The Boys Are Back! A throwback tour like no other. The tour will feature four iconic boybands from the 90s; Five, 911, A1 and of course Damage.
Emma Mages recently got in touch with Ras from Damage to talk about the upcoming tour that will be happening at the beginning of next year.
Tell us a little bit about the Boys Are Back Tour, what is it we can expect?
It’s basically about all of the 90s/2000s boybands coming back together, and it’s like a throwback to the Smash Hits and Radio 1 roadshows that we used to do back in the day, where we’d all get together and have just a big old party on stage. So, you know Damage, 911, A1 and 5ive as well. It’s got about 27 dates.
Which one of your songs are you most looking forward to playing live and why?
Music evokes emotions and depending on your emotion, your favourite song can change daily. Sometimes I’ll be feeling in a very loving and happy mood where the only song that will suffice is Love2Love. But then sometimes I’ll be a little bit urban if you like, where I’d go with Ghetto Romance, so it really does depend.
What I want to know is what was it like touring back when Damage originally started? And how has it changed since then?
I’ll tell you what it was a different age back then! When we got together we were really young. When we started touring it was on the good side of 16 or 17 so we were fairly young and, like now, very excited. I think the major difference then was the people coming to see us. Also, most of us will be going to bed quite early! Back in the day we used to stay up till like 6 o clock in the morning and it really didn’t faze us, but we can’t really do that these days.
If you could go back to that time, is there anything you would have done differently?
No. As you can imagine we get asked that question a lot. If we did things differently it can potentially alter the outcome. If we did things differently we may not have been offered to do this tour. Everything we’ve been doing is about creating memories and this is another thing we can create memories for, and create a legacy for our children. If we did things differently, it might change that up. You don’t really want to do that.
What has been your favourite show you’ve ever performed?
That’s a good question. We did a tribute concert for Michael Jackson. We were told he may or may not turn up and low and behold, whilst we were on stage performing one of his songs, he turned up at the side of the stage to watch us and that was quite crazy. Touring with Mariah Carey, that was pretty damn good as well. I think there’s a few highlights.
How do you think the music industry has changed since you first entered the music scene?
I think there’s just one word for that really and that’s the internet. The internet has, if you like, revolutionised the way that music is listened to, bought if it’s even bought. It’s so much quicker! We used to complain back in the day that, not necessarily when we started, but we used to complain that the charts would move too quickly. If you’re not necessarily top 20 or top 10 you’ll be suffering. Now you can go in the top 40 with downloads and streams combined and actually move up the charts and down and move back up. The internet has really really shifted the way music is listened to. It’s great for certain artists, absolutely fantastic, these new artists didn’t have to do the stuff we had to do back in the day. We were doing everything from HMV signings to school tours, to random clubs and stuff like that up and down the country to promote a single, not even to promote an album. It’s like everyone is just on social media now.
The 90s was a big era for boybands. This tour alone shows 4 incredibly talented boybands but you also had the likes of NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys. Boybands have definitely evolved since then. You have bands such as 5SOS and The Vamps where they’re more instrument based rather than focusing on things like choreography. Keeping that comparison in mind, how do you think your music and style translates to today?
That’s a good question because I think it was like 2001, we actually made that transition from just a vocal group that did dance routines to actually playing instruments. We actually thought we were a band. We thought we needed to be that to move with the times. It was around that time you started to see the so-called boybands basically move in to the era of playing their own instruments.
Where we fit in to today, to be honest I don’t think we do! We’re not trying to compete. We’re not trying to compete with those guys that are out there that have learnt a talent, or have a talent that they’ve grafted to make better and actually being able to get on stage and play live. With us it’s not necessarily the same thing. We’re all guys on stage but our talents lie with the vocal ability and choreography, whereas their talent lies with the musicianship and vocals so we’re not really trying to compete.
If you could pick anyone from the charts now to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
That’s a very very tough question because we’ve all got such diverse taste. Billie Eilish, purely because my kids love her. They love her more than they love Damage so I feel like that could rectify that! It will be a great collaboration mainly for myself. But I think she writes some incredible songs. Stormzy as well. If we were to get him on one of our records or for us to feature on one of his, I think that will definitely be quite mind blowing. There are many artists out there and it’s like I said, the tastes within the band are so diverse. It’s difficult to pinpoint just one artist.
Is there anyone you wished you collaborated with from back then?
I think we kind of did that on the albums to be fair. The people that we wanted to collaborate with we did. So, we collaborated with Emma from the Spice Girls. She was phenomenal. We collaborated with Alesha Dixon. These are people that will come and perform with us on shows to this day. We picked who we wanted to collaborate with at that time. I think Gabrielle would have been a nice one. When we went on tour with her, we did collaborate on one of her songs so that should have been released as a live collaboration, that would have been quite cool. But yeah other than that I think we set out who we wanted to work with and we did a good job on both the albums.
Other than this tour what else do you have planned? What’s the future like for Damage?
Just the shows you know, just the shows. The idea of putting some music together which we did back in 2014-2015, we put out an acoustic album of most of the hits as an EP, and that went to number 1 on the iTunes charts. After that it was like no one really wanted to do something new. We’re quite happy with where we were in the new surge of nostalgic era. I think we’ve found our path, we’ve found our lane. We’re happy to stay here. All that we need to do is to just maintain the shows and make sure the shows are up to par. And I’m still thankful to say we can still put on a very good show!
What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody does?
Okay I think this will go for all of the band because outside of the band, we do a lot of work with young people. We’re very active within youth culture. It will be nice for someone to not only recognise that but ask us about plans with working with young people in the future. Even a question about, this may be a little too deep for a generic pop magazine or a TV show, but asking about how can we get our young people back on track in this country? Because we see so much and we hear so much negativity throughout the social media. Knowing that we’re very active within that field, it would be nice to recognise that and to ask us questions about that.
Damage and the rest of your favourite boybands will be touring the UK early next year. More dates have been added due to phenomenal demand and can be bought here. Make sure you visit The Boys Are Back tour’s Facebook page and check out Damage’s social media pages for more updates; Facebook, and Twitter.