Before their show at The Brook, Southampton on 4th November, I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of interviewing four down-to-earth chaps from Manchester, who go by the name of Rixton. It has been a huge year for these boys after making some very high profile performances both here and over in the USA, so to get the chance to meet the UK’s hottest band was an absolute pleasure. Fellow The Edge writer Beth Lempriere came along to accompany me, to what turned out to be one of the best shows we’ve ever seen and easily the most fun interview either of us have ever done.
We walked upstairs to the balcony and waited for the Tour Manager to come and get us. He led us backstage and into a dingy lounge area. We turned the corner, and there, sat in a run down kitchen/utility room were Jake (lead vocals), Lewi (drummer), Danny (keyboard & bass) and Charley (lead guitar). Before the manager had a chance to speak, all four guys shot up from their seats and came over to introduce themselves individually. After a brief couple of moments of small talk and introductions, the interview began…
Will: So, how’s it been then, coming from 18 months ago when you were doing covers in, what was it, a garage?
Lewi: It was actually in Jake’s studio.
Will: Yeah, going from there, then all of a sudden appearing on The Voice, Ellen and then coming back over here and your debut record went straight in at number one…
Lewi: It was, um, it was strange because it was about three or four years of doing just really small venues and having to pay our parents just to turn up to shows so it looks like people are actually watching us. Then suddenly, you know, we got into contact with Scooter [Braun] and then it kind of exploded from there really, didn’t it?
Danny: It really did, it took off, he opened up a lot of opportunities for us, which is kind of what we needed because we had been writing for such a long time and trying to master what we do and get our sound down and really enjoy the music that we were making. Then he came on board just at the point where we were thinking “right, we need something now because its getting a bit ridiculous” and he basically put all these giant jigsaw pieces together and created what we’ve got today.
Will: Ah, awesome!
Jake: Do you want a Dorito?
Jake: That’s alright, mate!
Will: You’ve obviously got quite a unique sound, who would you class as your influences as a band?
Lewi: I think we all grew up with really different influences, but our one crossover is pop and R&B, so we tried to infuse that as much as possible.
Charley: Maroon 5 is a big influence…
Lewi: Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, OneRepublic…
Jake: Paramore! [Looks to Beth] You look like Hayley from Paramore.
Lewi: You do actually!
Charley: I think it’s the hair…
Jake: Are you Hayley from Paramore? She’s great!
Will: And what about individually, in terms of Lew on the drums, who’s your idol as a drummer?
Lewi: Well when I was younger it was people like Travis Barker, all your pop/punk drummers, but then it kinda went into Aaron Spears, Tony Royster Jr., Dennis Chambers and like the big R&B drummers and hip-hop drummers. So I kind of transitioned into that and then now it’s just everyone… Yeah!
Will: What about on the guitar?
Charley: John Mayer. He’s a massive influence for me. Not because he’s incredible playing guitar, but he focuses on his sounds and his tones, so I think that’s really important.
Will: There’s no one like him really is there?
Charley: No, there isn’t, no. He’s really cool.
Jake: Ricky Gervais… [Laughs]
Will: What about on the keys and bass?
Danny: Mine is, not so much bass because I only started playing bass recently really for the band, but keys its people like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Elton John really, probably the main one. Because my mum used to listen to him as a kid, well, when I was a kid and yeah, I took a lot from all that.
Jake: And Carly Rae Jepson!
Danny: They’re all like the first songs I wrote. And I love Carly Rae Jepson as well.
Will: And apart from daddy [Shane Ritchie], who else?
Jake: I listened to a lot of Justin Timberlake growing up, but that was a result of listening to people like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder. But I kind of grew up on the swing scene, swingers whey! I grew up listening to a lot of Frank Sinatra and stuff, but it was more the performance side for me, people like Michael Jackson and people like that in terms of that, so yeah quite a collective mix.
Will: Regarding your performances on stage, considering how quickly the bands gone from next to nothing to where you are today, have you learnt how to perform on stage from someone, or has it come naturally?
Jake: I still haven’t learnt, I don’t know what I’m doing!
Lewi: You just make it up as you go along don’t ya!
Jake: Yeah, you’ll see tonight, anything we say or do isn’t planned. Well, the music is planned obviously. Everything else just happens on the night. It’s about learning on the job, really, sometimes I do something which gets a reaction, sometimes it doesn’t and it’s just about, you know, kind of manipulating that and making it bigger.
Beth: What’s your favourite song to perform?
Jake: The new single, ‘Wait On Me’, available to pre-order now!
Charley: Yeah, ‘Wait On Me’ is great to perform for me.
Danny: It’s because it’s new as well, it’s new and I’m playing so much stuff in it, it’s great.
Will: How was it filming the video for that? It looked quite fun.
Charley: It was fun, very fun.
Lewi: Tired. It was a very long day, what was it, like how long was it?
Jake: A 19-hour straight shoot…
Charley: Yeah, through the night.
Lewi: Finished at like 8:30 in the morning, it was crazy.
Charley: It was good fun. I mean, Jake ended up hitting a few big blokes with lamps and stuff.
Jake: And then we shot the video, yeah…
Charley: No, it was good, really good actually. It was great working with Cameron Duddy again; we did our last video [Me And My Broken Heart] with him.
Will: So, ‘Make Out’, I saw that came out on Vevo, that was the first thing that came out, but we didn’t really hear of it over here, I don’t know if it was really heard of much over in the US; but were your plans for it to become a single to be released or was it just something to kind of get your name out there on Vevo and YouTube?
Lewi: Yeah, I think that was kind of more to get attention, if anything. It was kind of a parody of the biggest videos in the world and then writing a song about making out with chicks!
We were then rudely interrupted by a very loud and noisy tumble dryer…
Jake: That’s like a jetpack, I’m sorry. Do you wanna open that?
Danny: It’s literally doing my head in.
Lewi: There’s nothing in there…
Charley: There is, it’s going so fast…
Jake: Get it sorted!
Charley: You can’t open it; you can turn it off though.
Charley: Just hold down the “Start” button…
Back to the interview…
Lewi: So yeah, it was kind of to get attention.
Danny: We just wanted to have a bit of fun really, to get our first video up there, we wanted to get our personalities across. We weren’t taking the mick out of those videos, we were taking the mick out of the fact that we couldn’t afford to make those videos.
Jake: Looking back now though, if we started out now, I wouldn’t have released it personally…
Beth: No? Why?
Will: Was that for your bit of the video, or…?
Jake: No, I mean I loved it! I loved dressing up like Miley Cyrus!
Will: It was quite scary how much you looked her!
Jake: But it’s very different now.
Danny: Yeah, the album’s not like ‘Make Out’. We’ve moved on quite a lot since then. But it was a lot of fun, it was a great song.
Will: So, Ariana Grande, touring with her in North America. I mean, that’s going to be huge for you guys! When you were told about that, what were your reactions?
Charley: [Childish voice] Oh my God!
Lewi: We’re just excited for it, aren’t we? Obviously, she’s part of the Scooter family as well, so we’ve seen her and hung out with her a few times and she’s always lovely so it’ll be a great tour. She’s one of the biggest female artists in the world right now so should be incredible.
Jake: She’s really hot!
Lewi: Yeah, she is very hot!
Beth: Is she the one that…
Lewi: Is really hot!
Beth: …that did that song with Rita Ora?
Jake: No, that was Iggy Azalea – ‘Black Widow’. She did ‘Problem’ with Iggy.
Will: So you’ve met her a few times so that’s always good before touring with someone! How did you guys meet?
Jake: Only joking! Well me and Danny have known each other for about six years…
Danny: Yeah, we were both in bands and had mutual friends who kind of pushed us together and were like, “you two should be in a band together!” Then Charley wasn’t happy in his band, who he had been with for ten years…
Beth: Wow! That’s a long time!
Charley: Yeah a really long time!
Danny: So it was just a case of plucking him out of that and then we knew people who knew Lewi and that we needed a drummer so, yeah, that’s it really!
At this point the Tour Manager, Scott, walked in to ask us to wrap up the interview.
Will: Would it be okay to get a picture with you guys?
Danny: Yeah of course!
Lewi: Yeah, that’s absolutely fine!
So we took a photo, shook hands (Beth got some pretty intense hugs, especially from Danny and Lewi…) and wished them well for their show!
Rixton’s new single, ‘Wait On Me’ is now available. Released on School Boy and Interscope Records.