When I meet with N-Dubz, Tulisa and Fazer are in a car, Dappy is nowhere to be found, and they have a show tonight. ‘Shattered, but alive and kicking’, they’re concerned about where their friend, cousin, and bandmate is, but excited about their upcoming tour which officially starts in Brighton next week. (FYI, they never did find Dappy).
While trying to keep Fazer on-topic, Tulisa tells us how they’ve got pre-show nerves and butterflies; they’re ‘buzzing to kick it off’, and excited to come back to Brighton after having done ‘so many shows in Brighton, we can’t even begin to tell you’. Fazer grew up coming to our ‘stoney arse beach’ whenever it was sunny: “It was always, always a vibe, I never had a bad time in Brighton.”
It might seem like the trio, who reformed last year after an eleven year hiatus which saw them explore their own solo projects, have big plans coming up. But, they say, they’ve only planned up until the release of Timeless, their new album out in August. “Everything’s gonna move on response to the album,” Tulisa says, “If the demand is high, then we’ll carry on going.” We anticipate demand will be astronomical,with a stadium tour last year that sold out within three minutes, but they’ve got big dreams of breaking out of the UK, going to Australia, but above all, ‘keeping it real’.
They love connecting with the fans, who are really at the heart of everything they do. The reaction from the crowd is something they love: the fans are full of emotion, they’re full of emotion, ‘it’s like one big family gathering where everyone gets really drunk and goes crazy’. That’s especially true when it comes to their classic hits—’Playing With Fire’, their perpetual closer, sends the crowd ‘absolutely mental’ says Tulisa: “It’s an energy that you can’t match, there’s no comparison. Everyone just goes wild.”
There’s no denying that the band have faced their fair share of controversies over the years, Dappy having several criminal convictions spanning a decade, but Tulisa thinks the media attitude has changed since the last time they were in the spotlight. ‘The media was more savage, they could say and do whatever they want,’ she laments, while pointing out that those in charge ‘were of a certain age’:
“Everyone’s moved forward and now there’s a younger generation that’s in charge, and that younger generation are people that listen to N-Dubz.
“Before it was a load of older people like ‘who the hell are these, what is this racket, who are these kids, little dirtbags, little rats from Camden’, not even appreciating the music because they don’t understand it.So talent doesn’t even come into the equation.
“Whereas now you’ve got N-Dubz fans that are in charge and they get it.”
As you can imagine, they’re excited for the tour: entirely open-air, ‘festival vibes’ says Tulisa, it will take them from Brighton’s Stanmer Park to Margate, Telford, Scarborough, Sunderland, Colwyn Bay, London and Norwich. “It’s a completely different energy performing outside,” says Tulisa, who says this is her ideal tour:
“I prefer the bigger the better, massive roaring crowds. It’s just more of a heavy atmosphere, the bigger the stage the bigger the rumble, you can feel the bass going through you, the electric guitars, the fans screaming, it’s just such a crazy intense atmosphere that it takes me like an hour to come down coming off stage because I’m on such an adrenaline rush.”
They try to turn their shows into a ‘massive party’, telling stories throughout their set. Emotional love, man hating, feeling down, toxic love self belief: you name it, they’ve got a song that covers it. ‘We take the crowd on a journey with us,’, Tulisa says, and they love to spend time interacting with the crowd. ‘Very energetic, very high energy… None of us have a voice by the end of it.’
‘With time comes respect’ they tell us, and that’s what they’re getting since their return to music. ‘A refined N-Dubz’ is what they’re promising from Timeless, everything that they were before but now they’ve ‘mastered the craft and come together’. They’ve been working on some of these songs for years, since the hiatus, and they’re promising a combination of their nostalgia with a modernised sound: “You still got something for the classic N-Dubz fans, you’ve also got something for new people just finding out about N-Dubz, keeping a nice balance.” In all, they guarantee ‘bangers after bangers to cover every situation in your life’.
N-Dubz will be at Brighton Valley Festival Series in Preston Park on Friday 7th July. Find out more and buy ticketshere.
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