Scott Hoying and Avi Kaplan are members of the Arlington, Texas based a cappella group Pentatonix. The group burst on to the scene last fall after winning season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing Off” Media Mikes talked recently with Scott and Avi about the group’s formation as well as their new hit single “Starships”.
Adam Lawton: Can you give us some background on how the group came together?
Scott Hoying: We started out as a trio. Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado and I all grew up together. Later when I move to Los Angeles to go to school I decided I wanted to try out for “The Sing Off”. I talked to my friend and he told me I was going to need a really awesome beat boxer and bass if I wanted to have a chance at the show. We found Avi through a friend as he had a really great reputation for singing bass in the Los Angeles area. We later found our beat boxer Kevin Olusola through a viral video of him playingcello and beat boxing. We sent him an email and after a phone call or two he was interested and he came out. We actually all met the day before the audition. Everything just clicked and the audition went really well. Now we are all best friends and it’s a happy go lucky story.
AL: What was it like competing on the show while you were still getting to know each other as a group?
SH: It was an interesting thing. On the show we were developing both as a group and as friends. If you watched the show you could actually see how we interacted with each other. We were also finding out how to work with each other as we didn’t really have a leader. We sort of sat in a circle and just talked. It was super hard to do at first because we were all different people and liked different music. We eventually clicked and ever since things just keep getting better and better.
AL: Was it hard working with the cameras around?
SH: Not really. I expected it to be hard but literally after one day you forget that they are there. You just go on your way and do what you have to do.
AL: What have been your thoughts about the success of your EP and its first single“Starships”?
SH: It been overwhelmingly exciting. We never thought a year ago when we were trying out for the show that anything would become of it. To be able to do what we love and are passionate about is really great. When we made the EP we worked so hard on it and the scary thing is people don’t really buy albums anymore. We were afraid it wasn’t going to do well. People have been really intense about supporting us and we really appreciate that. Things are going better than we have ever hoped. We are still celebrating.
Avi Kaplan: The whole thing for me has been a dream comes true. It’s an amazing experience. This is just something that I have always wanted to do. I never thought this type of music would be my profession. I am getting to live my dream everyday and it is just so amazing.
AL: What made you choose “Starships” as the first single?
AK: When we were arranging all of the songs “Starships” was one of the last songs we arranged. The song just stuck out and we were very proud of the arrangement. We thought that this song would be a great spring board for our album.
AL: What were the writing/recording sessions like for the EP?
AK: It was definitely a collective process as we all have different styles. We appreciate all types of music so things were very collective.
AL: What are the group’s plans for the rest of this year?
AK: We really want to start recording our next EP or LP. We also want to start working on our Christmas Album. Besides touring those are the two things on our plate right now. We have a few different shows already scheduled and will be announcing more as the dates become available.
SH: We are going to be touring in a lot of different places. Even though were not doing an official tour nationwide. We plan to do a number of shows in different areas where it will feel like a tour.