After a foray into reality television through MTV’s “Making The Band” in 1999 and 2000, a group of then-19-year-old musicians became O-Town – a vehicle for songs like “Liquid Dreams” and “All Or Nothing.”
Now in their thirties, having taken a ten-year break, O-Town will take the Paramount stage on Nov. 5 showcasing songs from a new album – alongside past singles and cover songs in the hour-and-a-half set..
Ten years ago, recalled band member Jacob Underwood, the band was doing over 300 shows a year while touring. To return to the road, visiting vaguely familiar cities, after a decade away from the bus, is like a “blast from the past,” he said; “very nostalgic.”
But the band’s new album is not about nostalgia, he said; it is new and indie and part of a “process” during which the band is “gaining fans one at a time.”
“We know that this is going to feel a lot better; any kind of success, every ticket you sell, every album you sell, feels better because we’re out there working and it feels like something we’re accomplishing on our own,” he said.
When the band worked on its previous albums, they were not quite in control, Underwood said.
“The stuff in the past, we felt like we were kind of going to school,” he said. “Clive Davis was executive producer and with his reputation and experience we were just kind of like students; that’s how we felt.”
With the new album, he said, the band was in charge.
“This was our first O-Town full product by us with really our fingerprint on every piece of it,” Underwood said. “The sound’s still pop, we didn’t try and change anything, but I guess it’s more a piece of us than anything in the past.”
Whereas in the past, most of the band’s songs were written by other songwriters, this album includes three songs picked by the band and seven written by the band members themselves. This time, the band also performed their own instruments, edited the songs and did the album art.
“This time around, it wasn’t handed to us,” he said. “We sat in a room and we talked about it; we decided to move forward and we delegated duties and we looked at it like we’re business heads.”
The band members’ appreciation for the band has grown, he said.
“I think just our headspace, our maturity, our experience, it’s grown,” Underwood said. “We don’t feel like kids anymore… I think we didn’t know what the hell was going on in the past and we were just kids passionate about what we were doing but really had no education aid it was a whirlwind.”
When the band came together, Underwood said, its members were 19 years old and were – as they are still today – very different from each other.
“We’re never going to be that band where everybody dresses alike,” he said. “We didn’t grow up together, we don’t have the same background, so we bring a very different element when we come in to do a record. We are already collaborating artists because we’re all so different.”
Their shows, Underwood said, are “relaxing.” The band makes cocktails for both themselves and selected fans on stage.
“I think a lot of artists do take themselves really seriously in their performances, and that’s cool but that’s just not our approach,” he said.
The Nov. 5 show will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $40 to $80 on ticketmaster.com, paramountny.com or at the Paramount box office at 370 New York Ave., Huntington.