MUSIC: Interview - Union J's JJ Hamblett.
What have you been up to today JJ?
I've been filming for a short film with Ethel with Myriam Margolis and Professor Green that touches on dementia, it’s a really well written script. It will launch at the end of the year.
Myriam is quite a character isn't she?
She has no filter, she’s plain down the middle, she doesn’t care, but she’s so talented and she’s a sweetheart.
Does she tell you what to do?
In acting I find you bounce of people, and obviously you know the director was really good and you don’t have to say it word for word by the script whereas other writers insist you do everything word by word, but me and Myriam really hit it off. She was awesome to work with.
Would you like to do more film?
This is my third film now, I did Tango 1 with Universal at the beginning of the year and then I’ve got a film called Once Upon a Time in London coming out, which I’m really excited about. I don’t want to run before I walk.
You guys are older now and in relationships, have kids etc, is it a very different experience?
Everyone has responsibilities in life and back in the day you had to be single and straight, if you think when Westlife and Boyzone started, but now the fans just want to be the best fans they can possibly be and I don’t think any of that stands any more. My son lives in America now with my ex-girlfriend and I get to see him when I can and Josh is married but we go to work you know, just as anyone with a regular job does.
It sounds like you're still loving it?
After George left the band, the decision was do Union J split or stay together and it was a rollercoaster ride. We wouldn’t have stuck together if we didn’t believe in our talent, and without sounding big headed, how good we are. We’re very fortunate, we have the label backing us and we had Alive out and now Dancing with DJ Ironik. There’s a ballad on the new album which is insane, and I can’t wait for that to come out. People are used to our vocals but the music industry has changed and you have to adapt to what the charts are doing. We couldn’t realise Beautiful Life now, it just wouldn’t work.
You're new single Dancing (out now) is with Ironik, what was he like?
Ironik is a legend and he’s so good. He’s super talented but he’s also really humble. He’s had so much success and he is really laid back to be fair and chilled, and he’s a real pleasure.
You have a gig coming up don't you?
Yes, its' going to be great! It will be at O2 Indigo in London and there will be some very special guests! The first 400 tickets are only £12.50 because we want to thank the fans and we want as many of them to come along as possible. It's a whole night of music on 1st September.
X Factor is back next month, do you think it's still relevant?
X Factor has been up and down but it made the biggest boyband in the world, One Direction, Leona Lewis, James Arthur… it really does give people an easier chance at making it as an artist, it’s hard to do it on your own. I would like to see it find its feet again and do well.
The industry has changed so much since you started, how does it compare?
We were talking the other week when we released Alive, you used to have the campaign and then drop the single and now it’s the other way round. You drop a single and then the campaign starts. Spotify and streaming has changed all of that, it’s quite bizarre because we don’t quite understand it yet. It’s been three years since we released anything and we have to get used to it. Getting radio play all comes down to streaming, 90% of radio stations just monitor the streams so fans have to realise that too, if they don’t stream the music it won’t get played. Streaming counts for the charts too and I don’t think fans understand how it works either.
Finally, Josh is doing Celebrity Masterchef, how do you rate his chances?
Josh isn’t the best cook and he hasn’t been the best! He’s like a chips and turkey dinosaurs guy he isn’t the best cook, but perhaps he’s learnt. I assume he’s been taught a little bit otherwise he won’t get past the first round!
Dancing is out now.