Derek Hough Ready to Rumba and Rock — with New Album
There's no Dancing with the Stars results show on Tuesday, but it will still be a big day for two pros. Derek Hough and Mark Ballas' band, the aptly named, five-person Ballas Hough Band (formerly Almost Amy), will release its first album, BHB — fulfilling a lifelong dream for the BFFs. "I'm just really proud of ourselves and so happy that our perseverance and our determination eventually got us to where we wanted to be," Hough tells TVGuide.com. But don't think Dancing's not important to them either. Ballas is paired with gymnast Shawn Johnson for Season 8 (premieres Monday at 8 pm/ET on ABC), while Hough has his own petite partner in Lil Kim. See what else Hough has to say about his new disc, why Korn will always have a special place in his life and how you can hang out with him every week (well, if you're in L.A.).
TVGuide.com: You've been working toward a music career for a while, so what does it feel like to finally have an album come out?
Hough: It's amazing. The first time I held the final hard copy in my hands, with the print and artwork and everything, and put it in the car, I definitely got emotional. It's been such a long time. Mark and I started a band when we were about 13. We'd always be dreaming about being signed, recording our music. We're just really, really excited to be sharing it with people who might only look at us as dancers, but find out we're actually musicians and for us to share with them our past and hopefully our future.
TVGuide.com: How many different band lineups did you go through before this one?
Hough: A few, but Mark and I were the band. The one we have now, it's definitely been the longest one [since 2005]. ... It's just so funny because we first started playing punk rock, then it evolved into metal and hard rock, kinda heavier and had a different drummer for that. Then they moved away and we got into more jazzy, funk stuff.
TVGuide.com: The album's best described as pop/rock, so how did your sound evolve from punk to this?
Hough: There's a lot of funk in there as well, a lot of funky lines and bass roots. I think it's kinda pop/rock/funk, you can say. [Laughs] Pop/rock guitar, funky beat and pop vocals. Uh, yeah, I dunno. I think age has something to do with it as well.
TVGuide.com: Did you have a Nirvana phase?
Hough: Oh yeah, we definitely went through that! [Laughs] I hated all that music until I met Mark. He got me into it and I actually crowd-surfed at a Korn concert at Wembley Arena.
TVGuide.com: Like during "Freak on a Leash"?
Hough: [Laughs] Actually it was "Got the Life." Oh, I remember it clearly! Ever since then, I've been into metal, rock music and stuff. We did the long hair. We just kinda grew out of it. We still love it. I think growing up in London helped us because the style there is very eclectic. I think we got more singer-songwriter-y, more jazzier, more acoustic. You can hear different elements in different songs.
TVGuide.com: Did you hesitate joining Dancing with the Stars knowing you'd have to put music on the backburner for a bit?
Hough: We did. When we were first asked, Mark and I were in England and I told him, "Dude, that's awesome, but do we really wanna be known as dancers?" We love dancing, but we really want the music. If we do Dancing and then make the music work, are people gonna look at us as dancers and not as musicians? So we were very hesitant, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity. It was too big of a thing.
TVGuide.com: And you have exposure that way.
Hough: Yeah, that's the thing. It's definitely helped us as far helping us build up a different fanbase and to help get our music across to people. I will say that when people came to listen to us play, they had very low expectations, just kinda laughed, like "oh, dancer boys," and I think every single person that's seen us play live has been pleasantly surprised. They realize we're not a joke band, we're not just two guys who met on a show and decided to capitalize on that and make a band. We're best friends, we're brothers, who've dreamed of playing music live and making an album. We just hope that people will see past the dancing — and still enjoy it. We're not nay-saying the dancing at all. We still love it and enjoy it, but just see us in a different way of performing.
TVGuide.com: Julianne performed on Dancing last year. Are you guys gonna perform?
Hough: I dunno! It's really up to the producers. If we had our way, we would definitely do it.
TVGuide.com: Well, how about dance to one of your songs?
Hough: [Laughs] Actually, funnily enough, I think Mark's girl [Shawn Johnson] has already suggested it because she loves one of the songs so much. She put in one of our songs [as a request]. It's really not up to us or we'd do a lot of different things! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: On your MySpace, you have dates at The Grove after every Tuesday show? Where the hell do you find the energy?
Hough: [Laughs] We're definitely used to doing both. We did it on the Dancing tour, like, 70 shows altogether in, like, two months. The thought of us not being able to play for the duration of the show drove us insane. The Grove is right next door [to the studio], so all the people who come to the taping, they can just come across the street and watch us play and hang around. We'll stick around, sign autographs, take pictures and everything. It's really a chance for us to keep up our music during the show and keeping active with what we're doing and not putting it on hold.
TVGuide.com: How are rehearsals going?
Hough: Great. Kim is doing great. We're doing the cha-cha. The producers just came in and they were pleasantly surprised. I'm excited for people to see this girl move. I think she's gonna blow a lotta people away, not only with what she can do, but also with her personality.
TVGuide.com: A lot of people were surprised Lil Kim was doing the show. Were you?
Hough: I was! I was very surprised, and I was even more surprised when I found out she was my partner. [Laughs] Like, "Wait a minute! That's a strange pairing." But when I met her, we jelled immediately. She's just a wonderful person and practice just goes by easily because she's just great.
TVGuide.com: You're coming back as defending champion. Is that a different feeling?
Hough: No, not really. To be honest with you, the feeling of winning lasted probably about 15 hours. [Laughs] After that, I went back to the music and everything. Now I keep forgetting. People come up to me and go, "You're defending champ!" And I'm like, "I am? Oh yeah, yeah right, I am!" I definitely can't worry about it, no pressure. Even though it does run in the family to win twice in a row!
TVGuide.com: The show's notorious for injuries and you've had a few to your head. Are you gonna stay healthy this season?
Hough: I'm gonna try! [Laughs] I don't think any injury I've had has been planned. Yeah, I dunno. I guess I'm just gonna have to walk around with foam taped to my face or something or around my body. I'm just the biggest klutz. That's the problem. I don't get hurt doing cool things. I get hurt doing really stupid things, so I'll try not to be too stupid this season!
TVGuide.com: Well, you have to perform after the show too.
Hough: Yeah, so I have something to look forward to!