Interview: Amy Bell
Photography: Owen James Vincent
East 17 are an English pop boy band started by Tony Mortimer, Brian Harvey, John Hendy, and Terry Coldwell in 1991. As of 2020, the group consists of Terry Coldwell, Robbie Craig, and Joe Livermore. East 17 have undergone multiple lineup changes, with Coldwell remaining the only constant member.
Anthony Mortimer formed this group in 1991. East 17 was named from the first part of their postcode and their first album was named after their hometown Walthamstow in Greater London.
East 17 spoke to us about their latest album 24/7, going on tour and as Christmas approaches we talk about the Number One song 'Stay Another Day'.
Hey Boys! You’re back doing a tour, how is it being back doing shows?
Terry: It's amazing because of lockdown we had about 100 shows cancelled. We've done a lot of 90's shows and we got a tour coming up at Christmas.
Robbie: This year we're doing about 22 shows up until December. We actually had to turn down some shows as it's been a bit crazy.
You have a new album out ‘24/7’, what was the inspiration behind this album?
Terry: The inspiration was that me and Robbie went in the studio and we wanted to keep it quirky. It's has a modern twist but you can still hear East 17 from the original days. With East 17 we've always done a variety of genres from ballads, R&B to dance. We wanted to keep to the same concept but give it more up to date.
Robbie: We've had a million downloads now!
Terry: We've hit the charts in some countries and that's from the back off no promo! Just done it ourselves and put it on our socials.
Robbie: One off the tracks called 'Strip' went to number one in one of the American charts.
What was the recording and writing process like for this album?
Terry: It was good! We worked with a couple of producers called The Next Room Productions. We sat down and wrote our ideas and they produced the tracks and then Robbie and I wrote some melodies. For a couple of days we had writers block [laughs]. Robbie would drive down for four hours, get to the studio and we would have writers block and he would drive back home again.
Let’s talk about that song that went to number 1 at Christmas in 1994, ‘Stay Another Day’. Can you remember where you were when you heard the news?
Terry: Yes I remember it so well! We were already number one for a couple of weeks and I remember thinking "Are we going to be number one at Christmas?". I was at my Mum & Dad's house, sitting around and listening to the radio and I remember the Top 10's was happening and it said "Number 1 is still East 17 with Stay Another Day". I got a rush from my feet going all the way up to my head! It was such an amazing feeling and having a Christmas number one is great!
How does it feel that ‘Stay Another Day’ is still a Christmas timeless classic after so many years?
Terry: Brilliant! It's kept the name alive!
Robbie: We're one of the most popular boybands at Christmas. The great thing is we can sing the song in any country and people who can't speak English would sing a long to the song.
What's next for East 17?
Terry: Robbie, Joe and I are going to write a new album, more gigs and improving. We love adding to the show each year!
Robbie: We really enjoy live shows! We love getting up on stage and keeping our fans happy!
Terry: Joe joined 2 and half years ago and he brings something different on stage. There's not a lot off people that can do what Joe does!