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The Sons of Pitches interview: ‘It was a joy to work with Gareth Malone’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 06 June 2016

The Sons of Pitches. Picture: Emilie-Bailey

The Sons of Pitches. Picture: Emilie-Bailey


Birmingham a capella group The Sons of Pitches stormed to victory on BBC talent content, The Naked Choir, last autumn under the mentorship of TV chorismaster Gareth Malone. Imogen Blake spoke to the six-man band’s Joe Belham before their sold-out show at Islington’s Union Chapel on June 11 as part of a UK-wide tour.

What made you take part in the Naked Choir?

We were umming and ahhing about whether or not we wanted to try and make a career out of it. We all had jobs of our own but then the Gareth Malone thing popped up and we said, this could be a really useful way of attaining that. It seemed like the right timing. In the past, we had offers or thoughts about doing other talent shows but we never really felt comfortable with them.

After winning, how did your lives change?

We’re doing this professionally now, trying to make a living off singing... It’s still surreal thinking we managed to go through to the end and win it.

Do some of you still live together?

The three Joes all live in the same house, which is a little bit ridiculous, and we all live very close to each other on the outskirts of Birmingham. It’s a little bit like the Brady Bunch at times, all of us crammed into one house.

Are you still in touch with Gareth?

He’s helped us out hugely with things since the show, with contacts and giving us advice and guidance. He’s an invaluable person to be in touch with and it was an absolute joy to work with him. We’ve given him a ticket to see us in Islington so he might be coming along to that.

How did you and the group get into a capella?

I saw the auditions for the Sons of Pitches at university and thought, I really like the sound of what these guys do. I wanted to have an outlet for performing. It was similar for all the guys... Midé saw the auditions while queuing up for some free pizza on the campus and just happened to see a sign for acapella auditions. He thought, ‘might as well give that a crack, just got my pizza!’ But it was the niche and novelty appeal for all of us.

Why do you think the medium is getting more and more popular?

I think it’s down to the Internet generation. It has a very instant appeal and the wow factor of seeing people do it with purely their voices and I think that is largely down to things like Youtube.

Acapella is getting more notoriety and people are getting more interested in it but it is still a long way off from being played on Radio 1.

What can we expect from the show at the Union Chapel?

There’ll be a lot that we did on The Naked Choir, lots that people know and lots out on Youtube already, but also some new stuff. We do some good audience interaction and there’s a few songs we’ve written ourselves, which is really exciting. It will be a good mix, and a fun party atmosphere.

What’s next for you?

We’re planning to release an album this autumn, hopefully around September. We’re also in the stages of confirming a second tour for November time. And of course plenty more videos on Youtube.

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