Author: Cailyn Schiltz
Five years ago, Evan Warwick and four other UW-Madison students started a new a cappella group, Under A-Rest, with the intention to bring something fresh and positive to the university’s music scene.
“Lots of groups that were already established had their own quirks and went about business based on history and traditions,” said Warwick. “We wanted to compete but bring something fresh. The idea is to use music as a tool to drive positive change throughout the community.”
In fact, they arranged and covered Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” on their debut album “The First Offense,” which is set to drop on Friday.
Under A-Rest has been working on this album for over a year. Fundraising efforts began last April and included creative incentives for Kickstarter pledges, such as early album downloads, private concerts and even entry into the group.
In November, they spent four days recording each vocal part at a small studio in Goodnight Hall and waited five months for production company Liquid 5th to edit and mix the five tracks, according to the group’s music director Ashleigh Kent.
Since recording the album, 2020 has been an emotional rollercoaster for Under A-Rest. In February, they took 2nd place overall at The International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella and advanced to the semifinals, but the competition was canceled due to COVID-19.
Fortunately, the group has maintained their love and support for each other and still puts a tremendous amount of work into sharing their music with the world. Under A-Rest prides themselves on their drive and commitment to not only their music but also their group dynamic.
“In producing the album, we had to have a bunch of extra rehearsals. Seventeen of our 17 members always made it,” said Kent. “[I am so proud of] the amount of hard work and passion everyone puts toward the music and each other. The fact that we are all so close helps us to make the music that we do.”
Both Warwick and Kent see “The First Offense” as a massive success for the group and a jumping-off point for even more musical endeavors. They hope that the group continues to grow individually and collectively, and use the strong platform they are building for the good of the community. Under A-Rest will be releasing “The First Offense” this Friday on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Pandora Radio, TouchTunes, Amazon, iHeartRadio and other platforms. More information can be found on their Facebook and Instagram pages.