BANGKOK — A day after their first concert in Thailand, British boy band New Hope Club said they were humbled by how their dedicated Thai fans – largely teenage girls – compare them to The Beatles.
Heartthrobs Reece Bibby, Blake Richardson, and George Smith, the trio who make up New Hope Club, have a dedicated cult following who sang along to every song at their Sunday concert.
“We didn’t realize that so many people were gonna come to the show…Everyone was singing every single word of the songs,” Bibby said, at an exclusive interview with Khaosod English on Monday. “One of the loudest crowds that we’ve ever had, definitely. We’ve had a lot of shows and that was up there with the best.”
New Hope Club is known for pop hits such as “Fixed,” “Start Over Again,” “Medicine,” “Crazy,” and most recently, ”Permission” and ”Love Again.” At their Sunday concert at Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, virtually the entire crowd was made up of teenage girls who knew all the lyrics off by heart – not just the band’s originals, but also a cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.
Nichapa Luchutassakul, 19, and Tipkasem Phiakham, 18, were in the crowd, heady with excitement as the boys were about to play.
“We weren’t born in time for The Beatles,” Nichapa said, using a Thai idiom that roughly means “a generation or so too late.” “So we’re listening to them instead.”
“That’s an absolute honor. Thank you very much. We’re very honored by that. That’s crazy,” Smith said when we told him what Nichapa said.
While Beatlemania purists may bristle at the comparison, New Hope Club isn’t comparing itself to the legendary band – rather, it’s a group of 19 and 20 year olds who are incorporating older genres into modern melodies.
Rather than the “hit-it-and-quit-it” messages often found in today’s music, New Hope’s songs, though teenage and airy, are imbued with old-fashioned values that resonate with the hearts of Thai Gen Z girls.
“Start Over Again”, for example, is about a boy who goes on a date and wishes he had done better: “I wouldn’t spill that drink on your dress, wouldn’t be so late / I would’ve paid the bill instead of splitting it two ways.”
“I like to think that we’re old-fashioned when it comes to our morals of respecting people and having manners and being polite. I think our parents brought us up that way,” Richardson, 19, said. “And our music, we listen to old-fashioned music more than new music, so in that way we’re probably influenced as well.”
“If you’re on a date, then you probably should pay the bill. Old-fashioned stuff like that, we still believe in. Old romantics. But, equality, right?” Bibby said, laughing.
His bandmates concurred (“We want to wear a suit 24/7,” Smith said).
During the concert itself, Bibby stopped the band in the middle of “Perfume” to ask security to attend to a girl who had fainted. “This girl needs some water,” he said, gesturing to her.
The boys finished up the interview by telling us what they find most charming in women, before singing a cover of The Beatles’ “She Loves You.”
“Creativity – if someone’s got a drive and are passionate about something. If they’ve got good music taste and good fashion,” Bibby said.
For Smith, it was “someone that’s lovely, very polite, comfortable to be around. They just want to chill, not too intense.”