With the news of JLS splitting came the sound of hundreds of teenage hearts breaking up and down the country.
We got the chance to chat to fan favourite Aston Merrygold about the decision to go their separate ways, their upcoming tour and his solo album which he has in the works.
The band announced the split in April - was this something that you'd been discussing for some time before that?
Yeah, definitely, it was something that I suppose as a collective we'd been discussing since over a year ago now - literally just after our fourth album had been delivered to the label, so yeah - for us it's been a long time but for everyone it's not been too long, but yeah we've had that whole wait.
Were you working on new material before deciding that you would go towards the split?
We'd just finished the fourth album so it was kind of like closing down time, if that makes sense. So just after we'd just finished putting new material together.
Yeah, it was that kind of... for us it was a weird time in terms of music. Obviously the excitement of putting a new album together and stuff and then we were ready for that to be released and obviously we were still going through these conversations.
Is that the reason you then decided to release your 'Greatest Hits' album rather than a new body of work?
Yeah, I mean - don't get me wrong, there's probably five, six, seven album's worth of tracks that we've all got between us, so we've more than enough there to go on a new album but we were just like 'you know what? It's just a celebration period' - and how do you celebrate better than having all of your hits on one record, and it just shows a testament to how long we've been around and how many songs we have released.
Well you also released a new book last month - can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yeah, the new book 'Forever And A Day - One Last Goodbye'. Yeah, it was - obviously we've released books before, and kind of held back a little bit in these books and not told everything we were allowed to tell at the time - this time now it's just obviously everyone's more-so individual journey. Anything that they kind of left out in the books before - don't get me wrong there's probably still more to tell at the right time - but I think in terms of this book and what it's just trying to tell is just everyone's individual journey up until that point of the split in itself. Obviously the book indicates what everyone's gonna kind of do after the split is up.
You're about to embark on your final tour this December - what can fans expect from the shows?
A very organic show, actually, which is really cool. When I say organic what I mean that we've all got a live band so it's not just hit the play button and go with it - you know - it's kind of an 'OK lads, what do you wanna sing now?'.
Obviously song order and choice and stuff like that - if we're not feeling a certain song and we don't think people are feeling a certain song then we can cut it - we can just add a new song, we can add new covers, we can do whatever it is we really wanna do on this tour and not be so restricted. It's one of them kind of freedom, celebratory tours, which is great.
Would you say that after the tour that this is it for the group, or is the door always gonna be open for a comeback, say, in a decade's time?
Nah, this is definitely it. We wouldn't say goodbye and have all this hype for just a case of... we're not those kind of people to wanna cause a stir to our fans and cause heartache that it has caused to that level just for a reaction - it's not that kind of thing - it's us four literally going 'right, OK, this is a goodbye, and we're starting our different journeys of our life'.
What is next for you personally?
Next for me is - I've just started writing my solo album. Just really concentrating on that and just trying to find who exactly Aston is.
With the solo album - do you have any details you can share with us about that or is that very much still in the works?
I think it's one of them things where I've been working with some very close friends of mine - some of the big heavy, pop RnB hitters in the game - they've written for the likes of Usher, Justin Bieber, the biggest artists in the world, and these are close, close friends of mine that are paying an interest in my next part of my next journey, so yeah, it's been fun - it's obviously been different - writing by myself and for myself - but yeah it's fun, it's a new adventure.
JLS Greatest Hits Album out 18th November through RCA.
Final headline tour kicks off on 1st December in Belfast. Tickets on sale now.
JLS book "Forever and a Day" is out now.
'JLS Goodbye: The Greatest Hits Tour Live' DVD is out on 9 Dec.
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