When Ben, J, Michael, Patrick and Marc came together in the summer of 1999 they had one dream - to bring live music back to the pop arena. It was a dream born out of their love of the Beatles and the Monkees, who they later went on to tour the States with, and the fact that it came out of the same staple as the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync was an even bigger surprise. We caught up with J as the band prepare to release "Let Me Count The Ways", the follow up to the monster smash "Put Your Arms Around Me" and find out why they'd rather tour with Incubus that just another choreographed pop act.
Q: When you came together all of you had this dream of bringing live instrumentation back to the pop arena. When you looked around and realized it was all just choreographed dance routines and backing tapes did you think it would be possible?
A: We wanted to be the crossover from boy band to the next thing. And we still dance and do that kind of thing, but mostly what we try and concentrate on is making the transition. People say what other bands do you have with you and it like - we are the band!!!
This album has just been crazy. We've been recording two days hear and then two days there. But the album is pretty interesting, it has a wide variety of different songs on it. More rocky songs, ballads, dance tunes - it's basically a song on the album for everyone who likes a different type of music.
Q: What were you listening to growing up as a band and as an individual?
A: I listened to everything really. My ultimate chill out kind of music personally is jazz. As far as bands and stuff go, I think the Beatles are pretty much important in all of our life's. And we went on tour with the Monkees so they're part of it as well.
We really like Queen a lot as well. They're great at what they do mixing the rock with the harmony thing which is what were trying to do.
Q: We first had the Natural experience here in the UK with the single "Put Your Arms Around Me". As a band who have been playing together for nearly 2 years, it must have been the first time you thought were doing this for real. Was it like that?
A: When we heard the song "Put Your Arms Around Me" for the first time, it sounded a lot different than what it sounds like now. When we worked with Ali D, who was the producer of that, we combined thoughts and we came out with this great tune. The songs been around for nearly 2 years now and it's just a great song - that song describes what the Natural sound is.
Q: Last month you were in Europe on the Westlife tour. What was that like for you?
A: It was real crazy. They did the show on the round and that was very interesting for a band to play on because we were on every corner of the stage and we weren't looking at each other...which is what a band does. And that was really difficult, but it was fun and once we got past the idea of performing for one side of the audience by ourselves it was really cool.
We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with Westlife because they were doing their thing and we were doing ours. We didn't form a relationship per say with Westlife, but they were really kind to us which was great. And the first European tour we did was an Arena tour so who can complain about that!!!
Q: You were on the road for much of the duration, but what did you think of the American Idol show in the US and Pop Idol in the UK?
A: That's really hard because it's on over in the States, but we haven't been back to the States in 8 months. They've already gone through the series and picked the winner and we have no idea who she is. But in Europe we don't watch a lot of TV anyway just because it's in a different language most of the time. The only thing you can watch is CNN and who wants to watch that right now.
Q: If you had the choice who would you rather play with - pop acts or live rock bands?
A: Real live bands. Working with different people is great especially when we do these big TV Shows. But honestly, our background is playing instruments so touring with a band would be the ultimate thing to because we could learn from them and exchange ideas.
Incubus is another one of my favourite band so if I was asked do you want to play with this musical band or Incubus - I would have to pick Incubus!!!
Q: Finally, we can't finish without mentioning the new single "Let Me Count The Ways". Fill us in?
A: "Let Me Count The Ways" is what we like to think of as the sequel to "Put Your Arms Around Me". It talks about let me count the ways that you love that person and being with that person...and "Put Your Arms Around Me" is about not being with that person and one of the lines in that song is "you can't put your arms around a photograph". That's very true I think especially when you've been touring for a year and a half straight and not being home.
"Let Me Count The Ways" is out October 7th on BMG
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