Going solo after being in a wildly successful boyband must be pretty scary, but Aston Merrygold seems to be taking it in his stride.
While rumours of a solo album began to surface 18 months ago, it seems that it's now that Merrygold is ready to unleash his new material on to the world.
His debut single "Get Stupid" is seriously funky and we've been grooving to it for AGES. So, ahead of the tracks release, we caught up with Aston to chat getting stupid, dancing in a shopping centre and how JLS managed to not fall over dancing in those boots that they used to wear...
PopBuzz: Hi Aston. How are you?
Aston: I'm good thank you.
PB:Let's talk about your single "Get Stupid". How do you get stupid?
Aston:To be fair, I haven't actually got stupid for a little while it feels. I've been on a solid detox for a little while until the single officially comes out. I'm waiting for this Friday to officially get stupid again.
PB: Have you got something fun planned?
Aston: I have a performance on Saturday at G-A-Y so I'll be doing shots on stage there.
PB: Talking of shots, you shot the video in an empty shopping centre. I've always wanted to play in one. How was it?
Aston: It was really cool. It was weird in some parts of the shopping centre and odd to be there at that time of the night.
PB: In the video, Aston, it cuts to a clock and it says it that it's 5pm. What sort of shopping centre closes at 5pm?
Aston: I mean exactly. I don't know. The visualisation of "Get Stupid" is like you've had a long week at work and you're a bit stressed and you're clock watching at work on a Friday. It's like, right, 5 O'Clock...c'mon. It's that thing. Whereas I was in the shopping mall overnight filming it.
PB: You throw some shapes in the shopping centre. Will you be doing the whole routine when you start to perform the song live?
Aston: Well the whole routine is mapped out. It's a bit different, but there's a full band and routine. It's very lively on stage.
PB: You've said that the album, Show Stopper, has been inspired by Michael Jackson, Prince and James Brown. What is it about those artists that you're drawn to?
Aston: Ever since I was young there was just a connection with those artists. Their music, for me, has stood the test of time and probably on a daily basis I do hear a song by one of them throughout the day. It just resonates with me; it's what I know.
PB: Talking of show stoppers. What's been your biggest show stopper moment, both for you and when you're watching another artist?
Aston: I never got to actually see a Michael Jackson show, but I was watching 'The Dangerous Tour' live in Budapest and it's incredible to see that one man could sell that many tickets and have that effect on people. In fact, years ago myself and the boys [JLS] got to perform with The Jackson 5, which was amazing. That was definitely a showstopper moment for me.
PB: I was watching Sunday Brunch on, well, Sunday, and I saw that you've tried making sushi before. So Aston, what's your favourite type of sushi?
Aston: I go for the prawn and avocado maki rolls. They're my go to if I'm ever craving Japanese food.
PB: So you're not a big fan of raw sashimi?
Aston: No not really.
PB: Talking of things that are 'raw', will there be any ballads on the album?
Aston: [Laughs]. There are, actually. Also, there are a few old-school vintage style ones.
PB: Like doo-wop ballads?
Aston: Yeah kinda - one's in that vein. I've tried to give it a little bit of a twist, but it's that Motown vibe.
PB: It feels like that album has been a long time coming. Were you trying out lots of different sounds before you landed on this one?
Aston: It was exactly that. In my mind I thought I needed to be so different from JLS. However, it wasn't working so I stopped worrying and trying so hard, and just started to do honest music that it all came together. This style suits me and I love it. It's where I want to see my music going.
PB: There's something I've always wanted to talk to a member of JLS about. When you were on The X Factor you used to wear a lot of boots. My friends and I named the style 'JLS Boots'.
Aston: Oh right, yeah. The big AllSaints type ones.
PB: But were they a nightmare to dance in because they have slippy soles?
Aston: [Laughs] See the trick is with that you need to get a towel, soak it in coke and stamp on it. You let them dry and they become a bit sticky. It makes them a lot easier to dance in.
PB: So the four of you were all standing around in coke?
Aston: Yeah just a towel. You'd wipe it up a bit so it wasn't too sticky. From then they got worn a lot more quickly.
PB: With this new slick look you can't really pull out a JLS boot now though, can you?
Aston: I mean, I could pull out a little JLS boot from time-to-time.
PB: Talking of JLS, what's the best JLS song?
Aston: It has to be "Everybody In Love". It was always the encore song, the song that everyone loves and knows.
PB: That is the correct answer.
Aston: Ok, good.
PB: You used to back flip all over the place. Have you put them to rest?
Aston: I don't know. I might do it as a celebration, but I don't do it on a daily basis anymore.
PB: Were you actually doing them on a daily basis?
Aston: Yeah! We performed nearly everyday, so throughout the songs I would be tumbling all over the stage and doing all these tricks. I've got another bag full of tricks now; I don't have to do that anymore.
PB: My fear would be that I'd land on my back and basically have to call the whole thing quits.
Aston: [Laughs] No, you'll learn it. You'll be doing it all the time.
PB: Oh I doubt it. Finally, what songs do you like to get stupid to?
Aston: Anytime I hear the first Justin Timberlake album, all that early Neptunes or Timberlake stuff. It's all the hyper pop-R&B stuff for me is something that sets the party off.
PB: Well thank you Aston. I expect you to rock a JLS boot in the near future. Goodbye.