Well-Strung Quartet are hot—both due to their growing popularity and to their looks. But their looks are just an entry point into experiencing their serious musical chops. The all-gay group are in the midst of a national tour, with a stop in Atlanta Feb. 14-16 at Actor’s Express.
The classically trained group puts on a cabaret style show, as they sing and play a mix of Mozart, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Adele and more.
First violinist Edmund Bagnell checked in from the road to answer a few questions for GA Voice. See below and then check out a video of theirs where Mozart meets Kelly Clarkson.
What was your path to becoming a member of Well-Strung?
I’ve played the violin since the second grade, and have always loved music. I was a violin major in College, but right after graduating I was cast in a national Broadway tour so I began to seriously pursue theatre work. Being in Well-Strung definitely melds a bit of those two worlds together. The tricky new element with Well-Strung is singing and playing at the same time!
When you were studying the violin coming up, did you ever picture yourself becoming part of a “classical boy band”?
Never! Who ever would guess such a thing might exist? I always did like the idea of playing in a string quartet though. Chamber music has always been my favorite type of music to perform on the violin, so in a certain sense the fact that I’m in a quartet is a welcome surprise. The fact that we play Bruno Mars and Rihanna, I never would have seen that coming!
What’s been the most surprising thing about the audience reaction to your group and your music?
How much everyone enjoys it. Our music really appeals to a wide range of people. A lot of people say they came to our show not knowing what to expect, or sure they’d be bored, and then they want to get our CD after the show.
Is there one pop song that you attempted to cover that just turned into a train wreck and you had to scrap? Or is pretty much any pop song translatable into a string quartet version?
We’ve never had a train wreck moment with a song, but we do think long and hard about the songs we pick. I do think any song cold be turned in to a string quartet version, but in terms of Well-Strung we pick songs we like that reflect our personalities and musical taste.
After shows, are you guys more of the “maybe watch a movie and turn in early” types or the “hit the town and trash the hotel room” types?
We’ve been touring a lot this year in some very fun cities, so I’d be lying if I said we never went out. However, none of us are a trash the room type.
Do you have your own gay groupies?
I suppose we’re developing a following. We started in P’town, so our earliest fans were gay, but as we continue to perform we’ve reached a wider range of fans.
What are your future plans with the group? Where do you hope to take all of this?
Future plans include recording a new album, work on original material, and certainly continuing to tour. My hope is to reach as a wide an audience as possible. In a time where so much music is based on electronic instruments and sounds, I think there’s something really cool about making pop music on instruments that are hundreds of years old.