98 Degrees Talk Tour & New Single - JustJared.com Exclusive Interview
98 Degrees hit the stage for a performance during a stop on The Package Tour last month in Cincinnati, Ohio.
JJ recently sat down with 98 Degrees and got the scoop on their big tour with New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men, their new album 2.0, and what their next single will be.
Check out the video below of 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men performing in Cincinnati!
98 Degrees and Boyz II Men Perform “In the Still of the Night” A Capella
Click inside to read our interview with 98 Degrees…
JustJared.com Interview – 98 Degrees
JustJared: You guys have been on tour for about a month and a half now, how is it being back on the road?
Justin: It’s great. It’s a lot of fun. I mean, you know being able to make music is really cool, but the best part is being able to go out and perform in front of our fans and to get the energy that they put out when they hear our music. That’s always a great experience.
JJ: How did it come about for you to be a part of this tour?
Drew: We got back together last summer and did the Mixtape Festival. That was kind of the barometer to see how we felt performing together, how we sounded together, what the fan reaction would be. Just test the water of what it would be like if we got back together. After that concert, New Kids reached out to us and said they were going out this summer and asked if we would be interested and getting on the tour with them. Obviously with them and Boyz II Men, for us, it’s kind of a dream tour. You have the group that started the current boy band genre, and then you have the group that was the single largest inspiration for us and the way that we formed our group. For us, it was a no brainer. Once the tour started coming together that this was something we wanted to be a part of. Plus to be come back together after 12 years, to have this kind of tour to come out and say, “Hey, we’re back,” you couldn’t ask for a better platform.
JJ: Was it easy to back into rehearsals and back into the swing of things?
Jeff: Well, we’ve all been doing stuff on our own, throughout the hiatus and in the interim. It was actually easier. I think we’re all better performers now, we’ve all been doing stuff. When you have the comfort of being in a group, you have the other guys there to kind of fall back on, to lean on, but when you’re doing stuff on your own, you’ve got to get better as a performer. So I think throughout the years we’ve honed our craft vocally, physically, performance wise. For us, it was just like riding a bike basically. I think we’re a little bit more flavorful as a group now.
JJ: There are 12 guys and families on the tour, does it get pretty hectic at all?
Justin: “The Dirty Dozen”
Nick: You know, everyone’s kind of got their own. We all see each other every day obviously but everyone’s got their own schedule and their own routine. We’ve got our thing and our families are out at different times and same with New Kids and Boyz II Men. So it’s not like we all get together, not like there’s a big kid play room that everyone congregates in. Everyone has their own thing, their own routine, and it’s worked out well. But all in all, as far as a tour goes, I think we can all speak truthfully about this. It’s been a smooth tour as far as personalities, everyone gets along great, everyone’s families get along great. It’s just been a real pleasure to be out on this particular tour, everyone just kind of gels.
JJ: Have there been any tour pranks?
Justin: Not so far.
Nick: Someone keeps breaking our bus’ engine. (everyone laughs) I’m blaming Donnie [Wahlberg] personally for that one. No, it’s been a prank free tour so far.
Justin: Although, now that everyone is getting comfortable with each other, and we’re getting towards the end of the tour, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a prank here and there.
JJ: Any plans for some?
Drew: If we did, we couldn’t really put ‘em out because then it would get back to them.
Jeff: Then they’ll know.
Nick: A good strategy is to save your good pranks ’til the end of the tour so you lessen your retaliation time.
Justin: That’s right.
Nick: There’s not as much time for it to come back on you.
(Watch out New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men!!)
JJ: What’s the best part about being on tour?
Drew: I think obviously the fans. For us to be able to get back out there in front of our fans again and Boyz II Men fans, and New Kids fans. Get our music out there and remind people what 98 Degrees is all about and to win over new fans. I think that’s the best part. I mean, we’ve learned over the past decade that what’s really important to us in our lives and how to keep things in perspective and what really matters. I think we’ve all really realized how much the fans and the reaction with fans really means. You take that for granted when you’re younger and you’re just coming up, you think it’s never going to end. For us, I think we’re all taking the time, smelling the roses a little bit more and enjoy it. It’s been the most fun tour I think we’ve ever been on, just because we’re enjoying the moment, we’re enjoying spending time with each other, we’re enjoying performing. (jokes) If Justin wasn’t here, it’d be close to perfect. (everyone laughs)
Justin: And I’m really enjoying the fans more than anybody.
JJ: What is one thing that you absolutely have to have while on tour?
Justin: Beer. (everyone laughs)
Nick: I was waiting to see who was going to say it.
Jeff: We all were thinking it.
JJ: I was expecting water or something.
Jeff: No it’s not, it’s beer.
Justin: It’s water and beer… I guess you could say that.
JJ: As you said before, you guys have been on hiatus for over a decade. What made you want to reunite and start making new music?
Jeff: I don’t think we ended it the last time on a note that we would’ve liked to. We were on a great tour, we did the Michael Jackson special, then 9/11 happened and all of a sudden we didn’t finish our tour. We had two or three dates left or something like that. Nobody knew what was going to happen, with the country and our lives, so we all just got off tour and went with our families and friends. Then we all just starting getting in on different things. And we didn’t really have just any kind of closure to the way our band got off the road, and then there was a long, a super long hiatus. I think that this time around, like Drew said, we’re enjoying it more, but it’s also something that if we don’t do another tour after this, which we plan on doing, or release any new music, this is a good way to close up our career together before we venture off into different things. Or you know, we go into something else. There couldn’t be, in my mind, a better dream scenario. I have my family on the road, I’m with the guys, we’re actually having fun. We’re with Boyz II Men, and we’re with New Kids. It’s a good way, if we had to close it all up, it’s a good way to end it up.
Justin: I mean, this is something we’ve always dreamed of doing. To be able to come back and do it again after all these years. And I think, to really do it better than before, to enjoy it more, I think we all realize that we’re lucky to be in this situation.
JJ: What were some challenges you faced after all that time, doing your own thing, making solo music, then working together on the new record?
Drew: The biggest challenge I think was scheduling. Everybody has lives and other obligations, and contractual obligations for time that you’ve got to be palces, and family, and other projects that you’re working on. In order to say, “Alright, we’re going to set aside the next year and a half to record a record, promote a record, tour on it. That’s a commitment. I think that was the biggest thing, that was the biggest obstacle we had to overcome to get to this point, period. And that’s why it didn’t happen sooner. I mean, whether it was people doing other shows, or TV, or just political things. Everybody had other things on their plate, so that was the number one issue. Once we all committed to it, it was pretty much smooth sailing. We had to figure out what our new 98 Degrees sound was going to be and how we were going to take our sound that we were known for and make it more current. But that was part of the fun, I wouldn’t say that was an obstacle, that’s part of the process. I say just getting each other on the same page and getting each other in the same room was the hardest part.
JJ: What’s each of your favorite songs off of the new album 2.0?
Justin: That’s really a tough question and that’s a good problem to have. I feel like there are so many good songs that we really love. I personally am a big fan of a lot of the songs but like, Ne-Yo wrote a song called “Lonely” and I really love that one. If you have to pick a ballad, it’s kind of hard. There’s up-tempos that I love too like “Can’t Get Enough” and I mean really, every song is good.
Drew: “Impossible Things” is probably my favorite song. But like “Take the Long Way Home” is a great song, by Bruno Mars. And it’s all up in falsetto, and Jeff sings notes in that song most girls couldn’t hit.
Jeff: Secretly I am a girl. (everyone laughs)
Drew: I think this album shows the growth as an artist but also shows what we were known for in the past as well.
JJ: How did you decide to pick “Microphone” as the first single?
Justin: I think it’s just such a catchy song for the first thing. We wanted to have something that we thought would be relevant to radio. As soon as I heard that song, the beat, and the bass line, and just the hook is so catchy. You know, it’s kind of a fun song, lyrically, it just seemed, I think out of all the songs, there was a lot of options we could have gone with. But that one to me just seemed like a no brainer.
JJ: You guys have a lyric video for the song, it’s kind of like a music video too, but will there be another music video?
Jeff: We had thought about it, but the avenues for music videos are few and far between today. MTV doesn’t really play music videos. I mean, you can do a music video for CoolTV but nobody really knows what CoolTV is. It’s out there, but it’s not very prolific within our fan base. We decided a lyric video for that particular song was cool enough just something to be viral. Maybe we’ll do one for our new single, we’ve thrown around some really great ideas for it. With regards to the inspiration of the song, as opposed to being about a girl. So we might do a real one for that.
Justin: The schedule on this tour has been really, really grueling so there hasn’t been much time. I mean there hasn’t been much free time at all to do anything.
JJ: Do you have any plans as to what your next single is?
Drew: “Impossible Things.” We had “Microphone” and now we’re moving on to “Impossible Things.” We’re just going to keep working that to radio, and honestly, we’re very, very happy with this record and very proud of it. Our fans are reacting really well to it. For once, we’re getting good reviews. (everyone laughs)
Justin: Which scares us.
Jeff: Something happened.
Drew: So we’re very proud of everything we’ve done so far in this album cycle. If radio plays it, that’s great. If not, our fans are enjoying it anyway, and happy of that and we’re proud of it. We’ll keep running with “Impossible Things” and then we’ll see what happens in the fall. If we’re doing more dates then, or whether we’re radio shows later in the year and things like that. Well yeah, we’re moving on to “Impossible Things” and we’ll see what happens next.