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NKOTBSB interview: 'We can see why we were huge'

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NKOTBSB
For those in need of a quick recap, founders of the boyband genre New Kids on the Block teamed up with '90s heartthrobs the Backstreet Boys last year to form the tongue-tyingly titled NKOTBSB.

After a string of sold-out dates across the US and even a joint album, the supergroup recently announced a series of UK shows for next year. Excited, we caught up with BSB's Howie and NKOTB's Jordan Knight to find out more.

Are you excited about bringing the NKOTBSB tour to the UK?
Howie: "Very excited - it's a great show! The fact that two massive fanbases are able to come together and join this amazing show is incredible. I always say it's a girls night out - anywhere between three and four generations are getting away from their husbands or boyfriends for a great night out - meaning it's also great for single guys!"
Jordan: "I think it's been three years since NKOTB have been over in the UK. To go to a foreign land and be accepted is always a great thing."

It's quite an unusual idea. Were you worried about upsetting any hardcore fans?
Jordan: "There were a lot of fans on both sides crossing their arms saying they didn't want to deal with certain fans who just wanted one band for themselves. I think they've since seen that the show plays out really well."
Howie: "There are obviously some very territorial fans on both sides, and it seemed to shock them at first. Once they accepted it and we did our first show and they saw that both bands got equal stage time and it fitted together well, it was all good."

Do you each have favourite of your back catalogue that you think stands up well today?
Howie: "It's so tough to pick just one song! 'Quit Playing Games' is one that the fans particularly seem to love, but 'All I Have To Give' has been one of my favourites since day one. 'Drowning' is also a huge crowd-pleaser. We're blessed that we have a lot of timeless songs."
Jordan: "I love 'Step By Step' and 'Valentine Girl' - they always go down very well at the show."

Are there any particular moments from your past you now cringe at?
Howie: "There are definitely a few of those! A song on our first album, called 'If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy)' is one that we still joke about. Whether it's hairstyles, clothing or songs, it's all a learning process!"
Jordan: "Anyone who looks at old pictures of themselves tends to cringe, but there are a few where I think, 'Yeah, you looked pretty good' too! I look back at some photos and you can see why we were as big as we were."

The show is two and a half hours with 34 songs in total; is it a pretty gruelling schedule?
Howie: "It's not that bad actually as we each get time off stage while the other band is on. We all start together and then take it in turns and get a 12 to 15-minute break. We actually get bathroom breaks if we want them, which I think is a first for a tour!"
Jordan: "The great thing about the show is that because we get a break it's always high energy. Surprisingly, Nick Carter is the most energetic out of all of us - I've never seen someone with that kind of energy night after night before!"

NKOTBSB


Aside from the tour, are the Backstreet Boys/NKOTB still together?
Howie: "BSB are absolutely still together. We're giving each other some time for solo projects, but we're also in the process of putting together the next Backstreet Boys album. It's too early to say what the direction of the record will be - right now we're just writing and gathering songs. We always try to top ourselves with each album."
Jordan: "NKOTB released a hits album to support the tour, but we're not recording any new material together. We all have separate lives and careers and we all join up when it's necessary."

Howie - you release your first solo album next month; have the nerves kicked in?
Howie: "I'm very excited about it. One great thing about Backstreet Boys fans is their support for individual stuff - because they know it's only temporary. I think it's how we've managed to stay together. There is an understanding between the fans and within the group that we'll always be together in spite of our solo projects. I think my new album is pretty shocking - I've worked with some great producers and written more than ever before. It has a similar sound to Taio Cruz, Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta."

Jordan - you released your fourth solo album this year; can we expect any more music in the future?
Jordan: "There may be a couple more singles from me, but there won't be any new material from me until 2013 or something. I'll always make music - I'll never stop. Everybody still knows my first single 'Give It To Me' - I've had so many pats on the back over that song and video! It would be nice to be credited for my other music that I've worked hard on, but that's the way it goes!"

You've both been in the industry for a fair while now; would you like to lend your expertise to American Idol or The Voice?
Howie: "I'm a huge fan of those shows, so I absolutely would! I've actually partnered up with a guy who used to be in the band 3Deep and we've been working on breaking new bands in Canada. I've always been into helping other artists and giving them advice."
Jordan: "I'm doing a show in Canada right now called Cover Me Canada and I'm one of the judges. Are there any ones in the UK that will hire me [laughs]? Those shows are much more sensationalised and have a lot more money, but the show I do has some fantastic bands."

Do you think shows like the The X Factor are a good breakthrough opportunity for bands today?
Howie: "I'm a big fan of The X Factor and I'm excited to see Simon [Cowell] come back. He's a great mentor and somebody who has a great ear for talent and is very honest. I think it's a great way for new bands to get recognised - we performed on the UK version while we were on tour and I thought the mentor setup was spot on. You'd never get the kind of coaching before!"
Jordan: "I think YouTube is a huge platform these days - look at Justin Bieber. I think it might be easier to get discovered now because record execs can look at people from all over the world. Things are so different nowadays."

NKOTBSB kick off the UK leg of their tour in Ireland on April 20. Watch the bands rehearsing for the jaunt below:

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