"Listen" to The Hofbeats newly released debut EP
Courtesy of Amazon
“Listen, listen, listen,” sing members of The Hofbeats at a quieted volume. They are quiet, yet bold and unapologetic to capture their audience’s attention. The repeated lyrics are ones that introduce “Passionfruit,” the third title track on the award-winning a cappella group’s debut EP, “Listen.” Members worked for a total of 15 months on arranging, performing and recording music for the four-song release that would then go on to be shared on Thursday, Sept. 5, of this year to every industry-standard streaming platform.
Their voices serve as the sole instrument for the tracks, something The Hofbeats have engaged in not only in a musical sense, but in the nature of the group as well. Through their exceptional sense of community and teamwork, they have urged members to use their voices and tell their story on “Listen,” and fans are doing exactly what the title begs them to – use their voice to tell their story.
Recording an a cappella EP is not your typical studio session. “One by one, and sometimes two by two, all 20 of us would go down to that basement and record. And because of the way recording works, everything must be recorded twice,” said the Public Relations Chair for The Hofbeats, junior journalism major Eli Finkelson. “That’s not including mess-ups, and that’s not including fumbles.”
The Hofbeats did not have their own studio or the funding to take their talent to a professional one, so when they decided to share their music with the world, they started right from home.
They began by networking with their peers to inquire about using their in-home studios located in off-campus housing. The majority of the tracks would go on to be recorded at these houses as well as the practice spaces in Hofstra’s music department. Also, The Hofbeats called in alumnus and former Music Director Connor Martin to help mix and master the tracks before they would be released to the world.
The recording process was a tedious one. While many bands, artists and producers agree that vocals are the most difficult tracks to record, doing so for a whole group of vocalists seems nearly impossible . The Hofbeats, however, were determined and driven, and that is what allowed them to create their art. “It was a big turning point for us as artists, and for us as a whole,” said The Hofbeats President and senior music education major Peter O’ Malley.
On their EP, “Listen,” The Hofbeats were adamant about recording their particular set featured at the 2018 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs).
The set was performed on the famous Kimmel Center stage in Philadelphia in front of the largest crowd The Hofbeats have ever sang for. “Emotionally, that was the most invested in music any of us had ever been,” Finkleson said.
Newer members were able to contribute to the EP as well, despite not competing in the ICCAs. “Being able to say that as an undergraduate college student, I was part of an a cappella group that released an EP is just incredible.” said Justin Shah, a sophomore music education major. “This was such an unforgettable experience, with the cool behind-the-scenes studio recording sessions making me feel like I was famous.”
“The memories that I have made while being part of this group are some of the best of my Hofstra experience and will follow me for the rest of my life. Being able to put those memories into ‘Listen’ and share it with people has been an amazing and rewarding process,” O’Malley said. “I truly am so lucky to be a part of this group.”
This excitement is something not only shared by members, but by listeners of the EP as well. The EP has already surpassed 2,000 streams on specific platforms.
The EP closes out with a cover of Demi Lovato’s “Old Ways,” and in a similar subject to the song, The Hofbeats return to their old ways by tapping into the efforts and talents of each individual member in order to bring their EP to its fullest potential. The EP showcases not just their singing ability, but an overall community bond. The Hofbeats command their audience to “Listen,” not just to the songs they sing, but to the message they share within the walls of Hofstra University.