Just because Nick Carter released his solo debut Tuesday doesn't mean the Backstreet Boys are taking a backseat. The group has two songs already recorded and demo versions of two more ready to track, Howie Dorough said at last week's MTV Video Music Awards Latin America in Miami.
"I have a feeling in the beginning of the year, we'll really start hitting it hard," he said.
Dorough's progress report dispels talk that he, A.J. McLean, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson will continue as the Backstreet Boys without Carter. The dimmed spotlight on the rest of the group is simply the result of the members needing some space after a decade together.
"We are all giving each other space to explore things," Dorough said. "[While Nick's doing his thing], the rest of us are writing for the next album. So when [Nick's] done with his project and Brian has his baby and A.J. gets married, we'll be able to get back into the studio and crank out the album."
The group is experimenting with producers, though nothing's been set. Among the knob-twiddlers being considered for the follow-up to 2000's Black & Blue are Glen Ballard, Babyface and Jermaine Dupri (see "Backstreet Boys Seek Jermaine Dupri, Glen Ballard For Next LP").
As far as their take on Carter's Now or Never, BSB have nothing but love for their partner in pop.
"I'm excited about it," Dorough said. "It's something he's wanted to do. It's got more of the rock/alternative/pop sound, which is something he's grown up listening to — Nirvana, Journey — and that's the influence he brings into the group. That's just him spreading his wings and being creative on his own."