Magnetic performance

Magnetic performance

Lead singer Callum McIntosh spoke to Kritika Dua after the British band’s preview performance at British Council

The Magnets is an exuberant group of six young men, who specialise in A capella – group or solo singing without using any musical instrument. That means that all the music you listen on stage is created through the vocal chords of these talented musicians. And truth be told, they beat the orchestra.

The band comprises Callum McIntosh, the low baritone singer; Ball-Zee (Patricik Hirst), the beatboxer; Duncan Sandilands, the bass guitarist; Matthew McCabe, the high baritone singer; Michael Conway, the high tenor; James Gibbs, the low tenor. Each of them has a specific role and yet harmonises as a whole rather seamlessly. This is the band’s maiden tour to India. They have already performed in Mumbai and got a phenomenal response.

The preview performance  saw the band covering famous international chartbusters, which included some peppy numbers like Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling and One Republic’s Counting stars. The audience grooved to  the upbeat, perfectly synchronised songs with smart choreography. They also covered a slow  romantic numberLay me Down by Sam Smith, followed by few verses of Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full Of Lead.

The band started in the 90s and though founding members kept on retiring, the music didn’t stop as  new members kept joining. But the previous band members like Nic Doodson and Michael Welton still contribute to the band. As McIntosh said, “I am with the band since the last seven years. The new guys have brought with them new energy, new ideas and we have been rebuilding and re-energising it over the years.” They share a great camaraderie on stage, which is due to the bond they share off stage.

Talking about the reaction they got from the Indian audience, McIntosh revealed, “The reaction  has been pretty amazing. The audience has been singing and dancing to the songs, saying they had never heard anything like this before. The reaction has been really encouraging.”

This is McIntosh’s first trip to Delhi and expectedly the boys gorged on local food. They loved Gujarati food and said though there are good curries in Britain, they are not quite like the ones in India. They are  planning to continue their culinary explorations and will visit Taj Mahal.

McIntosh shared that he is familiar with AR Rahman’s work and  how his musical Bombay Dreams is a massive hit in London. He has an Indian tabla player as a friend and it is through him that he is a bit familiar with popular and Indian classical music. McIntosh shared an interesting story. “I used to be a music teacher at a school in east London which predominantly had Bangladeshi girls. It is through them that I have been exposed to the sub-continent and I have incorporated some influences in my music,” he added.

McIntosh spilled the beans on five things about the band which no one knows. “Matthew used to be an accountant, Duncan is a personal trainer and  gymnastics coach, James was part of the 2014 musical  film Jersey Boys,  Michael has a secret passion for beatboxing and Ball-Zee has a secret passion to be a singer.”

Said Michael, “We get inspired by the best artists that inspire every musician, be it Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury and Stevie Wonder. We have an eclectic taste in music and listen to various genres like pop, classical, jazz, opera.”

The band does around 200 shows a year, performs at highly acclaimed festivals, does radio shows and studio recordings.

The Magnets’ new album Can You Feel It was released in February.



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