While 98 Degrees go all out on the boy-band charms as headliners on the My2K Tour (think matching camouflage pants and coordinate dance moves), backstage at their Brooklyn show, the guys are four laidback friends who still crack one another up.
Before they took the stage for the most nostalgically impressive set of the night, Fuse looked back with the quartet about their breakout years (find out why they weren't your typical boy band), looked forward (new music!!) and more.
FUSE: How's the My2K tour been?
Justin Jeffre: It's been a blast, really. It's great to be back with these guys, doing what we love to do, what we always dreamed of. It's a little surreal to still be doing it, but our fans are still there and we're having more fun with them than ever.
A big part of the tour are the meet-and-greets. What are
these like now versus when you initially hit the scene?
Nick Lachey: They're drinking now! [Laughs] They're all drinking age and it somehow makes it all more fun.
Justin: It makes us feel more comfortable with our drinking. We have a pass now. [Laughs]
Nick: It's like we've all grow up together in a weird way. It's cool. We see a lot of the same faces. The loyalty they've shown us and our group is incredible. It's just a big party—I don't know how else to describe it.
The 2.0 album came out in 2013. Is this tour setting in motion new material?
Justin: The feedback we're getting from fans is that 'We want to hear new music.' The way we feel is that more we're together, the more likely that is to happen. We love what we do and I think that we want to keep doing it. It's just a question of when and what, as opposed to if we're going to do it.
Nick: We did the tour three years ago and it reemphasized to us that we enjoy doing this together so we looked for another opportunity to get together on tour, which happened this summer. Where that leads is anyone's guess at this point. The one thing we can take away from this, if nothing else, is that we love being together, we love performing together, so it's definitely not even close to being the end of anything. Just another chapter.
Your music videos stand out to me as a big part of your career. What do you guys think is your most iconic video?
Justin: "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" for me. Working with Wayne Isham was always interesting. I've been to a few Mayan ruins before, but to actually go there to shoot a video, have an incredibly beautiful female star, it was really a lot of fun.
Nick: That was a time when videos could make a song in a lot of ways—it was such an integral part of what you were doing. The labels recognized it, they spent a lot of money on music videos, and we were lucky enough to get connected with Wayne on the "Because of You" video, and then he did several of our next videos. He made a point to make them all different and that was a big part of our success honestly. For me, the "Because of You" was probably the most special because it was the first one. We were on top of the Golden State Bridge—which we found out literally no one gets to do, even the guys who were taking us up on the elevator were saying, "Wow, I'm shocked you guys got the permits to do this." It was just something you didn't get to do.
Jeff Timmons: Wayne was also good about technical aspects. In "I Do (Cherish You)" he had all these SLR videos set up in a circle, shooting in a circle, and that had never been done before. Technically, he was pushing the envelope, while at the same time having great storylines—having [Saved by the Bell star] Screech come out at the end of "I Do" completely changed the feel of the video.
If you could rewrite the narrative of that time, what do you wish people knew or focused on more?
Nick: If there's one thing—and people know this, it's not a secret—but people assume because we were lumped in a "boy-boy movement," that we were a manufactured group; that we auditioned in Orlando, the whole thing. But we took a lot of pride that that was not the case: We put ourselves together, we all moved to L.A., and did it the old-fashioned way of pounding the pavement and making connections. That was always something we were quick to clear up because we took a lot of pride in the fact that we did this on our own and didn't have the "machine" behind us.
Justin: And we were signed with Motown. We were a vocal group, first and foremost, not a dance group. But people had this impression of what a boy band was and so they assumed we were just like everyone else.
Nick: So…now we're great dancers. [All laugh]
If there was a fifth act on the My2K Tour, who would you want it to be?
Jeff: Contrary to popular belief, we're actually good friends with a lot of the boy band guys—like *NSYNC and Backstreet [Boys]. It'd be cool to have Backstreet with us. We're very happy with the bill, but it'd be cool to have them on.
Nick: I mean…Britney?! It was a great era of music and there were so many great acts. So many you could pick.
Drew Lachey: The fact of the matter is that everyone group represents a different nook in time and brings a different fanbases together. The fans love it how it is.
The My2K tour continues this summer. Get tour dates and ticket info here. Keep your nostalgia going with this classic interview with 98 Degrees at the Fuse HQ: