Monday, October 23, 2006

Revealing Westlife

Female First

With Westlife due to release their new studio album on November 20th First thought it would be an opportune time to catch up with the guys and find out whats been happening recently, how they felt when Brian McFadden left, and a look back on eight years of musical success.

Shane, Mark, Nicky and Kian look set to romance us into Christmas this year with the release of The Love Album on 20th November 2006. The album is a collection of old favourites picked out by the boys and Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. For one of the tracks, the boys team up with Delta Goodrum for a version of All out of Love. The album also includes hits like Total Eclipse of the Heart, You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, Easy and many more. Their first single, The Rose, is set for release on 6th November. Liz Frost catches up with them on their way to approve their latest video.

What have you been up to today?
Got out of bed about 11 o’clock and came into Sony to do some Interviews and we’ve got some meetings with our marketing department. We’ve just approved the final edit of the video for our brand new single. It’s in colour currently, but we’ve changed it to be black and white.

How was your recent Face to Face tour?
Great! It was very long! We did a lot of dates, at the end it was quite tiring because we went to Asia and places like that. We were touring for about 6 months more or less, we did 3 months straight then we had a few weeks off then we were doing every weekend in the summer, we did 3 outdoor shows across the UK. Scotland Wales and England then we went to Asia for a 3 week tour over there. The crowd seemed to like it. We check our website and people seemed to think it was the best so far. That’s a good sign, but we have to beat that next year now.

Do you prefer touring or recording?
Mark: When you’ve performed the same show so many times it becomes monotonous, but then you go into promotion and recording a new albumn then back to touring. It’s sort of half the time touring half recording.

What was the highlight?
This year we changed it up a bit. We usually do a medley. And I think on this show, we decided to do something different. We usually do one of the Jackson five, Queen, we’ve done Wham, all sorts of things. This year for a laugh we decided to try and cover a modern song, so we did a version of Don’t Cha by the Pussycat Dolls, obviously changing it to boyfriend. It really went down a storm. A little sexy routine to it. You go on the sites and the comments were that they kind of liked to see us doing Don’t Cha. It was tongue in cheek, not like we’ve done before. Also the new single You Raise me Up went down a storm aswell. I think that song came at just the right time for us. I mean, every band starts to go a bit, then Bryan left and everyone started to write us off. Then we did the Rat Pack albumn and Face to Face with You Raise Me Up, which really took off.

What made you choose the songs for the Love Album?
Shane: The whole idea of the albumn was to do a tribute Love Albumn. When you’re going do an original album you have to get new material in. We had 4 or 5 songs that were decent, but they weren’t in any ways near songs like You Raise Me Up. So we said to ourselves we’ve got a standard. If we want to make an original album it has to be at a certain standard. Simon Cowell came up with the idea ‘Why don’t you do a Love Album? You’re famous for singing love songs so it’s going to suit you’ Simon had his favourites, Louis had his favourites. There are some great songs on there. The rose is a famous song, but it’s not that famous a song. It was actually Louis who chose it but Simon thought it was a great song, the perfect song to launch the album.
Nicky: There’s an interesting song on there too. There’s a song called ‘All Or Nothing’ That song was written for us 7 years ago, but Simon Cowell turned it down. That song was passed to OTown in the states and they had huge success in the States with it. We were quite gutted because we knew it was sounding very much like us. We have a bit of a laugh about it now. So we covered it on this Love Songs album. We do an acoustic version of it, it’s a lovely song.

You’ve been together 8 years, have you had any major squabbles?
We bicker over stupid things, but we’ve never had a major bust up ever. We’ve got too much respect for the band to do that.
Nicky: All we’d have to do is look on Youtube at footage of us all having a laugh and it makes you forget about it.
Mark: A couple of times we were close to headbutts and kicks.
Kian: We tend to get worked up over travel, when we travel for a long time. We’ve been working very very hard for a few weeks, somebody would say something and it would be taken the wrong way. It would always be in a scenario when we haven’t been home for a while, we’ve been in eachothers faces for like 6 months really really working hard. It happened more in the earlier years than the later years, because we were younger and more feisty. Now we’re more grown up, it’s easier to say things to each other, There’s no winners when this sort of thing happens. What’s the point in rowing when we should be enjoying it?

When Bryan left, did you think it was all over?
Shane: To be honest, no. For about 10 minutes we were like ‘Oh no, what’s going to happen?’ We were only like 20 days away from the first show of a 4 month tour. We started rehearsals the next day and Bryan said ‘I’m hanging up my boots lads’. We thought we were being Punk’d because MTV Punk’d had just started. Then we had a 3 hour chat about it and we were like ‘Right, what are we going to do?’ Everybody wanted to carry on so we were just like ‘Let’s do it then!’ We had a big heart to heart. Louis drove over to chat to us at 3 in the morning for 3 hours.
Nicky: Louis was worth his weight in gold. He was like ‘It doesn’t matter. There are so many more years left’. If ever there was any doubt he convinced us. Especially in the aftermath because all the press were on Bryan’s side, everyone was like It’s Robbie again, when Take That were over. They went into our financial details. Bryan was worth more because of clever investments. But they were building him up in any way they could. It really got to us. It made us even more determined to succeed.

What do you think of Take That reforming
There’s not enough Pop music around at the moment, So I think it’s great that old bands like Take That are coming back.
Kian:Most of the bands that are coming back now were around when we started off, and we’re like ‘ah now you see why we stayed together?

Will you ever break up ?
Kian: I don’t think we’d ever break up. We might take a break for a year or something like that but for the 4 of us to sit down in front of room full of people or on TV and say we’re finished for good. I don’t think we’d ever do that. I think we feel like we could go away for a few years and come back after that, but we’ve just had a renegotiation with the record label for another 4 albums and that’s after the next album, so there’s 5 more albums in our record contract. It depends really on how we’re seen as people. I can’t imagine us breaking up and never coming back.
Nicky: Obviously if we don’t want to do it anymore, we won’t, but the fact that we’ve signed this renegotiation; we can keep coming back and doing another album when we feel like it. I think we are at a level now, we’ve got through and survived it.
Shane: A lot of our original fans don’t like Westlife anymore, because they’ve got older and cooler and they’re going out with guys and that. If you came to one of our shows you’d be shocked, there’s Mums, Grans everything. Our average age of the show is probably 35 now. That’s the future, you know. Hopefully it will keep going.

Liz Frost

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