Q&A: Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter Opens Up On Fandom And What ‘Historic’ Dance Move He’ll Never Stop Doing
By Annie Reuter
This week the Backstreet Boys released their eighth studio album, In a World Like This. The first album on their own record label, K-BAHN, it’s also the first to feature Kevin Richardson, who made his departure after 2005’s Never Gone.
Radio.com spoke with Nick Carter this week, and he filled us in on what the songwriting process was like for the band (they wrote eight of the 12 tracks on the new LP), his favorite Backstreet Boys’ dance move, and how he deals with overzealous fans.
Radio.com: Tell us about your new album In a World Like This. How is it different from your previous releases?
Nick Carter: This album, in my opinion, it’s just solid material. Really good songs. We were having a hard time narrowing down to choose. Everybody buys singles now. Nobody really cares about buying albums anymore, rightfully enough because most people make crappy albums. Why spend all that money on it when you can just buy a single? We come from an era where we had to make an entire record that sounded like every song could all be a single. That’s what we did on this one. We had a hard time picking the first single. We give our fans that still buy albums and anybody who wants to hear a record from top to bottom, every song can be a single. We give them that.
You all had a hand in the songwriting process this time around. Can you give some insight to what those songwriting sessions were like?
The songwriting has honestly been one of the most fun processes in this entire project. Now we’re able to write things that we care about in the music. We’re able to put us in the music. Put our life experiences and everything in there. When we perform them on stage we can sing about them and I think that that’s important. Over the years we have been able to work with some really great writers; learning from all these other amazing writers and producers. You name the producer, we worked with them. This time we applied our experiences to the record.
You’ve said this is a very personal album. Are you ever afraid to reveal too much in a song?
When you’re writing an album or writing a song you need to put your heart on the table. You need to put your heart and your pen to the paper because that’s what makes an emotional song. That’s something that people relate to. We didn’t want to write songs anymore that were just like a boy band recording songs from other producers and writers. We wanted to be able to feel these songs. That’s how the best songs come out. Any songs out there in the world, it’s all emotional, it’s feeling.
Can you tell us about “Love Somebody” which you had a hand in writing?
I wrote that with this guy named Jordan Omley. He’s a really good producer. We did some stuff on our last album [with him]. Jordan had this idea, we came in and sat down with him. The one thing that I can do is I can write lyrics, I can write melodies and hooks. I’m an all encompassed person. So, we just sat down and banged it out. He had this idea for a hook for “Love Somebody” and we relate to that so let’s speak to it. We then came up with the first verse, second verse. It was a collaboration, that’s what songwriting is, especially in the pop industry. It’s fun to work with different producers that can give certain things. Different tastes and different feelings to each song.
“Try” and “Trust Me” are very stripped down and seem to take it back to old school BSB. Was that a conscious effort?
Obviously, I think the old Backstreet is always going to come out in us. That’s what we came from after 20 years. It’s all about tapping into old stuff for the fans that appreciate the nostalgia and that want to be brought back and then at the same time give something fresh so it’s a nice balance of the record.
You didn’t write your earlier hits, but to a teen girl at the time it was as if you wrote the songs directly for them. Did you channel a certain emotion to get those songs across?
You have to. That’s one of the reasons why acting goes hand in hand with that type of writing because you have to be able to tap into the story. Not even in just the writing but the performance when you’re live on stage. I think that you tap into things, we’re singing about it so it’s going to get an emotional response.
What’s your favorite Backstreet Boys lyric?
On the new album there’s a song called “Make Believe.” I love fantasy. I love sci-fi. I love space. I was able to really capture that with the song “Make Believe.” I remember I came up with the title “Make Believe.” Most people want to leave this world and go somewhere else for a little while, whether it’s a video game or a song. One of the lyrics is, “If we can only make believe, you and me together. We set our course to live or die across the universe. I’d be by your side.” I feel like you could just jump into a spaceship and take off.
Backstreet Boys are known for their choreographed music videos and tours. What’s your favorite dance routine?
I love the “Backstreet’s Back” routine. I think that’s one of my favorites. It’s just signature and we were able to do it in the movie This Is The End which was another cool thing. It’s cool to have a dance move that’s actually historic in a way.
Backstreet Boys are celebrating the 20th year as a band and you still have a very avid fan base. How do the guys’ wives and your fiancé feel about your female fan base?
Some of the most hardcore fans in the group . . . my fiancé actually gets the brunt of it. There are girls out there that send her death threats and tell her they want to kill her and write her name on Twitter and draw pictures of her. We deal with that on a daily basis.
How do you deal with that?
You have to ignore it because if you live your life in fear then they win. For the most part it’s just haters. I think fans don’t like it because I’m the youngest one, I’m not married yet. I’m engaged but I think they feel like I belong to them in some ways. It’s tough. It’s a tough place to be in.
Is there a difference between ’90s boy bands and today’s boy bands like One Direction?
There’s probably a lot of similarities. I don’t see a lot of differences. They’re younger, that’s the difference right now. They have more access to social media which is something our band didn’t have when we were younger. One Direction and all these guys do things that we probably would never have time for. Or Bieber. Taking your shirts off on Twitter or tweeting things. That’s the world that we live in now.