the songs and all the cues between songs so the concert flows smoothly. Then we all make sure to stretch and eat healthy food so we have lots of energy to perform. Drinking water is also important so our voices stay healthy.  Before we walk on stage for each show, we all gather together and do a big Mover hi five with all the cast and crew who are nearby.

Q – You’ve quickly become famous throughout the years – do people recognize you outside of your hometown (when you’re not in The Imagination Movers mode)?

We get recognized all the time, especially when we’re all together in an airport or someplace like that. We’ve even been visited by fans outside of the country. It makes you feel great to know that this idea we dreamed up in our living rooms is now a part of people’s lives worldwide. How cool. We always have time to visit with fans. It’s an honor.

Q – Can you tell me about your upcoming Fall episodes on the Disney channel? Any special guest stars or stand out episodes?

We love our upcoming Halloween episode and Christmas episode. In the Halloween story, a plumber comes to our warehouse and thinks the place is haunted. We get to wear extremely silly costumes. For the holiday ep, we help one of Santa’s elves pass the test required for her to ride on his sleigh on the big night.

The Halloween episode will air on the Disney channel on Oct. 28 at 11:30am ET/PT. So be sure to tune into it, record it, anything,  just so you don’t miss this incredible new episode!

 

So if you’re looking for an incredible show that’s fun to watch and sing and dance to as well as teaching your kids important life lessons, then be sure to check out The Imagination Movers. Pretty soon, your kids will be hooked on the show like we are, and you won’t want to watch anything else!

 

And for more info on The Imagination Movers, visit their site: http://imaginationmovers.com/. You’ll also be able to catch up on the latest news, play games, watch videos, listen to their songs, buy their collectible items, and much more!