“This album sets us apart from all the other boybands out there” – hmv.com talks to Union J
As they prepare to release their second album You Got It All, we speak to Union J’s Josh Cuthbert about its making, why they look to Westlife for inspiration and why One Direction once scuppered their planned album title….
Your second album is out on Monday (December 8th), how are you feeling ahead of release?
“I get a bit nervous, I don’t know about the rest of the boys, it mostly feels like a big achievement, something to be proud of, but there are nerves. So I suppose it is a bit of both.”
When did you record it all?
“It was done over five months. We worked with some incredible writers, like Jamie Scott, who’s written for One Direction in the past, we worked on and off until we had enough songs ready.”
Did you record more tracks than you needed?
“We recorded a lot. About 40 in all.”
How did you whittle that down to 15?
“It’s not too hard. We play all the tracks to our label, we play them to management and together we come up with our top 15. Fortunately this time the majority of the tracks were ones we all agreed on. Sometimes you have to go with majority vote, but I guess that’s part of making any album right?”
Were there any songs you were desperate to include that didn’t make the cut?
“There was one song yeah, which I really loved, but who knows? Maybe that’ll be something we go back to on the third album. It was a song that went in a direction where we aren’t quite there yet. You know how One Direction have changed their sound with every album? That’s something we’d like to try to do as well.”
How did you want this album to move on from your debut?
“Our first album was done before we even got to our label offices, we didn’t have any input into the songs. Steve Mac (songwriter who has written for the likes of Leona Lewis, The Wanted and more) did the whole album and we love that record, it’s great, but we didn’t have any say. This time I feel like we feel like we’ve found our sound. It’s an album full of strong heavy vocals and it sets us apart from all the other boybands out there.”
Were there other bands you looked to for inspiration for the album?
“We looked at mainly Take That and Westlife. Take That’s later material feels to me like modern day Westlife, that’s the kind of sound we’re going for.”
What is it about Westlife that you looked to?
“They just stand there and sing, and that’s what we do. There aren’t many bands out there who do that. We’ve always focused on the fact that we are four singers, that’s what we want to bring to the fore.”
Why did you decide to call it You Got It All? And were there any other titles in contention?
“It’s the single that’s out now. We had a feeling that it would be our biggest hit and we thought it would be nice to name the album after it. We had a few. On the first album, we really thought about naming that one ‘Midnight Kisses’, but then One Direction went and named their album Midnight Memories and so we couldn’t do it anymore. That happened about a week before we made the decision.”
Finally, what are your plans to take the album out live?
“We’ve got an arena tour with The Vamps and they keep adding dates to that. Then we’ll hopefully we doing our own tour at the end of the year. We’ve got quite a few summer shows already lined-up, so we’ll be very busy.”
Union J’s new album You Got It All is released on Monday (December 8th). You can pre-order the album in store now.