Boy bands. They’re groups of singing, walking-talking Ken dolls, whose songs and dance moves make every teenage girl swoon. Yes, that’s totally stereotypical, but these boy bands must be doing something right, since they’ve remained a consistent trend in the music industry.
The boy band craze arguably began with the iconic Jackson 5, a group that established the “ABC’s”and “123’s” for future groups. New Kids on the Block, NSYNC, and Backstreet Boys later sculpted the squeaky clean image associated with boy bands today. The early 2000s saw boy bands steer away from bubblegum pop, and The Jonas Brothers further changed that direction, when they gained popularity through the Disney Channel (the creator of all things hip and trendy when you’re 10).
So how have boy bands been able to keep up in the fickle world of music? To answer that question I interviewed the group IM5—a relatively new band formed in 2012, whose YouTube video “Disney Dudez” currently has over 5.5 million views.
Many believe that Disney boy bands are manufactured by the “Disney Machine” and that the band’s image takes priority over the music. So what does IM5, an actual boy band, have to say about this? Dana says, “Our belief is that the music comes first. So we definitely haven’t gone through the ‘Disney Machine.’ We create our own lane, which focuses not only on our image, but the music as well.”
It is now 2014, and boy bands are STILL here. But the newest groups of today seem to have fallen back into the ’90s class of boy bands. I have to admit, when I first heard IM5, my initial reaction was, “Oh great, another boy band.” But the more I found out about them, I thought, “There is something about these guys that doesn’t scream One Direction 2.0.” So I had to ask IM5 what they think sets them apart from other successful groups in the industry.
“Will: All 5 of us are different ethnicities, come from different musical backgrounds, and have very unique styles in terms of clothing, hair, etc. 3 of us also play instruments, so we can do acoustic sets as well.” With Cole also stating, “We are younger than bands like One Direction.”
I also brought up the notion that if you’re a BSB fan, then you can’t be a NSYNC fan. Or if you’re a 1D fan, then you can’t like The Wanted as well. So has IM5, noticed this rivalry? And is it between the bands themselves, or purely created by the fans? “Cole: It really makes me sad that people think that way, growing up I loved both BSB and NSYNC! A while ago, I heard about some drama between members of 1D and The Wanted on Twitter, but it could’ve been rumors. I think themajority of all the rivalry is fan created. They hold such ownership and loyalty to their favorite band that they don’t have open minds about other bands.”While Dalton’s response was a little different, “I think it’s a mixture of the fans and the media. I don’t understand why you can’t support more than one band.”
Unfortunately, many boy bands have struggled to maintain the continual success of New Kids on the Block or Backstreet Boys, (who have now been appropriately renamed ‘man bands.’) So I asked IM5 if they feel they’d fall into the “15 minutes of fame” category, Gabe said, “I don’t… everyone who has fallen off the map has given up when something’s gone wrong or they couldn’t handle the pressure… No matter what comes at us, we don’t plan to ever give up. ”
IM5 is undoubtedly here to stay. Of course, they can’t forget that they are the newbies who should give props to their “bandcestors.” Will said, “I think the number one thing we learned from the bands that came before us is that we need to be a unit. You look at N’SYNC, they were so in sync with one another (no pun intended) and their harmonies were always tight. You can tell when bands truly aren’t one.”
When asking the band if they had any advice for new artists, I couldn’t help but think back to Gabe’s earlier advice on stretching their 15 minutes of fame. “You won’t hear a success story without a few bumps in the road,” he said.
Before wrapping up the interview, I asked IM5 what we could expect from them in 2014. Their answers were vague. Gotta leave ‘em wanting more right?! But, here is what they did tell me:
Gabe: We are creating new music, doing some great shows, and maybe even releasing some new videos! We have lots of big plans for 2014; you’ll have to stick around to find out!
Dalton: Lots of changes, but they are all for the best. The future looks good!
Shortly after the interview, Dalton announced via Twitter that he was leaving IM5 and going back to his former rock band Fly Away Hero. While “Team Dalton” fans may be out-of-luck in seeing him in concert for a while, IM5 fans can still catch Gabe, Will, Cole, and Dana on their tour across the US. Purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.
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