- - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

With over 200 million YouTube views (you read that right) to their credit, the retro jazzy collective known as Postmodern Jukebox are genuine Internet music stars. Their unique covers of modern hits by everyone from Lady Gaga to Lorde and Meghan Trainor done in a retro swing big band style are all the rage.

The group is now jumping out of your computer and onto the live stage for a series of club dates on their first-ever U.S. tour, including a stop at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland, Sunday. Scott Bradlee, leader of the group, explains what this futuristic retro cover collective is all about.

Question: How did Postmodern Jukebox come about?

Answer: It’s kind of something that I have been doing since I was a kid. When I was in high school, I was really into jazz and that kind of older style of music. As you can imagine, my friends weren’t really into that type of music. I would take stuff they were listening to, gangsta rap and stuff like that, and turn it into jazz. That was my way of relating to everybody. Then it took about 10 years before we really found the right team who took it seriously and actually found a way to make it into a whole show.

Q: It’s not a band, but a collective?

A: It’s a rotating cast. At any given show there will be 12 to 14 different performers, a lot of different vocalists, an MC and a tap dancer. We’re really bringing back the variety show format. It’s kind of cool because it keeps everything fresh. You’ll see a different show every time.

Q: How would you describe the music?

A: I call it an alternate universe of pop songs — putting pop music of today into time machine. Or even “The Lawrence Welk Show” with twerking.

Q: Who have some of the guest vocalists been?

A: At this point we have 20 or 30 different singers that come on tour with us. Everybody switches in and out. We have some of our more recent singers [like] Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams. We have Robyn Bell Anderson [and] Puddle Pity Party, the seven-foot singing clown who has been in a lot of videos. He will be doing a few shows with us on this tour.

Q: How many songs/videos have you done so far?

A: Geez, we must be over a hundred easily at this point.

Q: You’ve covered “All About That Bass,” “Royals” and “Blurred Lines.” How do you decide what songs to do?

A: I’m biased to doing songs that a lot of people will know so they can hear the transformation and see how different it is. I also like to take songs that, by changing the style, you also change the lyrical content in a way. We do “Sweet Child O’ Mine” as a blues song, and it becomes about a woman singing the blues about her child.

Q: Does Postmodern Jukebox have any original material?

A: It could happen. Right now I think I’m focusing on these covers. I treat them as my originals that I didn’t write.

Q: How many views in total have you got on YouTube so far?

A: At that point it is over 200 million. It’s crazy.

Q: Have you been able to make a living as YouTube stars?

A: Definitely. You just have to be smart about it. Now that we have crossed over, I don’t really think of us as a YouTube act. That is just one platform. For us, it was a great platform that allowed us to bypass going through a major label. We have worldwide distribution on YouTube. That is the best way for us to get our stuff out there. In addition, we now play live shows and events. There are a lot of opportunities for people who have a fan base on YouTube.

Q: Any plans to release a CD?

A: We release a new video every single Thursday. And we do have CDs on iTunes and available at all our shows. They are collections of songs. This is our way of reinventing what the CD is.

Q: Is this your first full U.S. tour?

A: Yes. We have done both coasts in the U.S. and we’ve toured Europe. But this is the first time we’ve gone through the whole country. We’re hitting a lot of cities we’ve never played in before on this tour.

Q: What can people expect when they come to see PMJ live?

A: You can expect a really high-energy show. You’re gonna see some amazing performances, a lot of jaw-dropping performances. You’re gonna hear some of the best voices in the world singing these arrangements. And there is a lot of fun. Be prepared to laugh a lot and have a good time.

If you go

WHAT:Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox

WHERE: The Fillmore, 8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, Md. 20910

WHEN: Sunday, 8 p.m.

INFO: Tickets $29.50 by calling 301/960-9999 or visiting FillmoreSilverSpring.com

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