NSNYC – Interview [2002]


Is your new tour going to be supporting any particular charities or anything new going on with you guys in charities?

Justin Timberlake: We actually have our own foundation and every year we pick out charities that we’re going to help support and it’s basically it’s called Challenge for the Children and it basically helps all different types of children’s charities.

Lance Bass: Yeah, what’s great about our fans is they all get involved in Challenge for the Children. So it depends on what city we go to they’ll have different things set out — you know, if there’s food drives whatever. They get really involved with their local radio stations and do a lot for the charities.

Can you tell me how will this tour, these shows that are coming up be different from shows you did last year? In other words what can people who saw you last year expect that might be different on this tour?

Joey Fatone: Don’t expect big explosions.

Justin Timberlake: This tour is actually completely different. It’s — I think they can expect the unexpected. It’s going to be — we’re going to have a chance to sit down and talk to them a little more and they’ll definitely feel like they left with a piece of us. I don’t want to say too much about it because then it won’t be exciting when they come. Like, oh yeah he said he was going to do that so then he did it.

Lance Bass: Yeah, it’s just very intimate, this tour. It’s really all about the music and we’re doing a 360 this year so it’ll be fun.

One of the things that were so striking about last year’s shows was for a good chunk of the tour you were playing material that people really hadn’t heard before. What do you expect to be the case this year when, you know, a number of these songs — Celebrity came out — a number of these songs have been hits already. Is that — what was that experience like last year and how different will it be this year?

Joey Fatone: We’re doing some of the, obviously the old tunes but we’re going to be doing a couple of new ones like Girlfriend and stuff like that. Another cool thing is we’re doing some of our older songs from like our first album but doing some of them with a little bit of a twist which is pretty cool. Like Justin said, I don’t want to give too much away but it’s a really intriguing musical tour, this one.

Justin Timberlake: Yeah, I mean, last year it was cool because the kids, they knew when they were coming to the show last summer that they were going to get something that nobody else had, you know, which was basically about 80% of the album that was going to come out after the tour. And this year, you know, obviously they’ll know the songs but we put a twist on almost everything so it makes it fun for them to hear it a different way and to, you know, to try to recognize those tunes.

Having accomplished so much in such a relatively short time how challenging is it to stay motivated and to keep it fresh and interesting for yourselves?

Lance Bass: I think that with the five of us, you know, we have totally different personalities and, you know, ideas and that’s what keeps it fresh. You know, everyone has, you know, all these things in their head. You know, you put five brains together, there’s a lot of, you know, crap comes out. So we’ve been lucky, you know, to keep doing new things and we haven’t run out of ideas yet. But yeah, I mean, it will definitely get challenging because, you know, you can only do so much, you know, before it starts getting, you know, repetitive.

Justin Timberlake: Yeah, I don’t think can really explain what, you know, why we’re motivated. You know, I think just some people love what we do and we love what we do and that’s what keeps us motivated and obviously the fact that when you go to the shows the kids go bananas. You know, so that’s motivation in itself to do a great show. So, but yeah like Lance said we’re all five different minds and when you have five different people that are creative all the time you come up with so many different ideas and, you know, everybody’s ideas kind of make go into one thing. And that’s why, you know, a lot of things that we do seem a little bit different and sometimes very special for the kids.

You’ve been pretty much going nonstop for what is it, five, six years now. Can you talk about what your plans are for the rest of the year and if you’re actually going to get a vacation some time?

Lance Bass: Vacation.

Joey Fatone: I’d like to take a little vacation but we’re still going to be working on the next album after this, after the tour I believe.

Lance Bass: Yeah, after the tour which ends on, you know, April 28 we’re taking I guess you can call it a little hiatus for the rest of the year and just focusing on writing the next album and I guess getting inspiration for the next album. So we’re going to take a little time to chill.

Joey Fatone: We’re not rushing it.

Justin Timberlake: I think we’ll just, you know, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. We’re really excited about this tour and it’s pretty much what we’re geared up for. You know, when it gets to the point to where it’s coming to an end, you know, we’ll sit down and cross that bridge when we get there.

With the hits Gone and now with Girlfriend with Nelly it seems like you’ve kind of crossed that bridge from the teen pop image to getting some R&B credibility. Was that something you strived to do and what does that mean for your career now and for your future?

Joey Fatone: It wasn’t something that we strived to do. You know, it was just collaboration but as far as doing like Gone and everything else that’s just music that we happen to like and if it crosses over, you know, it pretty much crosses over. So we’re happy that it did and people are getting a response from it now.

Justin Timberlake: Yeah I don’t — yeah, there’s no, there was no plan for all of that to work out like it did. We’re just happy that it did. I mean, me personally it’s just cool to me to be on the same station that you listen to. You know, when you go into town, when I come into Minneapolis for instance we always try to find the hip hop station, the R&B station and then you hear your own stuff on there and that’s just a great feeling because you’re a fan of the music itself.

How involved are you in the decision to go back out on tour and whose decision was it to tour again so soon after last year’s tour?

Lance Bass: It’s definitely our decision. We wanted to, you know, all of us agreed, you know, to do this tour just because we want to do something different. We came off this huge stadium tour that was just, I mean, huge.

Joey Fatone: The biggest production ever.

Lance Bass: Yeah. And we wanted to do something different. We wanted to turn around and make it very intimate and we wanted to do this all in, you know, all in a year. And this will be, you know, the last tour for at least a year so we wanted to end it a really cool way.

Kind of following up on a question that was asked before, do you have any ideas kind of going into the next album or are there any songs you’re working on now or any concepts you’re kind of throwing around?

Justin Timberlake: I mean, everything that we’ve done with our past records, you know, it’s been, you know, we’ll finish an album cycle and then we just go on and start writing music. I think if you put, if you try to think of a concept before you actually start writing songs, I think you hinder creativity. And, you know, I think it’s important, you know, after everything gets done, you know, take a break for a second. Then come back and, excuse me, come back and start to just get creative and see where it takes you. I mean, we didn’t have the album title Celebrity until we got all the songs done and then we looked at all the songs and we, and then we kind of thought what, you know, what do we want to, what’s the kind of image we want to give on this album. And that’s what we came up with, so.

I was really impressed by your concerts in the past where you put the harness on and you fly out over the audience. Kind of a fun question — have you ever had any near misses doing that?

Joey Fatone: That’s not a fun question. There’s a bunch of times that people have gotten — Justin has gotten stuck.

Justin Timberlake: I was the first one I think.

Joey Fatone: Yeah.

Justin Timberlake: In Detroit I was stuck when we flew out on the harnesses. You’re talking about when we used to do (Sailing)? I think they cut her off. Anyways, we used to do (Sailing) and we flew out and then I got stuck and I was stuck out over the crowd for like five minutes and after the blood, you know, stopped going to my feet they finally found a way to get me back to the stage. So yeah, stuff like that happens a lot. Joey actually got stuck last summer when we came down on.

Joey Fatone: I was a little higher up. That did not feel good.

Justin Timberlake: Yeah. You were jamming up there though man.

Joey Fatone: I tried.

Can you talk about how you felt about how Celebrity was received and, you know, you guys are probably the only people that can sell five million albums and still everyone’s like oh, you know, it’s a let down. Can you talk about that and, you know, whether the pressure is off you now for the next album or whether you feel the music kind of bounced back? That’s not the right term, but.

Justin Timberlake: I don’t even think bounced back would be the right term. I think, you know, we were nervous when this album was coming out. I know I particularly was — sorry — I know I particularly was. But when it’s almost, you know, too again and, you know, the fans came out and bought it I felt like immediately the pressure was taken off. And then, you know, we knew we were doing something different with this record and if it takes a second for people to get used to that then that’s okay. You know, we just felt like we had to move in a different direction. But I don’t really feel pressure to follow up with this. I kind of feel like each album is its own event, so.

Justin, last summer you talked about the fine balancing act needed between not be over exposed yet staying in the public eye to the extent that you want and need to. How do you continue to approach that?

Justin Timberlake: Well, I think, you know, you just have to, you know, take everything in stride. I think what it boils down to it’s really about what makes you feel comfortable and, you know, as long as you don’t mind putting in the work, that’s really what it’s about. But as far as being overexposed I think that’s why, you know, after this tour we’re going to slow down just a little bit, take a break and kind of reenergize ourselves and get creative again, so.

Could you talk about that experience, working with Nelly in the studio?

Justin Timberlake: It was fun, it was a lot of fun. He actually, it was — I can’t lie. When I first got the opportunity about it I was really, really excited just because I thought his album, his first album was a great, great record. And I personally consider him a blues singer, you know, even though everybody thinks he’s a rapper because I think he’s actually got a really good voice. But he was great and he understands everything that’s going to work and everything that’s not going to work especially when we were in the studio, we first collaborated on Girlfriend. And it seems like everything, when he first came in, his ideas, everything was just right on track at what, you know, the people who listens to our stuff were going to want to hear. And, you know, understanding that, you know, two totally different artists are in the same room but a lot of the same people listen to their music, you know, at the same time, so. And then, you know, after that we just got really creative and, you know, cooked up a whole new song for his record and I think it came out really good. And I don’t want to say too much about it because I’ll just wait and let people hear it, so. I don’t want to be that person who hikes up the movie and then everybody’s like the movie sucks.

Once the show’s finally over. I mean are there any, a couple of you guys that tend to maybe buddy up more or do you tend to go your separate ways or, you know, what’s that like?

Joey Fatone: I don’t ever talk to them. (jokes)

Justin Timberlake: Nobody likes to play with me. I have to sit in my own sandbox and make stuff. (jokes)

Joey Fatone: We call each other up and everything. Just like anything, I mean, whether it be, you know, if we’re doing our separate thing, you know, people always need a hand and stuff and maybe advise in one area or another or whatever the case may be. We just call them up and say hey what’s up. I mean, we do it all the time. We don’t live that far away from each other.

Justin Timberlake: I think that’s the best part about, that’s the part about ‘NSYNC that makes it extraordinary is, you know, we’re not just a group. You know, we’re friends and we started off as friends and, you know, all of us, we’re kind of like a big family now. So even if we weren’t, you know, ‘NSYNC as people know us like that, we like Joey said would still call each other on the phone and go hang out and go to movies, go to clubs, whatever, so. So nah.

Joey Fatone: What did you say?

Justin Timberlake: Nothing.

I’m wondering if you can kind of look into the crystal ball and tell us where ten years down the road from now where you hope to be, what you hope to be doing?

Joey Fatone: My crystal ball’s really foggy right now. I don’t know. Hopefully just making music, you know.

Justin Timberlake: Dude, as long as I’m well fed and have a place to stay, that’s all I really care about. We’re a lot more simple than, you know, that I think.

Joey Fatone: I’ll probably have my hands full because my daughter will be older.

Justin Timberlake: Oh yeah.

Lance Bass: You’re going to have a kid around.

What advice do you have for someone that wants to get into your line of business?

Justin Timberlake: Don’t do it. No, well, I think, you know, it’s funny you asked it in that way because it definitely is a business and that’s something, you know, that we could say to you just because you’re a bit older than her to realize, you know, or somebody who’s, you know, going to support her getting into it especially at this age. You know, and in remembering that I’d say, you know, find yourself some good representation, you know, like a manager who can look out for you and do what you want, you know, and do it tactfully and other than that practice, practice, practice. I mean, you know, it’s like when you first come out you only have one chance I feel to hit and if you don’t hit, you know, then you have to kind of reevaluate what you’re doing and I think, you know, when you come out you want to be on top of your game. And, you know, it’s kind of like the same thing as Jordan or, you know, Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, I mean, all these people who do extraordinary things in different lines of work. You know, they practice really hard to get there, so.

If you guys can take on the perennial death of pop question and, you know, from your perspective is it waning? Is rock kind of taking it over?

Justin Timberlake: Pop will never die. Rock, if rock takes over it’s what’s going to become pop. You know, pop is…

Joey Fatone: What’s popular?

Justin Timberlake: Pop is popular in music so, I mean, we just, the style of music that — you know, the style of music that we do is so intertwined with, you know, with rock elements and hip hop elements and dance beat elements that people don’t know how to classify it and that’s why they classify us as pop music. But in reality we’re just a fusion of all different styles of music. Pop is popular music and it will always be around. If it’s not in the shape of us then it might be in the shape of some 41, you know.

What haven’t you done that you still want to do?

Joey Fatone: I don’t know. We’ve done, I mean, we’ve done a bunch of stuff. I mean, I don’t know. I mean, hopefully it’ll be more albums, I mean, even though, you know, obviously we’ve done what three or four of them. You know, it gets more and more better, more interesting and you get more creative.

Justin Timberlake: I think we have different people we want to collaborate with.

Lance Bass: I mean the skys the limit.

Justin Timberlake: That’s the fun part about being where we’re at right now is, you know, I think with this last album we definitely felt comfortable in our skin and we felt good about the music that we had written and produced and now it’s, you know, it’s really like Lance said — the sky’s the limit. I mean, we can kind of, we have the ability and, you know, the technology to kind of do the things that we want to do. So that’s fun.

Could you talk a little bit about the challenges of being a teen in the music business and what you think you may have missed out on or given up for, you know, the career path that you chose and things you didn’t get to experience in your teenage years?

Justin Timberlake: Well, I don’t think there’ll ever be, you know, an interview, you know, it’s funny to me to now look back on my teen years because I just turned 21. But I don’t think you’ll ever hear me, you know, complaining or moaning about what I did not get to do because I’ve always grown up being a very spiritual person and, you know, always in my heart I’ve always felt that people were born to do something.

I was wondering if you could tell us when all is said and done and you’re grandpas sitting on your front porch in the rocker, what would you like to be remembered for and equally important what would you hope not to be remembered for?

Justin Timberlake: Well, I think there’s a lot of things already that we would not like to be remembered for like some outfits and some haircuts. You know, but honestly for me personally when I look back when I’m a granddad sitting on my porch and I look back at what we did, you know, if we touched one person and helped change their life, you know, I think what we want to do is, you know, change the world through music. You know, if we had an affect on somebody in a positive way and we helped them in a tough time or we, you know, if what we did touched someone and made them feel special then that’s good enough for me and that’s one of the most rewarding things I think you can possibly have. It’s better than any trophy or any, you know, Grammy or anything you can get.

What was the first concert you ever went to and what do you remember most about it?

Justin Timberlake: Anyone, do you want to start it off?

Joey Fatone: When I was young I never got to see any concerts in like New York and stuff. So I actually saw one when I moved to Florida. I saw Boyz 2 Men.

Justin Timberlake: That was your first concert?

Joey Fatone: That was pretty much my first like major concert. I mean, I saw like oldies and stuff with my dad but that didn’t count. But it was amazing to me because it was just like they came out dancing. I never really saw Boys 2 Men dance and stuff and they went and did and the candles came up and a rain curtain and all this stuff, all the affects. We were like ((inaudible)).

Justin Timberlake: That’s the first show you saw?

Joey Fatone: Yeah.

Justin Timberlake: You saw the Boyz 2 Men Two tour?

Joey Fatone: Yeah.

Justin Timberlake: Oh my God man, you’ve got to get out.

Lance Bass: All we had were country concerts so my first concert was like I think it was like Tammy Wynette or Clint Black.

Justin Timberlake: My first concert, my parents took me to see the Beach Boys because when I was a little kid I used to love Brian Wilson’s voice and they took me to see the Beach Boys when they came to Memphis and played the Mud Island Amphitheatre and I remember it was like it was yesterday because I knew all the songs. So, and it was right when the movie Cocktail had come out so they were, Kokomo was like the biggest song in the world, so.

Will you be doing meet and greets? How do fans get involved in meet and greets? And how else do you suggest a fan go about meeting you guys during the tour?

Justin Timberlake: We actually do something cooler than meet and greets. Meet and greets are boring to us. So we do something called a sound check party where the kids actually get to come in to the arena and see the stage before anybody else does with the lights on and everything while we’re doing our sound check and they get to see us go through a sound check and what, you know, get to see a little bit of what we do before we actually hit the stage. And they get to come in and we usually do close to, I mean, with the last show we did, what do ya’ll say, like close to like at least 400, 500 people. I mean sometimes it would be close to 1,000 and we usually bring them in and sit them right in front of the stage and they get to see, you know, everything and then get to ask us questions and it’s a lot more fun for them and it’s a lot more fun for us too, you know, because we feel so bad. We do when we used to do meet and greets sometimes and we can only be in there for like 10 or 15 minutes because there’s so many things to do like sound check. So it’s kind of like for us we kind of get to nail two birds with one stone and also we get to show the kids something that, you know, they don’t usually get to have, so.

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