TAKE five lads from across the globe, give them each a pitch-perfect singing voice and personality to match and what do you have?
The Overtones of course! The red hot vocal harmony quintet are on a musical ‘high’ at the moment promoting their second album Higher and getting ready for a 27-date tour which kicks off in Cork next month.
The group began performing together as a quartet in 2006, honing their sound and developing their unique style.
However, it wasn’t until original members Mark Franks (not to be confused with the antique dealer), Mike Crawshaw, Darren Everest and Timmy Matley met bass vocalist Lachie Chapman and the band became a five piece that The Overtones’ luck began to change.
“Four of us met on the music scene in London and performed together for many years,” says band member, 35-year-old Mark from Manchester.
“About three years ago, while we were doing other jobs to pay our rent, we met Lachie and with his unusual bass voice it gave us the full range of bass to falsetto.”
There have been many rumours of how The Overtones got their record deal - including being spotted singing while decorating and becoming an overnight success.
“Ha, if only,” says Mark.
“We spent years going door to door to different management agencies and record companies before we were lucky enough to be signed by Warner two years ago for a five album deal.
“It has been a long road to get where we are but it has been worth it.”
Being part of a five-piece band is a far cry from Mark’s original training as a dancer — he gained a place at the revered Royal Ballet School becoming Manchester’s answer to Billy Elliott.
“Although my dad wasn’t a miner and he didn’t chop up the piano to keep us warm,” says Mark.
“I started dancing when I was four and went to the school for five years from 11 to 16 years old. I’ve still got a few nifty moves. In fact all of the band have — we all like to have a bit of a boogie on and off the stage.”
Their latest album Higher, a follow up to their surprise smash hit Good Ol’ Fashioned Love, is set to be showcased on the tour.
“We will be singing tracks from both of our albums,” says Mark “Higher is quite different from the first, it has more Soul and Motown songs on it, along with some original tracks.
“The tour will be a mix of old and new which has become an Overtones’ stance these days.” The Overtones’ own songwriting credits on the album, which include collaborations with Steve Brooker (Duffy) and fast rising writing team Electric (Cheryl Cole) have been central to the success of Higher.
The album’s title track is a prime example and fellow band member Timmy Matley comments: “It’s uplifting, gritty and almost like a classic dance track. I love that we’re bending the rules a little bit regarding what vocal harmony groups can do.”
Mark adds: “There’s something for everyone on the album and we’ve had some really great feedback since it was released. I feel we have moved on a little since Good Ol’ Fashioned Love. We wanted to explore new territories and have done a really good job with Higher and can’t wait to perform it on tour.”
The Overtones tour kicks off in Cork on November 9 and will call at Leicester De Montfort Hall on November 30, Birmingham Symphony Hall on December 10, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall on December 11 and Stoke’s Victoria Hall on December 18.