If you spend any time keeping up with the hottest trends on TikTok, you’ve probably heard of up-and-coming boyband Here At Last.
Brought together by the power of the video-sharing platform, the five-piece – starring Zach Loizou (from London), Tommy Lyon (from Exeter), Pedro Santos (from Portugal), James Thomas (from Leyland) and Ryan Burns (from North Wales) – are currently living together in Reading as they prepare to release their debut EP and hit the road later this year.
Of their origins, Pedro explains: “Me and Tommy wanted to do a collab together at the start and then this idea of a boy band came along. I don’t really know how, but it did, and we found these very talented people around us elsewhere on the internet, on hashtags and stuff like that.”
Although keen to form a band, they never advertised for members. “We weren’t really headhunting; we just thought it would be cool to get together and sing as a five,” explains Tommy. “So we sent them messages, but it wasn’t anything formal. No emails, just DMs.”
The boys have since notched up over three million followers on TikTok alone and their first single Tongue, released in 2021, has been streamed over one million times on Spotify. They recently released a new version of the track alongside a cover of Niall Horan’s latest hit Heaven, and the boys – aged between 21 and 23, who use their income from the social media platform to fund their music – cite One Direction among their influences.
“We’re pretty big fans and we think the song is amazing,” says James. “That’s one of the main reasons we wanted to cover it. Obviously, we’ll tap into that audience as well, but I think it works quite well with what we’ve done with it, because we’ve added in all the different harmonies.”
When it comes to their other musical reference points, it’s a broad spectrum of styles that makes up the band’s sound. Ryan’s a fan of Aussie pop rock group 5 Seconds of Summer, while Pedro names Coldplay and James is into singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Zach, meanwhile, is a longtime Oasis fan, and for Tommy it’s Canadian pop star Justin Bieber.
It’s a mixed bag the boys admit “weirded them out” when they first met. “But if you look at our Spotify, Casting Shadows is very different to Bloodshot, which is also very different to Like The 90s, which is very different to Happy,” adds Pedro. “So I think we’re at the stage where, even though we’re all standing in different corners musically, we all come together to this middle ground.”
Having formed and bonded during the Covid years, it’s only recently that Here At Last have been able to venture out and meet fans – even though their most devout followers probably know them better than they know themselves due to their online presence.
They’re so used to the band checking in, in fact, that when one of the guys doesn’t post they automatically fear the worst. “We did a few videos the other day and I wasn’t in them – I was out for whatever reason – so these guys recorded them as a four and all the messages are like, ‘Where’s James?!’,” laughs the singer. “It’s the same if any of the other guys are missing; we can’t get away with having a day off.”
He adds: “Right now, we’re not doing any live shows for a couple of months so we’re having a bit of a lull, but when we do tour we will be really pushing for the fans to be as much a part of this process as they are for the actual gigs, so they can have more of an insight to the behind the scenes and how it’s all actually done.”
They won’t have long to wait; with their aptly-titled ‘EP1’ due August 15, the boys are heading into the autumn with their five-date ‘Happy You’re Here’ UK tour launching at Glasgow’s Stereo on October 20 and playing through October 25 at London’s indigo at The O2.
They’ve already tested the waters with a handful of one-off shows, including a date at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, of which Tommy admits: “It was bloody scary, I won’t lie. My heart was beating at about 1,000 beats per second! But when we came out and the lights came up, you could just see all these faces there and it’s like, ‘Wow’. Going from doing singing videos in our rooms during Covid to having 2,000 people there, just for us five, was mega.”
The shows will give the five-piece the opportunity to debut material from their upcoming release live and, when it comes to the content on offer, they say it takes their sound to the next level. “There are a few tracks on there that you wouldn’t really expect us to be on, which I think is probably the most exciting part,” Pedro smiles. “We felt a little bit out of our comfort zone going into the studio and recording this, I guess, but we think it sounds really good. A lot of it has been like building a character and figuring out what we like and what we don’t like, and that’s in terms of the whole thing, not just certain songs.”
With a busy six months ahead of them, the boys have plenty to look forward to – but that doesn’t stop them dreaming big as they look past this year, through 2024 and beyond. “We always try to not look too far into the future, because if you look too far into where you want to be then you miss all the amazing things that you’re doing right now,” muses James. “But I mean, everyone’s dream is to do a world tour or play Wembley Stadium, things like that, and I guess we’re taking as many steps as we possibly can to get to that point. And so far, it’s all going well and the future is exciting – I think that’s the only word we can use for it, really!”
Here At Last will release ‘EP1’ on August 15. The ‘Happy You’re Here’ tour launches on October 20 and tickets are on sale now.