"It’s done when you know it’s done," he said. "So, I don’t like to start making a record and go, 'Oh, yeah I gotta get this out by this certain date,' because who knows, you may write 12, 13, 14, 15 songs and then who knows, that 16th song that you didn’t get a chance to write may be like 'the one.'"
He also popped in to Elvis Duran's Z100 Morning Show and teased a bit more about the album sessions he's been chronicling on Instagram. "It’s in such a gestational period, it’s in its infancy," he said of the potential follow-up to 2013's The 20/20 Experience albums. "I’m just in the creative process right now and I don’t really have a deadline… I am really, really excited with what I’m coming up with because I think it sounds like something I haven’t quite done and hasn’t quite been done."
He told Druan he has "no idea" when his new album will drop, but is not hiding the fact that he's been in the studio. "To be honest, working on this soundtrack inspired me to get back in because I was having so much fun making music for the movie that it kind of just started to bleed over and into maybe seeing what would happen if I were to make another record for myself," he said.
When it came to crafting the Trolls soundtrack, though, JT told the Morning Mash Up that he looked back to some of the most iconic movie albums of all time (all of them starring another JT, John Travolta, incidentally) and tried to make the songs feel like part of the movie. "I thought back to like classic soundtracks of a certain era, like I was referencing Saturday Night Fever and Urban Cowboy and Grease even," he said.
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"Back in those days like they would release songs from the soundtrack first, and I feel like the songs were such a part of the DNA of those movies, too. And this is the same way, I mean, you know, it’s not just an animated movie, it’s an animated musical. There’s a ton of music in the movie, so we got into writing some originals for it, and then it just, I don’t know, I just got so excited about the music. I was like, 'We have to put this stuff out now!'"
He also mentioned to Duran that he co-wrote a song for the soundtrack for Ariana Grande ("which she crushed") and another one for Gwen Stefani ("which she crushed") and he's just dealing with their respective labels to make sure they end up on the album.
Timberlake, who voices a lead character named Branch in the film, said he saw a screening recently and it made him laugh as hard as he did when he first saw Shrek. "When you go in for these recording sessions, they put all these different cameras right in the room … even ones with like crazy lenses that can zoom in on your actual mouth while you’re saying the words," he said, describing to the Morning Mash Up crew the vibe of getting animated.
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"So when the animators animate your character, I think the effort is to sort of make them act like you. So a lot of that is they actually animate to your movements, even down to your facial expression. Honestly, doing an animated movie and seeing how they do it, it’s like you took that pill in The Matrix. It’s crazy to see how they make it work."