Edwin Honoret and Nick Mara have just woken up. The Prettymuch tour bus is parked up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they’re getting ready to sign a stack of posters and meet the fans before tonight’s show.
Completed by Brandon Arreaga, Austin Porter and Zion Kuwonu, Prettymuch are on a mission to redefine what it means to be in a boy band. Yes, their faces are fresh and their fans scream at the smallest glimpse of the all-singingall- dancing group, but Prettymuch are trying to do things a little differently.
“You can call us what you will, a boy band, a man group, you can literally call us anything,” says Honoret. “But as long as the music is good, it’ll always speak for itself. We want to be creative and give people quality art, regardless of genre. If it’s good music, that’s all that should matter.”
Mara backs him up, using Lil Nas X’s viral success with Old Town Road to beef up his point. “Things are changing in music, there are no boundaries,” he says. “Yes, we are a boy band, but we’re not going to limit ourselves to what a boy band is ‘supposed’ to do, we’re going to step outside the box.”
Since 2016, when Simon Cowell and former Syco president Sonny Takhar put them together, the group’s members have been stepping in the same direction at the same time, perfecting lightning dance moves and taking their first steps into songwriting in their Los Angeles base. Their latest track, Lying, is a trap-flavoured banger featuring rapper Lil Tjay. It’s basically catnip for teenagers.
They play a lot of unreleased material live, and fans quickly learn the lyrics. Things move fast when you’re Prettymuch, and Lying has already motored past two million plays on Spotify (where they have more than four million monthly listeners).
“We’ll always try to take risks and be the trendsetters, you always want to start something new,” says Honoret. “We’re making music we love and hoping other people love it too. If that means a hit record so be it, if it doesn’t, at least we know people are listening who actually care about the craft, that’s the most rewarding thing, when you make something and someone else appreciates it for what it is.”
Honoret and Mara are full of wholesome vibes (“We’ve learned to love one another and be present”) when they reflect on life in Prettymuch, but perhaps a saccharine edge is inevitable in their circles. They performed on The X Factor in November 2017, as Cowell put them in front of a big UK audience. So, what’s it like to work with the pop supremo? He’s quite a big deal, isn’t he?
“He’s a pretty big deal!” Mara agrees. “It’s great, he mentors us in the perfect way. He likes to give us freedom to be creative and tools and advice along the way, to always have fun and really love one another and not focus on the bad things.”
Prettymuch, then, are on a strong upward curve, May’s Phases EP is still going strong and the touring will continue. They gurgle about artists such as Jessie Reyez and Khalid being into their music. Meanwhile, they’ll keep striving to make a different kind of impression.
One thing they can’t change about boy band life however, is the screaming. “Sometimes when you’re at home chilling it’s hard to picture a bunch of people screaming at you,” reasons Honoret. “But once we get on stage and finally see it after not touring, it’s a blessing to be able to turn it back on and get excited again.”
“We’ve got to shout out to the fans, we like to give it all back to them” finishes Mara. “It’s one big party.”