Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop-shop for all things pop on Billboard’s weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop.
Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard editorial director Jason Lipshutz every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes (click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
On the latest show, we’re joined by PRETTYMUCH! The five-member boy band recently released its first single, “Would You Mind,” which also makes its Billboard chart debut this week on the Pop Songs airplay chart. We sat down with the group for a rollicking chat about how they are bringing “full-out” dancing back to the boy band landscape, their experience working with “god of pop music” Max Martin, what advice they got from fellow boy bander Louis Tomlinson and much more. (Listen to the interview below.)
Signed to SYCO/Columbia Records, PRETTYMUCH was brought together with oversight by SYCO’s Simon Cowell and former SYCO president Sonny Takhar. “They wanted us to be singers, dancers and just also be normal kids that hadn’t been in the industry yet,” the group’s Austin Porter tells Billboard.
“I don’t even think, if I’m being real,” says the act’s Brandon Arreaga, “the label knew what they were getting into, in a sense. Because once we came in, luckily they gave us the creative freedom, and we kinda just took over and ran with it. And now it’s more like, they’re just kinda helping us and pushing us along, and making sure the water is smooth for us.”
“Would You Mind” — which recalls vintage new jack swing hits like Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” — features background vocals and keyboard work by Max Martin. It’s not lost on PRETTYMUCH that Martin, who has produced 20 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, was also instrumental in crafting many early hits for such acts as Britney Spears and fellow boy band Backstreet Boys.
PRETTYMUCH’s Edwin Honoret, a confessed Backstreet Boys superfan, says he was “fangirling a little bit” when he asked Martin about working with Backstreet Boys. He says he chatted up Martin in the kitchen of his Los Angeles recording studio, where Martin told him it was cool to have a boy band back under his roof, saying “Honestly, I never thought I’d have five guys in my kitchen — like a group of five — in my kitchen again.”
PRETTYMUCH also talked about what recent advice they got from their SYCO labelmate Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. Arreaga said the boy bander told them to “keep each other grounded” and to “hold each other down.”
As for further music from the group, Arreaga says “We’re working on lots of music. Album wise… that’s a goal, but we’re not really thinking about that yet. The biggest thing is we just wanna drop single after single after single, and be performing as much as we can, and turn it up whenever.”
In addition to our interview with PRETTYMUCH, we also discuss big chart news about Cardi B hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100, Foo Fighters notching its second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, BTS scoring a big week for K-pop music on the charts, reports of Luke Bryan set to join the upcoming reboot of American Idol as a judge, and more.
Listen above and click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes.