Platinum Collection interview round-up
Steps have done a bunch of interviews to launch the Platinum Collection album. Here are some of them.
From the Official Charts Company:
On November 10 1997 Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Lee Latchford-Evans and Claire Richards burst onto the pop scene with their utterly bonkers, techno-pop-meets-country classic 5, 6, 7, 8. It would have been all too easy to write off Steps – a group formed with the brief of becoming ‘ABBA on speed’ – as one-hit wonders; destined for the Our Price bargain bin forever more.
Yet here we are, a quarter of a century later, celebrating UK pop royalty’s 25th anniversary; the group having gone on to score three Number 1 albums, 14 Top 10 singles and bagging a BRIT Award along the way.
Today, Steps announce the release of Platinum Collection. A greatest hits album including their smash singles, brand new tracks and previously-unreleased remixes, the record will be released on August 19. And, with so much to catch up on ahead of their headline Mighty Hoopla slot this weekend, we gave Lisa and Faye a bell to talk their legacy, twink-to-bear transformations (yep) and how they’ve no plans to stop.
Lisa and Faye, hello. Congratulations on your 25th anniversary, how does it feel?
Lisa: It’s incredible. Each time somebody says it, it takes me back. We feel so blessed and privileged to be still be here, doing what we love. There just seems to be even more love out there than ever for Steps.
Faye: Especially from the younger generation. We’ve got new fans. The 20-year-olds are coming through at the meet and greets and I think ‘how do you know of Steps?’, because we’re not at the forefront of the music scene all the time. Yes, we’re pretty visible, but not compared to some up-and-coming artists. It’s so lovely that the youngsters are finding out about the new music, then going back and finding the older stuff. It’s a great time to be alive in the music industry.
You’ve seen a lot of bands come and go over the years. What’s your secret?
Lisa: We enjoy it. When you love what you do, it doesn’t really feel like work. We have so much fun, and the fact it’s still the five of us – the original line-up – and we do genuinely get on. It means that, when you come to work, you’re having a great time. That shows when we’re on stage and interacting with each other; the audience love to see that and feel part of it.
Faye: Steps is our baby, and we become more loyal and passionate about it as the years have gone on. We’ve had such an incredible legacy and it’s really important that we don’t fizzle out. We literally love putting on a show, that’s our favourite part of the job. Performing live is the icing on the cake.
Your shows are so joyful, inclusive and a safe space for a lot of fans…
Lisa: That’s what we were always hoping for, so it’s really nice that you say that. Fans know they’re guaranteed a good night when they come to see Steps. There’ve been some tough times, but people come for some escapism. It’s pure joy.
Faye: I really enjoyed watching people dancing on the last arena tour. You saw it in everybody’s eyes. Whether it was nostalgia or they were coming to see us for the first time, you felt that adrenaline. I felt like I’d had a full night out myself! It just feels like you’re in the middle of the club.
Lisa: It’s nice for us to spread a little happiness. I think Steps add a certain sparkle to the world.
Faye: When we were growing up, it’d be the young gays at G-A-Y, when it was in London Astoria, with their tops off. Now, they’re in the audience with massive beards. They’ve gone from being the twinks to being bears now, and the love in the room is incredible.
Platinum Collection obviously includes all the bangers, but there are two brand new tracks on there, too. What can you tell us about Hard 2 Forget and The Runner?
Lisa: They sound like classic Steps, but with a commercial twist; especially with Hard 2 Forget.
Faye: They’re two different styles. One’s more towards the newer music, and one’s a nod to the old.
Lisa: Hard 2 Forget is pop-dance, so it’s my favourite. I love that one, and the video was fun as well. Am I allowed to say there was a video?
You just did…
Lisa: There’s a little of exclusive for you, Official Charts. You’re going to get me in trouble.
You’ve even got some ‘Steps 25 Revisited’ mixes on there. What do they involve?
Faye: We’ve got so many people around us working on the remixes. Over the past few years, with What the Future Holds parts 1 and 2, we’ve been able to completely revamp some of the old stuff. I even listen to Steps myself, and we’ve got all sorts of different flavours on the classics.
Lisa: We’re becoming known for our remixes, as well. They’ve taken on a life of their own and the fans really love them.
Faye: There were some cases where we thought ‘do we prefer the remix to the actual radio edit?’
Do you ever ponder all the achievements you’d have missed out on, had you not reunited back in 2011?
Lisa: It blows my mind. It’s been 10 years. This period, since the reunion, has lasted longer than the first time Steps were together. People don’t realise that. There seems to be so much love for Steps, it’s great to be a part of it. It was over, and we didn’t think we’d get a second opportunity to be a pop star, sell our arenas and release new albums. I see it as a huge bonus. What we achieved the first time round was amazing, but I just feel like we’re going from strength to strength. We’re so blessed.
Faye: We’re very grateful and really enjoy getting our teeth into everything now. The styling, the production of the live shows, the videos; we can fully immerse ourselves because we feel really lucky to still be here. We want to deliver something exciting for us, for job satisfaction, but also something amazing for the fans. It’s a huge, huge thank you to the people keeping us here and those rediscovering us.
Please tell us Platinum Collection doesn’t signal the end for Steps. We want you to keep going…
Lisa: We haven’t got plans to stop, we’ve not had that conversation at all. It’d be nice to have a rest, because we’ve all got businesses and other projects. Steps is a part of people’s lives now, and we really love that.
Faye: Even if you don’t see us on screen, there’s always something cooking behind-the-scenes. If you don’t see us together, it doesn’t mean we’re not talking. It means we’re cooking something up. In the kitchen.
What could you possibly be insinuating, Faye? Thanks for the chat, girls. Always a pleasure.
Announcing their Platinum Collection album, which will also be available on five special solo editions, each with unique bonus tracks of the band’s favourite songs from across their career, Steps say: “We cannot believe this year marks our 25th anniversary! Someone recently mentioned that the latest era of Steps has actually now outlasted our original run which was a delightful surprise.
“This anniversary marks the perfect moment to take a look back at everything we’ve achieved as a band. We realised that we’ve released a full 3 new studio albums since our last Greatest Hits so it felt like time to combine all our hits on one package. We’ve recorded two brand-new tracks for the album and presto, the Platinum Collection was born. It was such good fun listening back at 25 years of our songs and we hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much we did.”
From Entertainment Focus:
Steps kept us pop fans going during the pandemic with the release of not one but two new albums – ‘What The Future Holds‘ and ‘What The Future Holds Pt. 2‘.
The pop icons also hit the road for their ‘What The Future Holds Tour‘, battling hurdles thrown their way by COVID but still managing to put on the pop show of the year. 2022 marks the band’s 25th anniversary and today they have announced that they will be releasing new greatest hits collection ‘The Platinum Collection’.
I caught up with Claire Richards and Lee Latchford Evans to find out more about the release, discuss the band’s upcoming summer dates and to discuss their new live DVD/Blu-ray and album…
We have to start by talking about just how well you guys did pulling off the ‘What The Future Holds Tour’ last year, against all odds and with plenty of hurdles. I came along in Manchester and it was a brilliant show!
Claire: Yeah, I think we’ve all said it was a mixed bag. It was amazing to be there doing it and we made the decision to bring dancers in. A lot of people that went on tour at the same time they just didn’t have anything. They got rid of all those extra people but we decided to bring the dancers and we had quite a big crew. It was quite an ambitious show, I would say for the time. It was amazing to be doing it but stressful. I think the worry didn’t ever go away the whole way through, and then obviously the hurdles that just kept hitting us along the way with Faye getting COVID and having to reorganize the whole show. Then getting Faye back and Lee going, and reorganizing it all again. Cancelling the last two (shows) was gutting. I think we did well and I’m think we’re glad we did it. It was an experience. Maybe not one that I’d like to repeat, but it was good (laughs).
Lee: (laughs) The one thing coming out of that for me, and I think Claire will agree, when we first Faye we were all really, really nervous about what was going to happen, how do we do it, how do we work it, who sings what, how do we stage it? Then it was more like, ‘are the fans going to actually accept this?’ because people buy to see Steps and Steps is obviously a five. I’ll always remember the audience in Leeds when we do our meet and greets, and they all started walking in, we actually sat down and explained the situation. There was a lot of love in that room and it made us get into it more. It lifted us because we really needed it. I’ll be honest, from a personal point of view, I thought, ‘are we doing the right thing?’ and then it hit me that we were doing the right thing, because the fans really wanted it. They were just supporting us no matter what. They were like the fifth member that was missing. It was quite emotional actually. It was quite a strong experience to have. I remember it hit me I was just like, ‘wow, this is unbelievable’. It goes to show the support that we really do have for Steps. It’s incredible.
You’ve just announced the release of ‘The Platinum Collection’ in August. What’s that all about and why did you decide to put it out this year?
Claire: It’s our 25th anniversary. I know 25 is silver but we’re elevating it! It would have felt a waste if we hadn’t done something this year. Originally when the tour should have been and when ‘What The Future Holds’ would have been released we would have had a little gap, but just because of the way things went with COVID it’s kind of all bled into each other. It’s for the 25th anniversary to celebrate it. We really feel it is such a milestone for us; the kind of band we are and the kind of music that we do. To still be here, we’ve released three new albums since the last Greatest Hits came out, so it’s not just rehashing the same Greatest Hits album. We’ve got something more to offer now and we’re proud of it.
There are a couple of new tracks nestled on the album. ‘Hard 2 Forget’ is going to be the next single. Can fans expect another Steps banger?
Lee: Yeah, I think so. What I like about ‘Hard 2 Forget’ is that it takes me back to ‘Neon Blue’ where you really start to see everybody take a little bit of a lead and step forward, and then the band sound comes together. I think ‘Hard 2 Forget’ does that all over again. It has a nice fun… I want to say stripped-back video, something different that we’ve never done before (laughs). We’ve got a few people in there, one person in particular is not stripped back at all (laughs) you’ll know that when you see the video.
Claire hit the nail on the head earlier, we’re not just rehashing what we were, we’ve stepped forward and we’ve got new songs now. Going back a few years, we’ve got this new Fascination Management company that have really grabbed the bull by the horns and took us forward to a new level as well. It’s like a whole new lease of life. I think that’s the great thing with Steps and why we’re still here and why the fans still want it. You’ve got all the old, you’re getting the new, and we’re holding our own with the music of today, which is great. You can see all that with ‘Hard 2 Forget’. It’s definitely the newer Steps coming through, which is great.
As a lifelong Steps fans, I’m loving the momentum you have right now. It feels that you can do whatever you want to at this stage and that must feel fantastic?
Claire: Yeah, it’s nice to know that we’ve still got got room to grow. We’ve got such a great team who are so passionate about Steps and as passionate about it as we are. I think that is half the battle a lot of the time because some people just don’t get it, they just don’t get Steps. If you work with Steps, you’ve got to be in it, you’ve got to just get it and not everybody does. We have a team now that is so in it and is so immersed in what we are and how we like to present ourselves, how we put the shows together and it’s really an amazing collaborative team. As long as they’re with us and behind us, it just gives us the opportunities to keep exploring new avenues and new adventures. We’re still doing things that are new to us after all these years.
You’ve been slowly releasing HD versions of classic Steps videos and HD versions of old TV performances. That must have been fun to dig into the vaults and do?
Lee: It’s hard to remember what we’ve done! (laughs)
Claire: It’s like your life flashing before your eyes (laughs) Oh God, how young we look.
Lee: (It’s like) ‘oh, yeah, we did do that. I can’t remember that. Oh my God we did that as well!’ There probably isn’t anything we didn’t do back in the day. I think we covered most of the TV shows that were around back then. We traveled all over the world at some point. There’s so much we did do that you forget and it’s lovely to see. Even some of the fan sites where they just throw out these videos and things, it is nostalgia for us, not just the fans. We just look like babies (laughs) and we are so young. It’s unbelievable. I love it. I think it’s great. It’s a lovely thing to have.
It’s funny you mention that you don’t always remember what you’ve done because the first time around, your schedule was so hectic. You must be finding all kinds of things you’ve no recollection of doing?
Claire: Maybe not videos, I remember all of those, but there are 100% TV performances where I’ve watched them on a screen and it’s me in it, or us in it, and I have got absolutely no memory of doing it or being there at that place at that time. It’s so weird. There’s one in particular that I remember seeing and for some reason it was just me, Faye and Lisa doing ‘Tragedy’. We’re on this big set and there’s people rollerskating around us. You would think you would remember that but I have no clue when we did it (laughs) or what it was for. I think it’s on YouTube. It’s the weirdest thing and I don’t remember doing it but we are very clearly there.
This summer you’ve got a series of huge outdoor shows in the calendar. How are you feeling ahead of those?
Lee: It’s gonna be great just to get back out there and perform. Yes, there is still a risk and COVID is hanging around but less of a risk, with it being outdoor. It’s not as intense and we’re not with each other for like two months solid. There’s going to be days off and there’s going to be gaps in between. We’re gonna get to see our families, which we didn’t get to see on the last tour. I think it’s just going to be quite nice. It’s quite spread out. We’ve got something to look forward to and we’ve got our own lives to go back to. We love to perform so I think for us as Steps members it’s going to be really, really good summer actually.
Also coming up this year you have the ‘What The Future Holds Tour’ DVD, Blu-ray and CD releases. I understand you had to do a bit of trickery to have all five of you appearing on stage…
Lee: Yeah. For me personally, it’s quite a hard watch, because obviously I was ill when it was filmed. They’ve been amazing in the sense of somehow creating parts where I am there, which is great, and obviously there’s bits where I’m not there. It’s going to be great for the fans. There’s a lot more than just the show on that DVD as well. There’s some other bits that fans can watch and pick and choose from. It’s just going to be really exciting.
Claire: The intention was always to do a live recording of the show and to have the DVD. Originally we were meant to film it at The O2 on the Friday but because Faye wasn’t back we quickly moved it to the Saturday thinking that all five of us would be there. Then Lee was struck down with COVID and the decision was, ‘what do we do? Do we just go ahead and film it anyway? Or do we scrap it?’ At this point, production had already started so we did it. They were confident that they could edit a version together where Lee could be in it. If it was me that wasn’t there, I think it would be a different story, but for me when I watched it I couldn’t actually believe how well they integrated Lee into it considering he wasn’t at that show.
There’s key moments where he needs to be there and he’s there. It was magic. I tried to watch it from an audience member’s point of view, and I honestly don’t think it will feel like Lee was not there at all. It very much felt to me like Lee was part of the show. Even if one of us is missing, we’re always still very much part of the show. Like Lee said, there are other parts to the DVD, a lot of which will explain what happened. It was important for us to plow ahead with it because it was it was an experience I hope to God none of us will ever have to have again. It’s documented a really difficult period in everybody’s lives.
Lee: It was a historical moment.
Claire: (We were) trying to get music and live performance and entertainment back up and running, and back on the road because I feel like it really is an industry that has been hit really hard. I think because of the ‘lightheartedness’ of entertainment as it were it was a bit forgotten to a certain degree and it’s a bit like, ‘oh well, they’ll be alright’. There are certain people (that will be fine). Ed Sheeran is fine, and Adele will be fine, and they’re always going to sell 1000s and 1000s of tickets. As it filters down, entertainment and music took a really massive hit, and we’re still recovering. For us to do it, and even to show the warts and all parts of it, was really important for us to do and let people know it’s not always fun in Steps world (laughs).
Do you have any more surprises up your sleeve for this year?
Lee: I don’t know if we’ve got any more surprises unless they want to come and see me in panto at the end of the year? (laughs)
Claire: I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. ‘The Platinum Collection’ is exciting and everyone knows about the DVD already. The megamix (launches today). We’ll see if we come up with anything else. You’ll be the first to know.
You know, the fans are still holding out for a vinyl release of the original Steps studio albums don’t you?
Claire: Are they? We never had vinyls back then, no one wanted it. The first three albums?
Yeah, you’ve got the anniversaries coming up with all three haven’t you?
Lee: Management, get on the case!
From Metro UK:
Steps are looking to scale new heights with a Las Vegas residency – and we think it would be a, er, Tragedy if it didn’t happen.
In an exclusive interview with Guilty Pleasures, Claire Richards, 44, Lisa Scott-Lee, 46, Faye Tozer, 46, Ian ‘H’ Watkins, also 46, and Lee Latchford-Evans, 47, revealed their grand ambitions to follow in the footsteps of Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga across the pond.
‘Somebody suggested it to us recently and we thought that was the best idea,’ Faye teased.
Lisa agreed, adding: ‘It would be great to do Vegas… People are saying we’re more popular than ever, we’re bigger than ever.
‘Everyone was very impressed with the comeback that we’ve had, and they equate it to – only Take That has had similar success.’
Today, the group announced the release of The Platinum Collection, out August 19, a greatest hits record celebrating their 25 years together.
Despite having had their fair share of ups and downs through the years, including splitting up in 2001, the pop faves insist they have no regrets – any low points are Better Best Forgotten.
‘Regretting something is a waste of your time. Everything you go through in your life is all for a reason, to get to the next part,’ Claire explained.
‘If everything hadn’t of happened the way it happened – even before me, Faye and Lee were in the band, there were three other members.’
That being said, Faye still gets into a tizz (or rather, frizz) about the ‘twists’ hairdo she had to wear for the Stomp music video, back in 2000.
‘I had a bad day. We didn’t have a lot of prep time and I don’t think the styling was thought out. I remember we were getting ready in a Winnebago in a car park!’ she exclaimed.
On Friday, Steps will headline Mighty Hoopla – London’s queer-tastic music festival at Brockwell Park – and they’re keen to collaborate with their fellow 90s icons.
‘We were having a catch-up with the Sugababes the other day, and Anastasia as well,’ Faye recalled.
Claire chipped in: ‘[It could be interesting to do] like what New Kids on the Block have done with Salt N Pepa and En Vogue. That would be fun.’
We’re here for it.