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
“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
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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