Former I'm a Celebrity winner, vocalist, and bassist Matt Willis spoke to the Kingston Comet about growing up in Kingston, life with Busted and the band's upcoming tour and album. 

Matt, who was born in St George's Hospital, shot to fame in 2000 as one-third of pop-rock band Busted. Matt formed the band with James Bourne after the pair were rejected to join another band. They later signed up Charlie Simpson, a month before signing their first record deal. 

The trio became successful in the UK and began an upsurge of pop-punk. They had several chart successes and are arguably best known for hit songs 'Year 3000' and 'What I Go to School For'. Before his rise to fame, Matt spent much of his younger days looking to escape the suburbs of Kingston and move to London. 

Surrey Comet:

He said: "I grew up in West Molesey by Hurst Park. I kind of never really knew what I had until later in life, when I was younger I hated it and all I wanted to do was move to London. Looking back parts of it are lovely. We grew up in a bit of a s***hole in a council estate but actually if you go five minutes down the road there are some lovely parts. 

"I live near Elstree now, but my mates still live around Molesey, Hersham, Walton and Kingston. Charlie Lives in Wimbledon. I am always down that way because I still see my mates I grew up with quite a lot. It's nice, whenever I go back things are getting better and better. I love south London."

Before breaking into music, Matt never actually intended to be a musician. He always wanted to be an actor and was given a scholarship to Sylvia Young Theatre School. It was there he met James and formed Busted. 

Surrey Comet:

After releasing two albums in the early 2000s, the group disbanded in 2005. However, they reformed in 2016 with the release of their third studio album Night Driver. Early next year, Busted will release Half Way There, ahead of their UK tour. 

Matt spoke about the record, which he said was the most difficult to write, but also a reflection of the real Busted. He said: "Half Way There was probably the most difficult record I've ever made. It was the most stressful, horrible album if I am honest.

"From the beginning it wasn't pleasurable, we scrapped almost 40 songs. We kept writing but nothing really worked. We experimented with loads of styles and what we were going to be. Night Driver was a real departure from Busted, it kind of felt like a concept album in a way. 

"But it just hit us like a tonne of bricks, we wrote 'Nineties' and were like 'oh that's what we should do, we should be Busted. We were trying to go all round the houses but we made a really cool Busted album, that our fans would love, but also we love.

"When I look back at the older albums, bits and pieces of them piss me off. I think certain songs are s*** and at certain parts, the production is a bit lame and a bit too pop. We never really meant to be that, we kind of got tarnished with that boyband brush quite a lot but never saw ourselves as that. 

Surrey Comet:

"We were surprised to be put into that bracket. I think because we were a pop act around in that time you just had to be labelled a boyband, it used to piss us off. We wanted to be Blink-182 and couldn't understand what had happened to us. We thought 'let's make the Busted album we've always wanted to make', and that’s what this album is.

"It's the definitive Busted album and what we always wanted to be. We have made a really cool pop-rock album, its fun. There are elements of our influences and you can hear early Busted, it makes us happy. If you like Busted, you'll love this album." 

The reason the album is named Half Way There is for a number of reasons. Matt said it's not only because statistically the band members are all halfway through their lives, but halfway through this album will be halfway until their seventh album.

Surrey Comet:

"We only planned on making seven albums, there is a reference in the song Year 3000 where we talk about it going platinum. So we will be halfway there, halfway through this album. Its kind of a crossroad period," he added.

Half Way There is out on February 8 with the album tour starting in Glasgow on March 23 and ending in London on March 30. The album is available to pre-order from Tickets for Busted’s UK arena tour are now on general sale from