METRO VO­CAL GROUP

HK Magazine - - CULTURE -

HK Mag­a­zine: How did you four be­come a group?

Eric Mon­son: In 1998, I was con­tacted by an agent to per­form on a cruise ship. He asked if I wanted to put a group to­gether and I said, sure! We went on to have our first gig on a cruise ship to Van­cou­ver. It started off as a six-month con­tract, and here we are, 18 years later.

HK: Why did you de­cide to set­tle down in Hong Kong? EM: On cruise ships we trav­eled to over 60 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, but af­ter a while we al­ways seemed to get bored of the cities we were vis­it­ing. Hong Kong was the first place that we ac­tu­ally felt could be home. So we de­cided, in 2008, to make Hong Kong our home base.

Kevin Thorn­ton: I love Hong Kong! It’s the most ex­cit­ing city in the world—plus I met the love of my life and got mar­ried here.

HK: How did you start singing Can­topop?

Sean Oliver: We did our first Can­tonese song “My Pride”

[by Can­topop singer Joey Yung] in 2010, and then Be­yond’s “Un­der a Vast Sky,” and it for­ever changed our lives. Our friends sug­gested the songs and that was our first ex­po­sure to Be­yond. We fell in love with them. I still think they are the best band that’s ever come out of Hong Kong. It opened our ears to mu­sic that we hadn’t heard be­fore: from Tai­wan, China, Hong Kong, the Philip­pines, ev­ery­where. We were like kids in a candy store.

HK: Did you mas­ter your Can­tonese in the process?

EM: Siu siu [a lit­tle bit]. We made the lo­cals laugh a lot be­cause singing in Can­tonese is in­cred­i­bly hard, es­pe­cially the ris­ing tones. We have a coach, my wife, who comes in—she’s a singer as well. She worked with Sean for two months for “Un­der a Vast Sky.” HK: What do you think of the a cap­pella scene in

Hong Kong?

Michael Lance: A cap­pella wasn’t as main­stream as it is now. All these sing-off shows and the “Pitch Per­fect” movies have brought the a cap­pella world into more of a main­stream en­vi­ron­ment. In the past six or seven years a cap­pella has gone huge in Hong Kong. I’d like to think we had a part in that.

EM: In the States, bar­ber­shop mu­sic has been around for cen­turies, and guys get­ting to­gether singing a cap­pella is part of the univer­sity ex­pe­ri­ence. Hong Kong is start­ing to find those op­por­tu­ni­ties we grew up with. We see more high school and univer­sity groups, and it’s much eas­ier to start up a band.

HK: How do you de­cide on your songs?

SO: We have so much to choose from now be­cause not only do we have the west­ern mar­ket, but we also have the eastern mar­ket. We are look­ing to do some K-pop too. Our new ven­ture now is to write our own mu­sic: We’ll de­but a lot of our own tunes in the up­com­ing con­cert, and we will re­lease an al­bum of orig­i­nal songs in Oc­to­ber.

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