Nearly eight years later and Big Time Rush are back and better than ever.

Released in December 2021, their comeback single, "Call It Like I See It," marks the group’s first release since 2013. To signal their return as a band, members Logan Henderson, Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow and Carlos Pena were originally scheduled to perform just two concerts that same month — one in Chicago and one in New York City.

However, their plans changed when the band received an invite to perform at two Jingle Ball concert dates. Their plans changed yet again when one of the members got sick — they had no choice but to play their New York show as a three-piece after Schmidt tested positive for COVID-19.

As for their Dec. 15 Chicago Theater show, the concert was sold out. Fans lined up outside the venue the morning of the show, eager to witness the former Nickelodeon stars work together once again. During the performance, Big Time Rush referenced their hit sitcom in between songs while interacting with the audience by taking selfies, shouting out posters and even bringing up a few lucky fans to serenade during “Worldwide.” The group performed old fan favorites along with two new tracks that showed off a more mature sound, an indication of things to come.

Ahead of their first full concert back as a band, PopCrush sat down with Big Time Rush to discuss their comeback single, what happened during their hiatus and the band’s bright future. Check out our Q&A with the band, below.

Your comeback has been in the works for quite some time. When did you guys officially start making new music together?

Kendall: We first started doing some Zoom sessions. We hadn't started working on music and the pandemic hit so then we tried to figure out what we were gonna do and just like, ‘Well, let's use this time to try to write some songs.’ I think that must have started in April. And we didn't really get anything we were loving until we actually got together. “Call It Like I See It” was actually the first song that we finished. It was like, ‘Oh okay, this sounds like [what we were aiming for] and that was probably in early 2021.

Logan: We started the whole process about two years ago in 2019 talking about it and deciding, ‘Hey, we really want to do this,’ and then [going and figuring] out how we do it. So we're psyched to finally be here … This first song was like the umbrella for the sound that we were kind of going for and it's a good thread to carry the rest of the music.

After the band went on hiatus, you all went your separate ways and three of you pursued other music projects. Did any of that influence your new sound as a unit?

Kendall: First of all, we met a lot of different people who we ended up working with. Everyone brought in someone that they had worked within their own world and we just started working with all these people that we had collected around us. It was just a great team effort.

James: I think everybody matured in their own ways — in all very positive ways, too. So the whole process has been more fun because of that. Sonically, I think the song's just working even better than it did before.

Will there be a music video for “Call It Like I See It”?

Kendall: There’s a lot on deck right now.

James: There’s a lot of great stuff in store in the new year.

Since it has been eight years, how have you all evolved in your own creative music processes and tastes?

Carlos: I have three kids and they influence my music in the sense that I don't stay up late in the studio anymore with these guys because I gotta get home.

James: You sing “Big Night” a lot.

Carlos: I do, they love “Big Night.”

Logan: This is a solid factor right here.

Carlos: We have to do things like every concert from now on because of my kids. For me, I think I just bring that youthful sense. I'm always thinking about the kids because that's what's always going on with me. I'm always like, ‘Okay cool, this is awesome, but how do we keep the youthfulness in it?’ It's just a really cool balance because they've all been doing their own music for the last eight years and I didn't really do that.

Kendall: He's been making babies to sweet, sweet music. [laughs]

Carlos: I do need music to make babies, that’s true.

Logan: With our different projects and different music and finding different sounds, it kind of follows the way that we live and what we're into at the moment. I think it's just a great match.

Kendall: We’ve all matured and then we go down that rabbit hole again.

Jacklyn Krol
Jacklyn Krol

What music are you guys listening to currently that possibly influenced your music?

Logan: I love Remi and Unknown Mortal Orchestra right now.

Kendall: I still listen to Radiohead all the time. Pretty much if I'm gonna play something on Spotify it's Radiohead or The Eagles. I've tried to evolve and listen to all the current stuff but music comes up so fast there's so much good new music.

How did you decide to reunite with these two shows and then the two radio sets?

James: Chicago and New York have always been some of our biggest markets, frankly. It’s hard to choose because we don't ever want to feel like we're picking favorites. We kind of turned to our team for that: ‘Hey, you know which ones make the most sense?’ Let's just say we are certainly very excited to return.

Kendall: We are certainly very excited. I remember we used to play Tinley Park … and I think the capacity there — because of how big the lawn is — was like 21,000 people. And we always sold those shows out, so Chicago clearly is a big one … We still have dreams of playing all of the places that we haven't been to.

Carlos: Hammerstein Ballroom is a really special place for us because that was the first time we ever performed as Big Time Rush. We did one song for Nickelodeon — literally the theme song. We could barely do it, we were out of breath … It's gonna be cool to go back to do that.

Tonight you’re performing a new song for fans called “Never Giving You Up.” Was that made during the same time as “Call It Like I See It”?

James: Technically, that one was created after, but they all happened in the same chunk of time.

Logan: We have a bunch of music that we’re psyched about.

Who took the longest to remember lyrics or learn the new choreography?

James: Well, I’m still going over the lyrics right now.

Kendall: We've all done pretty good actually, better than we used to.

Carlos: But I guarantee you there will be a misstep tonight [at the Chicago show].

Logan: There’s going to be at least ten. There's always some sort of misstep in almost every show and frankly that's part of the fun. You figure out how to correct it, how to adapt and you keep going.

Carlos: The best part is when you're safe and there is no misstep. [laughs]

Kendall: Whatever steps you do — as long as you're having fun — the idea is to commit to the mistakes.

Jacklyn Krol
Jacklyn Krol

Will you be remixing or taking new directions with any of your older songs?

Kendall: There's actually one track that we were forced to redo called “Show Me.” We couldn't get the original stems for it so we had to reproduce it. It sounds so much better and it's given us a good idea to go and do that to our other songs.

It seems like the biggest change in your reunion is obviously the maturity, but also having creative control, like with your production.

James: 150 million percent and that's probably the biggest difference between Big Time Rush now and before — we are controlling and creating everything. And with the little break that we had, especially doing solo projects, you become so hyper focused and if you don't do it, nothing gets done, whereas before we had things that were done for us.

Will your new music be a body of work or are you focused on singles?

James: We’d like to do an album. I don't know when, but absolutely. It's kind of always the goal to create a cohesive sound. The best way to do that is to say, ‘How would we potentially structure this 12- or 15-song album?’ We're not doing this as just a quick little thing for two shows. This is forever.

Kendall: Yeah, I did not do all those rehearsals for just two shows.

Jacklyn Krol
Jacklyn Krol

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