They were the last of the boy-band gold rush back in the day. Finding fame on MTV’s Making The Band, O-TOWN became an overnight talking point with their debut single Liquid Dreams. So when we heard that 11 years later the lads had teamed up again to tour and release a comeback single and album, we had to find out about their nocturnal secretions.
So how are you finding London?
Erik: Well we brought the LA weather with us! [But unlike LA our weather changes daily!]
Have you been to the UK much?
In the past yeah, we were in the UK all the time. But it’s been about 12 years though!
Yeah it’s been a while since we’ve been back.
So it’s been a while since you last put out a record, has the music industry moved on much?
Trevor: Yeah definitely! There’s a lot that has changed, business wise and musically with us and our band just in general. I mean with Twitter, Instagram and social media, we can really put ourselves out there and you don’t have to rely so heavily on radio play, a lot of things have changed and we’re taking it in. We’re taking it in our stride and learning as we go, but it’s a cool process, because we’re doing everything internally, the 4 of us. We don’t have the big machine or Clive Davis this time – it’s very grass roots. Picking the album cover, the logo design… Everything we’re doing is our stamp, so that’s what’s really cool this time around that we didn’t have last time – and we’re older and maturer. (laughter).
This maturity, how is it manifesting itself – especially with artistic disagreements?
Jacob: There’s always artistic differences and disagreements, but we’re more mature in handling it. We’ve kinda got our business practices set to alleviate any kind of stress like opinions on music – now it’s what’s best for the song and whose voice is best for the part. We’ve been pretty diplomatic about doing that and knowing that we’re not being personal. We all do love each other’s voices and song writing, but we’re trying to do what’s best for O-Town. So far it’s been happening really smoothly.
Are you getting new fans or are you reconnecting with old fans?
Erik: We like to call them the Town Folk. (They) are the fans that have been around since the beginning, but hopefully now that this new song (Skydive) is out that we can garner some new fans. Everything is just so new.
Have you noticed any of the old faces in the crowd?
Dan: Yeah! Yesterday we got off our flight at the airport and we saw a bunch of faces that we recognised that were just 10-years older. They were showing us pictures they had from 10 years ago. People got to know us from our TV show, Making The Band, and they’re personally invested in our struggle because they’ve been there. They saw the ups and downs. So that’s why they’re there. They’re still interested in what we’re doing. If along the way we can bring some more people who weren’t aware of us the first time – that’s awesome, because we think we do okay sometimes! We think we’re alright! So it’d be nice to get some more people interested.
Do you write your own music now?
The first album was done so quickly; it was done in less than two months. It was already pre-chosen predestined for us. The second album we had a little bit more say in, but I don’t think as writers we were there yet. I think the beautiful thing about this process is that we’ve had 10 years to become individuals and really hone in on our different talents. As much as we were all about writing before, I don’t think we’re all necessarily so into the writing process now. I know that Dan for the most part is really personally a lot more excited about the design of everything, so everyone’s education has set us up to take our specialities, the things that we’re good at and really explore them and bring them out. I’ve been writing, Jacob’s been writing – so we submitted a bunch of songs on this album. Anything that’s not submitted by us definitely has our thumb print on it.
If you were superheroes:
Jacob: I just wanna fly. I don’t even care, I just wanna fly.
Dan: I would like to be invisible, because I don’t like all the extra attention, I prefer to go unnoticed. I’d just take off the invisibility cloak when it was time to go on stage and then I’d put it back on.
(ha ha … that’s so true.)
Trevor: First off I’d say flying, but Jacob already said that so, my second choice, I’d be Batman, he has so many cool gadgets and toys…
Erik: I’d be Iron Man. I pick Tony Stark, because he’s just the best. He has a cool suit and he always dresses really well…
When you split first time round there was an email to all your fans saying amongst other things there were financial difficulties – what happened there?
Dan: It’s pretty well documented that we were heavily involved with Lou Pearlman, so there was a lot of things going on with him and our contracts were tied to him. It was never really about financial troubles with us, but our contracts were such that we weren’t really getting a fair shake at things sometimes. So when we had the opportunity to get out of our contracts and just move aside, we felt it was a good time to do that. We were all just so worn down by the grind of the years we had put in which were just hectic, we worked so hard. It was probably the hardest I ever worked in my life those four years. Four years of not a lot of time off and a lot of travel.
Erik: And it was the end of an era. When we knew we were going to end, we knew we were the last boy-band out of the box. When we were on the 2nd album, Justin (Timberlake) was already on his solo career. The whole movement was at an end. The fact that we actually had success during the time we did when that whole movement was coming to an end we felt lucky to have that. We knew that if we were ever going to do it again it would have to be on our own terms. We didn’t think it would be ten years later – or at least I didn’t, at least we’re staying true to our word – because 10 years later it is on our own terms.
Is it easy to make money from music now compared to 10 years ago?
Jacob: You have to be a lot more creative I think. To compete with the majors if you’re not with a major, if you have a smarter business plan. We’re doing a lot of the work here ourselves by hiring outside consultants to do our radio and our merchandise. When it all boils down it’s interesting. We haven’t done a show in 11 years, the last time we did a show we had All Or Nothing on radio, and now 11 years later by doing a lean operation like we are, we’re able to make about the same amount of money as we were back then, which is just shocking.
Your first single, Liquid Dreams, was an interesting concept… Are you still having liquid dreams and who are you liquiding about?
Trevor: I am a man. So I’m liquiding about Katy Perry,
I think our liquid dreams this time round would be a little different.
Jacob: Emily Ratajkowski (the girl from Blurred Lines video)
Dan: I’m still liquid dreaming because I have a kid. It’s not a dream, it’s very real, (laughter), It’s very very very real…
Erik: Jennifer Laurence, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé…
In our new album on one of the songs there’s a portion where we do touch on who our current liquid dreams are, so if you buy the album you can hear our current liquid dreams.
You can read the FULL interview in our latest issue of TheGayUK Magazine. Subscribe today for ONLY £1.99. Available on Apple and Google Play stores.