Wednesday, July 14, 2010

JLS: Bonus content


JLS's new single The Club Is Alive prompted one user on the Teentoday site to comment: "My ears have acquired Aids as a result of listening to this".

I think that's a bit harsh. As I pointed out two months ago, it's a pretty audacious song for a boyband at this stage in their career. The fact that some people hate it means it's doing the right job. Teeny pop groups should divide the nation. If your mum liked them, they'd be Westlife - and look where that got us.

Anyway, I got to interview the JLS "crew" for my regular job on the BBC News Website. They are just like you'd expect - well-mannered, engaged, polite. But they are also not what you'd expect - intelligent, poised, self-aware.

As usual, there were plenty of tasty morsels that I couldn't squeeze into the BBC write-up, so here are some JLS off-cuts for you to feast upon.

So, you've been recording the second album. Can you tell me what any of the songs are called, or what they sound like?
Aston: Ah, so you want to know all the secrets! Do you know what? Basically, it’s a very mixed album, like the first one. We worked with a lot of the same producers over here and – because of the success of the last album - it opened doors for us to work with other producers and writers in the States as well. People who have written some monster hits for Beyonce, Ne-Yo and Rihanna – across the board they’ve written some amazing songs.

We think we’ve done an amazing job. It’s very JLS. When people do hear the album, they’re going to be very surprised that we’ve written everything but The Club Is Alive. We put our heart, blood, sweat and tears into this album. Poured our souls out.

You've never released a ballad as a single. Why is that?
Oritse: All I can say is “no comment”. I especially can't talk about what we've recorded this week. On Saturday.
JB: We had a ballad on the last album but we didn’t release it as a single. We felt that we wanted to come with something different for the first singles. But you never know.

A lot of girls want to hear a big love song from JLS.
Oritse: We’ve been trying to keep the clubs alive with our music, you know?

That sounds strangely familiar.
Oristse: Yeah! Where did I get that from? But, you know, I think – we had a ballad on the last album that could have been a single, but the way the year went we were only going to release three singles. But this year… we’ll see.

So it'll be out in time for Christmas?
All: Mmmm... Errr...
JB: Are you working on the JLS team? You know more than us.
Aston: Christmas.... Or Valentines. Watch this space.

What’s the security like around you?
Marvin: We’re very fortunate that we’ve experienced police escorts and all sorts. But for us, it’s a testament to the people that organise the events that we go to. They make it a priority that our fans and supporters are secure. And for us, that shows great organisation.

What’s the craziest escape you’ve had to make?
JB: We're always running down fire escapes! But the craziest was actually Northern Ireland, in Belfast. We were staying in a hotel there for three nights. And I remember once they used me as a decoy to get the other three out. I went downstairs about 15 minutes before we had to leave, thinking I’d be cool and nice to the fans, sign some autographs and stuff. And little did I know that our security team were using me as a decoy to get these three out the back. There were literally 300 girls outside. So they got in the tour bus and left and I had no transport, so I had to run down the street, chasing after the tour bus with my security guard. There must have been about 50 girls chasing us.
Oritse: In Ireland, we had a signing and they had like a minibus type thing. And they started rocking our bus.

What are they hoping to do? Scare you and flush you out, then kiss you better?
JB: I think they’re trying to get into the vehicle. We go to radio stations and they will literally tear apart the radio stations. We went to one interview where they had protective film on the windows, and during our slot all you could hear was this [makes tearing noise]. We looked around, and there were these girls ripping off the protective film and trying to break into the studio.
Marvin: When we came back from America. One of the supporters ran away with my suitcase.

Oh my God! What did you lose?
Marvin: Well, our security went back to the airport and found out who’d taken it. They managed to catch up with her and get it back. I had a lot of important stuff in there.

Incriminating stuff?
Marvin: No! Not at all! I had JLS t-shirts…

So, like I said, incriminating stuff.
Marvin: [Laughs] They just get excited.

How did your trip to America go?
Oritse: Everybody In Love is out at the moment, so we’ve been all over North America promoting that. And it’s going really well. For us, we had no expectations when we went out there, because we know its such a huge territory. And we have so many commitments over here, you know? We don’t ever want to neglect that.

It's a bigger hill to climb in the US, isn't it? Over here, you’re really the first successful urban boy band – but in the States you'll be compared to New Edition and Boyz II Men and, of course, The Jacksons.
Oritse: America, obviously, is a lot bigger. 52 states in America. You have to spend a lot of time to crack it all. But, like I said, we’ve got a good thing here, and we’ll try our best to go over there as much as possible, but our base is here and this is definitely the main focus. For the moment.

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