X Factor’s Kingsland Road mates don’t fake their chemistry on stage
- Credit: REX/Tom Dymond/Thames
They’ve only known each other for a year, but the chemistry between the five lads with “big hair” who call themselves Kingsland Road shines through on stage because they “know each other inside out”.
The boy band sailed through last week’s live show of ITV’s X Factor talent contest, and tonight they will be singing Bruno Mars’ song, Marry You, as they go head to head against the 10 other remaining acts in the “love and heartache” themed show.
The group hooked up last year after Josh, 20, and Connor, 19 - who met each other at college in Essex – put out a call online and found Matt, 25, Thompson, 22 and Jay, 19 who shared their desire to start up a boy band.
“Now we’ve put it together it’s literally the best thing we’ve ever decided to do,” Josh told the Gazette yesterday in between rehearsals.
“It’s the most fun we could ever have, it’s literally five lads having a laugh constantly but at the same time we are doing what we love, which is performing.”
They decided London held the most opportunities for success, and moved into a cramped two-bed flat near Haggerston Overground station last November - not far from the stretch of the A10 running from Stoke Newington to Shoreditch from which they draw their name.
“We thought it was a hip and happening place to go, we really fit in with the whole vibe that it is about,” said Josh.
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“Our apartment just kind of did the job it needed to, so we could be together as a band and develop our music,
“What’s so important about Kingsland is that we have lived life together, we have experience as mates, we are so close, you can’t have a fake chemistry on stage, we know each other inside out.”
After Gary Barlow from 90s boyband, Take That, picked them as one of his three bands to mentor in the talent show, they took up residence in the X Factor mansion, and keep “pinching” themselves at the life of luxury they now lead.
“Our lives are mental compared to six months ago,” said Josh.
“We can’t go anywhere without security, there’s a swimming pool, sauna, chefs cooking for us at the house, we can do dance routines in our room, there are screaming girls outside the gates, it’s the weirdest thing ever,” he said.
He continued: “We haven’t been in public since we got into the X Factor house so none of us are aware of the female attention we might possibly be getting.
“If we were aware I don’t think we’d know what to do with it, we aren’t really seasoned pros at that kind of thing, but with time and a bit of Gary Barlow’s help, we’ll wait and see,” he joked.
They view Gary - who was in one of the most successful boy bands ever - as the “perfect mentor”.
After their performance of Wham’s I’m Your Man last week he told the nation the lads are “new, original, and there’s nothing like them out there right now”, and predicted their performance would be the one people would be waiting for each week.
So what are the boys trying to pull off in their performances?
“We are a pop group unashamedly but I don’t thing we are on the pretty side of pop, we are a bit rough around the edges,” said Josh.
“We are less One-D, more Olly Murs, Bruno Mars-y, Rizzle Kicks side of pop, we aren’t clean cut, none of us are perfect looking, we are all a bit like raggedy,” he laughed.
Just as the Spice Girls could be split up into posh, scary, baby, sporty and ginger, Josh is adamant they all have their individual identities.
“I would say I’m the level headed one of the group,” he said.
“I keep it all together for the band kind of thing, if everyone is getting a bit excited or a bit down.”
Meanwhile, Thompson is the “cheeky” one,
“He’ll say things he shouldn’t say at the wrong times, he just doesn’t care, sometimes I have to rein him in a bit but that’s cool,” said Josh.
“Jay is the little urban one of the group, he’s the smooth mover, sometimes he’s a little bit dopey even though he doesn’t like to admit it, it’s because of his accent as well, he’s like “ok,” he said imitating a Wolverhampton accent
Meanwhile, Connor – who judge Sharon Osborne likened to Hollywood heart throb Leonardo Di Caprio last week, apparently “gets heartbroken really easily.”
“The ladies see him as the cute one, he hates it when I say that but it’s so true,” he laughed.
“Matt is the prankster, he’s constantly playing practical jokes on all of us all the time, it’s just so annoying, we hate him for it.”
Matt’s latest joke the night before had not impressed anyone.
He had hidden under Thompson’s bed at 1am as they were all trying to get to sleep.
“Matt wasn’t in the room so we thought he was downstairs, then like we sort of said our goodnights and nodded off to sleep,” explained Josh.
“Five minutes later Matt popped up the side of his bed and was, “Aggghh.” Thompson was moaning out of fear.
“To be honest I was scared as well and I was the other side of the room,” he admitted.
While they’re all very different in the way they dress and the music they love, the one thing uniting them is a passion for singing and dancing.
“Now we’ve come together we’ve found a way to do it that’s not stressful, it’s fun because we can rely on each other, we can pick each other up when one person is down, the dynamic is just great,” said Josh.
This week their schedule has been packed with vocal and choreography rehearsals, practicing with the girls they’re “nervous” about dancing with tonight, and making sure “every little bit is perfect”,
“Camera angles, positions and gestures, everything is worked out in fine detail,” said Josh.
“We’re now working with the top professionals in the industry, it’s a gift for us.”
They’re happy with the transformation they have made since applying to be on the show.
“Watching the tape back from last week we can’t believe how far we have come,” said Josh.
“Seeing that development has made us so hungry to keep going.
“Ever since we got to a substantial stage in this competition it’s become more and more meaningful to us.
“Now we are at the live shows we don’t want to pin our hopes on winning because we don’t want to be disappointed, we are aiming high and we take each week as it comes, we want to just do a performance we are completely proud of each week.”