Music Q&A: The Sons of Pitches

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Founded when they were students at Birmingham University, the Sons of Pitches are adding an electronic twist to their traditional a cappella sound. With their first full UK tour just behind them, they’re editing and producing their first album

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
As an a cappella group we have a fairly individual sound because we don’t use any instruments. Every sound you hear is made by the human voice, which allows us to be incredibly experimental in the kind of music we can create – there are fewer limitations. We like to play around with different genres and styles. As far as influences go it’s a huge mixed bag. We come from various musical backgrounds ranging from musical theatre and rock groups to church bands. There are of course some largely successful a cappella outfits out there like Pentatonix or the Swingle Singers, who we look up to a lot.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
The Sons of Pitches have come a long was since we started at the University of Birmingham five years ago. We started off as a much more traditional a cappella group but since then we’ve embraced a more electronic-sounding style – attempting to closely imitate tunes that you’d hear on the radio. We’ve moved away from the “dum dum dum” and the “la la la” and instead tried to closely copy the sound of synthesisers and hip-hop beats.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
A lot of people ask us about our name and how we arrived at it. The current line-up actually inherited the Sons of Pitches from some guys who used to be in the group – university a cappella groups have rotating members with people finishing their degrees. We’re happy with the name though. It always gets a giggle when we say who we are.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We’ve just finished our first UK tour, which we had an absolute blast doing, and we have our first ever full length album recorded. We’re in the editing and producing process for that, which is really exciting. Next up we’ll be preparing for our next tour in November. That means more songwriting and planning.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?

We’re fully aware that being in an a cappella group is quite a novelty in the music industry, so we definitely try to make the most of that. Our live shows are all about entertainment as well as the music so we try to market ourselves as more than just a group of five singers and a beatboxer.

What’s on your rider?
We always ask for plenty of water – being hydrated is incredibly important when all we have to rely on is our voices. Apart from that, just some sandwiches, crisps and a few beers.

Tell us about your worst live show.
We’ve been so lucky so far to not have any terrible live shows. We did have one tour date though on our recent tour where our microphones cut out three or four times. One of the boys ended up having to stop everything and just chat to the audience for about five minutes. Needless to say it was fairly awkward – the crowd weren’t paying for a live Q&A session.

Antonia Charlesworth

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