Justin Tosco and siblings Nick and Hannah created the teen pop band called justincase in 1998. In just a few years, the group catapulted from playing local festivals to landing a major album contract. But the album failed to take off, and the record company released justincase. Staff writer Jennifer Rothacker spoke with Justin, 23.
Q. Is justincase still together? We are ... what we're calling it now is a hiatus. We're all in school at different universities in three different cities. I'm at (UNC) Chapel Hill, my brother is at (N.C.) State, and my sister is at UNCC. Because of that, we're all focused on school; we don't play that often. My dad (John Tosco, of the Tosco Music Parties) does a Beatles tribute each year. We'll be doing that May 12 at 7 p.m. at Spirit Square.
Q. Are you doing any solo gigs? I've done a few things here and there, but I'm not promoting any CDs, no big recordings. At school, I've played a few bars just to kind of get my fix for the music.
Q. What's your hope for justincase? I wish I could tell you. I think we're all so focused on our individual goals. I'm majoring in film here, so I've submerged myself in that. Nick is political science and interning for the state Senate, and my sister has been working at the YMCA in Charlotte. I think we've decided to reconvene after college.
Q. Can you see the band breaking up? We've been playing together since I was 12 years old. We see each other all the time. It's weird to think about a breakup. We would still play all the time, even if we weren't justincase.
Q. What did you learn from your up-and-down success? It's hard to not give a cliched answer, but I learned how hard the business is to break into. It's so true.
Q. What would you have done differently? It's stuff we had no control over, decisions about what our single was off our album, about management, how we were marketed, about tours we were billed on. If we came into conflict with the label, they were the ones with the power. I was 18 when we got signed and was the (band's) leader. Being 18 in that environment, it's hard to stand up for what we believe.
That said, we were so grateful to be where we were. We felt we won the lottery when we got signed and had the album. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that any group would want.
Q. What advice would you give would-be musicians? It's most important to stick to your guns. I don't mean just about decisions on what kind of group you want to be, but who you want to be in your corner. The people who truly believe in you will always be by your side.
More on justincase: www.justincasefans.com
Catching up with ...
Jennifer Rothacker: firstname.lastname@example.org
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