Two years ago, a new production company was formed by two people who were anything but new to the a cappella world. The duo – Alex Green and Alexander Koutzoukis – are longtime friends and performers who brought their immense talents and in-depth knowledge of a cappella together to create Plaid Productions.
It already has an award-winning track record which belies the brief nature of Plaid’s existence. In their first year alone, clients who worked with Plaid Productions earned 18 nominations in the Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards, and nine tracks with the Plaid touch found their way onto some of the most respected a cappella compilations in existence.
They have not only worked with an extensive list of scholastic groups, but many professional powerhouses as well, including the Backbeats and Kinfolk 9 (both of “The Sing-Off” fame). The adventures of Alex and Alex also extend to a series of collaborative recording projects – working with some of the biggest names in a cappella during annual festivals on several opuses that combine the singing, arranging, percussion and production talents of the best in the business.
Both got their starts in a cappella early – Koutzoukis in high school, when his jazz ensemble was selected to open for the Tufts University Beelzebubs (which he would later join) and Green (an eventual Amalgamate, also at Tufts) through the magic of Rockapella’s “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” theme song.
It was after their exposure to (and involvement with) the world of collegiate a cappella, though, that they began to truly appreciate the possibilities of what the human voice can do – especially in the studio, where Green said he enjoys “taking a group that doesn’t really know what they have in themselves in terms of emotion, feeling, pathos, or whatever and showing them that their potential is even greater than they could imagine.”
The two met during their shared time at Tufts, bonding especially during the later years of their matriculation. While becoming closer as friends, the two also gained experience with performing and recording a cappella.
“As my (five-year) Bubs career progressed, I took more of an interest in the recording and production side of things, helping to record stuff for Ed [Boyer] when I could and eventually tracking the first batch of songs for “BATTLE” on my own,” Koutzoukis recalled. “Ed then gave me the opportunity and guidance to start editing those tracks and that ended up being the arrangement for the whole album.”
Realizing his passion for production through that opportunity, Koutzoukis approached Green about the prospect of going into business together – an idea Green had already been contemplating on his own time as he worked on “Hands Off the Mannequin!” for the Amalgamates with John Clark.
The rest, as they say, is history. And as for the future, it looks bright for the similarly named pair, and both Alex and Alex are thrilled to be doing what they love most – making music.
“There’s something to be said for the inherent joy that comes from [making music], and mine doesn’t have to be from performing,” Koutzoukis said. “I love having a creative outlet, especially when it means using my experience to help other groups and musicians and come up with a better end product.”
Added Green, “The people in this community who really care about what they’re doing and the music they’re making is what makes the good parts of our job great, and the difficult or tedious parts a little more bearable.”