Only a select few artists possess the tenacity to return to the music scene over two decades after their initial success and embark on a global arena tour. But very few artists can say they are S Club. With Fuse FM, we sat down with Jon Lee and Bradley McIntosh to delve into the details of their upcoming tour and discuss life as a pop group in an almost unrecognisable industry.
Following their disbandment in 2003, S Club, formerly known as S Club 7, have enjoyed various personal pursuits, occasionally reuniting in smaller groups for special performances. Their fans had the opportunity to witness a brief reunion in the form of a small UK tour in 2015, after which the group once again went on hiatus. But now, back and bigger than ever, S Club returns to the scene in the form of a global tour to commemorate 25 years since its formation.
“We don’t really feel like we’ve changed that much, do you know what I mean?” Lee tells me. “I still feel like we’re in our twenties.”
“Evolved-wise, we’re still just celebrating our old music.” McIntosh continues. “It’s great because, over the years, I’ve done a few universities, some DJing, a few little S Club performances here and there around the country. And over the years we’ve noticed, for some reason, freshers still want to book us. We see them getting younger and younger but it is such an honour that these kids still know S Club. The only difference is that it used to be ‘Oh my God, I really love you!’ to, ‘Oh my God, my mum really loves you!’”
On this topic, it’s intriguing to see what it’s like to re-enter the music industry after such a prolonged absence. In an era dominated by platforms like TikTok and Spotify, which encourage short-form content, previews, and catchy one-liners to achieve viral success, it is completely at odds with the prominence of CDs and traditional radio which shaped the foundation of S Club’s popularity.
Lee tells me he feels as if the music industry has undergone a sort of reversal – in the past, promotion would start roughly three months ahead of a single’s release, with appearances on shows like Top of the Pops leading to an immediate presence on the charts that same week. These days, he feels, the process is far more intricate and protracted.
He elaborates, “We had to get someone to sit down and explain it to us, like how it works now. Streaming, and downloads. You release it and then promote it. It’s a completely different planet now.” I asked them if they had any idea that ‘Don’t Stop Moving’ has had a minor resurgence on TikTok, and they laughed, telling me they’d wondered why it had been on the radio more recently.
As the conversation moves on towards the experiences of student musicians, I take the opportunity to ask for some advice from Lee and McIntosh that could resonate with those looking for a way into the industry.
“Don’t stop, never give up,” McIntosh says in earnest. “Don’t listen to what anyone else tells you, because music is about creativity, right? Follow your heart, your instinct. There’s no right way, really, when it comes to music. Be creative and be open to it. For us, it was a lot of luck: right place, right time, right manager. When ‘Bring it All Back’ went straight into the charts our manager turned round and said, ‘Remember this day, because your life will never be the same.’ We were all really hungry. We all really wanted it. No one gives you anything – you have to work hard, and we did. Very hard.”
It’s inspirational to hear. S Club were formed by Simon Fuller (former manager of the Spice Girls), auditioning more than 10,000 applicants, before rising to fame on the children’s television series, Miami 7, broadcast on CBBC in 1999. Hearing about their journey from everyday people to having their lives completely transformed and now having the chance to embark on a global tour two decades after their disbandment is undeniably remarkable.
S Club played the AO Arena on the 12th October for a special night in support of the British Heart Foundation and in remembrance of their late member, Paul Cattermole. They’ll be returning to Manchester on the 21st of October – grab your tickets here.
You can listen to the full interview here on Fuse FM.