In 1998, B*Witched, an Irish girl group made up of four girls in their late teens and early 20s, went to number one. C'est la Vie, their debut single, was a runaway success, skyrocketing to the top of the charts all around the world – including in New Zealand. You'd think it'd be a dream come true for the band – but lead singer Edele Lynch says they barely had time to celebrate.
"We were so busy," she says. "We were working 16 hours, most days, for about four or five years. And when you look back, you realise how hard it was to actually take in the moment and experience everything, because we were so tired.
"When we were first starting, there was an awful lot of pressure to just keep getting number ones, and keep ourselves at a certain level," she says. "By the time you've actually got a number one, you weren't even celebrating. It's sad when you look back at it, in that respect, because it should all just be celebration, but it becomes a big huge business."
But despite her memories of being overworked, Lynch says she wouldn't change anything. "If I was to talk to my younger self, I would just tell her to enjoy it a bit more," she says. "It's hard, because I loved what I did. I wouldn't change it for the world, and I don't regret any of it."
In the 20 years since then, the band were unceremoniously dropped by their label in 2002 and later reunited alongside other 90s pop groups for The Big Reunion in 2012. They released an EP in 2014, and performed in New Zealand with Atomic Kitten and Liberty X early last year. Now, ahead of their return to New Zealand for So Pop in February with Aqua, Vengaboys and Blue, Lynch says the band is finally able to relax.
"We don't have any pressure," she says. "We're all mums, and we've got other businesses and stuff, so it's really just a great way of all coming back together and having a lot of fun. There's just so much more room to actually enjoy it now."
Lynch is thrilled to return to New Zealand, after discovering last year how energetic our crowds are. "We're ecstatic," she says. "We didn't really know what to expect… but they were literally crazy in Auckland."
Crowds are hungry for nostalgia at the moment, which So Pop is offering in spades. Lynch says the 90s is appealing for its "easy vibe" – and she's often moved by the love for B*Witched that remains, 20 years on.
"It always takes me by surprise if I'm at a party, or in a club or something, and our song comes on, you're like, 'Oh my gosh, people are still actually listening to this'," she says.
"It's quite emotional I find. It really is incredible, and especially the impact that C'est la Vie has on the crowd and their emotions. It's quite powerful."
What: So Pop
When: February 5, 2019
Where: Spark Arena