AN INTERVIEW WITHPENTATONIX
BY NICHOLAS JANES, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
After5 Contributor Nicholas Janes was able to chat with an incredi- ble and wildly popular five-vocalist a cappella group,PENTATONIX. The band won the third season of NBC's "Sing-Off"with the winning song being "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor. Their debut album and Christmas EP have climbed to the top of the Bill- board and iTune charts. NJ: What made you decide that you wanted to be an a cappellagroup? How did you come up with the name?PE: We always loved harmonies and choir, so when the sing-off wascreated, we decided to try out for fun! I came up with the name be-cause the Pentatonic scale has 5 notes and there are 5 members of our group. Also, that scale is universal and used in many cultures.The 'X' just made it cooler ;) NJ: How did the band come together? Did you all know eachother?PE: 3 of us (Scott, Mitch & Kirstie) grew up together as we're reallyclose. We found our bass, Avi through a mutual friend, and foundKevin, our beat boxer, on YouTube! NJ: You were winners of “The Sing-Off,” what was it like being un-known to the world and immediately put on the spotlight? Werethere ever times you second-guessed your decision to audition for the show? Did you ever feel intimidated?PE: It was a whirlwind! everything happened so fast, it was hard totake a second to realize it was even happening! We are all so happythough, because being professional musicians was a dream we allhad! When we first arrived at sing-off, we were scared and intimi-dated by the giant and talented groups around, but over the weeks wegrew more confident! NJ: Did you always want to be a musician or did you have other childhood aspirations?PE: I wanted to be in music since I was 8 years old! Nothing's ever changed :) NJ: Who are your musical influences?PE: Personally, Beyoncé, John Legend, Jazmine Sullivan, JustinTimberlake, James Blake NJ: One of the best reasons I have read as to why people shouldlove you is because you take songs you like or sort of like and turnthem into great musical arrangements. How do you, as a band, de-cide what songs to cover? Afterwards, are they any songs you think will sound great and once you rehearse them your like, “ah never mind?”PE: We will do any song that we are really inspired by; We love tak-ing pop songs that everyone has heard a million times, and com- pletely changing them so people can hear a brand new take on it.Sometimes arrangements don't work, and we throw them out! NJ: For Avi. How are you able to achieve the overtones you do? Italmost sounds unnatural. Are you classically trained or was it some-thing that just came natural?PE: Accentuate the natural overtones from my voice with my tongueand lip movements. It takes a very specific placement of the tongue,almost like an embouchure of a trumpet or trombone. The lips act asthe valves or slide. Yes! I was actually an opera major before Penta-tonix and have sung in many different classical choirs over the years. NJ: For Scott, Kirstie and Mitch. You three have amazing voices.How do you keep the pipes so in tuned? I would imagine touring asmuch as you have since 2012 would put a strain on your vocal cords.PE: It definitely becomes a struggle keeping our vocals rested showafter show; We drink a lot of tea and water; we are constantly onvocal rest, and we sleep a lot! NJ: For Kristie. Not to put you on the spot but being the only girl inthe band and knowing how guys act sometimes, do you look theother four and just want to kick their butts sometimes? Or is life inthe band all fun and games?PE: Haha, I think being around the same people for a long time willhave anyone wanting to kick them at some point, but generally weall have a lot of fun together. So a combo of both I guess! But theynever do anything to ostracize me as being the only girl! NJ: For Kevin. I always viewed the cello as an underrated instru-ment. Most people want to play the guitar, bass or even violin.What made you choose the cello? On that note, how difficult is it to beatbox and play the cello at the same?PE: I never wanted to do the cello at first! I was always interested inthe saxophone! But my mom tricked me into doing it at 6 by sayingif I didn't want to do it after the first 6 months of lessons, I couldquit. I never said anything to her...and I still haven't! The combina-tion is difficult to do! It takes a lot of focus and concentration, but Ilove challenging myself! NJ: You have over 720,000 YouTube subscribers. With shows like“The Sing-Off” and sites like YouTube, do you feel you have moreof an advantage at getting your name out there to the masses com- pared to bands and musicians from say 25 years ago?PE: Absolutely! Social Media is HUGE these days and it allowsartists be able to promote themselves for nearly no cost. YouTubehas been such an awesome platform for us to stay in the spotlightand be able to share our music with the masses in a efficient way! NJ: Since September of last year, you have been on a rollercoaster ride of touring. What has your first impression so far? Is it every-thing you have ever imagined or is it more difficult then you thoughtit would be?PE: it's definitely incredibly fun and everything we'd hope it would be. It is much more difficult than I thought it would be though, be-cause a cappella is so difficult and it takes full vocal and physicalhealth to pull off. So things get tricky sometimes when a member gets fatigued or sick. We make it work though! NJ: I grew up wanting to be a filmmaker, so this really is a personalquestion for me. Your latest video for “Radioactive” is amazing. Ireally enjoyed the end of the world look and Lindsey Stirling’s violin playing put the song on a whole other level. Is this something weare going to start seeing more of? Were you the ones to come upwith the idea for the video?PE: Thank you! Fifgen films is an amaaaaazing film company thatcame up with the concept and filmed/edited the video! We lovethem. As for collabing more, we plan on doing a lot of it in the fu-ture; It allows us to create new interesting creative music and exposeone another to each other's fans! NJ: During “The Sing-Off,” you visited The Trevor Project. Everytime I turn on the television or go online, all I see is negativity.about?PE: There is a lot of negativity in the world. Bully and cyber-bully-ing are a huge issue these days (esp in the LGBT community) andwe picked to work with that charity, because we wanted to help kidsrealize that their life is worth something no matter what horriblethings people may say. We are five examples among millions that itgets better and that staying strong is key :) NJ: You’ve brought a cappella to the mainstream, what’s next for Pentatonix? Will there be a complete album of original material?PE: You bring a positive light to the world. Are they any other or-ganizations or foundations you support that you would like your fansand anyone reading this to know. We plan on creating content con-stantly, and slowly but surely transitioning to an original band! Ex- pect many EPs and full length albums in the next couple years!Thank you. That is definitely our goal with our music. We definitely plan on doing more charity work in the future, with Trevor Projectagain, and many more!
17th Annual Cavalier
Friday, Saturday, & Sunday June 14, 15, & 16, 2013
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Sunday, June 16
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Saturday, June 15th
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Friday, June 14 in the Cedar Inn Parking Lot
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MAY 2013 •YEAR FIVE • NUMBER FIVE| AFTER5GF.COM •PAGE 3
“We want to help kids realize that their life is worth something no matter whathorrible things people may say. We arefive examples among millions that it gets better and that staying strong is key.”