The Backstreet Boys have perhaps one of the most accomplished discographies in the annals of popular music. Now they can add “fashion aficionados” to it with authority.
The renowned boy band has teamed up with LA-based underwear company MeUndies to launch their Christmas line, which includes a variety of accessories, pyjamas, and loungewear that all place an emphasis on optimum comfort. In essence, it’s simply the type of cheerful, celebratory attire you can wear while cuddling up by the campfire.
Since the release of their debut Christmas CD, A Very Backstreet Christmas, in October, the group has been exemplifying the spirit of the season by creating their own soulful interpretations of traditional Christmas songs like “White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” and “Winter Wonderland.”
They’re even planning an ABC Christmas special. PAPER invited them to a table and inquired about their expanding Christmas business.
How did all of you begin working with MeUndies?
Nick Carter: Well, we wanted some extremely cosy underpants, so that’s why it occurred!
J. A. McLean Yes, we had grown very weary of receiving the Hanes Your Way. It is unquestionably the most comfy underwear, to be honest. When we filmed the commercial, we had a tonne of different outfits to choose from, including onesies, long sleeve shirts, and underpants. It’s simply incredibly nice, the material and everything!
Carter: We also had a great desire for some really nice matching onesies with attractive designs for our children back home. It actually worked out because we have a song named “Happy Days” on our upcoming Christmas album. They heard the song, we got in touch with them, requested their collection, tried it on and found it to be unbelievably comfortable, and then we played the song for him. Hey, do you think maybe we can work together on something? And that’s essentially what took place.
Let’s expand on our discussion of the Christmas album. Why did you decide to make your first full-length entry into a holiday-themed area?
Carter: I mean, listen, 30 years have passed. Backstreet Boys fans have a bucket list. We grew up hearing all those songs in our homes, so we’ve been wanting to perform Christmas music for a very long time. In our home, it was always the background music, and we love those songs so much. It was really difficult to get back together to even record it during the pandemic, especially at such a low time for everyone in the world and being disconnected from everything, but we managed to get together and then we just kind of set the mood and put our hearts into it and our souls into it. Being musicians and doing this for 30 years, we finally got the opportunity to jump in the studio in LA during the pandemic. We have amazing producers, like Tommy Brown, and we also have really complex harmonies. The music is interesting because you hear all those old tunes, but there aren’t many harmonies and there aren’t many bands that do what we do, so we can definitely add our own flavour.
When you go back to your youth and the times when those songs played in your home, were there any particular album moments that had a special place in your heart?
The bulk of us chose songs like “The Christmas Song” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” when we first started talking about recording a real Christmas album. McLean: Yeah, each of us put together a wish list of songs that we either loved or grew up listening to. We all had our favourites among the classics, and then there were others that were more personal.
Nick’s middle daughter, for instance, was drawn to the song “Last Christmas” since it was one of the first songs she had ever danced to. In addition, we all grew up admiring Wham! and nobody has ever covered the song like us. There have only been two additional covers, both created by women. The same is true of Dan Fogelberg’s song “Auld Lang Syne,” which I had never even heard. I have never before heard that music! That was Kevin and Brian’s own choice, literally. Additionally, [we composed] two original songs and [asked] our longstanding friend Mr. Gary Baker, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, to contribute another incredible original tune titled “Christmas in New York.” Once inside, we were able to sort through everything, and we cut a couple tracks that weren’t included on the album. Simply put, things didn’t work out the way we had hoped. We just intended to compose one original, but it quickly morphed into two, and now one of those originals just so happens to be connected to the MeUndies campaign, which worked out fantastically!
Carter: Yes, we were thinking to ourselves, “We want to just create something pleasant, something that can kind of cross over a little bit and not necessarily be too Christmas holiday.” when we were writing this song that is somewhat related to Christmas in California. We weren’t anticipating the kind of interest it has received from the public. We often hear people singing it and talking about it wherever we go, so we are beyond thrilled that we were able to use it in the MeUndies campaign commercial since it truly evokes nostalgia and all the feelings. The best!
You’ve been on tour for the most of the year in addition to being in the studio. On the journey, were there any strange incidents?
McLean: On the summer tour, we were practically chased by bad weather the entire time. It finally took a crap on us just outside of Washington, DC, and we had to postpone a show and tack it onto the end of the tour. The weather then happened again when we performed the make-up show, but we managed to get through the performance. The whole first half of the summer tour took place in outdoor locations, so despite dealing with lightning, thunder, and other weather-related issues, we were lucky to complete that portion without any problems. The second half, which took place entirely indoors, was fantastic. In addition, it was scorching hot at the start of the summer!
Carter: When we were playing, it was like 115 degrees on stage!
McLean: Absolutely, you can lose weight there without even moving! But to be quite honest, I believe that one of the greatest aspects of this particular tour has been how much more we have bonded than ever before. This has resembled the Backstreet Bonding Tour for whatever reason. We have spent every day off together on the golf course hanging out, listening to music, playing golf, going to meals, and generally just really spending a lot of quality time with each other, which has been excellent since four out of the five of us are golfers. Everyone is happy and content. Everybody is motivated! We’re eager!
Carter: And I believe that what matters most is what we see while touring and how the fans and attendees at our events make us feel. That, in my opinion, is what motivates us most because after this horrific epidemic, we all—the whole world—wanted to connect. Everyone was looking for anything to unite us, and what better thing than music? See a live performance! Bring your closest pals along! Take your hubby along. Bring the kids along! That is evident in the crowd, as it is throughout America. There is just this really positive vibe and pleasant feeling that we are receiving this transfer of energy amongst each other, and I believe it’s really encouraging us as well. We are seeing that all around Europe as well.
What is ahead for the Backstreet Boys over the course of the upcoming year and beyond?
McLean: Well, we’re continuing on tour till the start of the following summer. We have approximately a week break following our European tour when we get home, and then we start rehearsing for our ABC Christmas special. Following a few Christmas radio broadcasts at the start of December, we take a break until the end of January. Before returning to Japan, we visited South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Then, in May, we will travel to Israel and Dubai. I’m hoping Saudi Arabia.
McLean: After hopefully making it to South Africa for the first time, the trip will be over. After a four-year tour, it will eventually come to an end.
Carter: We want to do something spectacular on our 30th anniversary, which is April 20 of the next year, so we are already debating what we should do.
McLean: Yes, it is our 30th anniversary on that day, but as we have already stated, it is also our 30th anniversary during the entire year. As a result, we intend to do as much as we can to mark this occasion and create some nice packaging and other interesting things for the fans. Then, it is evident that we have continued to discuss staying in Vegas for a longer period of time. We have been having that conversation—I’m not sure where—since we ended our previous residency, so we will likely be occupied till 2030.
The complete MeUndies x Backstreet Boys collaboration is available here for seeing and buying.