Ahead of their first major release next year, Digital Spy caught up with member Pierre Joseph to speak about their new mixtape Bread and Butter and their plans for 2012.
How have you found the fan reaction over the past 12 months?
"It's been pretty good considering the fact we haven't released the two tracks as mainstream singles. The setup is working pretty well as people are starting to recognise our name and what we actually do. I think a lot of people now are looking forward to our mainstream hit."
Why have you decided to drop the new mixtape Bread and Butter now?
"Mainly because we've been busy on tour with Jessie J and N-Dubz and so we've not really had the opportunity to give the fans something free. The fans deserve something from us and so we decided to do a mixtape."
How would you describe the mix of the ten new songs?
"We work between hip-hop and R&B tracks for the five songs and then for the latter half we introduce some dubstep and finish it with a nice slow jam feel. There's also some grime and a bit of an indie vibe on there as well. We just wanted to give people loads of different flavours and we think it has worked well."
Are the songs a good representation of what to expect from you in the future?
"Oh definitely. This mixtape is just the beginning. Our album is more on the commercial side. We have a few more dance tunes on there that include house and dubstep. We're just trying to mix it up with everything."
You include an acoustic version of your upcoming single 'Fun Last Night' on the mixtape - what can we expect from the final version?
"The final version has a lot of energy and is a lot of fun - as the song title indicates! It's totally uptempo and we're shooting the video for it next week, which is exciting. We really like this song and think it's going to be great."
Have you had any strange encounters with fans yet?
"Yeah, in the last year we've definitely had a few crazy fan moments. It's just weird for us. A few weeks ago we went to the MOBOs and a few of our fans were waiting at the airport for us - I don't know how they knew what time we were landing! Some of our fans wake up early in the morning and wait four or five hours to meet us. To me that's justice - it's a beautiful feeling."
How is your debut album coming along?
"The album is wrapped and obviously when it comes out it's going to speak for itself. All we can do is gush it up and say it's going to be the top album of next year. Everyone is going to feel it and no matter what you're into there's going to be a track on there that will suit your needs."
You have worked with some big producers too...
"Working with big producers has always been a dream. Just a few years ago we couldn't even of imagined working with RedOne and Wayne Hector and all these great writers. We've taken it to our full advantage. The majority of the record is co-written by us, but we've never had a track just given to us."
There are a few boybands around at the moment - what do you think Encore has that sets you apart from your chart rivals?
"There are a lot of good boybands out there at the moment, but it's weird because we don't actually classify ourselves as a boyband. We see ourselves as individual artists in a collective. We have a rapper, a producer and a singer, so we all play a specific part in the group. Other boybands share the same responsibilities where they just all sing."
Have you been keeping an eye on The Risk on this year's X Factor as potential chart contenders?
"Yeah, I've been watching it and I've heard about them. Tulisa [Contostavlos] is a good friend of ours and she's mentoring them, but we're not trying to focus on what other people do too much. If we watch what other groups are doing then we might steer into their lane and we don't really want to do that."
Is The X Factor something you would have ever considered if you hadn't been signed?
"No, not really. Nothing against X Factor or anyone who appears on it because everyone deserves the break, but we have all agreed that the organic way in is the solution to longevity."
Westlife have just announced their split. Does a career like theirs inspire you?
"Oh yeah, their album sales inspire us. Every artist who is successful and has made something of themselves, we have to look up to and appreciate their whole hard-work ethic. We do aspire to want to get to that level. "
Encore's new mixtape Bread and Butter will be available as a free mixtape from November 2.
Listen to a preview of Bread and Butter below: