Measuring the magnetic attraction

CREATING MUSIC THEIR WAY: Members of The Magnets

CREATING MUSIC THEIR WAY: Members of The Magnets   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


Ahead of their performance in Delhi, members of The Magnets tell us what makes the a capella band special

They make music with their mouths with not a single instrument involved. The Magnets from London are a cappella stars known best for combining vocals and beats and have performed at various international music festivals. Along with director Nicolas Doodson, the band combines the talent of Callum McIntos, James Gibbs, Ball Zee, Michael Conway, Duncan Sandilands and Matthew McCabe. Performing songs by some of the greatest British songwriters, from The Beatles to Adele, as well as their own award-winning original songs, The Magnets have performed in several languages from the Japanese, and Maori to German and find the cultural exchange to visiting countries extremely exciting.

Brought to India by AGP World, the band will perform in Delhi this evening. The members hope to capture the heart of the youth with their exciting repertoire of English songs as well as some in Hindi!

Excerpts from a conversation with the band members on the sidelines of a private performance at the British Council:

Tell us about the band

Callum McIntos (baritone): The Magnets was started way back in the nineties as a University band. Nic, the manager of the group is from the United States of America, where the a capella scene was more prominent and he thought it would be a cool thing to do in the United Kingdom. More than anything, the boys group up together to impress the girls until the group became professional with a record deal with MI (laughs). There are new people now in the group but we try to keep up what the original group started with —sing good songs on the stage and have lots of fun.

What were the influences though the form is still very new?

James Gibbs (tenor): We are all trained in the musical field and have our own influences which we bring in when we create something new. The choirs in Britain do possess huge talent and we possess some of them in our band. The old school of music is still having prominence in our lives though we are creating music for today. It is not necessary that you have to be a good singer but you have to be musical and should be responsive towards all the sounds around you.

How much of it is self-taught?

Ball Zee (baritone): When we started beat boxing there was no internet around and YouTube came much later. It was tough to find another beat boxer as there were no communities around who pursued with the same passion. There was Rahzel, an American musician and beat boxer and Killa Kella, English beat boxer who was an inspiration for us all. But downloading them was very tough due to slow internet speed. Much of the form is self-taught as there was no one to teach. One of our singers did not sing professionally in his entire life but in his private life, he trained himself the art and gave up his career in accounts after seven years.

Your experiences in different countries must have introduced you to different soundscapes…

Callum: Yes, in India it is car horns that are the noise of India (laughs). Wherever we go, we try to give sounds according to the soundscape culture of the region, their national anthems and it gives us chance to learn a piece of new language. The different countries offer unique styles and rhythms which are the fodder for beat boxers as we increase our database of sounds through that. We heard that there is A capella from India called Penn Masala and it is exciting to hear all new people.

What constitutes the performance and how different it is from a musical concert?

Callum: Sometimes we do medleys and mashups and it is very hard to put different pieces together. Principles are the same and different members have to think about a unique thing they are providing to the group. Some songs are exactly how they are written but most of the songs are mash-ups and we give them a new feel.

How different is solo beat boxing from performing in a capella?

Ball Zee: Beat boxing solo and with an a capella group is a completely different thing and we should respect those who can do both which is a rare thing. Solo is about how crazy the sound is there is the importance of timings and musicality involved but with a group clean sounds and a lot of energy is required as you can not miss a beat between a song.

How do you define your experience in India?

Michael Conway (tenor): We love the hospitality that Indians have offered to us. The food is amazing, we do not know the exact names of the cuisines from the vegetarian thali which we first had but out of all curry and daals are fabulous. Also, gulab jamuns, which we had in Agra, were mouthwatering. We are sure that we are going to take some extra kilograms with our experiences from India (laughs).

(The Magnets will perform at Siri Fort Auditorium at 7.30 p.m.)

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:47:33 PM |

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