If your New Year’s resolution was to find a cool, funny, super-talented new boy band to like, then we’re about to make your 2014 wishes come true. Meet M.A.D – Mike, AB and Dan (can you see what they’ve done there?) – your new favourite pop group.
The band formed when the trio’s manager George David contacted Dan and Mike after seeing videos they’d uploaded to a little known website called Facebook. “My cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car that popped up on George’s newsfeed and got his attention,” explains Mike.
“I’d been putting up videos for ages of me doing stupid stuff and kept getting loads of Likes, and as a result George heard about me and asked if I would be interested in potentially joining a band,” adds Dan.
The pair travelled to London and swiftly became the first two members of M.A.D, along with a third member who later dropped out due to family commitments. Queue the addition of AB, who already had history with the other lads. “I was a solo artist and I’d already met Mike and Dan quite a few times on school tours and at gigs because we were doing the same circuit. I saw how much success they were getting and how much their popularity was growing, so when the opportunity came up to be a part of M.A.D I jumped at the chance. What I liked about George is that he’s only 23. He’s not some 50-something record exec sitting behind a desk telling us what to do. He’s pretty much the fourth member of the band.”
All three lads bring something different to the band. From accents to looks to musical influences. Think the Spice Girls but male. Oh, and there are only three of them. Want a bit background info on them? No problem.
18 year-old AB started playing guitar and singing aged eight, and within a few years he began songwriting and busking in his native Chichester. “I used to make so much money, it was amazing at aged 11! I later got my music GCSE and then went on to Chichester Music College. I released some songs on an EP and toured literally anywhere and everywhere I could around England. I had the time of my life. I loved it, but when I joined M.A.D it felt right and the Mike and Dan are my best mates now.”
Dan, 17, sang as a hobby throughout school in Bridgend, where Welsh was his first language. He formed a few bands for a laugh but never imagined that it would lead to a career. “It was more like a dream than anything else and my plan back then was to become a nursery school teacher. I used to busk and I started doing a few covers and videos and posting them online, and I always got a good response. Then when George contacted me my dream became a reality.”
16 year-old Michael from Belfast kicked off his performing career as part of theatrical group Stagecoach, which enabled him to take part in musicals. “I loved being on stage and I worked with Aston Merrygold on one show, then a few months later he joined JLS, and I looked at him and thought ‘I’d love to do something like that’. When I was 12 the Haiti disaster happened my mates and I decided to go busking to raise money to donate and we made over £300. After that we went and busked for a different charity each week and we got such good feedback. And lots of attention from girls, which was also amazing! I play guitar, ukulele and a bit of drums and I started doing some small private gigs. I knew I wanted singing to be my career.”
M.A.D’S first single, Toy Boy, was released in the summer of 2013 and things took off scarily quickly. With thousands of pre-orders the track became a surprise hit.
“We were hoping for a top 200 with Toy Boy because we were expecting things to start off really slowly because we’re on a small independent label and we do all of our promotional stuff ourselves, but we ended up going top 40,” says Dan. “The good thing is that guys like us as well because we’re just being ourselves. We’re not trying to be clean cut or put on a show. What you see is what you get. We’re not exactly well behaved and we do stupid stuff all the time.”
“Our fans, who call themselves the M.A.D Ones, are so active and we’re basically powered by them. Every time Dan tries to do a Twitter friend it gets to number one or two. A few weeks ago he managed to get three in the top ten. It just shows how supportive our fans are,” adds Mike.
“People pick up on that vibe when we’re doing shows,” continues AB. “They see how much fun we’re having and they love it. We 100% let the fans into our lives and we do loads of YouMails and there’s no façade. Our fans are so loyal and they’re a part of our family. Facebook pages like The Authentic M.A.D Ones are incredible. When we do signings thousands of girls turn up without us having to do anything.”
The guys online presence is already massive, and it’s growing daily. AB’s Facebook fan base is building at an incredible rate, Dan currently has 130K FB followers, while each of Mike’s videos get between half a million and a million views. Their schedule is currently booked up until summer, with the album dropping in September.
With influences ranging from Mumford and Sons, Busted and 1975 (AB), Jason Derulo and One Direction (Mike) and everything from Five to Ed Sheeran and Skipknot (Dan), their debut offering is eclectic to say the least.
“We’re basically One Direction meets Busted,” says AB. “We definitely have that that Busted vibe to us because it’s fun and energetic. We worked with a producer called Jamie Sellers, who is a part of the production company Audiofreaks (Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige). He’s pretty new but he’s going to absolutely massive so we feel so privileged to be working with him.”
“We’ve done a lot of writing for the album which was really important to us,” says Dan. “Some of the songs are brilliantly cheesy and then we’ve got a track called Dizzy, which is a ballad, and Girl You’re Amazing, which is shameless Europop. There’s even a bit of dubstep on there. We played around a lot and every song has a unique sound with a M.A.D feel. We’re saving the death metal for the second album…”
“We do acoustic versions of our songs to mix it up a bit too,” says Mike. “We love performing those versions when we’re touring to make things a bit different. Gigging it one of our favourite things to do and we’re really hoping we can do some of the festivals this summer.”
The lads’ new single, Fame and TV, is a tongue-in-cheek look at the music industry and the nation’s obsession with fame. The single features a rap from up and coming grime artist Kobi Onyame, who has supported the likes of Kanye West and Wu Tang Clan. “He’s been asked to appear on loads of pop songs and his manager initially said he’d never agree to it, but as soon as he heard the track he said yes,” smiles Dan. “We’ve got loads of ex-reality stars in the video, like Rik Waller and the Cheeky Girls, and it was such a laugh to film. It’s not a slick industry video, it’s just us being ourselves. It basically sums up what we are – fun.”