The hardest thing they’ve ever had to do is be apart!
Just 20 years after famed boyband 98 Degrees released their self-titled debut album, band members Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre are celebrating by returning to the stage for a tour to support their upcoming second Christmas album, Let It Snow.
“We wanted to do a project, in part, because it’s the 20th anniversary. We thought, ‘What a great chance to come back 20 years later and do something else,'” says Nick tells PEOPLE.
Yet, after selling 10 million records worldwide and achieving eight top 40 singles in the U.S. since their start in 1997, their “favorite musical project we’ve done together” still remains their 1999 Christmas album This Christmas.
“We thought, ‘Why not do a second version of that?’ and try to create the same type of timeless classic sound that we thought we accomplished in the first one,” Nick says about why they decided to come back with a holiday album. “It just made the most sense. We loved the first record and we’re loving the second record, too.”
While the exact holiday tunes they’ll be recreating are still under wraps, the album willinclude one original song and will not repeat any songs from the first record.
“We have two a cappella song on this record – similar to the last where we also had two – but a cappella has been something that we’ve always done and prided ourselves on, so there’s that element. Then we just literally went down our favorite Christmas songs and figured out which would work well and compliment each other,” says Drew. “We didn’t just want song after song, we wanted a journey – for the album to be a complete work of art as a unit.”
While the men agreed to take a long hiatus from 2003 until 2012 to fulfill other ambitions and opportunities, Justin says “it’s always great to get back together and to tour and interact with our fans.”
“It’s always been a passion of ours and that’s why we started this a little over 20 years ago now,” he says. “There’s something about just the creative process and I think we have something very unique with our blend, similar interests in music and similar influences and work ethic.”
He continues, “It’s what we love to do and I think we’re having more fun doing it now than we ever did in the past.”
“My oldest daughter was really young when we first got started, so she wasn’t aware of what this was, and we had such a long break and a lull that I was producing at home and doing other things,” says Jeff.
“It was a luxury for me to have her out on the road a few years ago when she was 15 and she actually thought I was cool!” he jokes. “It’s a great experience with these guys, but experiencing tour life with your children is really cool.”
That’s not to say all the kids will be hitting the road. Nick’s three children and Drew’s two “will come out at some point,” Nick says — but not much.
“We’ve discovered with a couple tours [that] it’s just easier for us to go out there and do it rather than totally disrupt their lives,” Drew explains. “Nick has a 6-month-old [son Phoenix], so there are sleep patterns, and then we have kids who take naps and kids in school and sports … you make the schedule so that you can go in and out and fly back and forth.”