Backstreet Army: The Music Man

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Recently, we’ve asked fans that have found themselves recruited into the Backstreet Army in less traditional ways to speak with us about their fan experience.  The feedback has been great and we hope to continue running this sort of fan profile going forward.  Of course, in order to do so we need more fans willing to share their stories!

Today, we have the pleasure of introducing Daanyaal.  Daanyaal, like Sagar, is another male fan – which in and of itself seems to fascinate people!  But his story has an interesting twist. Did you know that there are fans of the Backstreet Boys that didn’t get into their music until after the epic 90’s boon?  Daanyaal’s interest in the Boys developed during the much debated Never Gone era.  Websites like DLS were essential in bringing fans back into the Backstreet Universe (we still miss you DLS!) and music trading programs like Limewire and Kazaa were still being used to swap songs – opening up the reach of the fandom to places it hadn’t often reached.  Daanyaal has the extra benefit of being plugged into the music industry, making his insight particularly valuable for a fan base that rarely gets a glimpse into the Boys’ strategic approach to making music. For me personally, he’s one of my favorite participants on the TDS Forum precisely because we have a shared interest in the business side of the Boys’ careers. I have a feeling some feathers might be ruffled by some of the details below and I’m pretty stoked about it!

I think I’ve rambled enough, so let’s let Daanyaal take it from here:

When were you first made aware of the Backstreet Boys?   Not necessarily when you first heard their music, but when did you first hear about them in the media, from friends, etc.

Around 1997 or 1998, I noticed all the girls in my school were either Team BSB or Team NSYNC. You would see a lot of their merchandise at any store that would give a reason to sell their merchandise cause that’s how big they were.

And at what point did you first listen to their music? (Bonus points if you remember the first song that you heard!)

I think it was either We’ve Got It Going On or Get Down at a block party in 1997. I had always heard bits and pieces but never heard a full song until the  DJ at the block party played it and everyone lost their minds.

What were your first impressions of their music? Did you see what they looked like before or after you first heard them and did that change your perception of them/were you surprised at all by their appearance?

I didn’t have an initial impression as I was in elementary school and middle school and was going through the Sum 41, Limp Bizkit stages haha. I did buy a 5ive cd and NSYNC cassette back in the 90’s, but then followed up with those rock band CD’s as well.

I think I saw how they looked many times before I had heard their music initially so I wasn’t surprised by putting the pieces together haha!

When would you say you became a Fan, with a capital F as opposed to a casual listener?

2005. I became interested in BSB in 2004 as I literally one day was wondering what they had been up to and started Googling them. I was Kazaa and or Limewire and searched up “New Backstreet Boys” and I saw a low quality version of My Beautiful Woman and clips of Poster Girl and Climbing The Walls and was like wow this is really good. I then came onto DLS and after a few months I had like 15 of their new songs and was blown away.

Having all those clips on the site like Rumors, Lift Me Up, and Best Of My Love were real teases cause I was low key disappointed that those never saw the light of day but thanks to Matt we got Lift Me Up.

I was never a casual listener, it went 0-100 out of nowhere but I think the song that initially drew me to interest was Drowning. I had stumbled upon it in 2004 and was curious ever since.

What is your favorite song?

Poster Girl. Its the perfect combination of old and current BSB. You can’t tell the era of a song because its one of those pop songs that don’t have a dated sound like what a lot of the Cheiron produced songs sounded like.

I grew up as a choir guy, huge into harmonies the whole 9 yards and this song was probably one of few in the last 10 years where everyone is on it from start to finish. I’m a Brian guy and he doesn’t really have a lead in this song but carries the chorus the entire time, similar to The Call. His voice is what it is now but I still think he can carry the group in new songs through the chorus. I’ve spoken to many writers and producers as well as some music execs and a lot them still think that even with Brian’s issue, he still has a better studio voice than the rest of the group.

As a male fan, you’re kind of a rarity.  What is the general feedback you get from other people when they find out you’re a BSB fan?

When I was younger some people would attempt to make fun of me but at the end of the day it was all about music. People always come to me for new music anyways because I was listen to non radio stuff and whether its in a car or playing volleyball in Santa Monica I’ll put on BSB music that goes with the “chill” like atmosphere and people lip synch like they actually know what the song is which is kind of cool.

Being a BSB fan is okay now since most of us have all grown up so a lot of people are looking forward to the next tour.

What artists/genre do you listen to the most outside of the Boys?

I listen to everyone from pop, classical, jazz, hip hop, new jack swing, EDM, rock, alternative pop/electronica, and country. Aside from BSB I’m a huge Keane fan (UK), their music is what BSB would be if they just continued to make Never Gone and the lyrics got more depressing. I also love Michael Buble, he’s an amazing singer and probably an even better entertainer. I’m a big fan of Darin Zanyar from Sweden, he’s like the Justin Timberlake of Sweden. All the biggest writers and producers have worked with him for the last 10 years and he’s had a BSB influence on him in the early years. He recently came out with a Swedish album in which you hear melodies that Backstreet fans would dream of.

I know you’re pretty plugged into the music industry, so overall I’d love to get your take on the direction the Boys have gone in as it relates to their music evolution. Is there anything you’d like to see more or less of from the Boys going forward?

Going off the last album, it wasn’t as embarrassing as This Is Us but I’d say less interesting than both  and Unbreakable. Their biggest struggle will be 5 guys in a studio with 5 different directions. This is not only my view but views of some of their producers in recent years. For some fans they love seeing the boys write their own songs and they themselves also like having their freedom but when they all come together its like a shit show. When Brian or Howie or AJ or Nick all write with only another writer it comes out great but you start adding combinations of a few of them here and there then it becomes a cheese ball affect. I didn’t put in Kevin because I personally think the songs he’s contributed to are lullaby like.

Look at what AJ is doing, his album was technically done last year and now that he’s partnered up with his old manager he’s finding songs and demo’s that are way better than the ones he did with Jordan. I personally loved Nick’s All American album, the lyrics weren’t meant to be serious, I think it was an album that he’s always wanted to do with the inspiration of sounds he grew up with as a kid and as a 90’s/2000 guy. When it comes to their solo work they take their sweet time and Brian has technically been working on his followup for 10 years now hah!

I do think they need to lose their management, they’ve been with it for so many years and the fact that they have so much say in their music is disappointing. I don’t think they have gone out of their box yet, even with the small clip that we heard from Jordan, we’ve heard what they can do with retro sounding music with the covers they did back in 2004 for Never Gone. I’m not saying they sellout and go to Skrillex and Diplo but hey, look what it did to Justin Bieber, now its cool to be a Beliber.

That’s REALLY interesting stuff!  Can you elaborate any further on their group dynamic in the studio as it relates to the final product?  I’ve felt for a while the Boys’ music is frighteningly safe and ends up a bit vanilla because of the constant compromises.

In A World Like This was their first album cycle that they were “No Strings Attached”. Without naming the pair of producers who told me, all I can say is that the 5 directions and egos all prolong the process which sometimes causes the song to be a result of a “happy medium” for all those involved.

After so long they finally had the freedom to do what they want and how they want but I think without the hard deadlines and guidelines that a label provides, may cause the final product to be all over the place. Sometimes having too much freedom is a bad thing.

This Is Us was a tough era cause although they were pitching in their own money to reach out to producers and what not for the sound they wanted I think the chemistry was somewhat off. They had a lot of tension with AJ relapsing which would cause delays in recording cause Brian was not a happy camper at the time. Brian also loved a lot of the material AJ and Nick had brought for their solo records and wanted it for the group record which added fuel to the fire.

I think Brian has a better ear and vision of what the group should record and at the end of the day they all want their music to get out to as many people as possible. Unfortunately because of the documentary and all the “revelations” about Brian’s vocal issues, Nick took charge in finding people and initiating writing for the 2nd half of the recording process of In A World Like This. It’ll be interesting to see how the new songs will be as often times we’ve seen quite a few songs that are worked on in the beginning end up making the album as well (Unbreakable, This Is Us, and In A World Like This).

Beyond the music, what is your take on how the Boys have handled things from a PR/promotional perspective?

I like how they were dropping new tracks on various online media websites for the last album cycle. I think whoever takes care of their social media can do a better job of posting some of their new pics, whenever it’s a throwback Thursday or flashback Friday kind of thing, its always a old picture of them in the 90’s which helps casual people only think of them as nostalgic.

I honestly don’t know how they haven’t done a YouTube video with Ryan Gosling as this point. He has admitted to “dropping” the ball on BSB when playing basketball with AJ years ago. The guy can sing, everyone loves him, it shouldn’t take that much effort to bring the 2 parties together and work on something viral.

Unfortunately nowadays with Shazam, iTunes, Spotify etc, you have to pay these companies to promote you. Earlier in 2015 Buzzfeed was shoving Taylor Swift down everyone’s throat. Say what you want about Buzzfeed but they get over 100 million viewers per month on their website. BSB need to be strategic with whom they want to do press releases with and sneak previews because of the competition and payola like system. My guess is that this album cycle will be similar to the last one and they will do a Spice Girls tour and they will be more popular than they were when they had come out with Never Gone and did the NKOTBSB tour.

What keeps you in the fandom?

That’s a tough question to answer. I was a lot more active and “involved” years ago and felt a part of the fandom then. I would say music but 12 tracks every 3 years isn’t enough but I’d say the group music as well as the individual projects. Knowing that they don’t have a old cranky guy in Los Angeles trying to give them recycled songs to pump out is exciting. I feel like I’m always looking forward to the next album as cheesy as it sounds but I think the guys learned a lot from not having a label for In A World Like This and to thinking they could do an entire album in one month in 2012 and being open about personal issues; all those should make for a better follow up.

Pretty awesome, right?  We can’t thank Daanyaal enough for being a willing participant in our little fan spotlight series.  I couldn’t agree more with his assessment of the Boys being hot messes in the studio – as much as I love them I could see the five of them coming to stalemate after stalemate when putting together songs.  I absolutely LOVE his ideas for how the Boys could promote themselves more effectively – Daanyaal and I cannot possibly be alone in thinking the Boys have missed several opportunities to raise their profile over the last few years, can we?  I wonder how many of you worry or care about the Boys’ management and the job they’ve done since the mid 2000s.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or hop into the forum to rant and rave like the rest of us.  I have a funny feeling some of the details above will kick off a great debate on the forum. 🙂

Thanks again to Daanyaal for the incredibly valuable insight and also for sharing his evolution as a fan.  We are very luck here at the TDS blog and forum to have such amazing individual contributors to the community!


One thought on “Backstreet Army: The Music Man

  1. Pingback: The Backstreet Bell Curve: Make Your Own Album | The Dark Side Of Backstreet

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