Local band gives popular radio tunes a classical spin

26 April 2013 / 3 years 6 months ago

When challenged to add a classic twist to familiar tunes, pop-rock string quartet Vox take the task quite literally.Think Adele meets Mozart, or Snow Patrol meets Bach. Strange combination? Vox do not think so.They mesh popular pop and rock hits with classical pieces to breathe new life into the songs.The group, formed five years ago, comprises violinists Lester Kong, Justine Loh and Melissa Liew, as well as cellist Tow Huiwen.Kong, 31, told The New Paper: “We wanted to try and change people’s perception of classical instruments and their limitations.“We thought the best way to break that was through playing pieces that are more current, things we hear on the radio.‘Vox have reinterpreted songs like Coldplay’s Clocks, Kings of Leon’s Use Somebody, Lady Gaga’s Poker Face and Muse’s Uprising, and added a dash of classical greats like Mozart, Bach, Schubert into the mix.Fans here can listen to such pieces when Vox hold a concert, their first on their own, at the Esplanade Recital Studio on April 27.They may remind you of America’s The Piano Guys, who have put their own spin to hits such as One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful and Taylor Swift’s Begin Again on the cello and piano.“We wanted to let people know that it can be interesting and cool,‘ Kong said.The members of Vox are, certainly qualified to push the boundaries of classical instruments. They were classically trained from a young age, and most of them can play more than one instrument.Kong plays the violin, piano, drums and trumpet, while Liew plays the piano, violin and viola.All four members went on to be part of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra for about a decade.Then they wanted to do something “a little different‘.They admitted that their bold move was initially criticised by their classical contemporaries.“These are people that we grew up playing with and they are used to classical music. But we wanted to try to reach out to... people who might not be as versed in classical music,‘ said Liew, 28.Deciding on a song is a fairly democratic process, with few disagreements, Vox said. The members then meet to practise and try out their mash-ups.But it is not always a right fit.“Sometimes, it might sound all right in your head, but when you try it out, it might not work. It’s all about trial and error,‘ Kong explained.When that happens, it’s back to the drawing board to come up with more ideas, and this is a process that the quartet can squeeze in only after work.All four members hold full-time jobs ‘“ Liew and Loh are in the legal sector, Tow works at an advertising firm, while Kong is a, full-time musician.“We put in two hours of rehearsals and when we end at about 10.30pm, we can be quite drained,‘ said Loh, 28.But that doesn’t stop them from doing what they love.“We look at it as a creative outlet and a form of release, so we look forward to it,‘ said Tow, 28.

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