Pentatonix (Interview)

Published on August 10th, 2012

Image by Tim Cruz

Last month, Arlington band and winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off,” Pentatonix released their first EP on iTunes, selling nearly 20,000 copies its first week and landing it in the number 14 slot of the billboard top 200.

The five piece a cappella group will also be hitting the road in September, kicking off their tour in Arlington on September 2nd. It’s a FREE show at The Levitt Pavilion.

If you can’t make it out to that gig, they will also be playing the Cambridge Room at The House of Blues on September 6th.  Tickets will run you around $20 bucks.

Recently we had the chance to chat with Scott Hoying of the group about the tour, the ep, and the bands future plans. Scroll down for our exclusive interview with Scott.
And for more information on Pentatonix you can visit their website at

http://www.ptx-official.com/

So Scott, when you guys were putting together the EP how did you decide what songs you wanted to put on there and how many originals you wanted to include?

Well for the covers we all pitched in songs we wanted to do and we got together and just listened to a bunch of song. We knew we only wanted to do a few originals.

Is it easier to arrange your original songs or the covers? Does the creative freedom make it more difficult?

The original songs are definitely more difficult. For the covers we would just change it up a little, so people can enjoy a different version of a song they know. An original is from scratch but its not as easy for people to grasp on to it. We found it’s tough to make it catchy or interesting. We actually weren’t happy with a bunch of the original stuff we were working on.

So when you go in to do a full length album, do you think it would be mostly covers or would you try to put more original material than covers on it?

We haven’t really fully discussed it. But we wan’t it to be a good amount of originals, so we’re trying to write everyday.

In the studio do you use shortcuts like looping? Or do you go in and lay it down like you would in a live performance?

For our EP it was all authentic. We want to be able to recreate it all live. We want to build out fan base on what we do best. Maybe in the future we might play around with looping pedals.

Figuring out all the parts for these songs must be pretty intricate, what’s the process you go through as a band to get from inception to performance of a song?

We do a skeleton of the song, the bridge and the chorus. Then we come up with specific grooves with each of the members. Trying to come up with cool rhythms. Everyone has a different sound so they figure out their part and then we put it all together.

So do you often disagree on song choice when you’re putting together a performance?

Sometimes we do. All of us have different taste in music. It’s great that we can all bring different elements that way, like I really love R&B. Kirstie loves the singer songwriter types like Sara Bareilles, and Kevin loves Classic Rock, Mitch really likes electronic. So we all have very different musical taste.

Last year after The Sing Off, you returned to Martin High School to do a couple of shows. Was it surreal coming home and having two sold out back to back shows in the auditorium i’m sure you all performed in countless times during high school?

It was pretty surreal. We had no idea it was going to be two sold out shows with the energy like that. It was our first full show, because during the Sing Off we would only really do one song a week. It was nerve wracking but exciting.

During that show you all did a cover of Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe. I know y’all are wanting to do a christmas album. Would that be one of the tunes y’all would want to put on it and what are some others you’re bouncing around.

We just had a meeting about it actually. I would love to do that song, but since we kind of already did it, we aren’t sure. We would love to do more new stuff people haven’t heard. But personally I would love to do a version of it. Angels We Have Heard On High is one of the songs we discussed. I don’t want to get anyones hopes up though because until we start recording and the album is done, we won’t really know what will be on it.

Now speaking of home, what are some of the places you have to go visit (eat, hang out, etc) when you come back to Arlington?

Whataburger of course and I know it’s terrible for you, but we don’t have that out in LA. I also have to go get some Mexican food. I also love sno cones, so I like to go to this place called the Sno Hut.

You’ve got a tour coming up, including a couple shows here in DFW. What can fans expect to see and hear?

A lot of stuff from the sing off and the of course the EP, probably some new stuff and some songs we’ve done on youtube. Were going to do a lot of songs.

So wrapping up, sometimes musicians that are brought to light on reality shows sometimes fall to the wayside, whats your plan to keep that from happening to Pentatonix?

I think we have an advantage, because were something very unique. A lot of reality stars are solo singers and there’s tons of those. We keep putting our name out there, being ourselves, and doing what we do best. Hopefully people will grab on to that.

Thanks again to Scott for his time. Pentatonix is well worth the cost of admission. So head out and show your support for this unique and impressive hometown band on September 2nd at Levitt Pavilion or September 6th at the House of Blues.

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