“It was a very natural thing. The last 23 years, we’ve all kind of discussed maybe doing something here, maybe doing something there,” Bass, 44, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting The Children’s Place Holiday Boy Band Campaign, which features members from Backstreet Boys, ‘NSync, and Boyz II Men. “We did Coachella and we did the VMAs 10 years ago, so it just made sense at that time.”
‘NSync — which consists of Bass and Fatone, 46, along with JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick and Justin Timberlake — left everyone feeling “millennial-triggered” at the VMAs earlier this month when they reunited on stage to present Taylor Swift with the Best Pop Award. Two days later, the group announced they would be dropping their first song in over two decades, “Better Place,” on September 29.
Bass shared that it was Timberlake’s upcoming film, Trolls Band Together, that brought the five guys back to the studio. “This came up because of Justin and the movie that he was doing,” he explained, adding that things “grew naturally” from there.
Fatone — who called ‘NSync’s new single “100 percent” a love letter to the fans — said that it was easy to “fit right back into our spots in our songs” — making the experience even more fun.
“It was just one of those things, like, ‘Wow, OK, we’re doing this.’ So we are just very happy to see what happens,” he continued. “I mean, again, it’s been 25 years since we really put something or anything out there. So just to be able to be in the studio together [and] have these vibes, it’s really cool.”
After originally forming the pop group in 1995, ’NSync made a name for themselves with hit songs like “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and “I Want You Back” off their self-titled album. Their follow-up record, No Strings Attached, shot them to stardom with the release of singles “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.”
Following the release of Celebrity in 2001, the group eventually parted ways to pursue solo projects. They reunited for a performance at the VMAs during Timberlake’s Video Vanguard performance in 2013, but haven’t performed will all five bandmates since.
While a tour isn’t confirmed, it’s certainly something many fans are hoping to see. The group has been trending on social media since their new single was announced and all of their previous albums have re-entered the top 100 on iTunes.
Backstreet Boys member AJ McLean is one of those people hoping ‘NSync will reunite on a more permanent level.
“Personally as a fan, I would love to see these guys make new music. I would love to see these guys get back on stage together,” McLean, 45, told Us, adding that his children “love” the Trolls movies. “Hopefully I get backstage passes. If not, the friendship is over. The friendship is over in that moment.” (McLean shares kids Elliot and Lyric with Rochelle McLean.)
Seeing the group together at the VMAs — and the audience’s “awesome” reaction — was “very heartwarming” for the BSB member. AJ clarified that “there was never any competition” between the Backstreet Boys and ’NSync “back in the day,” despite rumors of the contrary.
“It was all camaraderie,” he explained to Us. “We all supported each other. We all were there for each other. We all worked with the same people, whether it was management or [producer] Max Martin, and it’s one big family.”
As for if Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync would ever hit the road together, Fatone revealed that they’ve “had those conversations” and “the sky’s the limit.”
“Even the rumor, which I thought was a good rumor, was [that] Boys II Men, Backstreet, New Kids and ‘NSync, [could] do this whole thing for Super Bowl,” he said. “I think that would be kind of cool. And I think we can make it a lot of fun, especially with the NFL.”
For now, the men are mainly focused on their top priority, which is being fathers. It’s why Bass and Fatone — along with McLean and Boyz II Men’s Wanya Morris — teamed up with their children to celebrate the upcoming holiday season in matching PJs from The Children’s Place.
“It was the first time we ever [got] a chance to do something like this, I think, will all of our kids,” Fatone, who shares daughters Briahna, 22, and Kloey, 12, with ex-wife Kelly Baldwin, told Us. “And to have the four of us together, the ultimate holiday boy band, if you will, for the season, it was fun. My daughter’s never done anything. I don’t think my daughter’s ever done really a photo shoot.”
For Bass, getting to work with his longtime pals and a “household brand” like The Children’s Place felt like a “no-brainer” — especially now that he’s a parent.
“It’s a fun full circle these days and now with kids, everything we do now is just so for a different reason,” the singer, who is dad to twins Alexander James and Violet Betty, 23 months, with husband Michael Turchin, explained. “It’s for our families, it’s for our kids, and to be able to work with our kids in such a fun way, I think it’s magical that we’re able to do that.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi