EXCLUSIVE: JVCKJ Talks Debut Solo Album “PASTEL: The Early Days,” Jack & Jack and More

JVCKJ, best known for being one half of the multi-platinum pop duo Jack & Jack—released his debut independent solo project Pastel: The Early Days on December 4! The 7-song EP is filled with carefully thought-out lyrics of reflection layered over exciting and diverse instrumentation. 

About the project, JVCKJ said, “PASTEL stands for Progression Always Starts Through Experiencing Life. I have always had a deep affinity for pastel colors. They make me feel at peace… they are easy on the eyes. Pastels are also the progressive state of any given color. Not too saturated, not too dull, but somewhere right in the middle. I’ve also realized they are a reflection of us. Progressing, trying to saturate ourselves and make life more vivid day by day. We will never be fully be where we want in life. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s okay. It all starts with stepping outside of your comfort zone

Let’s talk your debut solo EP “PASTEL: The Early Days,” what was the creative process like compared to creating a Jack & Jack album?

My biggest takeaway from the creative process for PASTEL was that it is much more personal making music by yourself. I still had a producer in the room for some of these records working on the beat, but the solo-writing process really allowed me to dive into some darker corners of my mind and keep the momentum of the record going with a clear train of thought. Me and Jack worked with a million writers in the past, all of whom I’m a fan of, but something about not having your vision clouded in any shape way or form due to outside ideas was very cool and liberating to me. Especially with how intricate my rap verses get, nobody else could really even help with penning them at the end of the day. So yeah. It was very fun to just speak as my truest self. 

What was it like finally getting to release your own music on your own as a solo artist? 

Awesome! Of course it’s great to have someone there to be at the same level of excitement with you, but me and Jack G truly still view any personal victory one of us may have as a win for the group and a win for Omaha! The supporters were taken aback by the music quality though, and it was such a good feeling. Shout out to everyone streaming! 

Why did you title it PASTEL: The Early Days? What about that title stuck to you?

Well pastel is an acronym for PROGRESSION ALWAYS STARTS THROUGH EXPERIENCING LIFE which is something everyone should implement into their everyday worlds. The whole mantra behind it is spreading your wings, trying new things, expanding your horizons so to speak. Pastel colors are the progressive state of any given color. So to me they represent any human on a mission of continued personal growth and a better sense of self. for me “the early days” was representative of my first chapter of solo JVCKJ music. 

Do you have a favorite song off the album?

It’s hard to pick between your children. It’s ever changing. But today it’s City Of Thrills. I just left a cryotherapy place and they let you put on a song as your freezing your ass off in the chamber. City of thrills helped me zone out. Made me reflect on my life and how grateful I am to be freezing my ass off at this very moment. But the underlying message about how rock bottom moments in life can provide clarity is really important and inspiring to me and hopefully others. Sometimes in the thick of the fog is when the truth reveals itself!

You wrote every song in all caps and I’m curious what was the meaning behind doing that?

Aesthetic purposes. Nothing too deep behind it, just wanted to match PASTEL.

If you could set up a fan in a setting for them to listen to your album what setting would that be?

Great question. I would say on headphones on an airplane. I listened to it recently while looking out of an airplane window as the sun was setting and it was glorious. Different records definitely constitute different “ideal” settings, but they can all work while peepin out the airplane window. 

What’s one quote you’ve heard in life that you’d want to ECHO out to fans?

William Wallace’s dad in Braveheart. Malcolm was his name. He told a young William in the beginning of the film “I know you can fight, but it’s our wits that make us men”

I love this quote, because it is something you can tell aided William as he nearly took down an entire army with, in comparison, a handful of Scottish warriors. Smarts over power. I’ve always been a self-proclaimed pacifist so I suppose that context isn’t too fitting, but I like to think it can be applied in a greater sense. I like to talk out my problems, not get aggressive and impulsive. I believe if we all could just stop and take a deep breath in times of potential rage or anger, the world would be a better place.   

This year, unlike any other years, is almost done. What are you looking forward to most in 2021? What’s something you learned about yourself as well this year since it’s been a completely different year?

I can’t wait to get back on the road again. Hopefully touring can happen in 2021, but if not then it is what it is. I’m excited for the world to find some peace somewhere in the year. My biggest wish is that we can all be more united after this batshit crazy year. I know it’s wishful thinking, but I really am looking forward to the world potentially uniting over the death of a common enemy i.e, COVID. They say enemies in common breed the best of friends, so I’m hoping that can translate on a global scale haha

Stream JVCKJ’s debut album now!

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