O-Town – Interview [2003]

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O-Town

Attention young girls across the country! It’s time for O-Town’s sophomore album O2. You remember O-Town, the group from the TV show “Making the Band.” Well, I know it’s been some time now, but the boys (Ashley, Dan, Trevor, Erik, and Jacob) are back and rocking it this time around. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Trevor about success, the new album, and everything else involved in O-Town’s world.

Hey, what’s up? How are things going?

Things are great. We are just really excited for the new album. It’s been a long time in the making.

For the first album, you had “Making the Band” to help you guys promote the album. What are you doing for this record?

Nothing can compare to the exposure we had from “Making the Band.” We are just planning on doing things like TRL, Regis and Kelly, and things for Nickelodeon. Basically, we just want to do as much press as we can to create awareness and get into everyone’s home again.

O-Town as a group seems to be in a good situation as far as radio play. Would you rather stay in the same situation as the last album and not be overplayed? Or would you prefer to be overplayed as an artist such as Ja-Rule, Destiny’s Child, or J-Lo?

I personally hate it when an artist is overplayed. It’s cool when it first comes out and you just want to bump it every time that you hear it. But after a while, you just want to turn it off as soon as you hear it start to play. But having all that air play is what makes a record number one.

How does this new album compare to your first?

The music has definitely changed. We actually got the chance to write on this album and landed several songs on it as well. The album itself is more guitar driven and the content in general is more mature than the first album. I know that saying is so cliché, but it is true.

How do you feel the music scene has changed in general since you first began with O-Town?

You can’t just have a good pop song anymore. You have to have an R&B or a rock edge to it. It is so much more competitive than it was a few years ago. We also have gotten smarter and better as artists.

What is your opinion on music sharing sites such as Kazaa? Do you feel that the industry trend of lowering retail prices of a new release to $7.99-$9.99 per album will help to eliminate this problem?

I personally don’t like the sites because it takes away from the artist. But I’m not gonna lie because I used the hell out of Napster when I was in college. But I do think the lower retail prices on CD’s will help to increase sales. I don’t think it will stop these sites, but I definitely see it helping.

Is there ever going to be another “Making the Band” with O-Town?

Right now we’re not going to be doing any more shows, but who knows, maybe in the future it might be cool to revisit it.

I was checking out the O-Town website earlier. What type of input did you guys have with that?

We actually sat down with the label and the designers and gave some input. We had to update our bios and all that fun stuff.

Besides doing the O-Town thing, what other opportunities would you like to pursue?

I would really love to dip into the acting. I think that it would be cool to be a part of a movie or even some television appearances.

What do you have to say to someone who is expecting this new album?

It won’t be what you expect so come check it out.

O-Town interview continued with Jacob!

How has life changed for you guys this time around compared to your first album?

Everything. The first thing that comes to mind is awareness. Awareness of what our job is, and who we work with and who’s job is what. The first go round was like a mess. It seemed like a mess because we were shooting the TV show, we had a new record company that was being put together so they didn’t have their people in place. So everything was just a mess. We were always struggling to find out whom we went to for this and that. With this record it was us from the beginning. We picked the photographer, we picked the shots, we wrote half the record, and it’s like it is all our project.

You guys must be relieved this time that your every move isn’t in the spotlight like it was before.

I hated it. I can’t say I hated the show but I hated that it was constantly taking away from the reason we started the TV show. The reason was to put together a successful group in our heads and it seemed like it was almost always sabotaging our music careers for the better television ratings. Yes, I am glad that we have just one thing to focus on. I am also glad that the show gave us that boost. In that regard it was a good thing.

The time off must have been great.

I was home for 5 months with no cameras or BS. I got married.

What do you think about the new ‘Making The Band’?

It looks unorganized. I know a little of the inside stuff about the editing and who edited that to make it look like that and that’s there own fault. The show itself is a take-off. But O-Town and ‘Making The Band’ kind of go together. And its either you guys are the ‘Making The Band’ guys and it goes hand in hand with our music. That show feels like ours. To watch it now feels weird. I don’t know exactly what they are trying to do with the show but it looks like a commercial for Bad Boy. They don’t give a shit who these people are or what there future is as long as they are promoting Bad Boy.

The new album is honestly great. Was this the type of vibe you wanted on your first album but couldn’t. Is this what you wanted O-Town to be from the beginning?

This is O-Town’s sound this time. We never would have picked this as our sound beforehand. It would have been mine and Ashley’s sound before but it wouldn’t have been O-Town’s sound. It took us awhile to get to know each other and to write music together to make it our sound. Right now we feel like we are on the borderline between like a new-age computer music and rock music. You combine those two is what we consider our sound. It is perfect. This is our evolution to now. This is where we saw ourselves going.

How do you feel about the album sales so far?

Sales are a whole other thing. It’s weird especially now where the biggest selling record of the year was like 5 million. That 2 years ago would have been considered a flop. Record sales don’t mean anything they used to. You can only really judge it on the song and the amount of people that are calling and requesting it and we think that it is working—it is working. The fans have really accepted it. It was a transition song (“These Are The Days”) between the rest of the record. We couldn’t come out with “Craving” or “From The Damage” right off the bat. “These Are The Days” kinds of warms everybody up to the rest of the album.

What is the biggest thing that you have learned between albums?

I think relationships are a big thing. I always had dreams of just breaking down the walls of the industry like everybody does. I thought I would just show up and the doors would just open. We learned that you have to be brought in to the industry. We learned that everybody that gets things done has that relationship. And the artists that stick around are the ones that maintain those relationships over 10 or 20 years.

What do you consider to be great music?

I like a song where you can tell that the person writing it had something to get across. I don’t like clichés. But it doesn’t have to be inventive and cutting edge either. I like real rock and roll. That goes hand in hand with that conscious attitude that they are trying to have a point or an issue they are trying to get across. I don’t like bland.

Are you going to focus on the writing and producing more from this point on?

I’m just trying to get well rounded in everything that I’ve learned. Writing and producing is where I started and that’s what I love to do and will continue to focus on. I have learned so much from the writers and producers we have worked with and just about the business in general from radio to percentages, I have just been trying to take it all in. Being able to have the hands on to this is second to none.

Final comments?

If anybody is out there that is hesitant to buy a record because they think that there is only 1 or 2 good songs on the album that’s not the O2 album. It’s a record that you can put in and you can listen to. If you’re anything like me you can’t stand to buy a record with only 1 or 2 good songs on it. You might as well throw it out in the garbage. This is a good record.

+ sam conjerti