Following a nearly two-decade hiatus from the music industry, singers and songwriters, Mark Barry, Christian Burns and Stephen “Ste” McNally of the acclaimed BBMAK are gearing up for the arrival of their new 10-track album, Powerstation, set to release Friday, Oct. 11. With the UK sensation heading across the U.S. in their first tour since splitting up in 2003 and surprising fans with a reunion announcement this past summer, the trio has never been more ready for a return than now.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, Barry exclusively admits the three of them coming together again is not only “fantastic,” but as if they never left.
“I mean it's been 15 years since me and the guys decided to disband,” Barry told PopCulture.com. “But we’ve always been friends, we’ve always been on the phone talking and meeting up over the years and to be doing music again, it’s just the best feeling because it’s something that I've wanted to do for a long time.”
Barry adds that the whole album “came together really, really quickly,” but reassured fans that “nothing has changed with regards to the writing process” as everything has been “really smooth” and being older has really helped them embrace their desires.
While Barry and McNally both have children now and have very different lives than they did 16 years ago, the Liverpool native admits what the three did in the early 2000s with their guitar-driven music was not only unprecedented for a band from the UK, breaking into the U.S., but something fans everywhere could resonate with years later.
“What we did as band is quite timeless, so it wasn’t a case of, ‘Is this music going to work again?’ I think it’s still, ‘There’s still room for that BBMAK sound.’ It’s still a gap in the market for sounds to resonate with a lot of people out there, so I think we were just busy doing other things at the time for quite a while and it was only up until a couple of years ago when me and the guys decided to get back together again just to have a chat; and just for a basic catch up really, and we decided to perform ‘Back Here,’ which we hadn’t done for 15 years.”
Barry adds that when the group first started chatting about getting back together, they decided to perform “Back Here” — their breakout hit, which was number one on the U.S. adult contemporary charts for 11 weeks at its time of release. The accomplishment was soon followed by their music being featured on soundtracks for major movies and TV shows. With the footage of their reunion shared to social media, the clip soon went viral with fans asking when the three would return to making music and it was then Barry shares was when they decided it was the “right time.”
“That’s when we thought right, ‘Okay, let’s get back together again,’ and we arranged the date of getting back and start writing,” Barry said.
The 40-year-old, dad-of-two shares that while it’s been some time between their last album, Into Your Head and Powerstation, he admits there’s something on the forthcoming record for old fans and new.
“There’s definitely something on there for everybody,” he said. “I mean, what we didn’t want to do was, we didn’t want to sit down and try to be different and try to think, let’s try to go a bit more left field this time. When we sat down and started writing, whatever came out, came out naturally.”
Barry adds that what the trio had back then was their signature sound of everlasting harmonies — something the three were constantly praised for by fans and music critics.
“When you listen to a song with the harmonies that we had and have still, you kind a know it’s a BBMAK song,” he said. “With regard to the sound of this album, it’s not a million miles away. It’s all great guitar hooks, great melody lines and, and there’s something on there for everybody.”
Truly “excited about the singles” they’ve released thus far and the album out tomorrow, Barry said the new record and its first shared tracks, like “Bullet Train and “So Far Away” are a “great representation” of where they are in life and the overall sound of their record.
“We didn’t want to try to be different, we wanted to carry on the BBMAK sound and what’s developed has developed in a natural way for us,” he said. “When we did the tour back in May last year into early November, fans were saying it’s like we’d never left, so we’re happy with everything that has come into play and it’s all come out in a natural way so we went over the moon with it.”
Barry shares the best part of making the new record is that he’s been able to just “let out” what he’s been wanting to musically.
“There’s a lot of influences from other bands that are out that we’ve listened to over the years that we’ve kind of put onto the album and it’s just the best part, from the writing process to the finishing product of the songs that were developed and put on album. It just gives you such a great feeling,” he said.
He adds that the three are “really proud of this album” that has been a long time coming.
“Just to see the album unfold and finish is just the best thing because it's something, like I said, we’ve all been wanting to do for a long time and now it’s happened, it just fills me with so much joy,” Barry said.
In the years since they’ve been away, there’s been a deep wave of new musical styles and evolutions within the genre that Barry says the band has fully embraced, especially when it comes to having influences heard in Powerstation.
“There’s a diverse number of artists that we do listen to that are probably on the album as far as influence wise,” he admits. “[But] there’s a wide range of artists out there that I couldn’t possible pinpoint anyone in particular that’s majorly influenced the sound on the album. It’s been a collaboration of old greats and some modern bands of today.”
“I feel very lucky and very privileged to have this chance again, so could anybody out there that wants to get back together and do it,” he said.
In addition to a new album, the BBMAK singer and songwriter is “excited” to head out on the road with his bandmates, Burns and McNally, sharing how the three will be heading out on a U.S. tour later this fall.
“We’re back out again doing our thing, doing a lot of the old stuff, some new stuff off the new album, so just to be back and seeing a lot of old faces that I’ve been following around for many years, it’s great,” he said.0comments
The highly anticipated third studio album, Powerstation is out this Friday, Oct. 11 on all digital retailers and streaming platforms.
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