R5 returned to the UK this month with a headline tour, their first UK shows since 2013 and I was lucky enough to meet with the pop-rock quintet during their visit.
Ross Lynch (vocals/rhythm guitar) and his siblings Riker (bass/vocals), Rocky (lead guitar/vocals), Rydel (keyboards/, plus drummer/vocalist Ellington have conquered the US with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and a Teen Choice Award under their belt.
Debuting at Number 1 on Billboard’s Pop Album chart, Number 3 on Billboard’s Digital Album chart, Number 4 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart and Number 6 on the Billboard 200, “Sometime Last Night” took the US and the world by storm reaching the Top 10 in 23 countries.
“When Harry Met…” is a new series of fun interviews for Pop Scoop! created by Harry Seaton, 18-year-old musician and vlogger hailing from Kings Lynn. Known for his popular videos, he’s got a fresh and unique interview style that celebrities love. Watch this space for more coming soon.
Harry: So what we want to talk about first is your new album, well, it’s your first album, but with 7 new tracks, right?
Ross: Yeah so what we did was we had a whole record mastered and ready to go, and then we went to our label and were like look this isn’t really what is right for us at this time so we politely asked if we could scrap the whole record that we had.
Riker: With the exception of smile and lets not be alone tonight.
Ross: Exactly so we scrapped most of the songs and then we wrote the new record which is Sometime Last Night but Europe actually got lucky because our original record is included in the record as bonus tracks so you pretty much got both records.
Harry: But the rest of the world?
Rydel: Only Europe.
Ross: Think only Europe yeah.
Harry: Cool, so you guys were formed in 2009 the first thing I saw you did was your web series which was R5 TV which is great because It’s awesome to see people gain success from YouTube being a YouTuber myself, but was that the actual thing that kicked off R5 or was it something else?
Ross: I don’t think so I think it was more kind of everything that we were doing, a combination of our live show, and our acting gigs like Riker was on Glee and that definitely contributed to our success we toured a LOT, also we had the promotion of our label behind us.
Rydell: The main thing I think was we just played shows as much as we could and they just got bigger and bigger.
Harry: Yeah talking about shows I see you’ve done 5 shows in England to date or have their been more?
All: Yeah that’s about right.
Harry: Where as now you’ve got 5 shows in England on this tour so you’re doubling your number, obviously the shows have got bigger and better which is great, what I want to know is, is the reason you haven’t done many shows in England because of the weather?
Rydell: I would be here much more for the weather if I had the time.
Ross: I like it here, I like the rain!
Ellington: Yeah the gloomy weather, the rain, it’s different from California which is why we like it!
Ellington: But no we’re very excited to be back.
Riker: Wherever we are in England it’s always pretty clear.
Rydell: And the suns up.
Riker: I would love for it to rain.
Harry: So your debut album Louder came out in 2013, how would you say this new album differs from the first?
Ross: I’d say it differs a LOT mostly because our first record was much more of a learning experience, about the industry and also just about writing songs, we wrote with a lot of successful songwriters. So in our second album we got to really sit down and write a record we really wanted to listen to.
Ellington: And of course by studio he means a garage, with uh
Rocky: Home made studio!
Ellington: Logic and a computer
Harry: Haha sounds like my bedroom!
Ross: Yeah the vibe was awesome we could just wake up eat our breakfast and walk into the studio and then I’d also say the first record was very pop orientated where as the second record has a lot more rock influence with a little bit of funk in it
Harry: You mentioned the Glee thing earlier but that’s not the only TV thing here is it
All: That’s true!
Harry: So Austin & Ally, looking into it, I can see although that created a buzz and the band does seem to have, like you said gained a buzz from it, but do you owe a lot to it or not so much?
Ross: Not so much actually, because the core following I don’t feel are actually Disney channel viewers, a lot of people watch Disney channel but when you look at our crowd, maybe it’s because I was on Disney channel a while but a lot of our core followers are like 19 – 25
Riker: Yeah it’s like the kids that think yeah you’re awesome that come to the shows they don’t even know who we are, they’re like what who are you standing next to Austin and it’s like the younger ones that are just coming to see him but the kids that come actually to see R5 they’re coming to see the music and the show
Ross: But there is definitely an aspect of that, kids that come because I’m Austin Moon but then become a fan of R5
Harry: I put the album on play on Spotify last night and played it all the way through and would definitely say it’s more mature than a Disney channel appearance would lead you to believe, and it’s definitely got rockier.
Rocky: Did you hear all the bonus tracks too?
Harry: I just popped it on play I believe there was 17 tracks?
All: Oh dang, the whole thing!
Riker: Yeah so the first 11 are like the main, actual album.
Rocky: It’s cool that you listened to the whole thing, thank you!
Harry: Well I love music and wanted to hear you guys a bit more because I’ve heard you before and known a bit about you through my little sister, a big Disney channel fan so when the new album came out I had to hear the whole thing and I loved it, it was great!
All: Oh cool man, thank you.
Harry: Few more questions now as well, obviously you’re all family with one very close family friend
Ellington: That is me.
Harry: So I wanna know if that makes being on the road easier or harder or do you not realise?
Ellington: I’d say for the most part easier because there’s a lack of a filter obviously for them because they’re blood related but with me too you don’t have to worry about saying ‘Oh I wanna tell them this sucks but I don’t know how to do it’ like ‘agh’.
Rocky: We’re just kinda like ‘Yeah this kinda sucks’.
Ellington: Or yeah, not really feeling it.
Harry: I mean in 6 years you must have grown a very strong bond, would you say perhaps you’re all kind of family now?
Rocky: Yeah definitely.
Ross: Oh yeah definitely.
Riker: Brother from another mother.
Harry: I guess you say that over in America too then.
Ross: Oh yeah you guys say that here?
Harry: Well it kinda died, it we should bring it back.
Ellington: It always works in my situation because I am quite literally a brother from another mother.
Rydell: He does say that a lot.
Harry: It’s quite rare for a band to have this level of success from just 2 albums, do you think that was the combination of the right songs and the right people behind you and the right live show, does this not have to be a rare thing obviously you guys have got over 3 and a half million likes on facebook and there are people releasing one album then another album and not even coming anywhere near the kind of fame that you guys have achieved. So if you could say that it’s down to one thing in particular, what would you say? Still live shows?
Ross: I think it’s a combination of hype and social media cos without social media we wouldn’t have half the following we have so I think it definitely takes a part in it but I think the biggest reason is probably our live show. I think if you want substantial success you have to be that good of a musician you have to prove to people that you can do it.
Ellington: Right cos if we had a bad show people who come to it would be like ‘cool I don’t have to see that again’
Ross: Like I’ve been to see an artist thinking ‘yeah this will be cool’ and I’ll probably never see them again it can make or break somebody.
Rocky: It’s definitely a combination but I think yeah it’s the live shows that keep people coming back for sure and people talking about it and telling their friends ‘you gotta come see this concert’ I feel like we have the ability to put on another level of show something very special and unique about us.
Riker: Which kinda goes back to being a family, I think the chemistry between us definitely makes the show more enjoyable.
Harry: One thing everyone will want to know is your favourite songs on the album and why.
Riker: Smile was my favourite, right when we put it out it was all of our favourites, it’s now the single in the UK which I’m super stoked about but as you go through time it changes so at the moment ‘Dark Side’, I think probably because I feel the most personal to Darkside as the lyrics go because I was involved it in more.
Rocky: I like ‘Did You Have Your Fun’ probably because that’s the most rocky on the album and live it just goes off.
Ross: Trying to name a song that no one else will name I’m gonna say ‘Repeating Days’ because it was just like really fun to write, I remember when Rocky first played me riff and I was like we have to write to that right now because it felt so good.
Ellington: My favourites ‘Feel Good’ because I just like the beat being the drummer I like the rhythm of the song, it just feels different to anything we’ve ever done and I really like the chorus.
Rydell: I was gonna go with ‘Rocky on Did You Have Your Fun’, that songs raw.
Harry: To wrap this up now I’ve got something I’d like to quiz you on, something I’ve always promised myself I’d do should I get the pleasure of sitting down with some Americans.
Harry: So I wanna just run through 5 british phrases and words and just see what you guys think they mean
Rydell: I think we’ve done it in Ireland.
Ross: Let’s try it let’s try it.
Harry: The first one recently confused all of Ameirca and that is ‘Cheeky Nandos’.
Ross: Oh she told me about this (points to PR) right so cheeky Nandos is you go to Nandos and you say it’s a cheeky Nandos because you’re going to Nandos its naughty, it’s cheeky because it’s like chicken and sauce, is that somewhat right?
Harry: You’re definitely in the right ballpark, pretty much there it’s kinda come from ‘Lad Culture’ and basically I sum up who goes for a cheeky Nandos with my jeans rolled up.
Rydell: Like a hipster?
Ross: So would you call somebody a cheeky Nandos?
Harry: Probably call them a ‘cheeky lad’.
Ross: We have the same thing in America like hipsters, they’re kind of admired
Harry: Now this next one no one ever gets, it’s like a stereotype or a label for someone, so there’s a clue and the word is ‘Chav’.
Rydell: He’s such a chav never heard that one before.
Riker: Smart person?
Rydell: Smart ass?
Harry: I love the smart person comment, a chav would typically be your kind of anti social, kicking bins over, causing trouble member of society.
Ross: That’s hilarious
Harry: The next one has to be ‘Chunder’.
Rydell: Is that a soup?
Ross: Is it a cheese?
Harry: You might do it after a party…
Ellington: THROW UP.
Rydell: Like chunky chunky throw up, he chundered all over my shoes?
Ross: He chundered all over my shoe!
Harry: So next time you throw up…
Rydell: Im gonna do it.
Harry: You’ve probably heard this word before, but ‘Banter’.
Rydell: Our banter is like playful back and forth chit chat.
Ross: More like joking, you like jokes I like jokes.
Riker: Is banter like a bar fight?
Harry: It’s usually used over here when someone takes things a bit too far they might then say ‘oh it’s only banter’.
Rydell: So if it got too intense, we always say ‘keep the banter’.
Harry: The final thing, and this also happens in clubs because I don’t think there’s any chance of anyone getting this, although having said that I might have just gave it away and it’s ‘Necking On’.
Ross, Riker, Rocky: Like making out?
Harry: I was really hoping that would throw you all!
Ellington: Snogging is the same thing right?
Rydell: Necking on just sounds like kissing someone.
Harry: That is it guys, thanks ever so much.
All: Cool, thank you!
Ross: One more question, does anyone use the term ‘Muppet’ like he’s a muppet?
Harry: Yeah I do!
Ross: Is it the same here like a silly person?
Harry: Yeah if someone does something silly you would call them a muppet.
Ross: Haha great!