If there’s one lesson to be learned from the last decade or so of television, it’s that reality-show success doesn’t always add up to longevity—particularly where musical stardom is concerned, those who lack true talent or dedication are quick to fall off the national radar. Brian, Mike, Que, Robert, and Willie of Making the Band 4 creation Day26, however, clearly possess both of these qualities and have demonstrated the ability to stick together through all manner of televised trials and tribulations. Now, with the impending release of their sophomore album, the fivesome are angling to cement their status as heavyweight hitmakers in a genre currently dominated by solo acts.
As demonstrated by the Booth-smashing success of buzz single “Stadium Music (Flashing Lights)” and Diddy and Yung Joc-featuring lead single “Imma Put It On Her,” listeners are more than ready to spend Forever in a Day with Day26. On April 14th, the group will once again leap from the small screen into the earbuds of fans everywhere, showcasing the end result of the tumultuous process chronicled on Making the Band 4‘s currently-running third season.
In an exclusive interview with our own DJ “Z,” Day26 step into the Booth to discuss the truth behind that televised fistfight, the extent to which Diddy was involved in the recording process this time around, and how album cut “Babymaker” stacks up in a game-time situation.
Listen to the Interview
Day26 Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on, everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are five young men, who on April 14th will ask you to spend Forever in a Day with them. From MTV’s Making the Band 4, please welcome Robert, Willie, Brian, Mike, and Que of Day26—how you doin’, guys?
Day26: What’s goin’ on, man? What up? What it is, yo?
DJ Booth: Thank you all for joinin’ me inside the DJBooth. I appreciate you takin’ the time, ‘cause I know how busy you guys are right now.
Robert: Well, thanks for havin’ us, man. But, you know, we’re workin’ and we’re knockin’ the interview out at the same time. We’re good with it, we’re good with it—what’s goin’ on?
DJ Booth: The constant argument amongst you all during your currently-running season [is] over the musical direction that the group should take on this sophomore project. Are you all completely satisfied with how it ended up?
Robert: We’re all happy with the direction the album has gone. At the end of the day, man, I was on the outside of the argument, but, from what I can see, they were sayin’ the same thing, just in different languages. The direction of the album is where we all thought it should go, as a group. I don’t think it was a matter of slow songs and fast songs, it was where we were gonna evolve to and how far we were gonna go, and I think we met a common ground with everybody. We’re hittin’ the club, we’re attackin’ the club like we wanted to do, ‘cause we didn’t get to do that on the first album, and we think we’ve got a hot album on our hands now.
DJ Booth: What you guys imagined as your sophomore project, is that what is encapsulated within Forever in a Day, or were there other things that you would have liked to have ended up doing that, just because of time constraints or for one reason or the other, didn’t happen?
Willie: To be honest, we had this album complete before our deadline. We actually threw a couple more records in there, and we got a couple great records out of that. But at the end of the day, man, we’re overexcited at the direction of this album. We think it’s everything it was supposed to be, and I’m sure y’all will agree on April 14th.
DJ Booth: As I discussed with each of you last time you joined me inside the DJ Booth, the one knock on reality television is that it no longer is believed to actually be reality. So, guys, has anything that anyone’s seen on this currently-running season been the work of any producer instruction, or did you guys keep it real, a hundred percent, every moment?
Willie: Man, Making the Band is a reality show like no other—it’s not scripted at all, everything you see is one hundred percent real. However, there is a certain thing called editing. There are certain things—they showed Que like he had just one problem, but he had multiple problems that added up to the reason he was acting the way he was acting. They made it seem like it was just one thing, and they made it seem like a long, drawn-out situation, when it really wasn’t like that. However, the reactions to everything were real.
DJ Booth: Referring back to our other interview, I remember, Brian, you said how you felt like you did not deserve the picture that the producers painted for you last season. Que, do you feel like you’re just Brian this season?
Brian: I think I can pretty much speak for Que when I say, everything you see is reality, everything you see is real, but, due to editing, they tend to change stories; they might take something from something that happened a week ago and edit it into a story to make that story a little bit better. Que is not crazy, Que is not nothin’ else. We all go through things ‘cause we’re all human beings. Que is okay, we’re all good. I’m just puttin’ it out there. But Que really wants to talk to y’all, so hold on.
Que: What’s up, y’all? I’m not crazy! [laughs]
DJ Booth: Well, Que, I knew you weren’t crazy, but obviously that has been a hot topic of discussion. How do you feel this image that has been unfairly painted in this season of Making the Band will affect you later on?
Que: Honestly, I’m 20 years old, and everybody makes mistakes. I was honest about the mistakes that I made, and the whole world has seen it on television. I’m not perfect, and MTV editing has a lot to do with the situation that’s going on television—they’re making it seem like it’s one situation, but, like Will said, it’s multiple situations. When you’re dealin’ with MTV editing, they can make stories and create stories that [no one] created. How I deal with it [is] I laugh at it, and I’ve grown from that situation. I laugh at it and I don’t care, ‘cause it funny! I grew from the situation, it is what it is, I’m not crazy, I’m not on crack, I’m not on drugs, and I’m in a group.
DJ Booth: Que, if it helps any, let me just say that you have been a part of some of the most captivating television in recent memory—how does that make you feel?
Que: [laughs] Thank you, I appreciate that, man.
DJ Booth: Guys, Bad Boy sent over an advance copy of the album next, which I took some time out to listen to and, based on my own personal listening session, came up with some questions. First, the epitome of every great male R&B group is that they make classic babymaking music, would you agree?
Que: That’s a requirement for an R&B group, yes: classic babymaking music.
DJ Booth: Okay, so, on Forever in a Day, you have the appropriately-titled “Babymaker,” and I’m just curious: have any of you had the chance to test out this record in a game-time situation?
Que: [laughs] I’m pretty sure everybody in the group has had relations with our songs playing.
Robert: I think this is my part of the interview—I think this is where I step in.
DJ Booth: [laughs] Okay, Rob.
Robert: Will says he wants to cosign when I’m done, but I wanna be the first to say that I still make love to “Babymaker.”
DJ Booth: Okay, and has it enhanced your bedroom, let’s say, fantasies?
Robert: The song, it brings that out in me. It always makes me wanna do some new things, so yeah. If a girl’s gettin’ me on that night [and] I put that record on, she’d better be ready, ‘cause it’s on now.
DJ Booth: Rob, has there ever been a time when you got everything ready, the candles were lit, you popped in “Babymaker” so it could accompany your evening, and then, in the middle of your activity you were like, “Wait, wait, wait—I can’t do anything but just listen! This is so good, I have to stop what I’m doing and just listen to ‘Babymaker?’”
Robert: You know what? This is a true story: I have a favorite part in that song, and there has been a time when I was, you know, gettin’ it in, and that part came in the song and I just had to stop and sing it, ‘cause it just gets me like that—I’m a singer. And the ladies do wanna know about my sexcapades! [singing] Oooh-yeah!
DJ Booth: I’m sure any girl that you’re with understands that, though, so that shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Robert: Yeah, she understands—most of ‘em understand, but I’ve had a few that’d be like, “Look brother, you ain’t gonna be able to stop it,” and then, “Don’t stop right here, you’re gonna have to keep that goin’! You’ve gotta learn to do both of ‘em at the same time, or we’re gonna have a problem!”
DJ Booth: [laughs] All right, let’s just transition now. Considering the title of the project is Forever in a Day, do you feel like this music has everlasting power?
Robert: I really do feel like this album is timeless. And it’s really hard to make timeless music when you’re makin’ a club record, but I think Day26 found a way to pull the two together: timeless music in the club.
DJ Booth: I know how important creative control was for you guys on this album. When it was all said and done, were most of the final decisions up to each of the five of you, or was there still a lot of influence from the label?
Robert: I’m gonna be honest with you, man: Diddy’s got a lot goin’ on right now. He had the I Am King thing goin’ on, he had the Notorious movie comin’ out, on top of a whole lot of other things. He’s working on Last Train to Paris right now. He doesn’t really have time to be there like that, but bless him that he believes in us enough to let us fly, let us go like that, ‘cause that could’ve been really bad. Our deadline was set—by the time he got there, it could’ve been too late to fix the album. But when he got there, everything was good, and Diddy—believe it or not, world—he didn’t even make that many changes. He added like two records to the album, he switched around two records, and that was it.
DJ Booth: Well, I know one thing that Diddy did end up doing, and that’s adding his vocals as a guest feature on your current single, “Imma Put It On Her.” Guys, was this part of a contractual obligation—what made you guys decide that Diddy should be on it? Did he just say, “I’m jumpin’ on the record. You have no choice—let me on?”
Robert: Man, let me tell you something: we wanted Diddy to get on our first album, and we thought that was pretty much how it was gonna go. I think he really waited on us to prove ourselves, and when he heard, “Imma Put It On Her,” we presented it to him like, “Yo Diddy, this is a song that we really like, we want this to be our first single.” We found the record, we wrote it, and when we presented it to him he actually stood up out of his seat—he reacted to the record real good. And you know if Diddy ain’t feelin’ your record, ‘cause he won’t lift his head up from his phone. He’ll be texting the whole time.
DJ Booth: [laughs] Okay! Which Day26 member does the best Diddy ad-lib impression? Who can say, “Take that, take that!” the best?
Robert: I think Willie does it the best. That’s why Que calls him “Mr. Diddy,” ‘cause Willie does do the best Diddy impersonation.
DJ Booth: Well, give the phone to Willie, I need to hear this, “Take that!” impression!
Willie: Take that, take that!
DJ Booth: Guys, I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but my favorite record on this album is “My Heels.” Out of all the compliments I’ve ever sprung on a female, I’m not sure that I’ve ever said, “Sweetheart, your heels are lookin’ really good,” but I wanna know, have you guys tried this approach, and, if so, how has it worked for you? ‘Cause I’m thinkin’ about doing it myself.
Willie: You know, I haven’t tried it yet either, but I think that’d be a cold pickup line, just to start it off: [singing] “Your heels look good on you… your heels look so good on you.” Try it!
DJ Booth Instead of me trying it, if I meet a girl I might just call you up and you can sing it to her over the phone.
Willie: Hey, do it; anytime you want to, just be like, “You know what? I’ve got something I want to tell you,” call me up, and I’ll give her the whole run-down.
DJ Booth: Okay, good, ‘cause I’ve got the feeling you’re just gonna be able to deliver a lot better than I could.
DJ Booth: Guys, to promote your album, I heard you’re going to be making your rounds from city to city on the “26 Days of Day26” tour, and I was fortunate enough to check you guys out in Chicago last year when you came through with your opening gig for Danity Kane. Did all those extra dance lessons that Que went to pay off? What’s gonna be different this time around with your stage show?
Willie: You know what? ‘Cause you asked if [Que] got better, he got better, but he was always a good dancer. The difference is, we’ve got a lot more responsibility on our hands. Day26 was a group that was always backed into a corner—everything we ever had to do, we had to do last-minute—so this time we’re thinking ahead, we’re getting our stage show together now. We really want to give the best show. We pay attention to a lot of other people’s shows; we don’t wanna copy anybody, but we wanna be competitive. We’re gonna have the greatest show on Earth.
DJ Booth: Que, we’re gonna get into some DJBooth member questions. The first one comes from Mike of Great Neck, New York, and he wrote, “Do you think that R&B groups can succeed long-term in what has become a solo musician-oriented industry?”
Que: Yeah, I think it takes a special group, and I think Day26 is gonna make it. I think the reason that groups haven’t made it or groups are just fallin’ off is because solo artists are dominating the business. There are a lot of great singers out there—Rihanna, Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Ciara, Brandy—they were dominating, but now I think Day26 has arrived, and this time I think we’re gonna take over. I think we’re gonna bring a lot of groups back.
DJ Booth: Que, question number 2 comes from Rosalyn of Louisiana, and she said, “Day26 has a large presence online. Do any of you find yourselves searching the worldwide web for what has been written about you by your fans?”
Que: Yeah, always. I’m always online, checking on comments and checking on my fans. I wanna hear what people have to say, I wanna know what people think I should work on, I want to know what people think about me. I try to stay away from a lot of negativity, but if anybody has constructive criticism, I listen and I apply it to myself. ‘Cause I don’t think anybody’s too good to learn, [you’re] never too old to learn, I don’t think [you] can make enough money to not be able to learn from anybody.
DJ Booth: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree with you more. Last question, Que, comes from Kenesha of Atlanta, Georgia, and she wrote, considering that each of you were aspiring artists before your current situation materialized, what would be the best advice you could give her about achieving her lofty ambitions?
Que: If she’s watching Making the Band, I don’t know if she’s seeing what I’m going through, but don’t get into this thinking that everything’s gonna be given to you. It’s a hard job, and you have to be a hustler—that’s what Diddy tells us: “You’ve gotta know how to hustle.” You’ve gotta know how to grind, you’ve gotta be willing to walk to Brooklyn to get some cheese. You’ve gotta be willing to do the extreme. This industry is very extreme, it’s very harsh, nobody cares about you, nobody cares about your feelings, nobody cares about your emotions.
DJ Booth: Well, Que, the only thing I’m gonna say is, you mentioned that, in this industry, not a lot of people care about you-
Que: Yeah. [laughs]
DJ Booth: The outpouring of support that I got in my inbox for you, because everyone knew I was gonna be talking to you guys, was incredible, so I definitely think a lot of people, whether they’re actually in the industry or not, care a lot about you, my man.
Que: I appreciate it. I appreciate the love that I’m getting, and I appreciate you, even, for what you just said. Thank you for lovin’ me; I love you back for lovin’ me, man.
DJ Booth: I’m the member of the group that you guys never had, you didn’t necessarily want, but I’m gonna be there anyways.
Que: Yeah, you’re in our group! [laughs] Day27! We ain’t [splitting up the] check, though, ‘cause it’s five ways—you’ve gotta get the bonus, then we’ll give you the bonus and we get the check.
Robert: You get the per diem!
DJ Booth: I will agree to that, as long as you guys tell me where you get those really cool winter hats that make you look like animals.
Que: Aha, the Mohawk hat, I gotcha! You can get the Mohawk hat—you can get like five of ‘em!
DJ Booth: All right, sounds good.
Que: As a matter of fact, I’ll give you a year’s supply, so you’ll always look like an animal!
DJ Booth: I appreciate it. Que, you wanna give everybody the group’s website or MySpace page so they can check it out?
Que: Yes, I’m gonna pass the phone around right now.
DJ Booth: Robert, on behalf of the whole group, I wanna thank you for joining me inside the DJ Booth, and I wish you guys nothing but the best of luck on this new project.
Robert: Thank you. We appreciate you havin’ us, man.