Q&A: 5 After Midnight

Jordan from 5 After Midnight on the X Factor, musical influences, and Rihanna…

What are the key influences in creating your sound as a band?

Well, it comes all the way down to the likes of R&B, which is obviously stuff I pretty much love. The sounds that influenced me were Usher, Chris Brown… obviously there’s not much R&B on the radio, so we try to [bring that] influence as much as possible in a pop, 2017 kind of sound. Nathan loves his hip-hop, so he brings a kind of hip-hop genre into that, and he’s strong in that. He’s much more educated than I am in that respect. And that goes all the way down to artists like Missy Elliot, the Ice Cubes, Snoop Dogg, all of that. There’s quite a wide range.

What’s been the biggest challenge that you’ve faced as a group?

I was performing at Wembley Stadium with the two boys, and there were 80 000 people in front of my face, it was a hard pill to swallow! Even for anybody who had been performing for much of their lives – you’d still get scared, you’re still nervous. Stood on that stage, it was just out of this world, I was going crazy, you’re trying to hold your nerves in and obviously do the performance. When it came to the [X Factor] finals and we got to third place, it was amazing because obviously there were a lot of contestants that were really strong. I don’t know [how many people] were in the audience but it was quite a big number, it was hard to take that in. Bearing in mind that your family are there and you don’t want to let them down, and you’ve got yourself to not let down, you’ve got other artists to impress.

 What advice would you give to young people trying to break into the industry?

If you’re trying to go down the same route, then my advice to you is: be strong and know who you are first – because knowing who you are is always a big step for being in an audition. After they know who you are, they can’t change you. And that’s what a lot of judges like to do, and that’s why you kind of lose the artist in the process – because you’re listening to other opinions, other ideas, and they’re not yours. If you go in and have your own image, your own creativity, they will respect you for that. So I’d say never give up — that’s the message after my time doing X Factor.

What would you have done if the judges had tried to break you up as a band?

Well, it does happen during X Factor, because they like to put a lot of realism in and create drama, so you can see it on camera. But as far as it went, we can handle it well – we’re still a band, it’s been a whole year now. I’m sure we’ve got more challenges to come, but we know what we want at the end of the day.

What is the main way that you set yourselves apart from other artists?

There have been a lot of bands in the last five years, who as much as they sang well, didn’t dance as much. We want to bring that element – it’s like Diversity [winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2009] meets a singing group. But it’s basically three boys that just want to perform the hell out of an arena. And with the direction things are going, the way the world’s working now, no one really wants to hear people stand still and sing a song. It’s become more involved – people just want to get up and dance and sing, have a good time, and that’s what we want to show.

What’s your favourite song right now and why?

My favourite song at the moment is ‘Wild Thoughts’ by Rihanna. Because I think that song will never die for me, because as much as I hear it, the first thing I do is dance.

Can you tell us a bit more about you EP, The Sauce?

There were many ideas for this EP, and we wanted to come up with The Sauce because The sauce was something so popping as, you know, that word’s still popping around… we wanted to show everyone our version of The Sauce.

Do you have any exciting plans coming up in the next few months?

Our first song of the EP released yesterday, and then every two weeks there’ll be a new song out. And there will be a TV appearance hopefully next week. I think a younger audience is our stronghold for now, coming off a show like the X Factor, where a lot of the youth watch it. Of course, for an artist the goal is ultimately for everyone to listen to your music, but for now we’re focusing on younger people.

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