With their new record (PTX Vol. 2) now available, Mitch Grassi (seated with silver tie) of Pentatonix was kind enough to take a few minutes to let me know what’s been going on with the group since their rise to fame on NBC’s The Sing Off.
Ryan: It’s been a while since you won Season Three of The Sing Off. I’m sure that life has changed a little bit since then. What are some of the biggest changes and most exciting moments between then and now?
Mitch: I think the most exciting part is just seeing so much of the world. I’ve always wanted to travel, I love that part of my job is traveling around the country and sometimes performing internationally! We’ve also met some pretty amazing people along the way, including our wonderful & supportive fans.
Ryan: Your group is very diverse. How does that diversity influence the music that you make and the fans that you are able to reach?
Mitch: Well first and most obvious, we are very ethnically different. We come from a slew of different backgrounds, and I think that’s one reason why we appeal to so many different types of people. We also have wildly different music tastes, which has helped shape our sound, and has allowed us to experiment with a number of different genres.
Ryan: PTX Vol. 2 is out now and it seems like you’ve brought more originals than ever before. How does it feel to be able to introduce the world to your own music?
Mitch: It’s an amazing feeling, really. But it’s also incredibly vulnerable! I would say we are all pretty new to writing original music, so it’s definitely been pretty scary. However, we’ve grown so much as musicians and writers, so I think our music has progressed on its own. We truly hope our audience enjoys the original material, because they’ve been so fun to work on!
Ryan: When it comes to creating such intricate arrangements, what does that process look like? Do you chart everything out? Do you just work through it vocally until it feels right? Does one person take the lead in arranging?
Mitch: We typically arrange in a sort of “jam session” fashion. Avi will start with the chord progression for the musical foundation of the song, and whoever sings the solo will sing the melody over that. Then we just experiment with background parts to complement the soloist. Kevin usually comes up with his insane beats on his own; he’s very musically intuitive.
Ryan: Obviously your appearances on national television have garnered you a lot of fans, but you’ve been able to build on that and keep those fans close using technology, specifically YouTube. What can you say about the intentionality of using that medium to keep new content coming and staying connected to your fans?
Mitch: The social media aspect of our career has been essential to our success. Our fans truly feel like they can connect with us musically and personally. We really think it’s important that our fan base stays current with us; we love having them on this journey with us.