15:01 Thursday 09 May 2013

District 3 leave X Factor behind as they go it alone

Written byBY JAMES BRINDLE

DISTRICT 3 made their name on last year’s X Factor as they fought for supremacy in the battle of boybands against Union J. They are now ready to go out on their own and show there are plenty of reasons to get excited about District 3. We spoke to member Greg West about his time on the show and the boys’ upcoming headline tour.

DISTRICT 3 are three school friends who had the same dream – to become popstars.

They met through a mutual love of RnB music and harmony singing and had a determination to get to the top.

That determination and belief in what they were doing took them, like so many before them over the last decade, on to the X Factor for a shot at stardom.

However, the boys already had a strong following before the X Factor after three years together and their rabid following of ‘3eeks’ (the name given to their fans) was already growing all the time and making them an online sensation.

Since uploading their first cover online they have racked up an impressive seven million YouTube views and nearly a million combined Twitter followers.

West said that they will be forever grateful to the X Factor and their loyal band of 3eeks.

“It’s been crazy”, he said. “It (X Factor) is such a great platform and we have such a lot to thank them for giving us an opportunity.

“We might not have had the chance to have a own tour and record an EP without it and obviously the X Factor tour was great as well.

“We are really, really grateful for the 3eeks as well.

“They have always been really crazy supportive.

“Their loyalty has been great and it is nice to give something back with the tour and hopefully they will enjoy the shows.”

As much as the boys have got used to performing live through their appearances on X Factor and the proceeding arena tour, West admitted to some apprehension at going it alone for the first time on a major headline tour.

“It is a little bit nerve-wracking,” he said.

“When we were on the X Factor tour people were going to see seven different acts but this time it is just us so all the focus will be on us.

“The X Factor tour was really great and to play those huge venues was incredible so early in our career.

“But we are really looking forward to doing our own shows.

“It is going to be really exciting going up and down the country and see the fans.

“It is going to be all brand new music on the tour and people who only know us from the X Factor will get to hear a maturer sound than how we were portrayed on the show.”

The group are busy in rehearsals at the minute ahead of an 11-date UK tour across the UK, beginning later this month.

The tour gives them a chance to show off the new material they have been hard at work in the studio recording.

I asked West in what direction that new material has taken the group.

He said: “We are doing all new material on the tour and then straight after will be releasing an EP.

“I can’t wait to see what the reaction will be from the fans to the new songs and that is probably the most exciting aspect of the whole process for us, as well as getting out touring.

“As for direction, the songs we are recording are mainly RnB influenced like we always have been.

“But the EP is quite varied really – there are songs with a party, uptempo vibe, as well as songs that are more stripped back and acoustic.

“There is also a bit of dubstep in there so there really is something on there for everyone.”

As well as the looming chart battle with their X Factor pals Union J, District 3 are certainly entering a rather saturated market place in terms of boybands.

The kings at the minute, after their incredible worldwide success has to be One Direction, while The Wanted are still going strong.

The boys may be able to fill the JLS-shaped hole in the boyband landscape but West said District 3 were keen to carve their own niche.

He said: “There are quite a few boybands out there at the moment so we really want to find our own sound.

“We want people, when they hear one of our records, to know instantly that it is a District 3 song.

“That is really important for us and I think we have done that on the new EP.”

Going back to their time on the X Factor West said all the contestants who made the live tour got along well.

He said they were all keen to stay in touch and had even devised their own phone application to make sure they could.

He said: “We will stay in touch with all of them I hope.

“We chat every day and are following what each other are doing.

“The X Factor tour and the whole experience made us a lot of new friends and that has been fantastic.”

The boys kick off their headline UK tour in Sheffield on May 24 before touring the length and breadth of the country right into June.

They perform at the Birmingham O2 Academy on May 28.

Tickets are available from the venue.

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