UNDER COVER BIG BAND Super sized sounds

Since forming in 2013, Under Cover Big Band have gone from strength to strength, building a talented ensemble of WAAPA and University graduates and experienced singers and instrumentalists. This Fringe World, the Perth 14-piece are kicking things up another notch, bringing a bopping blend of rock and roll from the 1950s to the 1980s, in Under Cover Big Band Rocks the Fest. Featuring hits from The Beatles, Elvis, Blues Brothers and more, catch them at Black Swan Winery and Restaurant on Saturday, February 6. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with the band’s arranger Chris Martin to find out why they’re excited to bring their Big Band energy to the stage with re-imagined versions of popular hits.

Congrats on bringing Under Cover Big Band to Fringe this summer! How does it feel to be hitting the stage with these shows?

I always look forward to putting on shows, and Under Cover Big Band is currently in a very good place!

How did the band come together in the first place and how has it changed to what it is today?

Under Cover first became a group in about 2013, as a “reserves” group for Rush Hour Big Band. Now the roles have been reversed and Under Cover is the major group! It has been slow to make major changes, as in earlier days band members saw a big band as being a “swing” band, but the current group have embraced music particularly from the 1950-80s period, but also of more recent times.

What is involved in taking a rock or pop song and giving them the big band treatment? And what is it about a song that makes it a good choice for being reimagined in such a way?

Re-arranging songs for big band is challenging; it requires experience, and an understanding of the the abilities and limitations of singers, players and their instruments, but it also allows for creativity. I like to choose songs that get people up on the dance floor so energetic rockabilly, rock and roll, rock and Latin usually suit the bill, but I do not like to discount great songs from other eras in time.

This show is set to bring tunes from the 1950s right through to the 1980s. Do you approach a song differently depending on the context in which it has come from?

Songs from other eras may be treated differently, but I am also conscious that audience members know songs so heading too far away from originals may cause consternation!

And how about you? Do you have a personal favourite genre or era you enjoy the most?

I have a wide range of musical tastes. Every era and different parts of the world, have produced great music of different styles, but the music I like most is music I can listen to repeatedly and still always just love that piece!

What plans do Under Cover Big Band have for the rest of 2022 and beyond? Can we expect any more live shows after Fringe?

It is my intention to put on regular performances for Under Cover Big Band through 2022 and beyond, and hopefully COVID-19 won’t get in the way of that. Under Cover Big Band and is available for hire for weddings, special occasions, birthdays and more if anyone wants to get in touch!

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