Interview: Getting To Know ‘Turning Red’s Boy Band 4-Town

One of the key plot points of Pixar’s newest film, Turning Red, is 13-year-old Mei wanting nothing more than to see her favorite boy band, 4-Town, live in concert. To celebrate the upcoming Disney+ exclusive release of Turning Red on March 11th, the actors behind 4-Town participated in a press day where we learned all about what drew them to Turning Red, working with Billie Eilish, and which bands they would have done just about anything to see live in concert.

  • Jordan Fisher (voice of “Robaire”)
  • Grayson Villanueva (voice of “Tae Young”)
  • Josh Levi (voice of “Aaron Z.”)
  • Topher Ngo (voice of “Aaron T.”)

What About Turning Red Made You Want To Be Involved?

Jordan Fisher: Asian representation – that just screams. The collaborative efforts with Finneas and Billie, that caught my eye, quickly. When it was brought to me it was “something, something, Pixar. Something, Finneas. Something, Billie Eilish.” And I said OK, I would love to. It is an absolute joy to know we were all walking into something that was fresh, and new in so many aspects. When you don’t hear 4-Town singing you hear a score that is so dynamic, and so Asian inspired, and so right for this piece. Everything about it feels like something that has been missing for a really long time. For us to be a part of that is just a dream.

Grayson Villanueva: I knew way less than what Jordan said when I found out about this project. It was under a code name and all I knew was they were looking for boy band-sounding people and I was like let me submit some *NSYNC, let me submit some early Justin Bieber. Three months later I got a call saying “Disney is gonna call you this week” and I was like “oh, wow!”. I didn’t even know it was Disney, that’s how little I knew about it. I’m just grateful to be here.

Topher Ngo: It’s amazing because Grayson and I are actually like really best friends and we both got the call on the same day. It was insane to get to freak out together. I love Billie Eilish and Finneas’ music, they are such masters of their crafts. When I submitted for this project I actually did a Billie Eilish cover not knowing that they wrote the music for this film. So to be able to do music that was written by Billie Eilish and Finneas – dream come true. INSANE.

Josh Levi: For me it was Billie. That was enough for me. That’s my girl. I’ve known her for a minute and we haven’t really done anything together. So I was excited at the idea of collaborating and creating. I thought it was really cool and unique to pair that as something as special as Pixar.

Did You Get to Record Together With Billie?

Josh Levi: We had our own booths. How many of us are there? Four. Five. There are five of us, but it’s called 4-Town, it’s a little confusing. All five of us had our booth next to each other. Billie was there, just acknowledging what was going on, giving some direction here and there. We all met and worked together on the same day.

Which 4-Town Song Is Your Favorite?

Jordan Fisher: I think it’s split 50/50 for us. We love all three of them but two of us have a favorite, and two of us have another favorite. So for me and Josh it’s 1 True Love.

Josh Levi: Absolutely.

Topher Ngo: And then the better answer is U Know What’s Up, for me and Grayson. But all the songs are killer.

How Do You Relate to Your Characters in Real Life?

During an early press day, Director Dommee Shi and Producer Lindsey Collins described the 4-Town members in the following way – do you feel that you relate to them in these ways?

Aaron Z. as the Sporty One

Josh Levi: I definitely gravitated more towards music. My siblings are star athletes – now they wanna do what I do, which is music. So I know the language of sports and super athletic, but he might have got me beat a little bit.

Tae Young as the K-pop One.

Grayson Villanueva: I love K-pop! BTS all day! My character is also known as the one who is wholesome and rehabilitates doves on his own time. I have such a soft spot for animals.

Aaron T. as the Goofy One

Topher Ngo: I might be the goofy one in some of my friend groups. In my own life I think I am kind of derpy and kind of a klutz, so let's go with that.

Robaire as the One Most Likely To Have A Solo Career.

Jordan Fisher: I'm the kind of person to not necessarily leave everyone for a solo career, but to leave everyone to go find a book and a cup of coffee. There are elements to Robaire that are kind of that. The first rendering I saw was of him at a café in France, because he can speak French, and I'm like that right there is my speed. I like doing the work and then going home.

What Band Would You Have Done Anything To See Live in Concert Growing Up?

Jordan Fisher: I would have killed to have seen *NSYNC live. I never got to see them live. I didn’t grow up going to concerts. I did not grow up in a musical family. I did not grow up in an artistic family at all. I am the first person in my entire family on either side to have any creative bone in their body. So I didn’t grow up going to concerts until all of a sudden I had a massive interest in all of it when I was 10. At that point *NSYNC had phased out, it was around the time Justified had come out and that was when I was like “WHAT DID I MISS?”. I knew them growing up and was a fan of them, I learned the choreography, but I never got to see them.

Topher Ngo: I actually have a similar story. I grew up an Emo / Screamo kid so I loved metal and that kind of stuff. I begged my mom to take me to this industrial metal music show. They got my Uncle to drive this soccer mom minivan to LA to go see this really small metal concert and I was this 13 year old moshing at this concert.

Grayson Villanueva: I grew up as an Emo kid and there was this band Daphne Loves Derby that I really loved. The lead singer is actually Asian, so talking about representation, that’s one of the things that led me to want to sing. I really wanted to see them but unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t let me.

Josh Levi: I’m similar to Jordan. I only listened to Gospel music until I was about 9. My dad put me onto a few amazing vocalists here and there like Jasmine Sullivan and Brandy, but my parents didn’t have on MTV or TRL. I discovered things so late. I think I went to my first concert at like 12, which I think was Chris Brown. So I was so behind on things, but I think it was a blessing because I was able to choose what I liked as opposed to just having it always around me. I made my own choice as to what I connected with musically.

Check out the full interview below and be sure to watch Pixar’s Turning Red exclusively Disney+ today!

More From Wealth of Geeks

This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios.

Tessa Smith owns and is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic and a huge geek. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics associations including the Critics Choice Association and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association. She grew up watching movies, playing video games, and reading comic books -- and still loves all of those things. She proudly lets her geek flag fly and spreads the word that there is nothing wrong with being a geek.