Having built a boyband empire of millions from humble British beginnings, RoadTrip’s story of straddling social media prowess with a retro boyband attitude is one like no other.
“We made a conscious effort from the start of the band to do things the old school way. No big outside investment or labels, we wanted to see what we could do ourselves,” Rye tells CelebMix backstage at Newcastle’s Students Union on The Hero Tour.
“Our story is our most unique thing, no one else has got a story that comes close to us. I’d argue that some people have had it a lot easier. We’ve managed through every possible challenge you can imagine a band gets thrown and then some.”
It’s a bold claim from Rye, but it’s far from unfounded. Starting off sharing bunk beds with friend and fellow Alphadog member HRVY, the five-piece built from the ground up, documenting every step of their journey online.
“I remember when we were in a flat with HRVY at the start and he put out a tweet that got 100 retweets,” Rye continues. “I went mental saying, ‘you got 100 people to retweet in a minute!'”
“To have documented the whole process and put everything on Instagram and YouTube so that the fans could see how everything grew has created the most unique thing.”
“We did it all organically,” Brook adds. “It’s cool to see us all grow together and look back on this and think we did this on our own.”
Fast-forward to 2019 and RoadTrip are a band at the top of their game. This year’s acoustic Dynamite EP knocked Taylor Swift’s Lover off the top pre-order spot and the original has pulled in millions of streams. Tickets for the band’s live shows have a tendency of selling out in minutes and the group surpassed one million followers on YouTube in March. All without changing the hardworking boyband attitude set-up four years ago and always under the watchful eye of manager and former East 17 member Blair Dreelan.
Speaking of the Dynamite EP’s success, Rye admits, “We never set expectations on the Roadies [the band’s fans] because whenever we do, they blow them out the park anyway.”
“It’s mad as well because the acoustic version superseded the original,” Andy says. “We put months and months into the original and the acoustic one took about a week’s worth of work and did even better. It just goes to show the power that the Roadies have.”
“That kind of stuff has been requested from fans for quite a while so we try and accommodate what they are wanting”, Sonny adds. And after the success of 2018’s single ‘Take This Home’ on YouTube, fans online have been hoping for more original music videos. The band remain tight-lipped on any news for that, though Andy teases, “You’d have to subscribe to RoadTripTV to find out”.
For those who have already subscribed, a recent ‘Join’ feature added for extra content, it’s a channel that is hardly lacking videos. When not touring or working on their original tracks, or all at the same time, RoadTrip have forged their own space on YouTube with their covers. From singles to evolutions of artists and mash-ups, it’s a formula the group have down to a tee, as Jack explains.
“What usually happens when we record a cover is that Andy will arrange a track for all of us to record on and we all go and sing it. Then it will go to Conor, Alex or Chris Brooker [the band’s videographers] and they will put the video together and we go film it. We’ve got it down to a fine art now.”
“There was one instance when we were recording the acoustic version of the Dynamite EP,” Andy takes over. “Whilst we were at the studio ‘I Don’t Care’ by Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran came out. We thought, we have to stop what we are doing and get that out. We recorded all the vocals in two or three hours, got back home at 8 am, filmed the video until about midday then our editors got it out by 5 pm. It was exhausting, but it was worth doing.”
Achieving feats like that video needs a band who are more than just ‘bandmates’. And as the five-piece break into a chorus of ‘Chelsea Dagger’ the moment they start speaking to CelebMix, if it was ever in doubt, it’s clear these are five best mates.
“As a band you’re together, messing around, so it’s always fun and games,” Brook laughs.
“With this five,” Andy, founder of the band alongside Rye, comes in, “there was never a doubt when someone walked in that they would be in the band. For example, when Brook walked through the door; massive boyband fan, loves life, really good heart. There was no doubt he’d ever be in the band. Jack; insane musician, comes from a family of music and is a really good performer. Sonny… we’ve got previous,” he chuckles. “He’s so easy to get along with, a hard worker too.”
Going ahead, there are ambitions of trips to Europe and other projects in the pipeline. Rye explains, “We’ve got another big surprise to spring on everyone very soon which is the next big step for RoadTrip. We love it, fans will love it. Come Christmas it should be out in the world.”
To finish off, CelebMix puts it to RoadTrip that with all of 2019’s happenings, they might be in the best position yet.
Sonny replies, “That’s the point with us. Right now we are the best we’ve ever been but we always want to make sure we are taking steps forward. At the moment, we definitely are. We always want to keep pushing.”
Are you a Roadie? What’s your favourite RoadTrip memory? Let us know @CelebMix on Twitter.