Go Cheeks Go! A Cheektopian Revolution
The world of Cheektopia revolves not only around Cheeks, but around the Cheeks movement. It is a movement of hope, happiness, love, and equality. Fans of Cheeks’ movement, known as “Peeps” have come together from around the world to talk about, well, everything! At the center of this pivotal movement is the idea of creative expression, acceptance and love for not only each other, but everyone. A good example is what Weetz, a Peep, has to say: “Cheektopia is a place where I know I can find people who aren’t afraid to express themselves creatively and at the end of the day, we all have a love of Cheeks in common.” Cheeks aptly describes Cheektopia in his manifesto, cleverly entitled Cheeks’ Manifesto, by saying, “Cheektopia is not a fan club. The face on the flag is me, but it’s all incidental to the whole movement. Cheektopia is a community that represents and encourages expression, positivity, and of course, sexy naughtiness.” Members of Cheektopia also enjoy the exclusive Cheeks: Unbuttoned podcasts between Cheeks and Cap’n Phatty that are guaranteed to bring smiles to their faces.
I was drawn to Cheeks first because of his sparkly, snarky, and witty personality. You can’t resist smiling and giggling a little when he comes to mind. Cheeks ultimately reeks of positive energy and we cannot help but adore him for it. He is the breath of fresh air when you feel like you’re drowning. After growing up in Dallas, Texas, Cheeks moved to Los Angeles to attend Los Angeles City College and pursue a career in entertainment. His accomplishments are unbelievably impressive for a solo artist. Not only has he been successful but he has been himself through and through reminding us that “normal doesn’t have enough flair!” Check out Cheeks in his own words below!
Me: As a very multitalented man, what are your ultimate career goals? What are your musical and cinematic goals?
Cheeks: Thank you! I like working with different tools to craft an all encompassing vision. Though I love working with music and comedy, I don’t really consider myself a singer or an actor. I’m an artist, utilizing the media I need in order to express the greater concept. I mean sure, you could say ‘prophet’ or ‘visionary’, but I should probably sell some more albums first. But speaking ferrealz, I would ultimately love to produce a live show that uses everything: music, dancing, acting, visual screens, and speaks to every sense. Right now, I have a lot of ideas — they range from hilarious to sexy to terrifying —- about the state of our culture. The show would reflect that. To me, art is a self aware creature that loves to parade around laughing at itself, scaring itself, and turning itself on. That’s essentially the role I would play.
Congratulations on Glambition reaching #3 on the iTunes Electronic Chart! I have had Champagne and Cocaine in my head for weeks, do you write all of your own songs?
Thank you! It was great to debut and climb so fast, very exciting. I owe all of the credit to my fans for that. I write all of my own songs with an incredible amount of invaluable input from my producer Cap’n Phatty. We have a great working relationship —personally though, hell, I don’t know how many beer bottles we’ve thrown—but we really understand each other and are so on the same page about the sound we want. I couldn’t do it without him. He does the beats. So he’ll give me something, I’ll put down some ideas for melody and lyrics, and we’ll play with it from there. Sometimes, I’m just inspired and I bring a track back to him like, “This is how we’re doing it.” Instant Gratification for example: I wrote the lyrics and melody in an hour or so and it just worked. It was really simple. ‘Champagne and Cocaine’ on the other hand, was originally called ‘Get High.’ After a few weeks of us not being thrilled with it, Cap’n Phatty pitched a new hook, reworked the lyrics, and it was like magic. We’re also attracted to similar ideas about culture and people so when he has an idea, I’m almost always up for it. When the apocalypse comes, I’m running to him.
What different kind of music do you listen to and does your musical sound reflect your musical tastes?
Absolutely. I started making music because I wanted to hear more of what I liked. Musically, I want to seek what other artists have sought before me. I like everything from the Beastie Boys to Fleetwood Mac, but I love electronic music the most. Artists like Depeche Mode, Peaches, Goldfrapp, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, Fischerspooner, even Britney — I just love the electronic sound. To me, it helps create that “other” world. A guitar is beautiful, but it sounds like a guitar. A synthesizer could sound like anything in the universe and create all kinds of emotional responses. I love that!
What can you tell us about your new film Lushes? Are you and Basil at all alike? How was the filming process?
Filming was a riot! I didn’t know anyone on set initially, but I’ve become great friends with much of the cast and crew. It was a hurried shoot, but the fun was just as intense as the crunch. There was one scene where I couldn’t even look at Ash Christian deliver his lines because the actress standing next to him was playing her character so hilariously that I was almost in tears. I also got to storm through a crowd, screaming at people and telling them to get out of my way, which is always a plus. In truth though, I don’t think Basil and I are alike. While we’re both quite dramatic, Basil is very, very mean. I will say, however, that I definitely channeled something from my past to play him. I saw Basil as very sensitive and often feeling like he was being left out. So, he viciously acted out and built a wall around him. “I’m just a bitch, ok?! That’s just how I am!” That’s what Basil would say. I grew up a wee bit of a girly boy in Texas and when I was younger, I had the same defense mechanism. Basil just hasn’t learned he doesn’t need the approval of others to fearlessly love himself and, in turn, everything around him. I hope he learns that one day.
How did Cheektopia come about, was it a solo idea or did you work with other people, such as fans, to set it up?
That was one of those fateful things. I started noticing that my status updates on Myspace began receiving 80, 90, 100 comments, exceeding the limit. My status bar started turning into a chat room for people that were connecting over other common things, not just my work. What I wanted from the beginning was way to bring people together in an experience, so after I saw that happening I was like, “Whoa! It’s here!” I put word out there to some people that wanted to help and within a month, Cheektopia was launched. I owe it all to the work and enthusiasm of the Peeps — that’s what site members are called. They’ve really shown me what we can get done together and inspired me so much this year. I’ve got big plans for both Cheektopia and CheeksTV.com.
How’d you get to be so optimistic? I remember you saying you weren’t always this optimistic, so was there a day you just, woke up and everything was positive, or did it take awhile?
Optimism is a choice. You aren’t born that way. You could be raised that way…but I wasn’t. Not that I was raised a pessimist, but I don’t think I had a genuine appreciation and gratitude for everything around me. Who does, really? We get caught up in what we’re doing and who we’re trying to be. These days, people just want to survive. I just found that real optimism and happiness comes from that appreciation and thirst for life. Honestly, living in southern California makes it much easier. Don’t get me wrong, navigating your way through Hollywood and your 20’s is not easy, but it’s got palm trees and sunshine. I think that combined with a personal commitment to living every day with love, slowly helped form the person I am today. I think that person is ever forming. I remember a time just a few years ago when I had to stop my pattern of thinking, reroute it, and focus on the new thought. Now though, it’s become more automatic. Over time, practicing just becomes doing. I think that’s the whole purpose of life. If that evolution and learning stops, what are you doing? That’s how I want to live. In optimism, in love, in happiness.
Do you have a specific time in your life that you would call a turning point, something that really changed your perspective or outlook on your life?
I think life is a series of those moments. I think life also has a lot of little moments that affect us as well. So little, we don’t even realize it. I’m not sure I could point to any one to draw any real conclusions. I totaled my car once and couldn’t get another one, so I had to get a “real job” at an office. I learned a lot about work, sales, people, life in general while there. Those are skills I needed in order to advance in my life and ones I will always have with me. So I guess you could say, I wrecked my car and had to grow up. But again, I think there are so many of those moments and other factors, both big and small, that it would be impossible to ever really determine where the chain begins or the ultimate result.
Is there anything you would want people who have not discovered you yet to know? What would you want to be a reply to a question like “What? Who is Cheeks?”
I think your questions actually helped reveal a little more of me than I usually reveal—not speaking in terms of my clothing, of course. Thanks again for the opportunity. I believe in the future, Cheeks will represent a sparkling idea that transcends all forms of media; an idea of celebrating life, loving each other, seeing the world for what it truly is, and finding the beauty within. Above all, I want to create a world where people can invent themselves and help shape that world. When people can see that process applied to their own lives, they and the world begin to change for the better. I’m not really Cheeks, you see. Cheeks is a creation, an example that you can be whatever you want to be. Cheeks is the people howling with laughter, moving their bodies to the music, expanding their consciousness with introspective questions about their reality. Ideally, through the message of Cheeks, people can take those positive vibes with them and use them in the real world.
How can you spread your Cheeks?
Visit Cheeks’ brand new store and stock up on gifts for the holidays! http://www.zazzle.com/cheekstv. Or check out independent screenings of Lushes! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1391605/.