Wanted no more? The bad-boy boyband hang up their party hats
They were the bad boys of the boyband bunch, the darkness to One Direction’s light – but now The Wanted are getting ready to say goodbye. Dubliner Siva Kaneswaran sets the record straight ahead of the band’s farewelll tour
Wanted men: Jay McGuiness, Siva Kaneswaran, Max George, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes
You might not think that Dame Vera Lynn has much in common with hunky popsters The Wanted, but there’s a particular line from her 1940s wartime standard Now is the Hour that sums up the boyband’s current situation. True, it’s unlikely that their fans will be humming It’s not goodbye, it’s just a sweet adieu at their upcoming “farewell” gigs, but with the quintet insisting that they are taking a “break” rather than “splitting up” (the phrase most dreaded by all teenyboppers), the tune might soften the anguish somewhat.
Siva Kaneswaran – the first international pop star to hail from Blanchardstown in west Dublin – insists that their hiatus is not a permanent one. The polite, good-humoured, 25-year-old has a London twang to his accent and a slight propensity to slip into pop-star jargon – the phrases “amazing platform”, “great opportunity” and “about the fans” crop up more than once.
Raised in a musical family – several of his siblings have tried their hand at pop stardom – Kaneswaran’s route into the band four years ago was almost accidental when we was recruited by Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun in 2009. It wasn’t long before they were pitched as the “bad-boy” version of One Direction – the pop group who hung around with Lindsay Lohan in LA, drunkenly shaved each others’ heads and generally courting a reputation for partying hard. Kaneswaran, however, denies that they deliberately provided a counterpoint to 1D’s squeaky-clean image.
“We were always very happy with who we were and who we are. We always said from the get-go that we wouldn’t be overly branded or made into something we didn’t want to be,” he says. “Nowadays, fans know everything about you with the likes of Twitter and the internet, and they aren’t stupid; you can’t lie to them. If we were branded as ‘bad boys’ or anything like that purposely, it would have been an injustice to both ourselves and the fans. And that was us for the first year-and-a-half. We were perfectly happy until 1D came out, and then they went their own pop-branded route.”
What’s a good pop rivalry without a public spat? The two groups have been vocal in their dislike of each other in the past, at least behind the safe confines of their Twitter profiles. The feud has seen the trading of such insults as “chlamydia boy” (1D’s Zayn Malik to The Wanted’s in-house lothario Max George) to charges of jealousy and outright accusations of One Direction being “overrated, arrogant and insincere”. Ooo-err.
Kaneswaran diplomatically suggests that the rivalry is “old news”, a situation that simply “escalated” after a few errant tweets, and that he and his bandmates “wish them well”. But recent Wanted headlines have been more focused on the band’s internal spats, most notably involving Kaneswaran and the aforementioned George. The latter publicly hinted that the reason for the band’s hiatus is the tension caused by their romantic relationships, particularly that of the Dubliner and his fiancée.
“We’ve been together [the band, that is] for four years and, obviously, there’ll be tensions arising and emotions flaring up over the past few weeks, just because of that speculation,” he shrugs. “We released a statement together saying that we’re gonna take a break because it felt natural; anything else was kind of heightened by the press, I think. Obviously we bicker like brothers, so we’re just gonna have to talk it out and move forward for the fans, put our heads down, because it’s all about the tour right now. I’m sure we’ll get past it easy because we’re lads. If it was a girl band, it might be a bit more dramatic . . .”.