Four Londoners, a fine ear for a classic and a mutual love of Frank Sinatra: The Penny Arcade Quartet step into the light.
When two record executives strolled into their local pub in Notting Hill on Christmas Eve last year the last thing they expected to find through the haze of mulled wine, and Christmas merriment was their next signing. Even less likely was that the next signing would be the four boys singing Christmas carols in the corner.
Sure enough though, the four first year students propping up the bar - holding the audience with a small repertoire of carols, and old classics while they did so - turned out to be just that.
The classically trained Matt O'Keefe, Alex Moore, Daniel Martin and Charlie Dalton – now aged 19 and 20 – had formed a few weeks prior over a drink at the local University Union bar. The Londoners met three years ago through the Rodolfus youth choir, decided to put many years of choir practice to some practical use and perform a few numbers in return for drinks at their local pub.
Fast forward six months and the quartet had dropped out of their respective University courses, signed a multi-million pound global deal with Mercury Records and were hard at work on their debut at Mothership Studios in Jersey with chart topping UK producer Ray Hedges.
“We’ve worked with loads of acts from Take That to Dizzee Rascal but we didnt know what to expect from the boys but we were really blown away,” says Ray. “They have great voices and deeply amazing harmonies all wrapped up with this quintessential Englishness madness. So talented.”
For the debut album – released November 19th on Mercury Records – much like their repertoire, they picked their favourite classic pop songs such as The Beatles ‘Here, There and Everywhere’, and made them their own, including the Paul Simon classic ‘Homeward Bound’, stripped back and washed down with a little Penny Arcade Quartet magic.
Buy far from just good singers, the boys have also proved themselves savvy songwriters, and in sessions with songwriter and producer David Sneddon (Lana Del Ray, Hurts), have co-written two songs for forthcoming debut album - ‘One Thousand Colours’ and ‘Walls’, proving that they can do classic and contemporary in equal measure.
Check out their exclusive performance at a secret London location: