We’re not gonna lie: we listen to UK hit-makers The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” every hour on the hour. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we can’t get enough of the charismatic, catchy five-some. Needless to say, we were excited to chat with TW’s Siva Kaneswaran (pictured above, second from the right) about their breakthrough on American soil, writing songs, and their dream collaborators…
ML: How does the band’s mix of musical tastes and inspiration play into your songwriting?
SK: We’re all solo singers from the beginning, and we played our own instruments. I personally have always liked Motown: Lionel Richie, Sam Cooke, all the greats that I grew up on with my family — The Jackson 5 and all that.
ML: A lot of classic influences, then…
SK: Definitely. They’re the ones that give you inspiration. The old school is always the best. It comes from natural sources — simple guitar, simple piano playing, like Stevie Wonder.
ML: You guys are predominantly known for your singing, but do you have experience writing music and lyrics?
SK: We did auditions for this band, which was a universal call for singers to come in and sing. When we went in, we had to play our instruments or sing songs that we knew. I played a song that I wrote and that’s what got me into the band.
That’s more valuable, I think, to write music and call yourself a singer/songwriter.
We didn’t write a bit on our first album, but on the second record we took control and wrote about 70% on the second album. I think that was what we always wanted to do, but in the beginning you don’t entirely know each other well enough to work with each other.
ML: What’s it like for all five of you to work together on music? Has that become easier now as you’ve been together longer as a band?
SK: Oh, much easier. From the beginning it was a bit difficult because you’re trying to find out what the people are like at first. You have to know a person’s line when you write with someone so they can agree with you. With the second album, it was brilliant. So now we’ve kind of got full control now and it’s nice that the record label can just trust in the artist instead of being so safe.
ML: “Glad You Came” has been a huge hit. What is it about that song that connects so well with the fans?
SK: As a band we’re just really relaxed. We kind of just have a laugh. And the euphemism in the name of the song, we find hilarious.
When we were looking for our next single, we worked with these two — we call them the dream team — Steve Mac and Ed Drewett, and we wanted something different for the next song, so we went in the studio and asked them to create something different, something new for us: a new sound.
We had loads of selection from our own songs, but as a band you write some of your own, and sometimes there’s a song that just comes along and feels like the right direction for you. “Glad You Came” just struck a chord with all of us and we had to say “You know, if we value music, this is a great song and the world deserves it”. And it was just a smash. There were 7 countries where we got to number one, and I think it was a good choice on our behalf to kind of go with it and to move in that direction. It’s just such a relaxed song. It gets you going, and we want people to have fun. We kind of pride ourselves on working hard, playing hard, and going out and partying. We love to just get everyone going. And I think that’s really represented us.
ML: The song is kind of a house-music club-banger: would you say that’s the direction you guys are going in moving forward? Should we expect the same carefree party vibe as “Glad You Came“?
SK: I think for now we’re gonna make sure that you jump around with the music we put out. Our next single “Chasing The Sun” we think of kind of as a “Glad You Came” Part 2. We’re trying to make it really known in the clubs: everybody’s gonna know it by first listen. We’re proud of this next song. It’s so different and unexpected. I think that’s what we’re good at. I think you should always do something you’re comfortable with and you’re good at so you can get the crowd really going and make sure they enjoy the show just as much as you. Everyone wants a party.
SK: I would say it’s different. The words are kind of supposed to not make a whole lot of sense because you’re partying; you don’t care what you’re saying, you’re carefree. “Chasing The Sun” is like the next morning when you wake up a little hungover and you want to have another party that night. We don’t want the lyrics of our songs to necessarily stand out but we want them to sound really natural and fit with the music.
ML: Do you have a favourite line of lyrics from the song?
SK: “We’ve only just begun / Hypnotized by drums“. That’s all I can give!
ML: Your upcoming North American release of your EP looks like it’s a mix of new and old material. Is that right? How many new songs will be on that?
SK: Yeah, it’s a mix of old and new and it’s got three new songs on it. We worked with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic on a few of the songs. I’m dying to get some feedback and see what our American fans will think of it!
ML: A lot of people are calling this “The Return of the Boy-Band.” How does it feel to be compared to acts like the Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC, and other bands like that?
SK: You know, it’s weird. We weren’t sure that we would be welcomed like this in America, and it’s so great that we have been. We’re a boy band, yes, but we try to put out new, fresh music and I think our fans appreciate that.
ML: Favorite cheesy karaoke song?
SK: “Summer of ’69”. Such a classic!
ML: Dream collaboration?
SK: We don’t want to force anything. IF a cool collaboration comes along then we’d do it, but in a dream world, probably Coldplay! That would be huge. Also, Rihanna! Justin Bieber too.