Straight No Chaser (SNC) burst onto the scene with their YouTube sensation “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in 1998. Since that time, they have released two Christmas albums and one non-holiday album. They have also toured across the country delighting crowds with their vocals, humor and fun performance. Last year, they performed at the Long Center and are now back for their second appearance. This Wednesday, the 10 man a cappella band will be bringing their own flavor and style to the popular genre. Below is a Q&A with Mike Luginbill of SNC.
Q: Although known for covering songs, do you write or plan to write any original pieces?
A: We are always looking for great original songs for SNC. Some of the guys write music for individual projects and stuff, so eventually I think one will find its way into our set permanently.
Q: Where do you get the ideas for your medleys? Do you ever improvise in rehearsal to find the right sound?
A: Medley ideas come from everywhere. We’ll listen to the radio and hear two/three songs that sound similar and try to build off of that. Or maybe the titles of the songs have a similar word in them that we can tie into each other. We are always improvising in rehearsal. Most of the time we come to rehearsal with a piece of sheet music and go from there. We’ll get most of the parts down and if someone hears something they think will work then we try it. If it doesn’t end up working, no big deal and we move on. It’s a very democratic process.
Q: What can you say about modern a cappella as a music genre? Where do you see it going in the future?
A: Modern a cappella has come a long way from the days of 4-part barbershop choruses and big chamber choirs. A lot of the contemporary a cappella that you’ll hear today are covers of popular songs that you’ll hear on the radio. A cappella is obviously not the most popular style of music and it’ll most likely never hit the mainstream but we are trying to change that. We perform songs that we like and that we think our audience will like. With shows like “The Sing Off” and “Glee,” I don’t think vocal music in general is going anywhere. It’s real. It’s what people want to hear. I think people are over hearing autotuned voices.
Q: What defines the Straight No Chaser sound? How is it different from other a cappella groups?
A: The Straight No Chaser sound is unique. We try to bring a more contemporary flavor to our records and our live show. Our live show is what really sets us apart from other groups. Our arrangements are clever and fresh. We try not to just straight cover a song. We like to put a twist on our arrangements, such as performing a pop/rock song like Oasis’s “Wonderwall” with an R&B feel…or putting “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” into our arrangement of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.”
Q: What is the most exciting part about being on tour? Any fond memories of Austin or things you intend to try this time around?
A: The most exciting part about being on tour is the live show itself. There is nothing like going out there and feeling the energy from a packed house that is there to see SNC. The joy that we bring to other people through our music is what brings a smile to my face. I think I can speak on behalf of the group when I say we are all very excited to get back to Austin. The Long Center is such an amazing venue in which to perform. I have fond memories of Austin that I can’t share in this interview, haha, but what I can say is that there is a good chance some of us will end up over on 6th Street after the show!! Austin is a great town with great people and we can’t wait to get back.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 7:30 p.m.
The Long Center
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, TX 78704
Starting at $25 depending on seating and availability. Click here to purchase.