Home USA News Q&A: New rules discuss TikTok fame and their boy band identity

Q&A: New rules discuss TikTok fame and their boy band identity


Not to be confused with a Dua Lipa song, New Rules is everything you want from a UK boy band. Alec McGarry, Nathan Lambert and Ryan Meaney first burst onto the music scene with their two singles ‘Call It’ and ‘Fix Somebody’.

With TikTok hits like “Pasta” and “Emily,” the band has taken advantage of quarantine boredom to expand their online fan base. The band even delayed the release of “Emily” in favor of another song called “Problem,” which was available only to fans who first donated to Stephen Lawrence’s charity, now called Blueprint for All, on June 10, 2020. Their talent soon earned them a spot as the opening act on Little Mix’s LM5: The Tour, and they haven’t looked back since.

The members sat down with WSN to answer questions about their identity as a boy band, their latest single “Late in the Evening” and their touring life.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

WSN: New Rules didn’t shy away from being called a boy band. What would be the best thing that comes with this label and what could you live without?

Alec McGarry: I think only the fans. Truly, there is no fan in the world better than a boy band fan. You saw it develop with One Direction. Now with Harry Styles fans. They are second to none – just the way they show up and show up for the artist they love. It’s great to be a part of this community and contribute to its growth. It’s pretty special.

Nathan Lambert: Same with BTS and their fans.

Ryan Meaney: I think sometimes the worst thing is that people sometimes assume you can’t write or play an instrument. People say, “Oh, so you take off your tops and dance?” and other kinds of things. And we can if you want — but no, we’re not that kind of boy band.

WSN: As you would say, your song ‘Fix Somebody’ is what you are most famous for Island of love or your current TikTok presence?

Minnie: I would say probably TikTok. My answer might be different if Love Island had played us every year since then, as it was about three years ago.

Lambert: But you know what’s funny? As Love Island gets bigger and bigger, people keep talking about it. We did it a couple of years ago, but it was a pretty big moment in the show and I think people remember it.

McGarry: I see a lot of people from the United States watching Love Island this year.

Minnie: It’s interesting because we often get stopped at airports and places like that because people see [Alec] first and say, “That looks like the guy from TikTok.” Then they see me and Nathan next to them and they’re like, “Okay, that’s definitely them,” and they come up to us, which is really cool.

McGarry: But we are not in pharmacy. We need to get into the little triangle.

Minnie: But they think you’re smaller.

McGarry: They always think I’m really short when in reality I’m just sitting in the video.

Lambert: But he is short. He is much lower. Actually getting up right now.

WSN: To continue about TikTok, its marketing has really changed the music industry. You have talked about inspiration from songwriters like Hozier and John Mayer — who John Mayer is not too popular now. I wonder what has changed to accommodate the 10 second viral clip that most songs gain popularity today. Do you try to find inspiration in new artists or in other processes?

Minnie: I think we are the same. I think all three of us—not saying we’re traditionalists where the music was two years ago—but I think we probably tend to find and hang on to an album by an artist we loved before TikTok.

Lambert: I think a lot of people write songs for TikTok. We definitely went into some songs thinking, “Is this going to work with TikTok?” And I think it’s important to think that way today, because it’s important and it’s powerful, but I don’t think it should ultimately change the music.

Minnie: It’s amazing because I think we’re discovering artists we don’t expect to love on TikTok in a 10-second video. Then you go to the album and you’re like, “Okay, this is my new favorite artist.” I don’t know if it really changed what I look for in music so much. I think it affects the music—sometimes I see a song on TikTok and I’m like, “Oh, that’s just for TikTok.”

McGarry: There are a lot of new artists we’re looking at releasing music these days — like Paolo Nutini and Ed Sheeran — and it’s exciting to watch them adapt to the new way people perceive music. We’ll probably keep an eye on it because we’re fans of them, because they make songs that are timeless. If their songs came out again today, they would still be massive. We also want to write songs like this. And it might be a song that is more focused on TikTok. Who knows? I mean, it’s constantly changing.

Minnie: Disclaimer: We are Swifties.

WSN: You’ve toured with some great acts — Little Mix, Picture This and Julia Michaels. How did your warm-up experience influence your decision to choose additional artists – such as Hayley Joel for the upcoming US leg?

Minnie: When we go on a support tour, we like to get people pumped for the headliner. Obviously it’s a live show, so we like to see people who have songs that really connect with people in that setting.

Lambert: That’s the thing – we’re trying to put on a show. And discovery is a big part of that, so we pick people whose music we like and we think the fans will like too.

McGarry: Something we’ve been testing for the next few gigs and tours in America and then the UK is finding openers from the city we’re playing in. We find local talent that we like and invite them to write a couple of songs. It’s like, “You’re good. Play a show.”

WSN: You’ve been playing with the double entendre of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” a lot on your social media. What were your initial thoughts on the dub song? Was it something you knew you wanted to earn?

McGarry: I think we expected it and welcomed it, really.

Minnie: We thought that more people would joke and compare, but in reality it is not the case. We didn’t come close to it for a while because we thought it was good that people didn’t compare. But I think after we’d been a band for a year or two, we thought that it could actually be pretty funny if we believed it. We have merch with puns.

Lambert: Ask her. She may be angry, but we really liked the name.

WSN: In your new single “Late Night”, the lyrics talk about all the little things you miss the most. What are some examples of things you miss at home when you’re on tour?

Minnie: If I don’t take Irish food with me on tour, I miss it. And you can’t get Barry’s tea most places.

Lambert: If we are in America, tea is a must. And a heating pad. I’m such an old lady with this one, but I like to have a bottle warmer with me at all times in the winter.

McGarry: Kettle and Kerrygold. I also have seven dogs at home. Well, my grandmother has two, but she mostly lives at our house. I miss them when I’m not home with them.

WSN: “Pasta” has over 17 million streams on Spotify. What is your favorite pasta?

Lambert: I love linguini. You can’t go wrong with this one.

McGarry: Never order it when I’m at a restaurant, but I love ravioli because it’s so comforting. Give me the formula.

Minnie: We used to say rigatoni, but that has changed. The rigatoni is very good.

WSN: On the very bottom of your site, there is a button. It says “don’t press the button” and when you press the button, a lemon emoji appears. What does that mean?

Lambert: We had a game called ‘don’t drop the lemon’ that we played on tour because in the early days we were doing a lot of promo, a lot of nights out and we were obviously going crazy. So we had this game where you threw a lemon at someone and if they didn’t catch it, something bad happened. You don’t know what it is, but something bad is going to happen.

Minnie: Don’t miss the lemon. The fans loved it.

McGarry: We started selling foamy stress lemons.

WSN: You guys just released a snippet of a song about a girl from New York a few days ago. So are you going to play the song at the New York show?

Minnie: I have seen several requests. And now you’ve asked it, so we might have to.

Lambert: We didn’t plan on it, but maybe we should.

Contact Julia Diorio at [email protected]

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