St. Olaf’s music scene has just expanded with the entrance of Krossmen, a newly-formed a capella quartet. Members include: Aaron Kohrs ’16, Duncan Tuomi ’16, Harrison Hintzsche ’16 and Nathaniel Hendrix ’16.
Q. How was the group formed?
Harrison: [Aaron, Duncan, Nathaniel and myself] started singing as a quartet a few times in early- to mid-December with the first piece Duncan arranged, which was “Butterfly.”
Duncan: When we first sang through “Butterfly,” I was like, “that went a lot better than I expected!” So I was like, “We should probably keep doing this.”
Nathaniel: After rehearsal one night, we put up the “Butterfly” video, not really expecting much of anything, but it seemed to start to pick up after our Junior Counselor Jacob Hauschild posted the video on the “Overheard at St. Olaf” Facebook page.
Q. Were you surprised that your videos got popular?
Duncan: [Laughing] We did not expect that at all. Our group is very casual.
Nathaniel: We used to just sing for people in our room and jam together, and, all of a sudden, lots of people knew that we loved doing that together.
Harrison: Krossmen is based on just jamming and sharing that love with other people.
Q. What’s it like to rehearse together?
Nathaniel: It’s really nice because we can tell each other to “tune things up,” or do things a certain way.
Aaron: Yeah, you literally can’t do that with anyone else because people get offended.
Duncan: It also doesn’t hurt that the music we rehearse and perform [is] our own arrangements, so we know exactly what we want out of the pieces.
Nathaniel: Over interim, we got really busy and could only practice from like 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and people didn’t really like that; we’re pretty loud.
Harrison: Before we relocated [to practicing in the music buildings], rehearsing in our room was really convenient because we all live in the same hallway, but we understand why we had to move.
Duncan: But, I mean, who actually is sleeping and/or studying during the hours of 11-1? Oh, right. Everyone.
Q. How do you decide who arranges the pieces and gets the solos?
Duncan: For the last songs that we’ve done, someone just picks out a piece and arranges it.
Nathaniel: Yeah, then they’d show it to the group and ask, “Hey, what do you think?” and it usually translates well with everyone. As for solos, whoever arranges [the piece] usually gets the solo, or it goes to whose voice it would fit best.
Duncan: That’s true. [Harrison] originally had the solo in “For Emma,” but Aaron ended up singing it for the video.
Harrison: Yeah, I was like, “This doesn’t sound as good as it could be – here, Aaron, you take this.”
Aaron: I love how unselfish we are when it comes to solos.
Nathaniel: You mean “selfless”?
Aaron: [Laughing] Shut up, Nathaniel.
Q. What are your roles within Krossmen?
Harrison: Duncan’s the joker!
Duncan: Now, I was going to say Aaron’s the joker, especially when we’re recording!
Aaron: For sure in recording – and sometimes performing.
Harrison: Yeah, [Aaron] definitely has the whole “stage-presence” thing going on when we’ve performed.
Aaron: Well, take “Falling Short,” the medley Duncan wrote. I never thought of it as being a funny piece, but now that we’ve added a few dance moves to it …
Duncan: Basically, we all love to joke around, but we’re all serious in our own respect.
Nathaniel: Every once in awhile, one of us will be like, “Hey, stop that. We need to focus,” and then we do.
Harrison: Yeah, like all of our rehearsals leading up to our performance [in Illinois].
Q. Tell me about your performances thus far.
Nathaniel: Our first performance was at the Ellingson Open Mic Night two weeks ago, and, Harrison, what was our second one called?
Harrison: The International Championship of High School A Capella Midwest State Finals, and we were the collegiate host group, meaning we performed a set while the judges deliberated which high school group won.
Aaron: I thought it went really well, though the second gig we had had a significantly larger audience.
Duncan: [Performing in Illinois] was really fun, and we got some great feedback from audience members after the performance.
Q. How did that feel, to go from performing for 50 to 600-700 people?
Aaron: I want to go back [to Illinois].
Nathaniel: There was the same amount of energy in both audiences, though, just different because one group was St. Olaf students and the other was a crowd of people that live for a cappella music.
Harrison: I almost preferred the Ellingson gig because there were people we [knew] there, and we were well-received by all of our friends.
Q. So what is the future for Krossmen?
Nathaniel: I don’t think that any one of us knows exactly. Right now, we’re just having a lot of fun with jamming together and putting videos up.
Duncan: I agree. Krossmen was formed kind of spontaneously, so it’s hard for us to try to figure out where we’ll be going with this, but I think we all can agree that performing will always be a part of our lives.
Harrison: This group was based on a love of music and singing together, and we know that if it gets stressful or strays from our original intent, then we’re doing something wrong.
Aaron: I love the performance aspect of it, and I love these guys, so I know that even if we stop putting up new videos, we’ll never stop playing together.
Check out the band’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KrossmenACappella. Or, use a smart device to scan the codes below to view two of their most popular videos on YouTube: “Butterfly” and “Swallowed in the Sea.”