DAY26 Preps Comeback Album, Toasts to “4 Shots” With Party Playlist
A decade may seem like “forever ago,” as DAY26 member, Mike “Big Mike” McCluney describes it, but 10 years has been put into the R&B band’s forthcoming reunion album, The Return: Reloaded.
After the aforementioned McCluney came together with Willie Taylor, Qwanell “Q” Mosley, Robert Curry and Brian Andrews to form DAY26 on the now defunct, Diddy-produced MTV reality competition show Making the Band, the group debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with their self-titled 2008 debut and enjoyed a stint on Puff’s Bad Boy Entertainment label. Their sophomore effort Forever in a Day peaked at No. 2 on the same chart the subsequent year.
They eventually parted ways with Bad Boy and pursued solo endeavors while putting their group efforts on the backburner until hardcore fans slid into their direct messages and e-mail inboxes to rally for a reunion.
Now, the quintet is bringing the band back together for their upcoming album, The Reunion: Reloaded. A day before the November 10 release of their comeback single, “4 Shots,” DAY26 hopped on a six-way call with TIDAL for a quick catch-up on what still gets them going.
DAY26 has been in the business for 10 years. What have you each learned about yourselves and the industry?
Robert: We definitely learned that consistency is the key. You gotta keep working, you gotta stay in yours fans’ face, and keep a good rapport with them because no matter how long you stay out of the game and don’t put a record out, the fans will stick with you if you stick with them. And make sure to keep them aware and a part of your situation no matter what. Those fans will always support you. We are walking, talking witnesses of that with this 10-year anniversary.
How did you push yourselves creatively when it came to working on this new album?
Willie: When it comes to the music, we always try to stay true to our core sound, which is true heartfelt R&B with tempos and instrumentation changing. We always want to stay true to the heart but at the end of the day, we want to make people bounce; we always want to stay current but the key to us, period, is staying true to our sound. We don’t want to alter it and go and do what anybody else is doing. When we step in the studio, we gon’ give you 100 percent DAY26.
What specifically has stayed consistent in your work?
Brian: I don’t think there’s been a group around for a long time that can duplicate our harmonies. I think that’s what sets us aside from a lot of groups in the past and those who are around recently.
What are some of themes that you put forth on this project?
Willie: We call it The Return: Reloaded. We have just a lot of heartfelt songs and a song called ‘You’re Worth It,’ just telling the world you don’t have to always be about, ‘Screw this, screw that.’ Just take your time and let the woman know she’s worth it. Different titles like that just show the maturity of the group as well as the gut-wrenching, heartfelt harmonies.
Q: For this project, it’s most definitely a mixture of real R&B with a futuristic sound. We still have records that hold that core DAY26 sound, but we’ve been exploring new subject matters as well. We’ve grown a lot as individuals and a group so we wanna show that growth with this new era of DAY26. Fans will definitely be proud and were at our recent listening party in New York City.
How long did it take to create this project?
Willie: This project has been in the works for a minute so I would say [in] the time span you haven’t seen us, this album has been in the works. Once we announced the reunion, it was a whole other batch of records that came about. It’s been a timed process but it’s current as well.
Some of you worked on solo projects, but who set the reunion forth?
Robert: There are no fans like the DAY26 fans. When they request things, they request ‘em at a pace that just drives you right back into that energy. So they really put it together. It’s pretty much 10 years and we felt like we hadn’t done nothing special for our anniversary for the past probably three or four years, and it being [the tenth anniversary] and the fans coming to us the way they were, we had to put everything else on pause and just make it happen.
So this is definitely dedicated to the fans and it was definitely those who never got out of the direct messages of the group and never stopped hitting us on every social outlet they could find all the way to finding my e-mail address. It was them that drew us back.
I always remind people there’s never been a group like DAY26 because we were created in front of the world so the world got a chance to see us before the group and grow individually. Then they got a chance to actually help pick the group and then they supported us through the the number one Billboard album [DAY26]. They still attached to us. Even when they meet us, it would be different than a group they just learned through music. Our thing was just different.
From Making The Band to being on Bad Boy, do any of you have regrets or things you would’ve done over when you think about the last decade?
Brian: There’s some things I would do differently and things that I wouldn’t change. The experiences I’ve experienced as a man growing up in this game has put me in a position [where] being as savvy as I am now, I’m able to make a lot of different moves.
However, there were some things I wish I could have changed at a younger age as far as some contracts that didn’t work in my favor. So it’s a gift and a curse but at the same token, it’s what you do with it but it’s a catch-22.
Q: No regrets at all honestly. Everything I’ve ever done was for a reason and purpose. When you’re at a young age in the industry, you’re working in quick motion as the success is happening, so it teaches you to push through any struggles. I learned a lot from being a part of the experience and it was such a pleasure.
Was their pressure or any concerns about doing this project at this time?
Willie: Not really. What comes from the heart reaches the heart. So as long as we were giving it from the heart at a level of talent that we had and we’re able to display it on, I feel like it’s going to translate, it’s going to reach and I feel like the songs we’ve been previewing thus far via social media have been showing that. It’s a lane for some people to really sing and get those points across.
Robert: The reason why DAY26 right now can still be relevant with our fans is because it’s a lane that’s missing. It’s easy for us to come together because nobody’s doing it so we really don’t have to change much. It’s really no question; we get in there and do what we do. We the only ones who have what we have and nobody else is doing it, so even if it’s not what’s going on right now, it’s still hot and it’s fresh because nobody’s doing it and it’s our lane.
You can do anything if you have chemistry with the person. Me and Willie, I could start playing a song that he doesn’t even know but he gon’ know when to come in and we gon’ make it sound like we known the song together all our lives and it’s called chemistry. DAY26 has that.
You each have mentioned having grown as men. Are there any songs that expose that vulnerability or just show DAY26 going into different territories that they might not have explored on previous projects?
Robert: It’s a record that goes, ‘My Thank You.’ It’s probably one of my favorite DAY26 records. Just the approach on it is coming from people who have been in the game for 10 years or in a relationship for years and just a thank you to that person or that group of people who rode for you, were down for you through your ups, your downs, your everything. I feel like that song is the most heartfelt record that we have on the album.
Mike: It’s a couple of records that I like that go into relationships. Coming off of the new project, it’s ‘Impossible,’ because everything about the record is something that’s happening in my life so [that record] resonates with me personally.
What vibe can fans expect on ’4 Shots’?
Mike: You’ll get the same type of feeling that DAY26 usually gives when they put out a record, but we’re taking it to a whole different approach as far as club-wise. We want to be seen and be played more in the club so it gives you that grown sexy vibe for you to pregame before you go out and while you out, when you get back, cookout, anything.
You can play this record and it’s a real feel-good party song and you still get the same type of singing, because usually when you put out songs like this, you don’t get the same quality singing as well but that’s what’s different with DAY26. You get the same quality of singing and you get to turn up.
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