Five-piece boyband United Vibe was mentored by Robbie Williams on X Factor, in 2018, when he took on the group category. Comprising Jon Guelas, Elliot Horne, Jack Tisdall, Blaise Duncan and Kieran Harrison, the group came together just two days before the show’s six chair challenge, and they managed to earn a spot in judges houses. They eventually finished 12th in the ITV show.
Amy had the opportunity to speak to United Vibe via Facetime, and asked them about what their single, ‘Sticks And Stones And Mobile Phones’ meant to them, their time on the Progression Tour, and their plans for 2020:
Hi boys, thank you for talking to Essentially Pop today, how are you?
All: Pretty good thank you, we are just rehearsing for the upcoming Xmas tour starting this Sunday! Rehearsals are exciting.
You have recently been on ‘The Progression Tour’, how was that?
Elliot: The tour was incredible, we got to see loads of fans and got to perform our music. We have also been to new places. It’s still overwhelming to us, but it’s amazing and we love it. Touring is the best!
What is the best thing about being on tour for you?
Kieran: The energy all around. The fact you’re on tour is a mad feeling and performing every single weekend. You’re on the road, performing new music and there’s no better feeling than being on stage. All fans singing your songs back, I felt like I was unstoppable being up on the stage performing.
What’s the craziest tour experience this tour?
Jon: At one show we were performing and the fans came on the stage and were singing our songs with us. In the end, they got escorted off and stole all of the water bottles that we had drunk from, so that was a crazy experience for us.
Highs and lows of this tour?
Blaise: The highs of the tour are seeing the fans singing back original songs and being able to meet new fans. We also had fans come from India. A fan who travelled from India said she had saved up a lot of money to see us for a long time. It was something like 90,000 rupees to fly over and see us. We have had fans from Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, India and Spain.
Lows: Being away from the family home. When you aren’t on the road, you are rehearsing and there is a lot of travelling, which can be tiring! The highs will always outweigh the lows though!
You also are going to be attending the ultimate Xmas tour, how excited are you for that?
Jack: Really excited, we have just finished the progression tour, so we are excited to see the fans again and perform to new crowds. Also, to meet other boybands and chill with them.
Where are your favourite tour dates and why?
Elliot: It’s hard to choose a favourite tour date as we get to go to different places all the time. The fans are different at every venue.
Jack: Dublin was the loudest and didn’t let us down!
The funniest memory on tour?
Jack: There’s a song we perform where we throw balls out to the crowd and I kicked the ball and it hit a Mum right in the face accidentally. She wouldn’t stand with me in the meet and greet after! It was a hard kick. I obviously didn’t mean it!
Craziest fan experience?
Jon: When they crashed the stage or when they take our jackets and our clothes. They always ask for our clothes or if they can keep some items from us. We weren’t allowed to go backstage at a show once, they said they already had us backstage, and we were like “we’re United Vibe”, and they were like who is backstage then, and it was our fans. We love our fans, the fact they are so crazy.
Favourite songs to perform on the tour?
Elliot: Our favourite changes all the time. New song ‘Sticks and Stones and Mobile phones’ at the moment is our favourite song to perform. Purely for the message behind it and it really hits home. We feel like they’re on board with us and they are singing along. We did it at the Derby Christmas light switch on and seeing the fans already singing along to the lyrics already is amazing.
You are big ambassadors for anti-bullying, do you think that has a positive impact on your fans and how do you use your platform for that?
Elliot: I feel like it has a positive impact, our fans are a similar age. The majority are teenagers but of course, it is aimed at everyone, and we wanted to get the message across, as we know people are struggling. We thought if they could hear it from us, they could get on board with it and it’s an important message. We recently have done a school tour and the teachers were saying, that they had never seen the kids listen so well. If it’s coming from your teachers you don’t want to hear, a boyband like us, they are going to listen more than if it was coming from a teacher. It’s inspiring to us as well as them because hopefully we’re making a change and using our platform for the good.
You have recently brought out your single, ‘Sticks And Stones And Mobile Phones’; what was the message behind that song?
Jack: All our fans come to the show, who may have bullying issues, due to social media or at school. To hang in there and there’s always somewhere for you and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. the old saying ‘‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.’ Words hurt just as much as physical pain and doing it over your phone too. We want them to put their earphones in for 3 minutes and take a moment, and say I’ve got this and there’s always a way out. We wanted the fans to hear this and know they’re not alone.
Elliot: We wanted to create a song that was for everyone including the bully as well as the victim. We wanted to include everyone, it’s a chain of victimisation, the bully has probably been bullied themselves and wants to make other people feel like they felt.
Did you write this song from personal experiences?
Jon: Yes, all of us have been bullied at some points either during school and when we were on The X Factor we got some unnecessary and personal negative comments. The hard part about writing from personal experiences is accepting it and admitting it to yourself. If you admit it, you feel like you’re weak and not strong. But we wanted to be honest with ourselves and our fans, to show people they are not alone and everyone can go through bullying, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
I love the vocals and the beautiful beat underneath the vocals, they really compliment each other, tell me a bit about the songwriting/recording process?
Kieran: Thank you! Basically we wrote it, we went to London and sat down with a lovely and talented lady. She’s being a massive part of it and getting it out there. Lili Tarkow-Reinish. She is a psychologist and we gave her our own experiences of bullying and she was able to elevate the message and what we’re trying to get out there. We went to her house and wrote the song. We had a basic product, a couple of days later we went to the new forest, and worked with Simon and spent 15 hours in the studio, working on it, tweaking it, and coming up with the melody and beats. In a week or so, we tweaked the final product and came out with ‘Sticks and Stones and Mobile phones’ It was a quick turn around and the whole process was a month (writing, recording, filming the video and campaigning it). We wanted to get it out for anti-bullying week as it was important to us, and the message behind it was fitting with anti bullying week.
What is one message that you want your fans to take away from this song?
Jack: I can get through it, it’s not my whole life, it’s just part of an experience. For them to take a deep breath and hear the lyrics of the song and resonate with it. Maybe stand up for myself and say I’ve got this as a strong person.
Do you think this song is relatable in terms of the lyrics?
Elliot: It very relatable and to put our personal experiences in the song as you say. People our age and of course other ages go through the things we go through and we really wanted it to resonate with people.
what are you most proud of in 2019?
Kieran: The main highlight was when we supported Robbie Williams at British Summer Time. There were loads of people and it was madness. It made us realise that there are so many people out there, that was listening to us, and it actually made me cry. We realised what it’s all about and what we wanted to achieve and to never give up on the music. It was a mad experience. We have had crazy things, we went to the Philippines on tour and turned up to the airport and also when we went home fans were waiting for us, and we were there for 2 weeks. We forget it’s our first year as we have done so much in that year.
What is coming up for United Vibe in 2020?
Jack: We are getting ready for a children’s mental health charity show with 4,000 people attending in Ireland. We are performing ‘Sticks And Stones And Mobile Phones’ because obviously it is a mental health charity. There will be new music, tours, shows and lots of travelling.
Pause in the interview, as the boys saw a wasp! What a nightmare!
Where would you like to visit?
Blaise: America performing wise. There’s something cool about it and to sell out music in America, and being top 10 in America would be the dream! We also want to perform everywhere as we have fans in all different parts of the world.
Quick Fire Questions:
Blaise: Jesy Nelson from Little Mix
Elliot: Ariana Grande
Jon: Can I be greedy and have two? Camila Cabello and Madison Beer
Jack: Rosalia (Spanish singer)
Messiest in the band?
Blaise: Elliot, we’ve started calling him Shrek haha, as he is such an ogre and so messy.
Pizza or pasta?
We all said pizza but Elliot chose pasta as he is lactose intolerant!
iPhone or android?
All picked iPhone of course.
Jack: I’ll pick a Nokia!
United Vibe: “what would you pick?”
I said iPhone too!
Who is going on the Xmas Tour to support the boys? let us know!