The members of Los Angeles-based five-piece Why Don’t We are in the early stages of boy band success. This is Phase One, the golden phase, where everyone is cheerful and puppylike, anything is possible, and everyone is still speaking to interviewers, and each other.

Why Don’t We formed in September 2016, dropped its first single, “Taking You,” less than two weeks later and has energetically set about filling the One Direction-sized hole in pop culture. The group has released a stream of EPs, culminating in the holiday release “A Why Don’t We Christmas,” and is scheduled to drop a full-length next year.

During a phone call from the Dallas stop of the Jingle Ball tour (the five appeared at KISS-FM’s Jingle Ball concert at Allstate Arena), they broke down the first 14 months of their new lives. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.


They were solo artists with their own online followings when they decided to get together.

Corbyn Besson: We all hated each other. We were all arch-nemeses.

Daniel Seavey: We flew down to LA and met each other, (but) we all knew each other online. We were all friends before in some way, but we hadn’t all hung out, all five of us together in a room. So we just Airbnb’d it for two weeks, and hung out and jammed out. The idea wasn’t really to start a band.

Besson: The magic was there, and it just felt right, and we’ve loved doing it ever since.


The band members, and their respective followings, quickly grew close.

Jonah Marais: We never expected to be in a band, we were just friends and were hanging out, and it made sense to join forces, because we all had similar musical aspirations. It just clicked, and it hasn’t ever felt like a weird vibe at all, it’s been really great. It’s been crazy to see the fans that supported us all come together as a family.

Seavey: We’ve lived together for this whole duration of being a band. If we can live together that long, we must like each other.


They signed to Atlantic Records after a private audience for label chief Craig Kallman.

Besson: We were just singing, doing our thing, and he was sitting there with the most stern look on his face. I’m sitting next to (band member Zach Herron), and Zach leans over like, “I don’t think he likes us. Do you think he (likes) us?” I was like, “I don’t know, bro. I think he does.” Then we finish our last song, and he looks over at our manager and was like, “Amazing.”


Their EP “Why Don’t We Just,” bumped boy band Hall of Famer Harry Styles off the top of the charts

Besson: That was crazy. We were sleeping, and we wake up and we check the charts, and we were like, “Oh!”


They are now greeted by screaming girls most places they go.

Marais: It’s been so surreal, it’s been crazy. We were just over in Europe, and I went into it with the mindset of, “All right, we’ve got something good happening in the States. Let’s go try to make something happen over there too.” Then we got there, and there’s hundreds of girls waiting for us at the airport. That was a real moment where it was like, “OKaaay.”

Allison Stewart is a freelance writer.