I just had to answer all these questions for a possible blog feature and I had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought y’all might be interested in checking it out:

What is your first musical memory? My first musical memory is starting to watch MTV as a six-year-old back in 1989 and continuing to watch it through the early 90’s. Seeing videos like “Rock the Cradle of Love” by Billy Idol, “Epic” by Faith No More, “November Rain” by Guns and Roses and “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul had a huge effect on me. Now, music from that time period makes me happier than any other music. I’m so glad that some of the club music from that time STILL gets played in the club whenever I go out, 20 years later. “Show Me Love” by Robin S., the best song of all time in my opinion (which is NOT the same song as “Show Me Love” by Robyn from 1997), will apparently never die as long as there are clubs in New York City. Thank God for that!

What was the first concert you ever went to? It was probably some boring crap at Carnegie Hall, since that was right in my neighborhood, but the first real concert I ever got excited about going to was Jamiroquai at the Theater at Madison Square Garden with Busta Rhymes opening, in 1997, when I was 14, right after “Virtual Insanity” had just blown up in America. Jason Kay, the lead singer and songwriter of Jamiroquai, was an excellent showman, and I think he’s definitely written some of the best groovy/funky songs I’ve ever heard. Busta Rhymes was riding the success of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” at the time, and he was adorable. It was nice to see Busta putting effort into his show then, because when he came and did a show at Harvard, where I went to college, 8 years later, he half-assed it worse than an amateur and I was really disappointed. The best concert I ever went to was the Spice Girls farewell tour, and if you don’t like that, you can kiss my @$$. 🙂

What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration? There is some really incredible, soul-stirring electro-pop coming out these days, and most of it comes from my favorite artist, the UK’s Frankmusik. He is a total genius. There are also some amazing remixes of stuff like his floating around out there, including one of his song “Confusion Girl” remixed by Russ Chimes. That is the best, most beautiful electronic song I’ve ever heard. The use of strings in that song is just heavenly. Then of course I always draw inspiration from early 90’s club pop, like stuff from Black Box, C&C Music Factory, Robin S., etc, because they were the masters of perfectly danceable pop that makes you happy, and I just think that sound needs to come back in a big way. I’m always happy when someone tells me my songs remind them of early 90’s club music. That is the highest compliment I can get.

Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” or “rock,” describe your sound. Early 90’s club music-inspired electro dance amazingness.

Stones or Beatles? Neither. Sorry! I like synthesizers. I respect and am in awe of both groups, it’s just that I don’t really listen to anything they’ve put out.

What’s your dream collaboration? Frankmusik, Robin S, Britney Spears.

Do you find the song or does the song find you? Mostly, the idea for the song and the melody pop into my head as a response to me thinking about something in my life that usually has to do with love, relationships and dealing with emotionally retarded boys.

How do you discover new music? I check Frankmusik’s twitter over and over to see if he’s put out anything new. Also, I listen to terrestrial radio (sorry!), internet radio (everybody happy now?) and occasionally check the odd blog about electro/dance music.

So there you have it. Whaddaya think? Leave a comment below. 🙂

Come see my shows!

I have two very important, very fun shows coming up that I’d love for you to come and see. The first is Saturday, March 27th, at Art For Progress’ Clash of the Artists event in New York City. A ticket gets you admission, free drinks, food, awesome entertainment, and a ballot to vote for me and help me win the music competition. The proceeds from the event also go towards supporting education. If I win first place, I’ll get a great prize pack, so I hope you’ll come out and support me there. Click here for more information and to buy tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/100460.

The second show is a spot in the same showcase where Lady Gaga was discovered three years ago! I’ll be performing in the Songwriters Hall of Fame New Writers Showcase on Thursday, April 1, 8pm at The Bitter End (147 Bleecker Street) in New York. Admission is FREE so I really hope to see you there. Here’s the link for more info: http://songhall.org/news/entry/950. It’s FREE, so bring all your friends!

Me at Public Assembly after my show. Photo credit: Niko Lamas

So a few weeks ago my friend Joe Gatti of the band JoGaBot invited me to play a show with him at Public Assembly on 12.26.09. I was excited to be invited, but I don’t think I thought the show would be as important to me as it ended up being. This show was a really important moment for me.

1. I put a bunch of time before the show into cleaning and flat ironing my wig, which meant that instead of it looking like the cheap, everyday costume store plastic hair that it is, it looked stylized and slick, and really completed my outfit nicely (that rug really tied the room together, man!). I really felt great about how I looked at this show, and it paid off because it got a lot of people taking pictures and video of my show, which I don’t think they’d do if I didn’t look unusual and interesting and capture their attention. Attracting attention of a nice photographer at the venue, by the way, is what got me the gorgeous photo you see above. And I love that photo!!!!!!

2. It was a full on solo show in a venue with beautiful sound, and I got a great quality video of the whole show, courtesy of my wonderful friend Elijah. This allowed me to really see that my show really sounds excellent with tracks on a great sound system and live vocals, and there’s nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to performing with tracks. What I bring to the table as an artist is the ability to write and record songs in my home studio and sing them live, not play them live, and my show needs to consist of me doing what I do best to best showcase the music and my performing abilities. I think performing with tracks does that, and now I have fantastic video evidence of that to show to any promoter/booker who thinks a show performed with tracks wouldn’t work or be enjoyable or sound awesome, because it is awesome and enjoyable. Finally, I have good video of what I can do live as a solo act! I am SO relieved and excited about that and I think it will be a great help as I go about trying to book a lot of shows this year.

3. I had a great time with this show and was very happy with how it turned out, and there were a lot of random people in the room who heard and watched the show and signed up for my email list afterwards. As I went around the room collecting email addresses, a lot of people kept saying to me “I really hope you do well with this, because you really deserve to. You had such great energy up there and your voice is amazing!” and things like that, which was awesome. People seemed surprised that I was able to put on a high-energy show in a low-attendance room, but my feeling was, a) you have to do your best at every single show because you never know who’s watching, even if it’s only one person (and I proved this with this show, since if I hadn’t given a great show, I wouldn’t have won over any of those new fans) and b) I knew I needed a great video of me doing a great performance, and dammit, I was going to get it come hell or no audience! (And I did!)

Lookin' fierce for Felipe's Droid phone

So Saturday was the Murphy’s Law show just up until the part where it really mattered. Here’s what went wrong leading up to the show:

1. Dan of Comandante Zero’s bass and vocal mic were stolen a week before the show.

2. Ken of Comandante Zero had a last minute trip out of town that came up and meant he wouldn’t be around for the show.

Result: no more double-header show

3. My band still wants to play the show but can’t provide a drum set or manpower to get everything up five flights of stairs.

Result: no more backing band for my newly solo show

4. Dan’s family gets a horrible stomach flu a few days before the show, which means that Dan gets a horrible stomach flu one day before the show. Dan is incapacitated the night before the show.

Result: Dan considers cancelling on the day of the show (but does not because he is INCREDIBLE)

5. The largest blizzard in recent memory is set to descend upon New York City when? The night of the show.

Result: Probably about half the audience that was going to show up is no longer going to show up

6. Dan sets up the sound system between bouts of trying not to die of stomach flu. Sound system starts loudly popping to the point where it sounds like someone is dropping a large amount of 30lb rubber balls onto the floor of the apartment from a height of 15 feet. Turns out a piece of the amp has fallen off during its trip to this gig.

Result: I am freaking out while pretending to focus on making mulled cider.

Despite all this, Dan managed to fix the amp before dragging himself back to Brooklyn just before he would have gotten stranded in Manhattan (oh the humanity!) because of the snow, and the show itself was a lot of fun. More importantly, it was ALL CAUGHT ON TAPE this time, and I will be uploading videos of it very soon! This means I will have videos of about eight songs being performed live to tracks to upload soon, which is very exciting. There are also some very funny moments caught on tape that you will have to watch for once they’re uploaded to youtube.com/jccassis. I made some new fans and friends at the show too, and one of the hosts of the loft took gorgeous professional photos of the show, and is willing to take more promo shots of me for my album cover etc, all for the price of me buying him a drink. Love it! Will upload the photos as soon as I have them. Can’t wait to have a free house party when there’s NOT a giant blizzard destroying New York so that I get all the audience I would have gotten in halfway decent weather.

The best moment of my life thus far.
The best moment of my life thus far.

There is an artist that I LOVE who I’ve been listening to for at least the last year and a half who is amazing, who is brilliant, who is my inspiration. He is from the UK and for a year and a half I was trying to figure out how/when I was going to get over to London to see him play. Then Perez Hilton’s tour brought him to NYC tonight, so I went to see him. His name is Frankmusik and if you don’t know about him, you bloody well should, because he’s just the best in every way. (www.myspace.com/frankmusik) I had corresponded with him a bit over myspace and facebook (he’s a fan of mine on facebook, which just blows my brain out of the back of my head), and hoped to meet him one day, but didn’t know how or when it would ever happen. Well, boy, did it happen tonight! Here’s how it went down:

My delicious friend Lane and I went to the show, waited for an hour for it to start, and then Perez Hilton came out and announced that the first act would be Frankmusik and I just lost my shit. He did his set and I screamed so loud and so much I partially lost my voice. I jumped longer and higher than I ever knew I could, getting plenty of extra stamina from the excitement of the show. I just couldn’t believe that after a year and a half of watching his videos and hearing his songs and meeting him on myspace, here he was, right in front of my face, performing the songs I loved so much. It was sort of killing me that he was ten feet away from me but probably didn’t even know I was there, since when you’re on stage you can’t really see the audience. So I just waved and yelled as much as I could, and hoped the light would catch my disco-ball visor that I’ve worn at my last few shows (see pics). Then the end of his set came, and Lane and I left to go get some dinner. I figured I’d come back to the venue after eating to see if I could say hello after the rest of the show.

So I come back from dinner after about an hour, and as I’m walking along the street toward the venue, I just looked at the sky and prayed in my head that somehow I’d be able to find him and say hello, even for a second. I get back in front of the venue and who’s coming right out the door but FrankMusik!!!!! And before I say anything he looks up, sees me, his jaw drops and he says “JC?!?!?” and lemme tell you, that was like the best fuckin’ moment of my life. I DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO SAY HELLO FIRST BECAUSE HE KNEW WHO I WAS FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’S LIKE IF BRITNEY SPEARS SAID HELLO TO ME FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

Breathe, breathe. So anyway, he says, “JC?” and I was like “Hey!” and we hugged a big wonderful hug and chatted a bit, and I said “Did you see me in the crowd?” and he was like “Yeah!” and we talked about my disco ball visor and I was like “Now, I’ll give this to you, but you have to wear it, because it will look fabulous on you!” And I gave it to him he really liked it and we took a couple of pictures (see pics).

The second best moment of my life thus far.
The second best moment of my life thus far.

Then he said he was really hungry and I said we could get a bite, and he said sure, after the show. So then he went back in and I saw him around the show a bunch of times while the other acts were playing, but other people were always talking to him, so I didn’t want to hog him, haha. But the whole time I was trying to get my head around the idea that this amazing artist I’d only known through the internet, who’d been an ocean away the whole time I’d known of him, was standing in the same room in the same building in MY city, and had just spoken to me! It was so surreal. If you’ve never gotten a chance to meet someone you idolize in real life after only knowing them from the internet, I recommend it. It’s like living inside a wonderful, ridiculous dream.

So after the show I waited for him to come out of the venue, which he finally did, and asked if he still wanted to grab a bite, but he was tired and wanted to go to sleep. I did get to chat with him about how his album had done in the UK and what he’d be up to now (HE’S COMING TO AMERICA TO RECORD!!!! YAYYYYYY!!!), and he was so sweet. “It was so great to finally meet you after all this time–it’s been years!” he said. I just wanted to give him hugs, which I did a few times, and each time we hugged he’d give me a peck on the cheek. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It was such a funny position to be in, talking like friends but me freaking out inside because I’m also such a huge fucking fantard of his, but him being so sweet and friendly and remembering everything about how long we’d been in touch etc. I was blown away by how sweet he was.

There are certain people I know that I’m just wild for and when I see them I just overflow with love and affection. I get really enthusiastic about expressing that love, because, well you know, because love is the most important and wonderful life-affirming, life-sustaining force there is. So even though we’d hugged a few times already, before I let him go, I was like “I just wanna give you one more hug before I go,” and as I hugged him really tight and my face was right by his ear I couldn’t help but say “Iloveyouyou’resofuckingawesooooooooooome!!!!!” which he was very sweet about. I fucking love this guy. You have to buy his album right now!

But the story doesn’t even end there!!! I started walking west down 15th street, still just dizzy from joy and amazement, and when I got to Union Square I hear someone whistle at me and he yells out “Hey JC!” from his cab. I turn around and there he was, hangin’ out the front window, talkin’ to me. Can you fucking believe it???!??! So my brain was just on auto-pilot I was in such shock and I was just like “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey FrankMusik!” in my silly voice. And then I kept walking while his cab was at a stop light, and then his cab caught up to me and we waved and said hello again, and then he said something else I couldn’t hear as his cab sped away and I went into the train station. Standoffish he is not. He is THE BEST. SO SWEET. TOTALLY AMAZING. MADE MY NIGHT, WEEK, MONTH, YEAR. LIFE!!!!!

FRANKMUSIK, ILOVEYOUYOU’RESOFUCKINGAWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!!!!!!

Cannot WAIT till you come back to New York!!!!

And also, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!