GT GET WITH rix­ton!

They’ve gone from gig­ging in the back rooms of pubs to per­form­ing in New York’s iconic Madi­son Square Gar­den with Ariana Grande. So it’s fair to say the Rix­ton boys have taken the world by storm. But as with any band, mis­chief is never too far away. Wheth

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“I kinda just thought, fuck it, if Brit­ney can

get through 2007, then I can shave un­der my arms and not give a shit!”

Am I al­lowed to say fuck?” Charley asks us. “Lewi, get off Tin­der! We’re sup­posed to be chat­ting to GT,” scolds Jake, much to our en­joy­ment. At­ten­tion this way please, Rix­ton boys. Af­ter fly­ing in­sults at one another, Rix­ton join us on a bed­room floor, nat­u­rally, and ca­su­ally drop the c-bomb, also nat­u­rally. We may have more on our hands with this one than we first thought.

Made up of four­some Lewi, Danny, Charley and Jake – yes, yes, son of Shane Richie and Coleen Nolan, let’s get that out of the way early – they be­gan their ca­reer gig­ging across Manch­ester and per­form­ing to friends in pubs. Now, hav­ing clocked up a check­list of live per­for­mances along­side the likes of Ariana Grande, and soon with fel­low Brit megas­tar Ed Sheeran, their fan fol­low­ing has spread into ev­ery cor­ner of the globe.

And while trav­el­ling the world, they also man­aged to beat off com­pe­ti­tion from Ni­cole Scherzinger to bag them­selves a UK num­ber one sin­gle, and this month re­lease their ac­claimed al­bum Let the Road. Oh, and they’ve re­cently com­pleted their own res­i­dence in Ve­gas, too. No big­gie.

“On the first night, we did two shots be­fore the show be­gan,” Lewi starts to tell us, “but by the last night, we were do­ing a shot af­ter ev­ery song! It was bloody men­tal.” His face is a pic­ture of both pride and shame at this point.

“I got on a flight af­ter­wards,” Jake chips in, some­what re­luc­tantly, “but

“We find it more of a com­pli­ment when gay guys say we’re hot or well-dressed than when

girls do.”

I don’t ac­tu­ally re­mem­ber get­ting on it. We all flew to Florida and I just vom­ited on the air host­ess pretty much the en­tire way un­til we landed.” Hang­ing his head and hid­ing his face be­hind his hands, he humbly adds: “I said I’d sign the sick bag, though. Classy lad, ain’t I?”

With ho­tel break-ins and scream­ing fans in air­ports at 3am, it’s fair to say the boys have a com­mit­ted fan base – and one that fol­lows their ev­ery move. But some may have taken their fas­ci­na­tion a lit­tle far… Danny re­calls the sound of wed­ding bells on one oc­ca­sion.

“Oh, this was fucked up,” he starts. “I re­ceived a wed­ding book­let through the post with her face and my face to­gether over ev­ery pic­ture. It to­tally creeped me out. I guess she put loads of ef­fort in, though, which is al­ways nice. If not a lit­tle strange.”

In­flu­enced by the lengthy ca­reers of OneRepub­lic and Ma­roon 5, the boys have seen fans of all ages, gen­ders, sex­u­al­i­ties and back­grounds at their high-energy shows. But some fans, it seems, are harder to please than oth­ers.

“Bri­tish fans are quick to judge and wait to tell you what they didn’t like,” says Charley. “I think it just comes from the Bri­tish men­tal­ity we all have.”

Danny elab­o­rates fur­ther: “Some­times your clos­est sup­port­ers are the most crit­i­cal. The one thing I find, though, is that peo­ple think they have a pre­con­ceived idea of who you are be­fore they’ve even met you, be­cause of what they’ve

seen on so­cial media. It’s im­me­di­ate judge­ment even be­fore any­one has had a chance to speak to you!”

Speak­ing of so­cial media, the boys are never more than a hand’s reach away from their phones, regularly check­ing the pulse of Twit­ter et al quicker than their own heart­beats. It’s be­cause, in their words, they owe a large part of the suc­cess they’ve had to date with the way they con­nect with their fans online.

“I reckon around 90% of get­ting where you want to be and achiev­ing your dream is by get­ting in peo­ple’s faces,” ex­plains Lewi. “And so­cial media re­ally gives you a chance to get in peo­ple’s faces! You can make your­self known.”

Yet fame is still some­what of a tough cookie to swal­low for Rix­ton. “We live in a cul­ture where peo­ple are fa­mous now for be­ing fa­mous,” Jake ex­plains. “As crazy as that sounds. We never set out to be fa­mous or have peo­ple scream our names, but it comes with the na­ture of want­ing peo­ple to buy our mu­sic. Deep down, we’re just four nor­mal mates from four fam­ily back­grounds, and we hope peo­ple see that.”

It’s taken al­most seven years for them to write, record and re­lease their de­but al­bum – Let the Road. Made up of ten tracks, it’s an al­bum that’s in­ter­wo­ven with their own brand of high-pow­ered and soul­ful har­monies, propped up with en­er­getic in­stru­ment­based pop. Ba­si­cally, it’s a liv­ing, breath­ing tes­ta­ment to their

“The gay com­mu­nity is such an in­cred­i­ble and

pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity and it’s an hon­our to have been ac­cepted in.”

ded­i­ca­tion and love for mu­sic.

Yet, with pro­grammes like The X Fac­tor and The Voice now re­spon­si­ble for the ex­po­sure of many suc­cess­ful mu­sic acts these days, can you re­ally make it big in mu­sic with­out ap­pear­ing on these kinds of shows?

De­spite fight­ing tooth and nail for suc­cess, Rix­ton are sur­pris­ing sup­port­ers of mu­sic in the hands of re­al­ity TV.

“I don’t think it’s a bad way to find suc­cess as it pushes you into the spotlight,” ex­plains Danny. “It’s re­ally tough to get into the in­dus­try and if you’re strug­gling or un­able to find a lucky break, it’s a great chance to get your mu­sic heard and let peo­ple see what you can do.”

And as the cuter older broth­ers to One Di­rec­tion, Rix­ton are quick to tackle the loom­ing ele­phant in the room. We knew it wouldn’t be long be­fore the Z-word came up.

“[One Di­rec­tion] went on The X Fac­tor and had no idea what was go­ing to hap­pen,” con­tin­ues Danny. “But when we started, we had a tar­get and an idea as to where we wanted to be. They just went to sing on a tal­ent show as solo artists, got put to­gether and have ob­vi­ously had an in­cred­i­ble ca­reer since. If Zayn’s ready to leave and end all that and get his pri­vate life back, then fair play to him. He’s gotta do what makes him hap­pi­est.”

At this point, we’re forced to take a break from our chat when a wasp fly­ing into the room turns Rix­ton into a soror­ity of teenage girls. The boys tease Jake for his swift exit at

“I reckon around 90% of get­ting where you want to be and achiev­ing your dream is by get­ting in peo­ple’s faces.”

the in­sect’s un­ex­pected ar­rival. But when we man­age to calm ev­ery­one down, Jake sheds a lit­tle in­sight into his slightly ‘ef­fem­i­nate’ habits. “I kinda just thought, fuck it, if Brit­ney can get through 2007, then I can shave un­der my arms and not give a shit!”

Ten gay points for the Brit­ney ref­er­ence, though. And speak­ing of which, the boys tell us they aren’t afraid of a lit­tle love from us gays. In fact, they welcome it.

“We get more gay guys hit on us than girls,” ex­plains Danny, “and you know what? We pre­fer it! For us, we find it more of a com­pli­ment when gay guys say we’re hot or well-dressed than when girls do.”

“It’s a bit of an hon­our,” Jake agrees. “The other day, a gay cou­ple looked at us all and checked us out, and it was such a com­pli­ment. I kinda got a bit giddy, re­ally. God, I’m such a twat.”

“Plus, we do dress kinda camp,” says Danny, “I mean, look at us.”

“The gay com­mu­nity is such an in­cred­i­ble and pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity, though,” starts Charley, “and it’s an hon­our to have been ac­cepted in.”

Con­tin­u­ing fur­ther, Lewi adds: “With the young teenage girls, that mar­ket moves onto the next thing be­fore you know it, but the gay com­mu­nity is pas­sion­ate about mu­sic and stick by you re­gard­less.”

Charley, seiz­ing the chance to tease his band­mate once again, adds: “Lewi, shall we talk about your butt plug?” Re­ceiv­ing a mid­dle fin­ger in re­turn.

It also seems they’re not afraid to stum­ble down the cob­bles of Old Comp­ton Street, ei­ther. “Yeah, I’ve danced on the pole in Free­dom,” says Jake. “I was shit, but I loved it. Gay clubs are so re­laxed and you never get has­sled or both­ered. Well, I don’t. But then I’m ugly, so…”

Ig­nor­ing the ob­vi­ous fish for a com­pli­ment from Jake, we move on to fit­ness. Ob­vi­ously. With a clear mis­sion state­ment to turn each and ev­ery one of their live shows into a party – which any­one who’s seen them live can at­test to – they must do some­thing to keep the stamina up?

“I heard sex was re­ally good at keep­ing fit, but it doesn’t kick in till af­ter 15 min­utes, so I’m fucked,” jokes Jake again. “Five min­utes and I’m done. No car­dio for me, boys! I get ex­hausted just tak­ing my trousers off.”

But in a world of self­ies and In­sta­gram fil­ters, is look­ing good the key to in­ter­na­tional suc­cess? Lewi, who ad­mits his fit­ness regime is car­dio, weights and, urm, burgers, thinks that it cer­tainly plays a big part. “It’s a tough ques­tion,” he muses, “I read an ar­ti­cle the other day and it said the ‘dad body’ is now in. Peo­ple like Leonardo DiCaprio and other pre­vi­ous pin-up guys have now got fit, older bod­ies.”

“I’m in then,” laughs Danny, “I keep fit by go­ing for a run for 45 min­utes, and then I come back and drink an en­tire bot­tle of red wine. I’m not proud of it… But it’s the truth.”

We could talk Rix­ton and their bod­ies all day. In the time we spend with them, they never let up their true love for one another – even if it’s hid­den be­hind con­stant teas­ing and play­ful jibes. And their pas­sion for mu­sic oozes from each of them as regularly as the word ‘fuck’.

The band are hope­ful that the year ahead will al­low them to build on their al­ready-global suc­cess. And with con­cert dates com­ing along­side some of the big­gest names in mu­sic, it looks like these Manch­ester-born boys have a very busy 12 months ahead in­deed.

But noth­ing, it seems, can stop this four­some from stick­ing to their roots and leav­ing their chat with us in true Rix­ton style…

“Wait lads, we missed a bit,” in­ter­rupts Charley, bluntly. “Did we dis­cuss the part when I wanked off Lewi, or is that bit not go­ing in?”

Like they say, boys will be boys.

WORDS WIL­LIAM CON­NOLLY

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY LEE FAIR­CLOTH STYLIST STEPHEN CON­WAY ALL TOPS BY TOP­MAN DE­SIGN APART FROM PINEAP­PLES BY SCOTCH & SODA

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