Kathy Lan/The Daily Evergreen The Gregory Brothers, a YouTube sensation, brought their musically comical antics to Pullman for an intimate lecture Wednesday night about their meteoric rise to Internet superstardom.
Brothers Michael, Andrew and Evan Gregory, and Evan’s wife Sarah, are best known for their series of auto-tuned viral videos, including the “Bed Intruder Song” which has almost 1 million hits on YouTube and is now a gold record.
Angel Nava, the student involvement arts and programming coordinator, emphasized how the lecture, like the Gregory Brothers’ music, didn't fit the traditional definition.
“Many who are familiar with their music know that the group became famous for auto-tuning’ the news,” Nava said. “The basic elements of the process are taking media clips from the news or television and 'song-ifying' them … Students on the Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee felt that this
would be a great opportunity for other WSU students to get a richer experience than a traditional lecture or performance would allow.”
Evan described the group dynamic.
“Andrew, Michael and I are actually real-life brothers,"he said."Sarah is not a brother to any of us, but she does have honorary brother status. She is a sister-in-law to Michael and Andrew."
Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., the Gregory Brothers draw their inspiration from everything around them, especially television.
“We have a ton of influences and inspirations," Evan said. "You know that part in the beginning of the 'Sound of Music' where Julie Andrews is running around on the mountaintop and yelling that the hills are alive with the sound of music? It’s sort of like that, but the news is alive with music."
Sarah Gregory became an addition to their quirky group during an intimate road trip.
“We spent a few months on tour together in a really old broken-down minivan that didn’t have air conditioning and we were traveling across the country in the summer,” she said. “I had a really good time, and I thought if three months and three boys in a broken-down minivan is still fun for me at the end of the tour, then I think I can actually work with these guys long-term.”
After touring as a quartet playing original music for about four years, the Gregory Brothers really got a feel for artistic collaboration, Evan said. Thanks to Michael, their music videos grew out of experimentation with sound technology, and the need to express themselves in new, funny and interesting ways.
Evan said the Brothers love to perform, but lecturing provides them with the opportunity to connect with the audience and share what they have learned over the years. They enjoy talking to students about their groups’ history and how they used music and comedy to find their audience, he said.
The group discussed their humble beginning, using a green screen in Michael’s room, and how YouTube played a large part in their success. Utilizing their diverse musical backgrounds, they explained their mission, which is to find the best “unintentional singers,” and the qualities, such as outspoken personality, that make unsuspecting political figures into auto-tuned vocalists.
The lecture, more of an intimate hangout, was sprinkled with the pleasant nerdiness that made the Gregory Brothers famous. From Michael's spontaneous falsetto outbursts to an acoustic performance of the Double Rainbow song accompanied by Andrew on the ukulele, all was met with the roaring applause of fans in the audience, who clearly got what they came for.