interview title: 20 Questions with *NSYNC's JC Chasez
Interview Date: 2004-02-19
Interview source: PopGurls.com by Amanda
this *NSYNC interview
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On February 24, JC Chasez will release his long-awaited solo venture, Schizophrenic.
He's already tasted success with artists like *NSYNC, BT and Basement Jaxx -
as well as a hyped song on the Drumline soundtrack, "Blowin' Me Up (With
Her Love)." Now Chasez is taking the next step into pop superstardom. In
the midst of the publicity push for the new album, he sat down to tackle the
PopGurls 20 Questions.
1. The Matrix had a red and a blue pill. Alice in Wonderland offers up one
pill to make you bigger and one to make you small. If you could offer a choice
to people before taking their first listen to Schizophrenic, what would it
One pill would wake you up, excite you and pump you full of energy. [The other]
pill would make you feel sexy and loved, and put you in a mood to enjoy the
2. We're all familiar with the warning labels that grace much of today's music.
Early rumors said that even Schizophrenic would receive an explicit lyrics
warning. In your opinion, do these labels create a stigma for the artists that
As far as I know, I'm not receiving a warning sticker for lyrics on my record
Schizophrenic. I don't know how much that sticker thing actually affects record
sales considering that Eminem and 50 Cent seem to be the biggest selling artists
3. On this album, you worked with a rather interesting group of people: BT,
Basement Jaxx, Rodney Jerkins, Rockwilder and others. Is there some common
trait - professional, musical or personal - that you look for in a collaborator?
Something specific about an artist or producer that makes you want to work
I just chose to work with people that I was comfortable with and had relationships
with before - people that I considered my friends. I wasn't looking for anything
specific musically, I was just looking to be comfortable with my writing partners.
4. You mentioned recently that, while working on this album, you tried not
to listen to other music because you wanted to avoid being influenced. Is that
how you normally approach the song writing and recording process or was it
different this time?
Basically, when I went to make Schizophrenic, I wanted it to be a JC record.
I didn't go around looking for suggestions and phone calls. Of course, I'll
listen to anything at any given time of any point of the day, but when I'm
writing my record it's not like I sit there with another record playing while
I'm trying to write my own song - that's ridiculous. Basically I held all my
calls and didn't take other opinions into account.
6. Critics are already saying nice things about Schizophrenic - Entertainment
Weekly called you "musically adventurous" - but mainstream radio
is being slow to pick up "Some Girls" across the country. Which do
you think is a bigger measure of your success?
I'm delighted that music critics like it. And I get a kick out of seeing how
fans at the shows really get into the different tracks on the album. But at
the end of the day I'm very satisfied with the material I put out there.
Sure, I hope for commercial success. But at this point I made this record
in a way where I just wanted to do it myself, my way, so I can grow as an individual
and musician. So I think I've already been successful as far as my personal
goals. Now commercially, of course, it would be nice to have a few records
sold. No doubt about that.
6. What one thing have you learned through working on a solo project that
you are looking forward to applying to a group effort?
One of the things that I've learned working on my own is to maybe not stifle
too much of the creativity in the early stages. So instead of shooting down
ideas early, I try to expand on those ideas to the fullest, waiting to critique
it until I've taken it as far as [I] can possibly go.
7. You've said your career is like a roller coaster. Which theme park roller
coaster would it be, and why?
I would say that my career would probably resemble the Islands of Adventure
[theme park]. It is a well-rounded theme park, yet it takes you to the fullest.
It explores the futures of technology in some aspects, and yet always stays
to the classics in others. And the name sounds good!
8. You nearly brought the house down on your recent club tour when you teased
the crowd with the bridge to *NSYNC's "The Game is Over." What made
you decide to perform that particular song on your solo outing, and why only
a smidgen of the song?
In "The Game is Over," that bridge was actually my favorite thing
to record as a member of *NSYNC. It just felt like such a release to scream
out these things, and to me it just fit the format of my showcase when I was
talking about splitting up [in the song]. After singing the ballad I just wanted
to wake up the crowd up in a big way, and I just felt like I needed to get
it off my chest at that point in the show.
9. You also covered Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." Your band wore doctors'
outfits which, while in keeping with the institutional theme of Schizophrenic,
are also reminiscent of the costumes worn by certain members of The Revolution
while on tour with Prince in the 80s. Is there a name change to an unpronounceable
symbol in your future, too?
I hadn't even remembered that the people in The Revolution wore doctors' outfits!
I just wanted to fit the Schizophrenic theme, and you know, you can't play
an instrument with a straight jacket on, so the next best thing was to be a
hospital orderly, I guess. That's why everybody wore those and they're easy
to tear off, and hey, it's a budget thing!
Other than that, as far as me changing my name - let's see, I think my name
is "JC" because that's my initials. I doubt I'll have any name changes
in my future, as far as I know. But hey, I'm an artist, I'm a weirdo - you
10. Touring by yourself, in the intimate setting of a club, has got to be
significantly different from the latest *NSYNC stadium megatour. Has there
been an upside to this tour that you didn't expect? A downside?
The upside of touring clubs is definitely the intimacy, being able to touch
fans' hands again and being able to really connect with faces in the crowd.
That is always an amazing thing. There's not much downside to playing a smaller
venue other than maybe some people didn't get in. You want to connect to everyone.
The other thing about smaller shows is that your imagination and creativity
for what you want the show to be like has limits, because the limits of the
space won't permit certain things. When you have a bigger room if you have
an idea about a song the sky really is the limit. You can really pull off some
really cool and entertaining things.
11. What is it going to take to convince critics that your audience is no
longer strictly teenaged girls? Do you think they would believe that it never
First of all, I'm glad there are teenage girls in the audience, and women
of all ages for that matter. All of us have been teenagers. We all grow and
change and dream. The fact of the matter is that I'm happy just having an audience,
period, that loves my music. I'm appreciative of everybody that buys a record.
It doesn't matter if they're short, fat, skinny, brown, black, purple, whatever
it is. And if a grandma likes my track "All Day Long I Dream About Sex" -
then more power to her. My music is all about good times and having fun, and
I'm thankful for everybody that enjoys listening to the record. I get a kick
out of connecting with people's dreams and hopes.
As far as convincing critics, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.
My opinions about some things don't always coincide with everybody else's opinions,
that's just part of being a critic. Sometimes I agree with them and sometimes
I don't. I'm just glad they are writing about my music.
12. Some people think you're pretty brave, putting your true spirit out on
the line with a solo album that refuses to be categorized. Who's the bravest
person you know?
Some of the greatest people that I've ever met in my entire life are my parents.
They put it all out on the line for me, and they made sacrifices for me to
do what I do. My parents had to quit their jobs, my entire family had to consolidate
a lifestyle and make it fit around a child wanting to pursue a dream.
13. When you're famous the world over, people naturally want to be close to
you. What's the one thing that tips you off, when you first meet someone, that
lets you know they're only talking to you for the fame of being associated
You might not know the first time you meet somebody what kind of person they
are, but at the end of the day people will always show their true colors if
you give it a little time. Sooner or later, if they're bad people with bad
motives who are living only for themselves instead of for others, it becomes
crystal clear. If they're good people, you find that out over time.
14. You're reported to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to your craft.
Having worked numerous times now with someone like BT - 6,178 vocal edits in
a single track redefines the meaning of the term "perfectionist" -
do you find yourself stepping up your game a bit and being more exacting? Or
do you think, dude, I would've stopped at three thousand?
Well, the only reason BT was doing those edits is for a specific sound he
was looking for. As far as a soulfulness in singing and everything like that,
I don't believe in perfection, I believe in emotion and feeling.
As far as capturing a technique that's a whole other deal. If it's something
technical, then I absolutely think you should push it as far as it can possibly
go to have your technique perfected - and I do that.
15. Indie artists like Liz Phair have gotten roasted by both the media and
fans for releasing music (and working with producers) that is deemed too trendy.
How disappointing is it, as an artist, when fans don't grow with you? Why do
you think it's so hard for them suck it up and accept that everything eventually
I don't know what to say to that. I suppose at the end of the day that artists,
if they feel like they need to grow in a direction, or if they choose certain
producers, then that's who they choose and you have to respect their choices.
If the fans don't like it that just means it wasn't their tastes, and everyone's
entitled to their opinions. Life is all about growing, and if an artist wants
to grow a certain way, then that's the way they should grow. Maybe they get
new fans. Maybe their old fans grow with them.
Sometimes people just don't agree and that's the just the way it is. For myself,
I ended up picking the people I felt comfortable working with. And that's why
I worked with them. At the end of the day I'll always work with people I feel
comfortable with. I can't imagine doing it any other way, due to the fact that
music is such an emotional thing for me.
16. What band/musician did you find yourself unexpectedly liking?
I don't know who I would say I unexpectedly liked, because I like everything.
So it's pretty hard to say. Although, come to think of it, I will say I've
actually liked - I won't say all of Marilyn Manson's work - but a handful of
Manson's songs. Some of the covers are actually pretty good by my tastes.
17. People have studied the correlation between music and math. Do you find
them to be related?
I absolutely can see where math and music coincide, but I also see that the
world can essentially be broken down into math. You can take, say, something
that feels emotional and you can say "Well, it's because it hits this
rhythm on this wave length," and for every wave length you can measure
the amount of the wave length - you can measure the height and depth and whatever
you want. You can measure just about anything on the face of the earth, things
you can see and things you can't see, so essentially everything that ever existed
someone is going to find a way to break it into math.
Don't get me wrong here, I don't really think that deep into math on a regular
basis - again, at the end of the day, the stuff that I do, I don't go "Wow,
that's five beats instead of four." I just know that it felt good. I mean
I can count it if I want to, I guess.
The other thing about music being related to math is that it seems that everybody
has a formula to predict things, and one of the things that is wonderful about
art and music is that you can't predict everything. The one thing you look
for in an artist is for them to surprise you and enlighten you, and that is
one of the best things about doing this record, Schizophrenic, is I feel like
I surprised a few people and expanded their horizons about my music.
18. Some girls dance with women, but why do you feel more boys don't dance
I actually disagree with the premise of this question a thousand percent.
I think guys dance with each other all the time - I don't mean they physically
touch - but when you look at society there are millions and millions of examples
where men dance with other men. Maybe they might not touch each other, but
the classic example is of the "battle circle" where the men are dancing
with each other, competing with each other. The way I view it, it is just friendly
Take football or basketball players, for example. They have to play against
each other, but with each other, in order for you to watch a game. Not that
these guys are trying to turn anybody on, or maybe they are actually, come
to think of it, maybe they are ruffling their feathers when they are doing
a back flip or something. It could be something, I guess, much deeper and in
their subconscious, I don't know. But whatever, I do think guys dance with
each other all the time at a certain level.
19. Rumor has it that you have may have heard
BT's Monster score in 5.1. If so, how cool was it? Do you see
DVD-audio as an exciting format that will expand the music creating and listening
experience? Or just a snazzy new toy for people to show off to their friends
at dinner parties?
Yes, [I've heard it]. Yes, it sounds very cool. And I do see DVD as an exciting
format. Will it become every day? Maybe. Maybe not. What it has done to movie-making
is astounding all on its own. But as far as listening to songs on 5.1, I don't
know how many public places are going to be able to work that format into play,
when you'd have to stand in different areas in the room. Maybe at home, yes.
It definitely enhances the listening experience, at least from a mix standpoint.
20. If a booming, echo-y voice came to you in the middle of the night and
told you that when you woke up in the morning you could have any new career
of your choice - only it couldn't be musically related - what would your new
job be? Firefighter? Undercover CIA operative? Long-haul trucker?
I have absolutely no idea, because my mind has always been so hard set on
being in the music business. And I feel so grateful to the fans who make it
possible for me to do just that. I just can't imagine doing anything else.