White Tie Affair melds Beatles, Jackson
He's short, they're tall and together they're... magic?
Well, pop magic anyway... The White Tie Affair is five guys, some Michael Jackson-inspired music and a whole lotta 'tween appeal. Lead by pint-sized singer Chris Tyler, 21 and guitarist Sean P, 22, the group has the aura of an updated boy band. Sean's tattoos and piercings spice up the band's otherwise preppy vibe, but none of the guys seem particularly scary-- parents of tweens won't mind these posters on their kids' bedroom walls.
My own musical tastes range from classic rock to early punk, but I found myself happily humming TWTA's probable single, "Allow me to introduce myself, Mr. Right (Now)" long after their last Chicago show for awhile, during Mobfest last month at Mix Nightclub, 2843 N. Halsted.
The band, which hails from the Chicago suburbs, will be leaving on their first national tour at the end of the month and is currently in California meeting with label executives.
The other members of the band -- who refuse to release their last names -- are keyboardist Ryan, bassist Jeremy and drummer Tim.
Tyler, cute, blond and preppy is new to the industry and seems to adore his band, his job and his pending tour bus-bound existence. I saw the band's eleventh performance, but they played as if they'd been together for years. Chris says that the band, started last fall, is the culmination of his passions as a musician.
"We started this group out of fun--not as a joke, but we decided to use the influences of music that we love. We wanted to do something new, something different."
And so they sound like their influences -- the music of The Backstreet Boys and N'Sync vies with elements of Michael Jackson and Beatles-esque harmonies.
Like early McCartney-Lennon, Chris and Sean consult each other about composition and collaboration. Chris comes up with ideas while riding his motorcycle on the highway. He pulls off and records the new tune or lyrics on his cell phone. He emails those files to Sean, who plays with them on his computer. The pair then send the file back and forth over the internet, using software and instruments on either end to modify the idea, eventually coming up with an engineered piece that they then print out and practice with the band.
It sounds somewhat antiseptic compared to a more traditional creative process, but as Chris pointed out, "I think we've just taken the postal service out of the equation."