Steps and 10 Questions with TotalNtertainment.
UK pop favourites Steps are back with a new album, “What The Future Holds” out this Friday. The perfect antidote to this awful year, they’ve been described as the band to save 2020 so we sat down and chatted with them about the album, Christmas with Steps and more.
1. You’ve got the brilliant new record coming out. How does it feel to be in a position to put music out in this awful year?
Claire: It’s really exciting to be at the point where we can put this record out because, obviously, it was all due to come out in March and we were literally days away from starting the promo trail and it all just came screeching to a halt. Actually, it feels like the longest lead up to an album in history ever. I can’t believe we’ve only got a week to go and we’ve been preparing for this for the last two and a half years. We had to keep the lid on it and we were so close to announcing everything and we stopped just before lockdown started. We’d kept the lock on our mouths for so long already then, to have to do it for another six months, it’s been tough. We’re here and we got there in the end and it’s exciting.
2. How does it feel to still be putting music out twenty-three years after you started?
Faye: We never imagined in our wildest dreams from that audition in May 1997 that we would still be out doing music. I think our last album “Tears on the Dance Floor” really set a president that people still wanted our music and they were interested. We had a sell-out tour again and it made it possible for us to release new original music. At the end of the Summer tour, we heard the demo for “What The Future Holds” and that’s when we knew we could release a new record. It started the ball rolling and, yeah, three years later, here we are
3. Was the titled inspired by what has been going on?
Faye: Oh my goodness. It was actually written way before and, what was crazy was that, the day before when we had to decide what we were going to release, it was a real big question for us. Was it going to be really distasteful if we put it out because of what was going on. It was really big decision to make and we had a big discussion about it.
4. You’ve been described in one article as “the band to save 2020”. Why do you think it is important for the world to get a new Steps album right now?
Lee: We’re the tonic that everybody needs. Everybody is having a really crappy time aren’t they? People are in a really dark place so let’s inject some positivity and let Steps transport you to a happy place. Steps is all about escapism.
Claire: We’ve always been there. We’ve always been a vehicle for people to escape from anything. Whether it’s the length of an album or the length of an album, it’s being able to leave all that baggage at the door and just come and have a great time and get yourself in a good headspace to deal with whatever.
5. How does the writing process work and was it affected by lockdown?
Claire: Thankfully, the material was written by our songwriters before lockdown and we were recording before. Our process is that we put out a brief to songwriters as to what we want and the kind of songs we need I suppose. We get demos in and listen to them and make shortlists between us as to the songs that we think are right for the album. We all write individually as well but, as Steps, we find we get a much broader and a pick of a crop of the most incredible songwriters around the world so we’re very lucky to be able to it this way.
6. Back on the subject of the album title. On the one hand you must be excited at what the future holds but are you the kind of people that are scared by what is around the corner?
Lee: Claire is a worrier. She has said herself that she wants the album to do well and things like that and we all wonder what is going to happen and what is around the corner. Me personally, I think you’ve just got to take it day by day and do what you can because life is quite short, you only get one, you never know what is going to happen so just try and enjoy it and make the most of it.
7. Like you said, you’ve worked with some incredible songwriters but who would you ultimate collaboration be with?
Steps: Lady Gaga! Come on! She’s incredible. We all love a bit of Gaga! She’s all about escapism and creating a space and we’d like our album to do that as well. She’s really flamboyant as well so that would pose some costume competition between us all.
8. We’re just a few weeks away from Christmas. If this was a normal Christmas, how do Steps celebrate?
Lee: Sitting around the tree, having a wonderful time.
Claire: You know, even back in the earlier days, Christmas was the chance for us to have a bit of time off and be back at home with our families. Now we’re all proper grown-up with our own houses and kids and dogs, extended families so it’s about family about how it always has been.
9. Just for fun, if you could be invisible, which other member of Steps’ house would you go into and what would you do to annoy them?
H: Yes, I would go into Lee’s house and I’d be really annoying!
Steps: Would you eat his cereal? You know Lee loves his cereal.
H: I can’t be wasting invisibility on eating cereal, come on!
Steps: For the rest of us, we’d have to go into H’s house and annoy him as much as he annoys us the rest of the time. Payback!
10. Thanks for your time and good luck with the album. Just to finish, by the time the tour comes around next year, fans will be ready for a Steps party. Do you have any message for those fans?
Steps: We can’t wait to see you all on tour next year and we’re going to party for 2021 and just wave goodbye to 2020. 2020 was a bitch, get rid!
Check out our review of the new Steps album, “What The Future Holds” here.