Our Kinda J

They've been away for nearly a year and there's all sorts of rumours about members leaving, being ill, new girlfriends and court cases. They might be a pop band but there's never a dull moment in Five. We get the lovely J Brown to dish up.

What have you been up to since we last heard from you?
We wrote and recorded our new album, Kingsize for the first part of the year. After that we had some time off, then came back and started getting back into the madness of it all, adjusting and preparing to work on the album and new single.

What were you doing during your time off?
Virtually nothing! Just sitting in the garden reading, enjoying the sunshine and visiting family and stuff.

So now you're busy promoting and working?
Yeah but it's cool now. The first two albums were really hard. We were working stupid hours - it was a joke within the industry how much we were doing! We were working 18-20 hour days for months on end but this time we've chilled things out. We're taking it at an easier pace and saying that if it's going to work out then it will.

Can you take easy now because you're one of the biggest bands around?
Erm, no, I don't think that's it. When you're in a band it's mad 'cause you have a different perception of what you are and where you are. You're on the inside so you can't see what others do. We still ask each other: "Are we properly famous now?" and we're like "I think so..." It's hard to tell because a lot of the time it feels like nothing's changed. A main factor in taking things easier is just to protect our sanity. We can't work like we have done for the past three years. We've saturated the world with our presence, and obviously that's paid off now 'cause we don't have to work as hard to get the same attention. Let's Dance looks like it's going to be one of our biggest singles and we've done the least amount of promo work on it.

You said that you felt at times like you were going mad. What was going on there?
At first being in the band was wicked because we were new to it and thought we were going to meet loads of people and make loads of money, then reality set in - it was a really hard graft. People on the outside don't see that, they think you're rich and go to loads of parties and that's it. It's not like that and we got to a stage where it was too much. We wouldn't see our friends or family for nine months at a time. You don't have any time to rest or be yourself.

So how did you get over that?
I got to a point when I just thought even if it meant that the band failed, we needed to have some time to ourselves. At the end of the day, you need to look after your mental and physical health. No amount of money is worth having a breakdown of any kind.

What's the story behind the new video?
The record company wanted something that everyone would recognise as us but we wanted to do something a little different. We knew the most blatant thing to do with the video would be to get a load of trendy-looking people into a nightclub to look flash. But we thought we'd take the mick, put stupid clothes on and have a laugh. We don't take ourselves seriously and wanted to do a video that people would talk about. And that's what's happened!

What else is happening?
Right now it's all about the album. We'll be promoting it here, then in Europe and then we might go to America for a while. The new single'll be out around November time.

And what about the band in general? Has Sean left?
No he's ill. In general, we'll just see how it goes. Like with the new single, if it hadn't done well then we'd have knocked it on the head. We always said that if people thought we'd had our day then we'd finish, rather than milk it for all it was worth. A lot of pop bands milk it too much, like the Spice Girls, who just killed any respect that people had for them.

What do you want to do after the band?
The solo thing is definitely out of the question. Before I got into Five I wanted to be a solo performer but not now. The people in this business can be so shit. It's all politics and keeping people sweet, people at radio stations or people in your own record company. It's supposed to be about the music but it rarely is and I can't be bothered anymore. I'm in Five 'cause it's still a buzz and I'm working with four of my best friends - but when that's finished so am I.

So what would you do, modelling? TV presenting?
Haha! Nah, nothing like that. It sounds like a big crap cliche but I'd probably just go and find myself, see how I felt and think about what I wanted to do. When you're in a band you forget about yourself and what you really want. I'd probably just live near the beach for a few months and sort things out.

So what have you personally been up to? Bought a house, a car?
Well, I bought a house a year ago but I still haven't moved in! It needed some work done to it and I tried to do that myself but didn't have time. I got a woman in to do some interior design rubbish and she completely messed it up, it looked horrible so I kicked her into touch and it's still having stuff done to it. I've been living at Ritchie's for a while. I've had the same car for two years cause I like it - Abs is the one always looking for a new car! Apart from that I'm quite content.

What about a nice girlfriend?
No, not at the moment, I'm looking but I'm single! I'd like one.

You were going out with Dani Behr for a while.
I was for six months but it finished. It was just one of those things. She's one of the nicest human beings I've ever met but there wasn't that spark there - I didn't want to be with her for the rest of my life.

And what about your court case for the fight in Dublin?
Yeah, I actually forgot about it but I think it's coming up in October. I got a statement through from the accountant the other day and for things like court proceedings and everything else, it's probably going to cost me personally about 40,000. Just for slapping some bloke who was being a bit of a dick. Hopefully I won't get a conviction because that would go on my passport and cause problems for getting into countries like America. But if it happens it happens.