Jo O’Meara & Bradley McIntosh Chat with Official Charts
Earlier today, Jo O’Meara and Bradley McIntosh spoke with Official Charts and talk all things S Club!
This autumn, S Club will honour the life of late bandmate Paul Cattermole on The Good Times Tour.
Celebrating 25 years in music – from debut Number 1 single Bring It All Back to comeback track These Are The Days – Jon Lee, Jo O’Meara, Rachel Stevens, Bradley McIntosh and Tina Barrett will play 15 shows across the UK; kicking off at Manchester’s AO Arena on October 12.
Today, with just two months to go, we catch up with Jo and Bradley to talk setlists, staging, support acts and how Paul is the driving force behind every decision the group are making.
Firstly, Bradley – happy birthday! How was it?
Bradley: I’ve never been a big birthday person, but my missus loves them. She contacted all my mates and we went for dinner and lots of champagne. Her name’s Kalista, by the way, because online it says I’m married to someone called Megan. The only way to set the record straight is for you to print that. That’d help me out big time!
Consider it done! Congratulations on the release of These Are The Days. Why did this feel like the right song to come back with?
Jo: It’s a great nod to us and our classic sound. It feels very ‘S Club.’ It says everything it needs to say, but in a really positive way.
Bradley: Our fans have messaged us about how a lot of bands come back with music that’s alien to them, but this is what people would expect. I’m ecstatic, I love it. My son loves it, his little cousins do, too.
That’s a whole new generation of S Clubbers right there…
Jo: Yeah! It’s been really nice to see a lot of new fans come in. Obviously we have the fans from first time around, but it seems like we’re getting a brand-new audience too, which is exciting.
Were there other songs on the table at any point?
Jo: There were ideas of re-recording old stuff, but These Are The Days was actually written for us twenty-odd years ago, the first time around. It didn’t fit what we were doing back then, but it’s been sitting there, almost as if it’s been waiting for this moment. Those words are so powerful but so uplifting. With a little rework, updating it and changing some of the lyrics, that’s how it came about. As soon as we all heard it, we said ‘that’s the one.’
Bradley: Simon Ellis [Don’t Stop Movin’] and Cathy Dennis [Reach, Two in a Million] worked on it; the original dream team. They’ve got the recipe!
Would you ever have considered re-recording Good Times [S Club’s Sunshine album track featuring Paul on lead vocals]?
Bradley: No, it wouldn’t feel right.
Jo: It’s Paul’s thing. On the 2015 tour he did a nice acoustic version of Reach, and this time he was going to come back and do an acoustic version of Good Times. That’s why it felt the right choice to rename the tour.
That makes sense. This really does feel like a whole new era for S Club. We need to discuss your new photoshoot. Stunning.
Jo: It does feel like a new era. It feels very positive.
Bradley: The photos are great, I feel like we’re giving the Kardashians a run for their money! The photos look like money, do you know what I mean?
Exactly. You’ve teased plans taking you into 2024 as a band, too…
Jo: We have. We can’t say too much, but watch this space.
How was it getting back together to shoot your first music video since 2003?
Jo: It’s really weird. Even when we first came back together, it’s as if no time had passed. We know each other so well. Doing the video was so nice; the last one we did was Say Goodbye.
Bradley: It’s a similar video in that we’re looking back on memories. That was saying ‘goodbye,’ but this one’s saying ‘hello.’ It just feels organic. Back in the day, music videos were so stressful because we were travelling here, there and everywhere. But, this time round, it’s so chilled.
Jo: It was such a great day.
The red car in the video’s giving Back to the ’50s [S Club’s one-off 1999 TV special]. Nice touch.
Jo: It is giving Back to the ’50s! The car, for me, is so iconic. It just had to be in the video. Having us lot in a red car, it just works.
Bradley: That was thought through, moving from the old Chevrolet into a modernised convertible. The fans notice it straight away.
The ultimate S Club iconography. Any other familiar nods to the past we can expect to see on tour?
Jo: All the talk around the tour is happening right now. There will obviously be some surprises in there. We’ve seen a draft of what the stage will look like, which is very exciting. You’ll have to wait and see.
Bradley: As far as archive footage goes, there’s hours and hours. We were constantly filmed. When you go into our management’s office, there are boxes and boxes of videos. Thousands. You’re going to need a team of people to go through that stuff!
We’ve seen loads of the squeaky-clean popstar stuff, but were any behind-the-scenes antics caught on camera the public can NEVER see?
Jo: Oh, guaranteed. 100 percent. Seeing us without make-up on is quite frightening! There’s plenty of that.
Bradley: One day, we need to get the popcorn in, sit down and watch every tape. We need to see the raw footage.
How early into S Club’s inception did filming start? Was the formation of the band documented?
Jo: It started just before [S Club’s first TV series] Miami 7. The first time we were ever filmed together was at the script reading and when we went to Italy. That was the first ever footage.
Bradley: Hannah, Tina, Paul, Jon and Rachel were in the band for quite some months before me and Jo joined. Pretty much as soon as we joined, Simon Fuller flew us out to Italy, we sat around a big table in a villa and had dinner. Then he said “This is the band.” We knew we were in a pop group, but then he said “Oh, and there’s a TV show.”
Jo: I’d never acted before, but I’m shocked we never won an award for our skills!
Bradley: We were just a bunch of kids having fun, we had each other. It was just so fun, we’d get in trouble all the time on set. We’d be messing around and they’d shout “Come on, there’s only an hour of daylight filming time left!”
Bringing it back to the present day a moment, we’re so very sorry you’ve lost Paul. His excitement for the tour was palpable when we spoke to you back in February…
Jo: If we hadn’t have done this tour, Paul would have been so annoyed. He wanted it so, so much. You couldn’t not do it. Knowing it’s what he wanted is driving us even more. We want to make it as special as we possibly can, and obviously we’ll be honouring Paul in that. Everything that we’re doing, we’re doing with the full backing of his family; checking in and making sure everything’s okay. He wanted to do this so much, so we’re doing it for him.
Bradley: Jon’s said it before, but we never even once considered not going forward. I miss him a lot, we all do.
Jo: It’ll be very emotional, but we want this tour to be a massive celebration; to honour his life in that way. He was silly and goofy.
Bradley: The fans are so supportive and they’re really excited about this. Ultimately, this is for the fans in celebration of 25 years of S Club. This journey isn’t just for us, it’s for everyone who’s been here with us too.
How’s the setlist for the show coming along?
Jo: The setlist is coming along well. We did put it out to the fans, asking what they’d want to see, and we’ve been inundated. We’re going to be on stage for about eight hours [laughs]. We’re trying to take on board everything the fans have asked for, compact it all in and all the hits will be in there too, of course.
What have been the most surprising fan setlist suggestions?
Jo: Rain, which was never released on an album and was purely little snippets in the TV show; a lot of fans seem to want that one. The other one people seem to really like is Let Me Sleep.
Bradley: On that, I feel like our Christmas song [Perfect Christmas] is massively underrated. That should be a standard Christmas banger every year.
Jo: Yeah, it should be a standard Christmas song! I don’t think the winter single was ever supposed to be Never Had a Dream Come True, it just happened because it had some bells and snow in the video.
You do realise we’re on an unrelenting mission to get [Seeing Double album track] Gangsta Love on the setlist…
Jo: It might be, it might be!
Do you ever watch your old tours back for inspo?
Jo: We get ideas about what not to do, and what not to wear!
Bradley: My favourite tour of ours was The Carnival Tour; that was so much fun. It had a bit of everything.
You’ve got Musical Director and S Club staple Simon Ellis back on board again this time, too…
Jo: Yeah, he’s worked on all of our tours, so we already know the music’s going to be sensational. That’s not even in question. It wouldn’t have been the same doing a tour without Simon.
Bradley: With every tour we’ve done, the well-known songs like Bring It All Back and S Club Party have been slightly amended each time. He knows what we’ve done, what we haven’t and where to take it next to keep things fresh.
Do you have a support act sorted yet?
Jo: We’re still working on that…
Bradley: The last I heard it was Taylor Swift, but I think we might’ve said she’s not made the grade.
Jo: I think we’re going for Beyoncé instead.
What’s been your favourite memory together from this reunion so far?
Bradley: For me, it was after we appeared on The One Show the other day. Back in the day, we were always so busy we never used to hang out much outside of work. Say we were in LA, we’d hang out together, but whenever we came home and had free time we’d go our separate ways. We did The One Show and thought ‘let’s go and hang out, chill together and have a few drinks.’ That was so nice. We went to The Soho Hotel to hang out and had a drink. A responsible drink.
Your friendship, 25 years strong, is so clear to see. What’s the secret to that bond?
Jo: It’s because we’ve been through the same thing; we have that in common.
Bradley: Only us S Clubbers know what it’s like to have been through what we’ve been through together. We all have our friends from home and stuff, but we share something that no one else will ever understand.