Hillside Chats: The BC Dynamics’ AJ Hernandez

With finals rapidly approaching and the temperature dropping, coming back to campus from a too-short Thanksgiving break wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. In all this frozen despair, BC students are left to wonder what’s there to look forward to besides winter break? According to junior AJ Hernandez, the Dynamics are the light at the end of the tunnel.

922151_3083436381423_1316440726_oHi AJ, thanks for meeting with me. Tell me about yourself. What’s your major, where are you from, and why pursue music and the Dynamics?

I’m a Communications major, an Environmental Studies minor, and I’m from California. I’m a tenor, vocally, and music has always been important to me. I started playing piano at age 5, so I’ve been doing it for 14 and a half years of my life. I’ve always been singing, too. At BC, it’s a good way to release stress. I’ll go to the Lyons piano lab and just play nonsense for hours. It’s a good outlet and I’ll just call up a friend to come jam. People probably think I’m nuts cause I’m always singing under my breath. It’s really nice to have a group of people to share that love of music with. It’s a part of my identity, part of who I am.

I’ve been in the group since Spring of 2012. I auditioned for 3 or 4 different groups, didn’t make any of them and then auditioned again in the spring.

That’s an inspiring story for other a cappella hopefuls. Why the Dynamics?

Well, when it came down to choosing what group to go to callbacks for, it was where I felt most comfortable and got a good vibe. [Smiles] When I walked in the room, they all jumped out of their seats to come introduce themselves and I knew it was where I should go.

How would you describe the Dynamics?

I would say we’re a family first. We all love to sing, but it’s very much a family made up of people who all just happen to love to sing. The biggest thing for me is the sense of community we have; we all care about each other and celebrate our diversity – we have one freshman, four sophomores, six juniors, and four seniors.

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What makes you guys different from the other a cappella groups on campus?

Well, I’m speaking from my own personal auditioning experience but the Dynamics are the ones that are most like a family, and have the most personality. I really got the vibe that they all love what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with. We really enjoy hanging out together outside of rehearsal, and socially, we have a great connection. We make forming relationships and the social aspect of our group a priority; it just kinda works. It’s hard to describe, but it just works. We also have a very diverse group in terms of backgrounds and interests: we have a lacrosse player, music department people, a water polo player, and a geoscience fanatic. It all brings something extra to group and it’s nice to have all these people with diverse interests. We’re all super invested in what everyone cares about.

A capella groups obviously function as one unit – do the Dynamics still allow you to have your own voice (pun intended)?

Yes; determining voice parts happens naturally so that part kind of just happens, but every semester each person gets to suggest 2 songs, and then we go on a retreat for a weekend and we go through them all and look at all the genres. Everyone gets a chance to choose whatever kind of music they want; this semester we had someone suggest a James Brown song, but we also get poppy suggestions, like Katy Perry. And then we hold a vote after reviewing all the suggestions and vote on 3-4 judges to determine who would be best for the solos, who would give it the most life, and then our group auditions for the parts they want. Everybody gets to bring something to the table. I suggested “Next to Me” by Emeli Sande, and “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne.

1378486_10152269918284358_205555015_nWhy those two?

I chose “Stacy’s Mom” just because we always talk about fun, throwback songs and I knew the crowd would love it. I thought we could use a fun, in-the-moment pop song, and I thought any of our girls would sound good on the Emeli Sande track.

Given that selection process, what can we expect for the Fall Concert?

We’ll sing our entire repertoire, and we have one new song debuting this Saturday. For every café you can expect every song we’ve done with the majority of the group. For as long as you’re at BC, you have the same solo. This weekend we have 15 songs. At smaller shows, we pick 3 usually, and then you never know what you’re going to get. At the café, we’re doing small groups, which is really exciting. The groups are sometimes a capella, sometimes acoustic, and always fun. We keep it a surprise because it showcases people.

Coolest Dynamics performance story?

This semester, my favorite performing moment was when we debuted “Stacy’s Mom” at the Halloween Invitational. The guy who sang it is such a ham and a crowd pleaser, so it was a huge hit and really fun. The best, though, was when the audience sang the lyrics back; [lights up] when it came to my part, the audience was having such a good time that I didn’t even have to sing because they knew all the words and kept going. There was so much energy and it was so fun to perform.

Awesome! What’s next for the Dynamics?

We’re releasing our 2nd studio recorded endeavor: an EP. It’s six tracks, and it’s our second in two years. October marked the 15th anniversary of our group. Alumni are coming back for the café, and we’re releasing our CD soon, so it’s a really exciting time for us. People come, go abroad, graduate – for me, it’s really exciting to see how the group evolves every semester. The personalities really make the group. I won’t be here [next semester] –  I’m going abroad to Madrid – but I already can’t wait to come back from abroad and get back with the group.

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Catch the Dynamics this Saturday at their annual fall “Corporate Café” at 7:30pm in McGuinn 121.

The Dynamics’ first CD is on iTunes, and their second recorded one will also be on iTunes upon its release. Check out their past live performances on their YouTube channel, and stay up to date with them on Facebook

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