With the upcoming release of their debut album, ‘Let the Road,’ and a tour with Ariana Grande on the horizon, Rixton — Jake Roche, Lewi Morgan, Charley Bagnall and Danny Wilkin — are heating things up in a huge way. And they couldn’t wait to talk to PopCrush about all of the insanely exciting things they have coming up.
Already incredibly successful in the U.S. thanks to their hit singles ‘Me and My Broken Heart’ and ‘Wait on Me,’ the British band dished to us about ‘Let the Road,’ what fans can expect from Ariana Grande‘s Honeymoon Tour (potential collab, anyone?) and even their close relationship with Little Mix. Read on, Rixton fans!
Your debut album ‘Let the Road’ is coming out early next year. If you had to describe the album in three words, what would they be?
Lewi: Oh, three words? There’s not a singular word for a journey. Fun, energetic, and heartfelt. I don’t think there is a particular word to be honest.
The album title comes from the first song. What made you choose that as the title for the album?
L: We decided to call the album ‘Let the Road’ because, obviously, it comes from the first track on the album, but also that was one of the first songs we’ve ever written about six years ago. The song’s about where the journey takes you and [not to] forget where you came from and [how] you can always rely on hope. It’s quite fitting for the journey that we’ve been on, but also it’s a standout song and one of the first songs that we had written.
When you guys came into the PopCrush office, you told us about about one of the songs on the album that was completely a cappella. Can you give us any more info about that?
L: That was actually the song ‘Let the Road’!
What made you decide to record it a cappella?
L: When we started writing the track originally it started with Jake and Dan trying to emulate things like Boyz II Men, where you have to have harmonize. It just sounded incredible, so we decided to keep it a cappella.
Which song from the album is most personal to you?
L: I think there are a few songs on there that are quite personal. I think for Jake, it’s probably ‘Beautiful Excuses,’ since that was written about a relationship that was failing on his part. He cried himself to sleep most days about it. Every time he sings it, he just has the emotion and attachment to the song. For Dan, it’s probably a song called ‘Speakerphone,’ it’s once again about him embarrassing himself, quite amusingly … on the phone to his ex-girlfriend. For me, it’s probably ‘Me and My Broken Heart,’ because my heart’s been broken so many times and I don’t know how to live with it. For Charley, I think Charley’s most personal song on the album is probably ‘Hotel Ceiling.’ We travel around a lot, there’s a lot of time alone to think in your hotel.
Favorite lyric from the album?
L: Favorite lyric from the album… that’s a real good question! We have a track on the album called ‘Whole,’ and the lyrics are… I forget what the lyrics are! “I know you said you’re fine but I’m not sold / You try to take two halves and make them whole” And that is about two things that won’t fit together but you’re trying to put them together.
I like that!
L: It’s a beautiful lyric.
You guys are hitting the road with Ariana Grande in February. You must be psyched.
L: We are beyond excited to be hitting the road with Ariana. It’s going to be incredible. We just finished our first headlining tour last month and we fell so in love with just the tour lights and just the road and being so many places in America. It was just insane. So now getting to do that on another level and playing arenas…
What can fans expect from the tour?
L: A lot of high energy, a lot of Jake’s dance moves. A lot of silly hats. We just like to try and put on the best shows we can. And we’re always changing our set and trying to add something more to it and give it more character. We’re constantly trying to hone what we do live. Currently, it’s high energy and dance moves. We may add some pyros, we may add sparklers and we may add some dancers. Who knows.
Are you guys pranksters?
L: Every now and again, not too often. You tend to know what winds each other up. We don’t really prank each other.
Do you think you’d prank Ariana?
L: If we can sneak past security and get into her dressing room, then maybe!
We’re obsessed with your cover of ‘Problem.’ Can we expect any Ariana/Rixton collaborations while on tour?
L: I mean, we’d love to! We’d never say no to a collaboration, she’s an incredible artist. You never know what will happen on the road, so hopefully we’ll come out with a track with Ariana! That would be cool.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while on the road?
L: [Laughs] We got woken up at about three o’ clock in the morning by Jake screaming at the top of his lungs. … Literally, at the top of his lungs, screaming. He was having night terrors for the first time. We thought someone had gotten on the bus and was attacking him or something, and it just turned out that he had a bad dream and woke up. He basically said he dreamt that he was in a human vice and it was closing in to crush him and [then] he woke up in the bunk, which is quite a confined space. He put his arms out to assure himself that he wasn’t in this vice, and he hit the walls so he immediately felt like he was still in the vice and he just started screaming. That was pretty funny.
Did you guys freak out?
L: Well, I fell asleep with my headphones in so I didn’t hear any of it, but the other boys said everybody was up on the bus and trying to figure out what the source of the screaming was. And Jake was still asleep in his bunk.
What are some must-haves that you bring with you on tour?
L: Always headphones, phone, laptop, um… I don’t know, we’re not really too high maintenance about what we have with us. I’m trying to think… a microphone and a home studio setup for writing on the bus and stuff.
Did you write any of the songs on ‘Let the Road’ while on the road?
L: No, they’re all studio songs. We started writing for the next album already, so we’ll see what we come up with on the next tour! We’re constantly writing. The whole reason we bond so well in the studio because it started out originally with Dan and Jake just locking themselves in a caravan and writing. It’s always been about writing our own songs.
Switching gears a little bit, Jake, we couldn’t stop laughing at your recent Instagram photo.
Jake: Cheers, man! We did a fake commercial for the album. I had to dress up as a cheesy used car salesman.
Oh, that makes sense. We kind of thought you had the pimp thing going on.
J: Nah, that’s just me 24/7, love.
Speaking of Instagram photos, you and Jesy Nelson have been posting some seriously cute pics recently, and fans have freaked out.
J: Have they? Amazing!
Yes! You guys already have your own fan “shipping” Twitter account.
J: Do we really? What is it?
I can’t remember off the top of my head, but it exists out there on Twitter. [Editor's note: Jake, it's @JakesyFactBR.]
J: That’s amazing. Amazing.
How did you guys first meet?
J: We just met through mutual friends. We did a big show in London together and we just met backstage. And we’ve stayed close ever since. We’ve been close friends since then.
What is your favorite thing to do together?
J: Karate! We love doing karate together. Her brother’s a black belt, so he teaches us.
That’s so cool! Do you guys have colored belts or rankings yet?
J: Not yet! She’s better than me, but we’re getting there.
Have you two hung out with Perrie and Zayn?
J: No, not yet. We’re on tour a lot at the moment, we’re focused a lot on the music. At the end of the day, it’s just a job and being in front of a lot of people. All the boys have met the girls, and we’ve heard some of their new songs as well, and they sound massive. We’re huge fans of theirs.
Can we expect a Rixton/Little Mix collaboration in the future?
J: No, they’re too good. They’re too good for us. They’re a lot better than us. Half the time we don’t know what we’re doing [laughs]!
We somehow doubt that! Of all of the exciting things the band has going on right now, what are you most looking forward to next year?
J: Next year, the Ariana tour. That’s the big thing for us. We’re very, very excited. It’s a huge honor to be able to do something like this, so we just can’t wait for that.
Lewi was saying we can expect some dances moves from you.
J: Oh yeah! I’ll be shaking it like there’s no tomorrow. It’ll be a lot of fun!
Rixton will be teaming up with IHeartRadio and some of 2014′s biggest and best artists this winter when they hit the road with Jingle Ball. Guests at some of the gigs include: Nick Jonas, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, 5SOS and so much more. See if Jingle Ball will be coming to a city near you below:
December 10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
Q102′s Jingle Ball Presented by Bernie Robbins Jewelers
Featuring: Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, OneRepublic, Meghan Trainor, Jessie J, Rixton, Kiesza, Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes, Special Guest Host Nick Jonas
December 12 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
Z100′s Jingle Ball Presented by Goldfish Puffs
Featuring: Taylor Swift, 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, Pharrell, Meghan Trainor, OneRepublic, Kiesza, Rixton, Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes, Charli XCX, Special Guest Host Nick Jonas
December 14 – Boston, MA @ TD Bank Garden
Kiss 108′s Jingle Ball Presented by Market Basket
Featuring: 5 Seconds of Summer, Calvin Harris, OneRepublic, Iggy Azalea, Lil Jon, MAGIC!, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Jessie J, Rixton, Kiesza, Shawn Mendes, Special Guest Host Nick Jonas
December 21 - Miami, FL @ BB&T Center
Y100′s Jingle Ball
Featuring: Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, Pharrell, Iggy Azalea, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, MAGIC!, Charli XCX, Jake Miller, Jessie J, Rixton, Mary Lambert, Kiesza, Becky G, Shawn Mendes, Special Guest Host Nick Jonas
December 22 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
93.3 FLZ’s Jingle Ball
Featuring: Calvin Harris, Pharrell, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Charli XCX, Jessie J, MAGIC!, Rixton, Kiesza, Shawn Mendes, Jake Miller, Special Guest Host Nick Jonas