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Superchick: Full Farewell Interview

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Superchick: Full Farewell Interview
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Few bands embody the meaning of the word innovative more completely than Supershick. Their unique brand of power pop put them in a tier all their own within Christian music. After over a decade of ministry, though, the band members are moving on. Recollection stands to be their final album, containing 11 of their greatest hits, plus five new songs. While the album celebrates their ministry, it also serves as a tribute to their drummer, Chase Lovelace who sadly succumbed to a battle with cancer earlier this year.

“When he first started chemo, Chase called me to say, ‘Don’t finish the record without me; I’m coming

back in the fall,’” Superchick founfer and band member, Max Hsu, recalls. “We managed to get some studio sessions with him and some of Chase’s rhythmic creativity lives on in these songs. They are the last words in a sentence that was brought to a full stop by his passing. These new songs are dedicated to his fighting optimism and I hope they honor his memory.”

CCM recently spoke with Max about closing this epic chapter in their lives.

 

What has this journey that Superchick has been on meant to you?

 

Superchick is about what happens when you say "yes." There are always a thousand reasons to say "no," but what we started in a basement became an amazing ride that changed all of our lives. We did the best we could with what we had and the fans took it the rest of the way. I wish there was a better word than “fans” because it was more a parade of people running along with us and carrying us on their shoulders. When children have a velveteen rabbit, it's not loved because it has value; it has value because it is loved. We were a band made real by love. We didn't deserve to be the soundtrack for people's summers. As a songwriter, to hear your words sung back to you from the crowd is more of an honor than any Grammy or Dove. It's humbling. When you get letters that say, "I was going to kill myself, but because of your music I'm here today," you realize that something much bigger than you is doing the heavy lifting. We believe that God created everyone with a destiny and a purpose, and you don't need to be special to be part of something special. We got to live the idea that we were spreading: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We didn't do something amazing; we became part of something amazing. That only happens when you say "yes."

 

With Recollection, how did you decide on the track listing that's intended to represent your entire history?

 

We write all our songs, so we don't have the objectivity that an artist might have when recording songs written by professional songwriters. You don't get to listen and say, "hey that's a great song." You only have this thing that you made, and you like parts of it and you wish other parts of it could be better. It's like looking at a photograph of yourself—you mostly focus on the parts you wish were better. It takes time away from the songs before you can start to hear them like other people hear them. Eventually, time and people's reactions tell you which songs are the important ones and which songs are the tootsie rolls left in the Halloween bowl. Everyone had their own favorites that didn't make the list, but sometimes you just have to accept that you are the only one who likes black licorice!

It was a hard couple years for us while we were making this record; we spent a lot of time in hospitals hoping that the people we cared about would make it through the night, and sadly our drummer Chase didn't. He was an example right until the end of how you never let go of hope and faith. I hope the lyrics reflect what we learned in this time, which is that we don't know how long we have and so we do not have time to waste on fear, anxiety and pettiness. Each day is a gift we cannot take for granted, and I hope when it's my turn that it will be said of me that I lived well and fully and was always able to find the beauty in every day.  I try to see the world like it's my first year and live like it might be my last (that doesn't apply to credit card debt).

 

Is this farewell bittersweet? 

 

When something has been part of your life for so long, it's going to have a big emotional impact when you leave it. All major change is scary, but it's necessary to keep moving forward. When a door closes, it frees you up to walk through other doors and be challenged in other ways. My goal in life is to always be learning and growing. If I don't actively work on it, I find myself becoming smaller and harder. It's safe but it ends with me like an old dog always barking at things I don't understand.  

All things come to an end, although if you've won the lottery a few times in a row you start to assume that you're good at winning lotteries and that you will keep winning them forever. Hindsight has shown me that we were really just incredibly lucky and incredibly blessed. Not to say that I didn't think it was amazing when we were doing it, but I definitely let things keep me from believing I was a lottery winner. Whether it was finances, conflict or pressure not to fail, it was easy to let myself become miserable. It's a natural human tendency, but I'm working on learning to live my life in a way that I don't have to wait until later to realize that I'm part of something special.

 

What has God revealed to you and the band about Himself and your role in His kingdom throughout the years?

 

When the waters of life rise above your head and you've swum until you can't swim anymore, when you are well past exhausted and there is no land in sight, the trick is to learn to float. Floating requires that you stop struggling and swimming. You lie back and rest and somehow you stay above the water. To float you have to believe that something you can't see will hold you up.  

 

 

What else is on the horizon?

 

We've all got creative endeavors, Dave has a jazz project, Tricia has a solo record, Melissa opened a flower store and I hope I can explore the visual side of my creativity more - I originally set out to make movies and got sidetracked into music. Over the years as I took over all the imaging for Superchick, I accumulated a lot of expensive cameras and lenses and I'm looking forward to putting them to use so I can stop feeling guilty about the dust on them.  

 

We did a lyric video for Sunshine ourselves that you can see here:

 

Tell us about the 5 new songs…

It's a great time to be in music now; pretty much every style and genre is acceptable, so I figured this was a good time to make music that I would make even if no one else was listening. This is how you should make music, but there's always people telling you to imitate the hit sound du jour. It can be hard to resist that pressure and easy to doubt yourself. Success can become a trap, and people tell you to play the exact same lottery numbers again because it worked last time. It was fun for me to just start fresh. We've been working at this for a long time and I feel like as a producer these are the best songs I've ever done.  Every record I try to bring something new to the process to force me out of whatever rut I've gotten comfortable in. In this case it was actually something old: vintage analog synths. I went through an obsessive phase on eBay and ended up with a roomful of them. Soft synths have come a long way and are great for very complex modulations, but there's an immediacy to having the knobs on an analog synth that make it very easy for me to create sounds. I like to program from scratch. For very simple thick sounds, I love analog. They come with some soul built into them and demand a certain kind of line. You immediately scrunch your face up and go "oh yeah…. that's funky"… it makes you want to write funky things.

 

I always am very deliberate with the lyrics. Since I am not poetic by nature I have to write and rewrite and rewrite them. If I get particularly clever with a rhyme scheme it can become incredibly confining and now I'm stuck trying to communicate a serious idea in haiku. I know sometimes people hear songs without ever knowing what they're about - for our guitar player Dave, lyrics are things that interrupt guitar solos - but for me the entire purpose of the songs is the lyrics. Every song has a truth that I've learned or I am trying to learn. They are how I hope to live my life someday - my own personal soundtrack. I wish I could sit down with every single person and explain to them what the song is about.  

 

It was a hard couple of years for us while we were making this record; we spent a lot of time in hospitals hoping that the people we cared about would make it through the night, and sadly our drummer Chase didn't. He was an example right until the end of how you never let go of hope and faith. I hope the lyrics reflect what we learned in this time, which is that we don't know how long we have and so we do not have time to waste on fear, anxiety and pettiness. Each day is a gift we cannot take for granted, and I hope when it's my turn that it will be said of me that I lived well and fully and was always able to find the beauty in every day.  I try to see the world like it's my first year and live like it might be my last (that doesn't apply to credit card debt).

 

What has God revealed to you and the band about Himself and your role in His kingdom throughout the years?

 

When the waters of life rise above your head and you've swum until you can't swim anymore, when you are well past exhausted and there is no land in sight, the trick is to learn to float. Floating requires that you stop struggling and swimming. You lie back and rest and somehow you stay above the water. To float you have to believe that something you can't see will hold you up.  

 

I had to learn that lesson. When the monsters of my anxiety lurk in the darkness I shut the gates of fear with action. Working harder was always my answer, but some things cannot be worked around. At some point we all fall. And when we've believed all our lives that we fall because we don't work hard enough or because we weren't good enough, the fall strips away our pride and we lie broken and shamed. I've always believed that God had a heart for fallen people - I just never thought I was one of them.  

 

That is what the song "Hope" is about: that at the end of it all when we can hold on no more, we can let go and God will carry us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline Lusk

Caroline Lusk

Caroline Lusk is editor of CCM Magazine.

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