X-Factor: JLS Interview

Oh the fickle finger of fate. For many an X-Factor runner up, the post-show New Year is hilariously ironic.

While they may all bounce off the back of the final with record deals in mind, can anyone else really remember Andy Abraham or G4?

Yet from the off, 2008’s runners-up were something very different. With the boy-band market vacant since… well, Another Level, it was obvious that the instantaneous popularity of JLS was no passing thing.

Now six months on from the X-Factor final, the boys are hitting our radios (and tv screens) with their debut single Beat Again. We spoke to Ortisé, Aston, JB, Marvin about what they’ve been up to, duets with Dizzee Rascal and what they thought of this year’s new audition process.

First off guys, congratulations on the release of your first single. What have you been up to since X-Factor ended?
Ortise: We’ve been doing some amazing things! We recorded our first video, we’ve got our single coming out July 15th, we’ve played the Capital Summertime ball in front of 60,000 people, we’ve played at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, we’ve done photo shoots, we’ve been working on a book and we’ve been writing the rest of the album. Its been a very busy time for us, but this is just the beginning.

Do you have an album’s worth of material locked down?
Marvin: Yeah, we’ve got probably about 40 songs that we’ve recorded so far for the first album and we’re still recording. Obviously the first album will only be about 10-12 tracks, but not everything is going to be right. When we write, we split up into two and two for a lot of stuff, but the album should be ready within the next couple of months.

How would you describe it?
I’d say it’s a commercial RnB pop album. The majority of the album is not too far away from the sound of the single. It’s probably the most up-beat track on there, but there’s still going to be others in that vein, some mid-tempo ones and some ballads. It’s very JLS sounding.

We’d heard talk of you guys maybe even working with Dizzee Rascal. Any truth in that?
Oritsé: That’s not true. For our first album we really wanted it to be about us. So we’re not anticipating any collaborations just yet. It’s really about our introduction to the music industry and us. So we really wanted to keep it very JLS in the very beginning and then down the line, maybe some collaborations.

Obviously at the peak of X-Factor mania, there was the infamous ‘crushing’ incident with your fans? Have things got crazier since then? What’s the craziest brush with fame you’ve had?
The Summer Time Ball was pretty intense. To be fair, it’s been at the same sort of level. We can’t really go out shopping or get on public transport like we used to do. But that’s a good thing. It shows people are following us,  getting behind us and supporting us.

What’s the most showbiz thing you have experienced so far?
Aston: Probably the capital ball. There were people like Akon, Ciara, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry all back stage, just hanging out. These are people that we listen to and that are on our iPods, and they’re just standing right next to us.

Was everyone socialising or were they just keeping themselves to themselves?
It was a busy day so there was no time to really sit down and have an hour long conversation, but it was good.

Will you be watching X-Factor this year?
Absolutely. For sure, obviously we were huge fans of the show before we entered it. We’re going to know where everyone’s coming from who is performing this year. It’ll be interesting to say the least. We’re looking forward to it.

Do you have any tips for those going through the first round of auditions at the moment?
Be confident. Although this year is a completely different process (Ed: Simon Cowell announced that this year’s auditions will be set-up like those on Britain’s Got Talent), in front of a live audience and maybe even backing tracks. So it’s a lot different to what we’ve done. I think in a way we’ve set the barrier for groups. Now they have to learn dance routines for the first audition, all that kind of stuff. Everything that we would bring to the X-Factor, you have to bring along with you now. I think that’s going to bring a big change to the competition this year.

Would you have preferred to have auditioned in front of that crowd?
JB: It would’ve been easier. When you’ve got a big crowd in front of you, it gives you that confidence. I think it was nice for us to be in the last series as it was. We went in with just our raw vocals, and it was good to experience everything we did. I think it was just the right time for us.

If they were to ask you back on, would you?
All: Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt!

Matt Risley

JLS’ debut single Beat Again is released 13th July 2009.

Can’t get enough of our insightful pop-phenomenon reality TV interviews? Well why don’t you peruse our interview with Britain’s Got Talent alumni Escala, the winner’s of this year’s BGT Diversity, or the chat we had with Stuart from Big Brother 2 about the upcoming Big Brother Musical….