Male R&B groups were a staple of the 90’s. From the legendary Boyz II Men and New Edition, to Jodeci, Shai, Silk and 112, there was certainly no shortage of baby making music. When the calendar flipped to a new decade, however, most of the sexually-saturated material that played on repeat at junior high dances and bedrooms throughout the country became extinct.
Fortunately, the supposed “inventor of the remix,” Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, has begun its resurrection, which can be heard in the form of the reality-show bred, Day26. The group, consisting of members Robert, Brian, Willie, Mike and Q, released their debut this past March, watched it reach #1 at Billboard, toured in its honor all summer long, and now is back for a third (and possibly final) season on the show that has made them stars.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” all five group members step inside the booth to talk about the season three premiere of Making The Band, the crazy world of reality television, who from the group is most likely to pursue a solo career, and what is next for Day26.
Listen to the Interview
Day26 Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy, ‘Z,’, doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are five young men who released their debut album earlier this year, watched it reach number one on the charts, toured in its honor all summer long, and will now rejoin us every Tuesday evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Please welcome Brian, Mike, Q, Robert, and Willie of Day26 – how you doin’?
Robert: What’s goin’ on, what’s good?
DJ Booth: What’s good is, the show is back
Robert: Yes, it is. It is back.
DJ Booth: How do you feel about it bein’ back?
Robert: You know, every time the show come out our fans get real crazy, so I’m lookin’ forward to it. I’m in New York, too, and that’s the craziest place to be right now.
DJ Booth: I watched last week’s season premiere and we have three very serious questions. The first one is, does Laurie Ann Gibson always project that loudly when she talks?
Robert: Laurie Ann Gibson always projects that loudly when she talks. The only time she doesn’t is when she’s screaming that long and that loud to the point that she’s hoarse and she can’t scream that loud. That’s the only time she’s not that loud.
DJ Booth: Does it seem even louder since you guys are in a dance studio?
Robert: Yeah – echoin’ off the floors and the walls and bouncin’ everywhere, it sounds like she’s talkin’ through a PA system.
DJ Booth: That’s gotta be hard, to concentrate on your dance choreography with that noise all the time.
Robert: I just try to get it right real quick, so she can be quiet. [laughs]
DJ Booth: [laughs] That’s a good strategy. Second question, after watching the season premiere: does Donnie learn to dance by the end of the season? Say yes.
Robert: Yes, he did. We went on tour, he opened for us, and he murdered it. It was just him and his two dancers, they had their own whole stage, they held it down. He was workin’ with the best, though; he had Justin Timberlake’s choreographer, so you know he ain’t gonna let him look bad.
DJ Booth: Last question after watching the season premiere: did Diddy really gain all that weight in the stomach area, or was that some CG camera trickery?
Robert: No, no… Diddy got a little chunky in the midsection, but he plans on dealing with it. He really did, though.
DJ Booth: Do you guys ever ask him why he doesn’t just join you during your choreography sessions? I’m sure that would be a great way to lose all that weight.
Robert: ‘Cause he wants to have “Diddy’s Fit Club” or something like that…
DJ Booth: Do you guys ever razz him about those little intros he does after each commercial break?
Robert: Not really.
DJ Booth: [laughs] You should!
Robert: We’re cautious, we’re [a little bit cautious].
DJ Booth: Brian, after watching the first few seasons of the show, do you feel like the show’s producers have portrayed you or any of the guys in a way that doesn’t resemble [what] your true personality is?
Brian: Definitely. The second season, Making the Band 4, I felt like they kind of forgot to show the real Brian. They either showed me really quiet, or really, really, really mad, like Incredible Hulk-like. [laughs] I did complain to them. We would go out on the road, and people would be like, “I don’t really like you.” Or, we would have an autograph signing; people would actually skip over me, because of the way I was depicted on television.
DJ Booth: Do you ever have the chance to sit down with the producers after a season has began and say, “Listen, is there any way we can spin me so that people like me?”
Brian: You know, once the editing is done, it’s done. I think, with last [week’s] show, it’s a good start this season; people are really gonna see more of a humorous side of Brian.
DJ Booth: I certainly hope so.
Brian: I pray so! [laughs]
DJ Booth: Brian, knowing that your recording sessions, your business meetings, they’re all being taped, do you ever feel like there’s any unnecessary pressure that each situation dictates that could hurt you or the group’s overall development?
Brian: I can say for season one and two, I was definitely like, “These cameras are not helping the situation.” But honestly, this season, we kind of forgot the cameras were around. We were ourselves. We handled everything as if there were no cameras around. We said what we wanted to say, we did what we wanted to do.
DJ Booth: Brian, is there ever a time where you guys are not filming, where in the back of your mind you feel like there’s a camera watching you?
Brian: Nah. [laughs] that would be kind of weird if I did, but no.
DJ Booth: So no dreams like you’re in The Truman Show.
Brian: No, that’d be horrible! [laughs]
DJ Booth: Willie, a lot of people obviously know you guys because of your work on reality television, so if you could have your own reality show – it’s just the Willie show – what would the title be?
Willie: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.
DJ Booth: [laughs] You’ve given this some thought, or you’ve been asked this question before?
Willie: [laughs] I’m tryin’ to pitch it now.
DJ Booth: Have you guys already agreed to do another season of the show, or will this season be the last?
Willie: Right now, this is supposed to be it, but if the ratings go real good, hopefully they’ll bring us back to do it again.
DJ Booth: Did you ever picture Day26, as the first season was coming along and you guys were headed toward that final five, that there’d be so many seasons and so much success in this arena?
Willie: No. I thought that was gonna be it – make the band, make an album, and that was it. But they like us. They keep callin’ us back. [laughs] No complaints, though, no complaints.
DJ Booth: Did the end result of this debut project meet your overall expectations?
Willie: Yeah, man. The show looks like it’s gonna be real, real good. We make it a point not to watch the show before it actually comes on. We want to watch it when everybody else watches it, so people can’t ask us questions ahead of time. We want to find out what’s going on, how did they edit certain situations, what effects they used – just different things we want to find out on the spot. But the show was really interesting – like The Hills, know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Definitely. But without all of the gossip, and cell phone calling…
DJ Booth: What’s next for Day26?
Willie: We got a European tour comin’ up. Then we start workin’ on our next album, once we drop this next single.
DJ Booth: What is the one European spot that you’re looking forward to the most?
Willie: You know, I’ve never been overseas, period, so I’m just looking forward to seeing everything.
DJ Booth: Well, as a suggestion, for those plane rides, bring drugs.
DJ Booth: The legal kind, but you’re gonna need some aid – trust me.
Willie: I heard that, man. I appreciate you, Z. It’s been a blast.
DJ Booth: So Mike, the season premiered, how did you feel the first episode went?
Mike: Man, the first episode was crazy. [There] was a lot of stuff in there that I didn’t know would actually be in there, so it was shocking at moments. It had me glued to the TV, and I was there.
DJ Booth: During the choreography, there was a point when Laurie Ann looked at you and said, “What? You can’t get down on the floor?” Is your knee okay?
Mike: I had a mild knee strain, but it turned into something worse ‘cause I could never rest. And I still can’t rest it – it got a little worse, but now I’m rehabbing it, and goin’ through all the training, trying to get my knee stronger.
DJ Booth: Due to of all the success that Day26 and Danity Kane have seen with Making the Band, it seems Diddy is already ready to kick off his next project, called Starmaker. The program’s set to air this winter. Without starting any internal beef between you and your guys, who do you think would be the first member to go off and try a solo career and be that one star?
Mike: Well, I don’t think [anyone’s] gonna try and go out and be a solo artist. We’re all focused on one prime goal in this, and that’s Day26. We’ve all had the opportunity to leave, or go out and be solo artists, but we don’t, because we’re much stronger as five instead of one.
DJ Booth: It’s a rarity in the music business that a group is put together in the fashion that you were created. What makes you all believe that what you have is special, and that you have longevity in this industry?
Mike: Because we’re doin’ things that a lot of people wish they could do, and we have the support of our people, and we have God on our side, and we know what was promised to us. Just the simple fact that we’re all hungry, and we all want longevity. And we want to bring the R&B group back. It was very popular, very strong in the ‘90s, and it kinda faded away, but we’re tryin’ to bring it back.
DJ Booth: Is there anything that you feel could be a roadblock or a deterrent for the success that I’m sure Day26 feels that they can achieve in the near future?
Mike: Just negative people, to keep negative people away and out of our circle, keep that small group that we run in, keep that full of positive people, and we’ll be fine. But once you start letting negative people in, then things get a little messy.
DJ Booth: All right, we’re gonna have some fun here. I saw you guys perform in Chicago this past year, and I was able to stay after the show and see all of your groupies, who wanted to get a piece of Day26. Out of all the shows you did this past summer, tell me the craziest, wildest, most out-of-control story. So, the show is over – you take it from there.
Mike: Craziest story?
DJ Booth: That you can tell me. And I hope it’s crazy.
Mike: The craziest story that I can tell you, that’s happened to me?
DJ Booth: That happened to you, or any one of your guys, or all five of you together – [which] would be best.
Mike: The craziest story that ever happened to me, I was in a club during a performance, and this girl wanted to come on stage with me. I had seen her before, and she came back that time, and she pulled her pants down and showed me her butt cheek, and she had my name tattooed on the side of her butt cheek.
DJ Booth: [laughs] Are you sure you were the Mike that was tattooed there?
Mike: Oh, it was [me], ‘cause I had seen the booty before. [laughs]
DJ Booth: Q, I’m sure you’re lookin’ a lot better right now than you did in last [week’s] premiere, right?
Q: [laughs] Yeah…
DJ Booth: I can’t imagine having to do all that choreography, listening to Laurie Ann Gibson yell at me in a small dance studio, and recovering – on drugs, I’m sure – from tonsil surgery.
Q: That’s the life of a professional entertainer. It’s crazy, man. I don’t know how I did it. I was screamin’ in my head. Y’all about to see, next week, I missed some days and I forgot the dance, but I was goin’ through a lot ‘cause my throat was hurting. Diddy tried to play me, so me and him had a little exchange. It was hard, but in the end it paid off; it made me a better professional.
DJ Booth: Q, you mentioned that you had a problem leaving home and getting to New York, because your family wanted you to just chill out. Were there any repercussions from you hoppin’ on that plane?
Q: Yeah… I was goin’ through a lot at home because my mother was tellin’ me to listen to the doctor, and, when your mother tells you something, she wants you to listen. She’s basically like, “Yeah, [you’re] not goin’ nowhere; you’re stayin’ here.” I’m like, “Mom, I’m a grown man! I’m going – they need me! This is my career, this is my job,” so I just left, and nobody knew I was comin’. So I ended up havin’ problems at home, because my mom felt like I disobeyed her, and the doctor was like, “What are you doing? You’re crazy! You’re gonna hurt yourself! You could ruin your voice!” I was faced with a lot, but in the end I put it together as a professional and got better and made it work.
DJ Booth: You and your moms are all good?
Q: Yeah. I love that woman.
DJ Booth: Okay, good. [laughs] Q, you guys released your debut album, it reached number one, you toured all summer long, you have a television show on as we speak.
Q: Yeah, that’s crazy, it’s a blessing.
DJ Booth: What is next for Day26? What do you hope to see your group accomplish over the next five to six months?
Q: I just actually put some money aside, I’m havin’ a meeting with the mayor, I invested in a dance school that’s gettin’ ready to get built in Rochester, New York. I’m gonna give back to my community. The rest of the group is doin’ the same thing: Willie just got the key to the city, he got a street named after him, Rob’s investin’ in stuff, Mike’s investin’ in stuff, Brian has his own record label that he’s invested in, he’s lookin’ for artists. We’re just investin’ and tryin’ to flip our money and make our money grow, because this is our industry. It’s a hustle; it’s not as easy as it seems. It’s hard, when you make it.
DJ Booth: Q, give everybody a website, or a MySpace page, so that all of your fans can find out more…
Q: Y’all can check me out on MTV.com.
DJ Booth: Q, I appreciate your time greatly. I thank you and the rest of the fellas for joining me inside the DJ Booth, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck.
Q: Thank you homie, I appreciate that. Respect.