Let’s leave it to 98 Degrees to reform and announce a new project in the middle of a summer heatwave.
Jeff Timmons, brothers Nick and Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre return to the limelight as a band for the first time in eight years for the “98 Days of Summer” campaign – and with it, the guys say, came a new appreciation. for music again.
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The campaign, which launched this month, will feature 98 days of never-before-seen photos, music videos and music on the group’s social media, culminating with the release of a remix EP titled Summer 98, featuring new songs and remixes of the band’s most popular hits.
The idea came after the guys spent much of 2020 in a Covid bubble together – the time they ultimately used to write and record new music. As part of their comeback, 98 Degrees will release a brand new single titled “Where Do You Wanna Go” on July 9, making it their first original release in over eight years. The group will also make their return to the stage in August, performing at the NY State Fair.
Before New York, the guys were in Los Angeles, where they talked to Rolling stone on nostalgia, the current state of pop music and why you can’t call their latest comeback a comeback.
Lots of bands say they’re taking a break, but it’s really “breaking” code. Have you always intended to get back together?
Drew Lachey: Well, we’ve toured together and gone out on the road and done stuff here and there over the years, so for us, it was never about breaking up and getting back together. This is just the new adventure that we are leading together.
Jeff Timmons: Well, we had a 12 year break (laughs).
The group was inactive from 2001 to 2013 before reforming in the summer of 2013 for The Package Tour, a joint release with New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men.
Timmons: We never really broke up officially. It was right then, we all had different things. In my personal life, I had a young family, Nick had just gotten married and we were all going in different directions. And then September 11 kind of put that mark on us. We were finishing a long tour together, September 11th arrived and then everything was in motion. No one knew what was going to happen. And so we were all like, ‘All right, let’s go to our families. We all went in different directions and stayed there for over a decade. But it wasn’t like a breakup or anything like that.
What’s the motivation for getting back together this time around?
Nick lachey: I think we still probably enjoy the music we make together more than ever. We all love each other and always sing together and have developed a brotherhood, a real fellowship. And we’ve all moved on on our own, but there’s really nothing quite like getting together on stage and doing what we’re doing, what we’ve started to do. We still love him. And it’s all about timing. And the time has definitely come.
How has your outlook on the music industry changed since you started?
Timmons: At the time, there was so much pressure, we had Nsync and Backstreet [Boys]; these guys were on fire at the time. And we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. So while we enjoyed everything that happened, I’m not sure if we understood everything and enjoyed the moment during that time. Now that we’re much older, we just savor the present moment and have fun. The fans seem to appreciate it more and they can kind of sense our energy when we’re on stage. And I’m just like, “Man, that’s the kind of thing we should have done and embraced the first time around.” “
Nick lachey: We do not put the same pressure and we have fun. We kind of smell like roses now whereas in the past it was always “What’s next?” We got caught up on this roller coaster. And I think now we’re all more mature and have a better perspective on the kind of place we were at then. As you get older you get smarter… hopefully (laughs).
Drew Lachey: So now they appreciate how amazing I am, which they didn’t do in the past (laughs).
This will not translate well on paper.
Drew Lachey: Nothing about me translates well (laughs).
You’ve talked about it before, but has your opinion changed over the years about being categorized as “boy band?”
Justin jeffre: We tried to see ourselves as being in a world apart [as those other groups] but it was easy to get us all together.
Nick lachey: Obviously we did it and without regret because there was a lot of success. But it was never our intention to be part of the “boy band” movement. We were really inspired by Boyz II Men growing up, but I guess [the boy band label] was just kind of what happened, and we were there for the ride.
Nsync, BSB and 98 Degrees were the “trio” of big pop groups in the 90s and early 2000s, and we haven’t really seen that degree of momentum since. Are there any younger artists that you see yourself in?
Timmons: The Jonas Brothers are really cool. I love that they all do different things and you know, they kind of evolved from being a boy band to being solo rock and R&B singers, and this song that I loved, ” Cake by the Ocean ”. They were quite interesting to follow. But there aren’t many bands that harmonize and have the ability to sing a cappella. I’m sure One Direction had that ability, or The Wanted. But you know, as it is today, you become a “brand” so quickly that it’s easy to part with it. So it’s very difficult to find our version of ourselves in groups today.
Drew Lachey: I think Bruno Mars’ new song [‘Leave the Door Open,’ with Anderson .Paak], when I heard it for the first time, I thought, ‘This might sound like us.’
Nick lachey: I think Bieber is awesome and I’m probably stating the obvious. But I appreciate and respect him for everything he’s been through in his life, and just coming out on the other side and still very, very well. And Billie Eilish, I’m like ‘Whoa, what a talent she has.’
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The nostalgia is so great right now with the recent Friends reunions, all the TV and movie remakes, and now the return of 98 Degrees. Are you nostalgic?
Nick lachey: It’s pretty exciting to do a project like [“98 Degrees of Summer”]. It almost requires you to go back and relive all those memories and you know, go through the old memory trunks and action figures that were made of you.
Drew Lachey: We have over 20 years of experience, I mean we have bad photos for days.
Nick lachey: I am also very proud of the fact that “I Do” has been a wedding song for so many people. You are a part of someone’s life every time they upload their wedding video. And it’s a cool place to be, you know?
Songs that you prefer not to sing anymore?
Jeffre: Back then, ‘True to Your Heart’ was one of those where it seemed a little cheesy and stuff, but now when we do it, audiences love it.
Nick lachey: I’ll tell you something interesting: we didn’t want to record ‘The Hardest Thing’.
Nick lachey: I just didn’t like the song. It was the last song we recorded for the album and we weren’t really into it, but the label was like, “We really want you to record this song.” And it ended up being broadcast more to us than any other song.
Jeffre: As soon as I played this song for my brother, he said to me: ‘This is the hit.’
Nick lachey: But there was a line in there about “Doctor Zhivago” and I was like, “This is the dumbest line in the history of music.” And now, that’s the line people throw at us all the time.
We’ve seen a lot of bands form over the last few years, release a few albums and then go their separate ways. What do you attribute your longevity to?
Drew Lachey: We are four guys from the Midwest, all from Ohio. We grew up with a similar work ethic and a similar focus and motivation. I think what we’ve been through together, you know, no one else can understand or appreciate it. I mean, I’m sure the other bands have a similar connection, but these are the only three other guys who know exactly what my life was like and how it went. So I think we have a unique bond that we appreciate a lot more now. But I think we also love making music together, and we’re excited to continue to do so. And we can’t wait for fans to hear our news.
Nick lachey: I think what defines us is the work ethic. There were probably more talented bands there, but we just refused to go. I mean, I think you can be talented, but there are a lot of talented people out there – you have to be willing and ready to work. And you know, we got in our cars and went to LA and sang around the corners. And it’s still something I’m so proud of us for doing.
Jeffre: Part of our success, to have longevity, was that we always tried to treat people well. Someone might have been just an assistant back then, but now he may be in a very powerful decision-making position years later. And they remember the way you treated them.
Nick lachey: But above all, don’t sleep with the program director’s girlfriend.
Is this a hypothesis?
Nick lachey: Well… we’re adults now. But we can say yes (laughs).
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