Photo: Chance Yeh/FilmMagic
Superfruit: From Pentatonix To 'Future Friends'
You'll recognize them from the GRAMMY-winning hit a cappella group Pentatonix, but Scott Hoying and Mitch Grassi have broken out on their own with a colorful double-team project called Superfruit. For fans of the duo, this isn't a new development.
Hoying and Grassi founded Superfruit as a vlog channel in 2013 as a creative outlet outside their time in Pentatonix. They covered everything from Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj's "Feeling Myself" to Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" while also branching out into fun lifestyle topics such as waxing and the game Cards Against Humanity.
But eventually the two came to a point where they wanted to do more with the music and expand their footprint as Superfruit.
"We wanted to do something a little different," said Grassi. "We've always wanted to do music together as a duo and I feel like we have a really cohesive sound that just kind of makes sense for us."
Enter the two-EP set, Future Friends, the first official output from Superfruit. Released June 30, Part One of the seven-track collection includes "Bad 4 Us," "Worth It (Perfect)" and "Vacation." The second installment of Future Friends — seven tracks on part two — will be released Sept. 15.
As you'll hear on the EPs, Superfruit aren't a cappella — they have instrumentation and slick productions backing their smooth vocals. Regardless, the transition from writing and performing sans instruments with Pentatonix to their new approach in Superfruit wasn't a huge change.
Hoying revealed Pentatonix use production and instruments as they write their tunes, and then "flip" to their signature a cappella arrangements later, leaving only the group's voices. With Superfruit, the duo follows the same creative procedure, except this time they keep the production.
That's not the only way Superfruit gained valuable musical insight from their work in Pentatonix. A collaborative songwriting process has been key to the way Hoying and Grassi approach their melodies and harmonies together.
"What works for us usually is just coming up with the melodies and just sort of throwing out ideas and being very collaborative," says Grassi. "I feel like spending so much time arranging these songs with Pentatonix has really given us our style, and it's helped us to fill in the gaps and put things together melodically."
While Pentatonix and a cappella influences are apparent in all their work, there are many unique inspirations at play for Superfruit, from 1980s vibes to J-pop, Motown, R&B, and funk. Grassi sites GRAMMY winners Bruno Mars and Daft Punk and GRAMMY nominee Jazmine Sullivan among their artistic inspirations.
The first part of the collection packs a punch with upbeat, danceable tracks. Part two, meanwhile, will slow things down a bit and provide listeners with a totally different vibe.
"For the second [part] the production gets a little weirder and there's a little bit more of an emotional moment on it," says Hoying. "There's a song in particular I'm obsessed with from Part Two called 'Fantasy' and I think it's probably my favorite of every song we've ever done."
The choice to release two EPs as opposed to a single debut album was a conscious decision Superfruit made based on the modern way most fans consume music, another lesson the duo learned from Pentatonix.
"It's a good way to just kind of keep throwing content out there and keep people wanting more," says Grassi. "You don't give it all up front."
As Superfruit close in on the release date for Part Two, they're already looking at what's ahead.
— Superfruit (@SUP3RFRUIT) September 1, 2017
"Superfruit's such a baby right now, so we're just trying to grow," says Hoying.
"I think we're just always thinking about Superfruit and the brand and how we can elevate it and put the aesthetics together," adds Grassi. "I think we definitely want to go on tour with Superfruit."