Stereo Kicks Tom Mann: 'We got to know each other in front of millions'
Tom Mann, Stereo Kicks band member who found fame on the X Factor as part of the eight-piece boy band in 2014, talks about penning hits and emulating One Direction.
Q: What are you doing at the moment?
A: I have writing sessions booked in with songwriters at the moment. I am going to write with Fiona Bevan, who wrote Little Things for One Direction with Ed Sheeran. I think we're going to be writing the second single.
Q: It's great to see Stereo Kicks' first single is a song you wrote.
A: It's my main passion and I've been doing it for years. I'm very fortunate to have had my song chosen as the single, I think it's opened so many doors, and it means that if it comes to writing an album I will get to write some songs on there, too. We're in a very good position as a band.
Q: It must be a boost to your confidence to have your song chosen?
A: Yes, it really is. We're not a conventional boy band, in that we were put together on X Factor in front of everyone. So we don't have to do anything else in a conventional way, but it is very nice to be allowed to write. I think it gives us credibility. We were on the X Factor tour earlier this year, and I had just written the song and everyone at the shows was loving the song. On the final night of the tour, we were called into a room and told it was going to be the single. I had no idea, I hadn't pushed for it or anything and that was the decision. It was fantastic.
Q: What's it like writing for eight voices?
A: I hadn't considered it before, I had just written the song for one person, but it's something to take into account when you're arranging voices. It's like having a mini-choir to work with. And if we are an eight-piece, we have to use that to our advantage and have those harmonies in there. It's not always easy, but I think we have found our sound and our strength is anthemic, slow ballads. It'd be stupid not to use everyone's voice.
Q: Will you be releasing an album?
A: I've written a few more songs, we've got rough ideas for the next single, but everything is dependent on the first single and we're pretty open about that. It really dictates how long we can go on for, it's a one-track deal we've signed. We've done the tour, got a great reception on that, did our own tour, which sold out, and the only thing left after that was to get a song out there to see how strong our core fanbase is. It's going great from what we know, and the next step is the chart position and radio play, then we'll look at an album.
Q:Is that nerve-wracking?
A:I think I'm excited. Some of the boys are feeling the nerves, but I am confident we can enter at a decent place. The main thing is that Radio 1 or Capital FM pick it up and champion it. It's one thing to chart, it's another to stay there.
Q:Was the X Factor a good experience?
A: I definitely felt the pressure, so it was up and down really. We were under a lot of scrutiny, and there were tabloid stories about each of us to deal with every week before the live show. Some were made up, some were on the money, so that was pressure. Internally, it was a lot of work. We were doing great things but it's tough. There was X Factor, Xtra Factor, VT, vocal coaching, choreography ... loads. And because we were thrown together, we were getting to know each other, too, in front of 10 million people every Saturday. It's weird to think we didn't know each other when the show started and now we're in a band together.
Q:Will the new judges be good on the show?
A: I think they will, fresh younger faces and everything. Louis Walsh was there from the start, but perhaps it was time for a change. Dermot O'Leary leaving is a big step, too, but Olly Murs will be great. It'll be interesting to see how it works.
Q: One Direction came off X Factor. Do you look at them and think you could be as big?
A: Their success is crazy, once every 60 years, that kind of thing. On some levels, they're bigger than The Beatles. I don't think anyone can aim to be as big as them, everything was perfect; timing, use of Twitter, the members, the songs. Not to say they got lucky, they haven't, but those things all work for you. They'll be remembered forever.
And there's more
Tom Mann has had more than one crack at pop stardom on X Factor, returning in 2014 after previously being sent home by Louis Walsh. He made it as far as bootcamp in the 2013 show, then auditioned again with one of his own songs. Stereo Kicks’ debut single Love Me So is out now. For more information go to www.facebook.com/stereokicksofficial