When it comes to the 2010s music scene, one thing is abundantly clear: it was dominated by the sound of boybands. And, one of the bands that created the most noise? It was The Wanted.
Thanks to their smash hits “All Time Low” and “Glad You Came”, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes shot themselves towards stardom with the help of their pop-meets-dance sound and dreamy boyband aesthetic, attributes that captured the hearts of an entire generation. But, as with all good things, the band amicably ended after their wildly successful stint at the helm of the music industry, a decision that seemed irreversible, until now.
In a bid to support Tom on his brave journey towards raising awareness on a life-altering diagnosis during his star-studded Stand Up To Cancer concert, the 5-piece made a triumphant return last month, almost 10 years after their explosive formation. When speaking on the reception their reunion has received, Max claimed “for me, and this sounds like a bit of a pun, the stand out reaction was at the Stand Up To Cancer concert that Tom put together. When we announced it, the reaction online was absolutely nuts, but the gig at the Albert Hall was insane. I had never heard an audience that loud before.”
And, while the original plan only saw The Wanted reuniting for a single show, their magnetic bond and harmonious collective vocal ability meant that, to the delight of their adoring fans, their reunion swelled in magnitude. Now looking towards the release of new music, a greatest hits album and a nationwide tour, the band have set their sights firmly on dominating the pop industry once more.
Following on from their heartfelt Stand Up To Cancer performance and upon the release of their brand new single, “Rule The World”, the collective sat down with Wonderland to discuss their reunion, what they are doing differently this time around and their plans for the future. Head below to enjoy our interview with The Wanted…
Hi guys! So, let’s start with the pandemic! Aside from reuniting as a band, how were your individual experiences?
Tom: It was a nightmare, to be honest. Just trying to quarantine, wear a mask and follow the government guidelines. But we did it.
Max: Same! I was just at home, not doing very much. But, we watched a lot of movies. Towards the end of it, the saving grace for me when I was probably was about to lose my head was that football came back on and every Premier League match was shown. My girlfriend was going nuts, but it was all I did. I’d sit and watch football for hours and hours every day!
Siva: The BLM protests in Los Angeles were pretty hard. Being involved in those was one of the hardest parts of living there; seeing the helicopters and the police beating people up. It was important to think of the positives and to be grateful for what we had, but that was one of the most stressful things for me during Covid in America. That, and missing family.
I can imagine that was really intense to see! But, you also managed to bring some positivity out of the situation, which is amazing. So, has it been 10 years since you formed as a band?
Nathan: Does it look like it has been 10 years?!
T: It does!
No, you guys all still look great! But, how did you all meet and form as a band?
M: So, it was an audition process down in London, which was a long one. I think it took over 12 months. So, there were quite a lot of people that auditioned, and you go through round after round. That was put on by Jane, Collin Barlow and Ashley Tabor. The three of them put us together! They put us in a house together immediately, and we started writing songs and doing school tours, and it just clicked really quickly. And, here we are still!
Did you guys expect to blow up the way that you did? You guys were, and still are, quite the boyband sensation!
N: I think we knew that there was going to be good support behind it because of the people that were involved! Working with Colin meant that we knew that we were signed to Universal. But, there were so many different bands being put together at the time, and I think that was off the back of the success that JLS had on The X Factor. Even over the course of that year, I was still at school as I was 15 when I started auditioning, and there were four or five record labels putting bands together at the time.
M: Bet you wish you had gone to one of the other boybands, don’t you?
N: Haha! There was a slightly eyebrow-raising one that was going to be signed to Sony! I don’t know what happened to that one. But, in answer to your question, you can obviously never guarantee success, but we knew that we would get some good support behind it, but I think that is down to the band itself and how we formed a relationship between the five of us.
M: Also, I think the difference for me was that on the Friday, we were performing at schools in front of about 20 kids, so to go to number 1 on the Sunday was a big jump. We felt that the music was good and we could feel that there was a little buzz about it on the radio, but number 1 was pretty crazy to be honest.
That does sound insane! Speaking about being in a boyband, do you guys have any highs and lows of being in a group? What has the hardest part of being in a boyband been?
S: My favourite part would be just the fun on the road and the laughs we had. There are so many nice memories with the fans, with the crew and making music. Those are the highlights. I would say that the not-so-fun part was being away from home a lot. Sometimes, there were very stressful parts that were hard to deal with, especially with all our different ages.
T: I think this experience will definitely be different for me because I have two kids now. I want to be at work, but I also want to be at home as well. Whereas before, in our first experience in the band, all I cared about was being in the band. I have different priorities this time around, as do we all. So, the focus isn’t just the band. And, I think that is a good thing because we were so obsessed with being in the band before.
S: It was an obsession! We were obsessed.
How does it feel to be back? I have seen the reception to the news online, and the people that have been talking are all very excited! What has been the best reception to the news that you have received so far?
M: For me, and this sounds like a bit of a pun, the stand out reaction was at the Stand Up To Cancer concert that Tom put together. When we announced it, the reaction online was absolutely nuts, but the gig at the Albert Hall was insane. I had never heard an audience that loud before.
T: It was pretty intense!
I mean, that was my next question! I wanted to talk about the concert and specifically, to you Tom. Obviously, it has been quite an emotional and personal experience for you! How has it been having the support of all of the boys and coming back together?
T: It has been a pretty rewarding few months. But, to be honest, maybe 5 or 6 months ago, I genuinely didn’t know if I’d even get to that point. There were quite dark days, but I feel as though I have come a long way emotionally and physically. So, I am just really overwhelmed by the support from the lads and the general public. They have taken this story into their hearts. We are trying to advocate for some change and to raise some more awareness for this disease because it does affect people of all ages. I know that people think that brain cancer just affects people of an older age, but it doesn’t.