talks to... - November 16, 2021

"As a five, we hadn't seen each other since our very last gig..." The Wanted talk coming back together and their new Greatest Hits collection
by Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

"As a five, we hadn't seen each other since our very last gig..." The Wanted talk coming back together and their new Greatest Hits collection

The statistics on the career of boyband The Wanted's initial run are very special indeed. In four years, they scored 10 UK Top 10 hits, two of which went to Number One, they sold 600,000 albums in the UK and over two million singles as well as achieving success in the US and the wider world. 

Formed in 2009, the group consisted of Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes. They were brought together by Jayne Collins, who also put together the Saturdays and Parade. 

The fivesome hit the ground running, with their debut single 'All Time Low' going straight to Number One. From there on, it was relentless, with 10 singles and two albums hitting in the group's first two years. 

But, in 2013, the period leading up to their third album Word Of Mouth, things started to go off the rails. After disagreements aired spectacular on E! reality show The Wanted Life, as well as a number of members being offered solo projects, the group quickly fragmented and announced an indefinite hiatus at the start of 2014. 

In the years between, Sykes and George have had solo careers, McGuinness and Parker have starred in musicals, while Kaneswaran has written for other artists, and, for most of that time, it didn't look lie the group would be reuniting. Then tragedy struck. 

Parker was diagnosed with an inoperable grade 4 glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumour that was initially billed as inoperable and terminal.

But after starting treatment, and responding well, Parker began working with the charity Stand Up To Cancer on a Channel 4 documentary and asked his former bandmates to take part in a live show at London's Royal Albert Hall. 

Spurred on by the success of that show, the fivesome are now back together on a full-time basis and are looking to the future. In addition to that, Parker recently announced that, after lengthy treatment, his tumour is stable and under control. 

With a new Greatest Hits now on shelves (you can purchase it here), an arena tour booked for March of 2022, we spoke to the band about coming back together and whether any new music is on the horizon...


How have you found coming back together? Has it been like the proverbial riding a bike or has it taken some getting used to?

Jay (McGuinness): "For me, it was definitely like riding a bike, but also, weirdly, diving into a pool. Diving into a pool because once you're back in, it takes so much from you. We're back now to going through rehearsal room to tour bus to signing to shows, it's bonkers. I love it though, we're back, as a five, having a great time and taking the piss out of each other constantly, and I have really missed that."




Can you talk me through the process of coming back together? You've all gone away and done different things, how easy was it to get everyone free at the same time?

Tom (Parker): "It almost happened two years ago and we couldn't quite get it together. Discussions went on and we were never quite there. It was my situation that brought it about. I asked the boys to do a Stand-Up To Cancer gig and it went from there."

Siva (Kaneswaran): "The planning for that, getting back in a room and singing again, from there it just felt natural to start talking about new music and the future."


Even when you guys announce you were splitting up, it never felt unpleasant, it more felt like you'd just decided it was the right time to stop. Is that fair?

Tom: "We were knackered. The whole period had been so intense, we'd travelled the world for five years and we were desperate for normality. Coming back has been lovely, we're approaching things completely differently, we're not about the fame."

Jay: "We were so desperate to make it. So desperate for every song to be Number One and every show to be sold out. Now, although the wheels are back on the machine, we want to make everything is fun. We know who we are now, we don't need to be so relentless."


Also, coming back in the circumstances that you did, that must have just squashed any lingering squabble you might have had...

Tom: It did feel like that. When we ended, it was painful, but that's because we'd all loved it. People wanted to be individuals. When it came down to it, more of us didn't want to stop, but we didn't want to fragment."

Jay: "When we started rehearsal for Stand-Up To Cancer, everybody just got their priorities in check. We were happy to be back together."

Tom: "I was so happy the boys accepted the offer to come back to do Stand-Up To Cancer, it meant an awful lot."

Siva: "We wish we hadn't needed those circumstances, but I'm glad it's brought this about."



Had you seen much of each other in the years in between? Have you been in each other's lives?

Jay: "As a five, we hadn't seen each other since our very last gig. For big moments, I felt like all the boys supported me. They came to see my shows, we'd chat about things, and I hope I've done the same back."


What was it like being back in a room as a five for the first time? It must have been odd...

Siva: "It was odd. I felt like we were sizing each other up a little bit."

Tom: "We met in this pub that one of our managers owns as it was still all a big secret. All very hush-hush."

Jay: "It was wild. Straight away there was so much banter. And then, we discovered that we had lawyers, pluggers, a new social media team, all waiting to meet us. We literally had 10 minutes to ourselves and then it was on."


Why did you decide that the first thing you wanted to come back with was a Greatest Hits?

Tom: "Before we broke up, we'd talked about doing a Greatest Hits. We had more than enough singles. Then we broke up and it never happened. It felt like the natural thing to do. A celebration of what we achieved."

Jay:"There was no way we weren't going to do a little bit of new material, but a whole new album is a serious undertaking. An album takes a year for a boyband to do. You do so many songs and spend so long on the vocals, it would have taken forever. This gets us back on tour, it means we can enjoy each other's company again and doesn't delay things by a year."



Being a Greatest Hits, the tracklisting kind of pick itself, are there any songs from your back catalogue you really wish had been hits?

Tom: "'Could This Be Love' is on there and I really wish that had been a single, the fans absolutely love it."

Siva: "It's an acoustic version and people have been going crazy for it."

Jay: "I'm really happy with it. Every song has a video, they all take me back to being sat there, waiting for the chart position to come in. I love it."


Conversely, are there any you're not too keen on, you've been a bit disparaging about 'Walks Like Rihanna' in other interviews...

Jay: "I ironically like it now. But, honestly, our label convinced us to do that and convinced us that we had to have a song like that. We did the whole thing through gritted teeth. We thought we were past that and way too cool. We are a boyband, there is no getting away from that, but it is the most boyband, sugar-sweet song ever written. I think now people know we sing it while rolling our eyes, they can enjoy it too."

Siva: "It's incredible onstage. We have to give the label that."

Tom: "No, it's still s**t."

Jay: "You have to pick your battles. It always was presented as though we were lucky to be in the room and it could easily be five other boys. Which was true, but we've got a little bit more weight behind us now. More confidence in our decision making."



You're focused on the Greatest Hits at the moment, but are you getting things down for a new album? Is the process underway?

Siva: "We're seeing how it goes. We'll go step by step and we'll see how we feel after the tour. If there's a demand for new music, we'll be all ears."

Jay: The music industry is in quite a different place. Not everybody makes albums, it might go song, wait a month, song, wait a month, and then eventually you have an album."

Tom: "The industry is so different now, we're still getting used to it."

Jay: "It feels like we're in the in-between stage. We're rehearsing and focusing on these dates. This is when we'll decide if we explore anything else. We are looking at songs and it's not like anybody is booked to do anything else after this. There's no end date on this."


Finally, you've booked got some big dates booked for the spring, how are rehearsals going?

Tom: "It's like nothing's ever chanted. Our voices blend so nicely together."

Jay: "It's also nice getting back in your groove, the songs are the songs, no one is demanding to get more lines or to do different bits."

Siva: "It's tiring though. I'm knackered after every session. You've got to keep yourself fit to be able to do it now."

Jay: "When we were in our 20s, we definitely burnt the candle at both ends. We'd on Lorraine Kelly at nine in the morning, be busy all day, play a show and then go clubbing afterwards. Now? No way..."


The Wanted’s new collection, Most Wanted: The Greatest Hits, is out now in hmv stores and available to purchase here in hmv’s online store.

Most Wanted: The Greatest Hits
Most Wanted: The Greatest Hits The Wanted

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