The Collective is not a boyband. Let's just get that clear. They are a vocal group because they're all vocal giants with completely different styles that make them utterly unique in the history of music. I'm just playing. The X Factor 3rd place-getters haven't exactly mastered the art of the interview yet but that makes them kind of charming. I particularly love their explanation of Jason Owen's success and the light-hearted Samantha Jade shade. Also, I'm a bit of a stirrer by nature - so take this entire conversation with a grain of salt. The vocal group is releasing an album on December 14 and a cover of "Last Christmas". Can't wait for that one.
How did you feel about being thrown together as a group? Was that what you were expecting when you signed up?
Will: I don’t think we were expecting it at all. There were rumours about it but I was pretty set on it not happening. But it did happen and I’m glad it did because as we went forward going through the competition we saw that solos… how hard it is for them. To have these four boys with you, it’s an incredible thing to share the thing you love.
Did you guys like boybands growing up?
Zach: As far as a boyband is concerned, I would rather look at us as a vocal group. I consider certain bands – not naming any – as boybands but I look at other groups of male singers and consider them to be vocal groups or bands. I’d rather be considered as part of a vocal group and I think that’s a great thing to be part of.
So which “vocal groups” do you look up to?
Zach: Boyz II Men.
Will: Boybands are cool as.
Zach: People automatically hear boyband and go [makes a face] but they don’t understand how much work goes into it. They’re cool. Like 'N Sync – doing all those moves while singing is a hard thing to do. But it looks fresh when you can pull it off.
Trent: I did listen to Backstreet Boys and Boyzone growing up and I liked them. I’ve got nothing against them at all. To be in one now is unreal.
Zach: I love Nsync and B2K and all those dudes. They’re cool as.
Do you think there’s a bit of a gap in the Australian market because there hasn’t been a big or successful boyband in ages?
Zach:Who was the last one? Human Nature. There’s a massive gap. I think the whole boyband fad is coming back. There are a lot of boybands coming out of the woodwork. It’s easier for them now that they’ve realised there’s a huge gap there.
What’s gonna set you guys apart from all the other people we’ve just mentioned?
Trent: I think the fact that we have a lot of improve on is a big advantage. We’re already doing well and we’ve just got so much more potential and room to grow. We are a vocal group – meaning that all members of the group can actually sing and we’re starting to learn to move and dance. I think that does set us apart.
Jayden: Will, not only can he sing, but he can rap also. That brings a different vibe to the group – a different edge. We always say we’ve got the edge.
Is urban music something you’re going to explore on your next single?
Will: Possibly. The thing is - we bring lots of different things to the table. Trent’s a rock singer and so is Zach. They have edgy as voices and you bring that and you mix it with hip hop and R&B and technical singing like Jaden does – it’s cool as. It’s something that hasn’t been done.
What was your initial reaction when you heard [their debut single] “Surrender”?
Julian: Ronan played it for us in one of our rehearsals. To be honest we heard the track – it’s a track with someone else singing on it – and we didn’t like it. It was very far from what we thought our style was. We changed it and made alterations to it and stuff. We twisted it to be a little bit more our vibe and in the end we were happy with it. But I think being our first song there is so much more room for improvement. With years to come we’ll find our sound and I’m sure it will be very different to “Surrender”.
How long did you get to record the song?
Zach: We had a couple of hours over two days.
That must have been hard.
Trent: Yeah that was while the show was still on.
A lot of X Factor acts in the US and UK are now taking more time before releasing material so they can get it right. Did you consider that?
Julian: No. Obviously you need to get it out there. We can’t sit around doing nothing for six months. People will just forget about you. If you’re not constantly on the radio with new songs, people forget about you. That’s just the music industry these days. So we’ve got our album coming out on December 14, which will have “Surrender”, the songs we did on X Factor and “Last Christmas”.
You’ve got a Christmas song coming? Joy.
Trent: Yeah “Last Christmas”. We put our own vibe on it, hey. It’s looking good. We’ve all got different parts. We all split our singing up.
Are you filming a video for that?
Jayden: Maybe. We don’t really know.
Is there gonna be one for “Surrender”?
Zach: Yeah. “Surrender” is gonna have a clip for sure.
Julian: We haven’t filmed it yet. We have to wait for this one [flicks Samantha Jade cardboard cut out in interview room].
Zach: As much as we love you Sammi [laughs]. It’s life-sized right?
Talking about the show, from the beginning you guys were hyped as one of the favourites. Did you ever think you were going to win it?
Julian: We just took it week by week. We were always told, you’re the favourite but we just went week by week and tried to improve every week. We didn’t end up winning. We were happy with where we came. To get top 3 was great for us.
Do you think it’s rigged that the boring country dude came second?
Zach: He’s not as boring as you’d think. We shared a room with him. Think about it. There’s more little country towns than there are cities. Sydney is so small compared to the rest of Australia. There’s a market for it. It’s not all about pop music.
Julian: We’re appealing to a younger audience. His audience is all those hardworking mateship people so of course they’re going to vote. That’s why Shiane did so well. He never made the bottom two throughout the whole live shows so we weren’t surprised when he came second.
But your song has done a lot better than his...
Julian: I guess our sound just works on radio. Also think about who uses technology. Who uses computers? Young girls. The music industry is just about being smart. It’s come to that.
How are you dealing with all those young girls?
Zach: It’s not as good as you’d think. Just kidding. I wouldn’t have a clue. I have a girlfriend. I have to stay away but these boys…
Will: It’s great to know that they support you. It’s a good thing to have. It’s the same with any fanbase – it doesn’t matter if it’s a bunch of guys, getting respect from the bros. That’s cool as well.
Julian: If you didn’t have your fans your song wouldn’t be in the charts. Yeah.