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"Push to Start:" The Tarpeggios new EP releases Friday

Photo Courtesy of Ira Wilder. The Tarpeggios, an acapella group at UNC, will release an EP on Friday, March 24, 2023.

Groovy, fun and energetic. 

These are three words that Music Director and UNC junior Oliver Chen said he would choose to describe the University-based a cappella group The Tarpeggios’ new EP, "Push to Start.”

“I like to think about it being the 'push start' of some sort of roller coaster,” Chen said. “I think we bring the listener along a very varied emotional journey through the songs."

The first track, “Hallucinate,” originally by Dua Lipa, is an upbeat pop performance. He said the next track, a cover of Bren Joy's “Sweet,” has a similar feel, but the final two tracks — takes on “Rose Leaves” by Bailen and “Flesh and Bone” by Sammy Rae & The Friends — are stylistically different.

Kyle (Kai) Turik, a tenor, is most excited for listeners to hear “Flesh and Bone.” They said the song, which closes the EP, “grows” throughout due to the strong voices and unique a capella aspects. 

The group recorded the EP over the summer of 2022, with Chen and Sindhura Kondaveeti, The Tarpeggios' president, leading the process. Chen said scheduling and coordinating with the group's 16 members was difficult at times, but that their close bond made things easier.

“Everybody contributed to helping me get everything done because I think everybody was so passionate about the music,” he said.

Throughout the recording process, Chen and Turik said that they each struggled with perfectionism and that it was easy to get wrapped up in the logistics rather than enjoying the process.

Turik specifically recalled a memory during the process when they could not hit a note that they usually could. After trying over and over again, taking throat lozenges and still being unable to hit the note, they eventually just had to laugh about the situation with Chen and Kondaveeti.

“I think at the end of the day when you have those moments, that's what makes you realize that we are here making music together for a reason,” Turik said.

Chen recalled another moment of frustration during the recording process. When attempting to find the original version of “Flesh and Bone,” he instead accidentally landed on a completely different song from the Disney Channel movie “Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2” with the same title. 

“It was just such a comical moment, and we ended up getting on a tangent and watching parts of the movie for like 20 minutes,” Chen said.

He thinks that this moment speaks not only to the “delirium” that comes with coordinating an EP, but to the  group's closeness, which allowed them to go off subject and laugh during a stressful process. 

After organizing, recording and officially launching the EP, senior mezzo Kapeka Rohy said her favorite part of the experience was hearing the songs develop from live performances to perfected versions in the studio.

Rohy tried to join an a cappella group at UNC for two years before finding her place with The Tarpeggios and said that her experience with the group has been fulfilling. 

“It's just been so eye-opening and just an absolutely amazingly rewarding experience to put together such intricate and detailed and difficult pieces of music,” she said.

Moving forward, The Tarpeggios also plan to release a music video later this semester that will feature three songs and tell a story about rebuilding and finding a support system after overcoming hardships.

“We’re steadily adding color, and it's a sunrise — a new day,” Rohy said, describing the concept behind the video. 

As a whole, Chen said that energy is what sets The Tarpeggios apart from other a capella groups on campus, and is also what is embodied in the new EP. 

“I think we do a great job of showing our passion for the music that we're creating and the performances that we're creating,” Chen said.

The Tarpeggios next concert will be on Sunday, April 23, at 5 p.m. at the Varsity Theatre on Franklin St.

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“Push to Start” will be available this Friday, March 24, on Spotify and Apple Music.