Interview: [Part 2] 9th August

J: "'Let's Dance'... it was written in Dublin, a lot of people said 'Are you changing direction' you know, and it's like not at all - we're pop - always have been pop, always will be pop, but as we've always done we've put a diversity of sounds and whatever in the album. So, we've got a couple of dance type pop tracks, couple of rock-y pop type rap tracks, couple of balads and it just goes off like that. So that's all it is, and we thought it was a good single to release for summer, with the weather being nice and it being your feel good, dancey track - and it looks hopeful that it's going to be our biggest single ever by a long shot. Which we had to fight the record company to release this single. And won.
Radio1: Why? Which one did they want to release?
J: "They wanted to release 'Lay All Your Lovin' On Me' - the sort of rock, rap type one with an AC/DC type sample. It is in a way what Five are about - we did 'Everybody Get Up' on the first album, 'We Will Rock You' on the second one and that's why we didn't want to go for that for the new single, cos we've been away for a year and it's almost what the public would expect us to released, so we went with a dance one."
Radio1: "You mentioned that people have seen this as a change in direction, I thought, when I listened to it that it was more mature, it's leaving behind your boyband days and it's moving on - but is that not the case?"
Ritchie: "Yeah, I can see what you're saying with the music, but we're not ever going to say 'Hey, we're cred now, we've gone serious, and we're not a boyband anymore'. We ARE a boyband, and we're not denying that, because it would be sad to deny that."

Radio1: "So what can we expect from the album then - is it a bit of everything?"
J: "Yeah, it's just a bit of everything. But I personally feel that some people seeing we're getting a bit old with the music, it's not that, it's just we've been in the industry for longer, we've been songwriters for longer, so I feel the songs are just more complete works. now. I think that's why people see it as older - which we are obviously - it's gonna sound older cos we are older. It will be a bit different, but they're just more completed works, so they've just got more of a quality sound to them now."
Radio1: "Do you think it's also because you are getting older, growing up, and y'know... Scott's off having a kid..."
J: "Yeah, it's always gonna influence stuff - especially if you write the stuff you can't help but let stuff that's going on influence the songs."

Although the single hadn't even been released when we interviewed the lads, it looked like a dead cert to get to Number 1, and so I wanted to know if that was daunting. It's expected that they will have success. "You're now at this time where I can see you as being the biggest pop band in Britain really - Boyzone, Spice Girls, have all really disappeared... do you feel any kind of pressure?"
Ritchie: "No, no we don't feel any kind of pressure, and I'll tell you why. First of all, we've been around the block twice, we've done two albums, so we don't feel that we've got anything necessary to prove or anything like that, and also, we're all in the frame of mind that if this album did flop, which I don't think it will - but if it did, we're cool, it's like, whatever. If it all fails tomorrow then wicked - we love each one of the guys and we've made four wicked mates forever, we've made quite a bit of money, and wicked, you know."
Abs: "And at the end of the day, it's really down to the fans - they decide how long they want you around, really. So you shouldn't take it upon yourself as 'Damn, I've done that wrong', 'I've done this wrong...' - if your band does come to an end it's down to the fans or whatever..."
Ritchie: "No, we don't feel any pressure, really. Which I think is a good thing, which I think will come across. We're not desperate for anything, it's like, 'whatever'."
Radio1: "And so what will you judge how successful it's been by? By money? By Number 1's?"
Abs: "No, say for example by releasing a single, disappearing for like, a year, coming back and all of a sudden everyone still being on board - you go to number 1, hopefully, fingers crossed, if we do - that's success, longevity and you have to take loads of stuff into that success category kind of thing."
Radio1: "Do you get nervous about it? You said that if you can come back after a year, and still be there but what if..."
Ritchie: "The way it's shaping up at the moment, with airplay - on your good station - we've still got three of four weeks to go, so... If for instance, we were like number 35 on The Box, not even C-listed, then we probably wouldn't be sat here now - we'd probably be going 'Lads, I think it's run it's course. Lets call it a day, let's not worry about the album, lets go our seperate ways, but stay friends sort of thing.' But it's not. So we're like 'Alright, cool, we're off.'"
J: People obviously want us to still be around, which is nice.

Radio1: "In the run up to the album, what kind of things have you been listening to - what kind of influences might there be on there?"
Ritchie: "Subconsciously, it's gonna, what you're listening to, is probably gonna influence what you're writing, but we haven't reached to songs and gone 'Let's take that, what's given that, and put it into this...' - we just go in the studio, and whatever comes out on the day comes out. Whatever mood we're in, maybe one of us will be in a ballad writing mood. Or it might be a rock-y track or whatever."
Radio1: "Who brings what to the table?"
J: "I don't know about that. I don't think it is 'He brings this, you bring that' - I think we all bring the same kind of thing. Even for instance, someone would probably say, J's more into hip hop, but I'm not really - we're all into..."
Abs: We share the same...
J: "We all like the same stuff, whether Rich likes Pearl Jam a bit more than I do, and whether I like listening to say, just any hip hop more than Rich likes, so we're all into exactly the same. Anything he could put on his CD player, I would find something good about it, cos he's genuinely into good music - and vice versa. But Abs is just crap. So we all just bring the same thing. No one brings more of a rock thing - cos I could be sat there for instance with this thing going 'Yeah, it would be good to get Rich shouting this chorus more of a rock-y thing' - it doesn't take Rich to come in and go I'll add the rock influence to it."
Ritchie: "We all know what each other is good at anyway..."
J: "We've all got our own little forte's anyway..."
Ritchie: "Yeah, and there's never any fighting like, 'I wanted to do that', 'But I wanted to do that'.... there was at the start..."
J: "In Sweden... 'That's not fair cos he's doing a verse and you can hear his voice on the chorus...'. Now if you're not on a track you're like - 'Way-heyy!'"
Radio1: "And so do you think that's why it sounds a bit more different cos you're a bit more chilled out about things?"
Ritchie: "Yeah, I think it all adds to what we've become now, I suppose."
J: "If you look at it, really, it's all kind of come together for us. Cos we did graft our proverbial nads off, honestly. It was actually a joke within the industry how hard Five were worked by the record company... it was an actual standing joke within some people."
Ritchie: "Yeah, but it paid off - you know, we're two people down, without anything we're being A-listed, and fair play, that mental stress for a year and a half paid off. Which is cool."