Posts Tagged ‘interview’

WLYS Exclusive Interview with Miguel Arteta

Published January 11, 2010 by Graham

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Callous and/or deluded authority figures, insipid peers and a beguiling first love named Sheeni swirl about the bizarre world of Nick Twisp, an awkward yet determined teen terror sharply rendered by Michael Cera in Miguel Arteta’s hilarious new film, Youth in Revolt. Arteta carved out a name out for himself with his audacious low-budget debut Star Maps, before directing some of the decade’s best episodes of television on Freaks and Geeks and Six Feet Under. He also helmed two great films written by Mike White: The Good Girl, and the mind-blowing cult classic Chuck & Buck, one of the most extraordinarily awkward romances of all time.

Whether he’s telling the story of a Hollywood hustler, a frustrated midwestern woman or a pair of star-crossed teen lovers, the consistent throughline in Arteta’s body of work has always been the stellar performances he conjures from his actors. Youth in Revolt is no exception: it’s jam packed with brilliant performances—even in minor roles played to perfection by Steve Buscemi, Mary Kay Place, Zach Galifanakis and many more.

Arteta took time out on Youth In Revolt’s opening weekend to talk with We Love You So about making Michael Cera movies, animating the internal world of C.D. Payne’s beloved source material, and why acting should be like jumping into a swimming pool, chest first.

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Shawn Records: Owner of This World

Published October 29, 2009 by Graham

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Rad photographers were in no short supply behind the scenes of Where the Wild Things Are, but only one of them had the unique privilege of approaching the experience as both a wide-eyed documentarian and the father of the film’s nine-year-old star. Shawn Records is an artist who brilliance lies in capturing near-weightless moments of ephemeral beauty, casually illuminating banal absurdities, and unveiling the clandestine grace of seemingly ordinary juxtapositions. His gentle approach is especially refreshing when pitted against the coarse cacophony of an epic film production.

Spike summed up Shawn’s attitude perfectly– “Patient and observed”– when we posted a small set of Shawn’s photos in July. The amazing images from that post are included alongside dozens more from the set of Where the Wild Things Are in his brand new book, Owner of This World. Go order yourself a copy from inspiringly autonomous DIY publishing house Publication Studio, and then read on for an enlightening interview with Shawn Records!

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Using a list of adjectives, how would you describe the experience of working on Where The Wild Things Are?
Confusing, chaotic, humbling, fun, educational, inspirational, exhausting…

Were you a fan of the book growing up?
Not only was I a fan of the book, but when Max was born, we still had a copy of the book from my childhood, my own name scribbled in orange crayon inside. After Max started working on the film and we had that copy of the book out a lot, Sam, my younger son, ripped it apart and added some additional scribbles to it. It was perfect. We ended up using some of those pages to create a birthday scrapbook for Maurice Sendak with some photos of what he was missing on set.

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Micro-Questionnaire: Apple Brains

Published August 20, 2009 by Graham

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Allen Bleyle is a musical chameleon. Indulging in roaringly noisy punk one minute and crooning beautiful folk melodies the next, Blyle’s versatility and love for the song in all of its forms has lead to an unexpected career as a “nutrition musician” named Apple Brains, performing far and wide at summer camps and farmer’s markets, in elementary school classrooms, and anywhere else where “kids ages 1-98″ might lend their attention to his irresistably fun tunes.

Singing lo-fi odes to the heartbreaking beauty of tomatoes, the little-known first encounter between peanut butter and jelly, and the magnificent nature of H2O, Apple Brains is closer in spirit to the whimsical folk of Jonathan Richman at his narrative best– or early Of Montreal (before they went synth-pop)– than the canned elevator music and frozen smiles packaged by the mainstream children’s music industry. What started as a part-time gig has evolved into a full-length album entitled Get Fruity!!. What’s it like to live the life of a children’s musician? Find out below in our interview with Apple Brains!

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What music did you listen to in your early childhood? Were you into Raffi?
Hmmm…. I don’t remember much about music I listened to in early childhood. I know that the first tape I owned that I chose myself was Weird Al Yankovic… not sure which album, either In 3-D, Dare to Be Stupid or Polka Party. But that was when I was 8 or so. Before that, I don’t remember listening to music, to be honest! I played Suzuki piano, and my Mom was in the choir at church, and I do remember having the Beatles’ Help lying around the house, but my parents were never much for playing music in the house, though they both like music and my Mom is quite musical herself. I didn’t listen to Raffi though at all, didn’t even know who he was til I was an adult. Oh, but I did LOVE The Muppets and all that music!

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How They Did It: That Crazy Sour Music Video

Published August 19, 2009 by Graham

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Remember that music video for Sour’s “Hibi No Neiro” we posted? You know, the one with dazzling displays of intercontinental webcam synchronicity? We wanted to know how they did it. Somehow, dozens of individuals had filmed themselves responding to carefully crafted choreography, and the resulting mountain of footage had been combined into something far greater than the sum of its parts– a geometrically beautiful display of cyber-social cooperation, like some sort of remote flash mob. How do you pull something like that off?

The answer lies in the massive pooled talents of four clever filmmakers– a brain trust, if you will– at the helm of this mind-bogglingly complex music video, shot on a $0 budget. The aptly named co-director Magico Nakamura graciously granted us a peek inside the bag of tricks that brought the Sour video together, providing sketches, screenshots and even an exclusive rough draft of the video, showing off rad techniques that didn’t make the final cut.

How many people participated in the video, and where did you find them all?
More than 80 people were involved in the production. Most of them were Sour fans that we’d gathered from the band’s website, from other social networking sites and from contacts we’d gathered while making Sour’s other music videos.

Could the participants see any of the other webcams, or were they blindly relying on your directions?
We filmed everyone separately so there weren’t multiple webcams on the screen however, we made quite detailed animatics of the entire music video and would send it to the people before filming, so generally people had a fair idea of what they were contributing to.

This provided a helpful guide that helped the fans wrap their heads around the choreography. For the more complicated action i.e. the dance sequence, we created individual movie files that people used to practice with before filming began. They also used these as an on screen guide while we directed them.

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Micro-Questionnaire: Matt Furie

Published August 12, 2009 by Graham

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Matt Furie has fathered a legion of beguiling beasts in his rainbow-hued drawings, expanding his own personal zoology each time he confronts the infinite emptiness of a blank page. Even while they approach the mind-boggling biodiversity of those interminable Pokémon, Furie’s characters manage to convey an emotional depth that approaches Jim Henson levels. Depicting moments of sensuality, rage, despair and intense lethargy, the artist approaches his work with a deadpan sense of humor that often comes wrapped in a burrito of delicious sincerity. Here are his thoughts on children’s literature.

Did you have any favorite picture books as a child?

Where’s Waldo series, The Far Side Galleries, Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever, The first book I could ever remember reading was about a yellow bear-like animal that had colored spots. This animal felt bad because he didn’t fit in at the zoo. He could use his spots like frisbees and make them bigger, smaller, etc. It seemed like a Dr. Seuss book but different. I also remember really liking this book called This is Weird about some kids on a boat that end up on an abandoned and haunted island full of weird trapdoors and tunnels and old houses and paths and ladders.

What are your childhood recollections of Maurice Sendak’s work? Are you influenced by his visual language?

I liked the Wild Things book when I was little but it wasn’t until I started researching children’s books in college that I came to appreciate it. I like that book a lot but I’m a bit unfamiliar with his other stuff. I read the book The Art of Maurice Sendak and remember him saying that the monsters in the book were based on his relatives and his experience with them being too scary and all in his face at family dinners when he was a kid. I also remember him saying that a lot of his ideas involve eating/the fear of being eaten. As for his visual language, I thinks its a perfect balance of skill, childishness, flatness, and light.

Do you think you’ll ever make a children’s book of your own? What would it be about?

That would make my mom really happy. I’m not sure what it would be about but I know it would be a fantasy. It would start off in the real world of a kid (like Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Neverending Story, Princess Bride, Where the Wild Things Are, Harry Potter, Labyrinth, and pretty much every good children’s fantasy plot). There would definitely be lots of wacky and magical creatures.

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Were you prone to retreating into imaginary worlds, growing up? If so, please describe!

I used toys, video games, t.v., movies, and drawing to retreat into imaginary worlds. I remember being in the backseat of the car and looking out of the window and pretending that I was a creature running and hopping along the trees. I think every kid is prone to retreat into imaginary worlds.

Like Sendak’s Wild Things, the creatures in your work often defy biological classification. Is it a challenge to come up with such alien forms?

Nothing I could ever come up with could ever be stranger or more fascinating than what’s out there.

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WLYS Exclusive Interview: Max Records

Published July 31, 2009 by Graham

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It’s been two and a half years since principal shooting wrapped on Where the Wild Things Are. While Max Records and his father Shawn haven’t drifted into complete Hollywood radio silence– they flew to Serbia, for instance, so Max could shoot The Brothers Bloom– they’ve remained for the most part sheltered from the PR machine in their hometown of Portland, Oregon. On the morning of the big Warner Brothers presentation at Comic Con, Max was sent on his first whirlwind publicity tour. Shuffling through a series of hotel junkets and convention center green rooms for photo shoots and interviews, the younger Record found himself at the mercy of media outlets instructing him to lounge on piles of pillows bearing the cadaverous visage of Robert Pattinson, hordes of preemptive megafans clamoring for autographs, and busty entertainment journalists leaning in closer than most tween boys are comfortable with.

Overwhelmed by the frenzy, the Records escaped to their hotel room to recover after the panel. Max and his younger brother Sam ate room service grilled cheese sandwiches while they filled me in on the details of the Portland Trailblazers’ dramatic showdown with the Houston Rockets. Since he’d been through the standard behind-the-scenes questions all day, I wanted to give Max a chance to relax and talk a little about himself and his interests outside the movie. Check out our interview below, where Max fills me in on the work of Osamu Tezuka, his favorite Portland bands, and local legends of Matt Groening’s mischievous childhood.

Above photo by Michael Muller from Entertainment Weekly’s online feature Shooting Stars: 71 Portraits From Comic-Con 2009.

WLYS Exclusive Interview: Ray Tintori

Published July 6, 2009 by Graham

Mere days after we first posted about filmmaker Ray Tintori, his latest video for MGMT was released to the world, setting their much-loved anthem “Kids” to a barrage of unsettling images. Beginning with an epic minute-long intro and transitioning into a nightmare vision of infancy starring folk freak pixie Joanna Newsom as a crass housewife, a crying toddler, and a fleet of flesh-mangled monsters, the video eventually gives way to an extravagant animated sequence crafted by Christy Karacas (the creator of Cartoon Networks’ awesomely disturbing Superjail). The reactions to “Kids” in online discussions have been divisive, with some viewers lobbing accusations of child abuse towards Tintori, echoing the controversy over Jill Greenberg’s “crying baby” photos a few years back. We were dying to know more about Tintori and his methods, so we had a chat with the artist to tackle some of the mystery surrounding his work.

So, what are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m finishing up another music video for a friend’s band called Boy Crisis. That should be done in a couple days, and then I’m going to take a hiatus from doing music videos for a while and work on some scripts that I’ve sort of been putting off for about a year and a half. Some of it’s longer and some of it’s shorter, but there are four or five different projects right now that have sort of been put on hold after the music video thing evolved a little, after we did those first MGMT videos.

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Karen O in Nylon + New Video

Published June 1, 2009 by Graham

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Karen O is gracing the cover of Nylon Magazine this month– and she looks staggeringly awesome, naturally. Here are a couple of quotes from the interview:

Karen O, On Her Adolescence: “I used to be fairly shy… but you know, I was a volcano ready to blow. I went through quite a few styles. The Ugly Face – no, believe me, it was ugly. I was breaking out with zits… [and later] I had my hair pulled back and the hoop earrings. I was interested in style, but not necessarily in fashion… If we were playing spin the bottle, all the boys would be pretty bummed to kiss the halfie. But as you grow up, you start to realize what an asset it is to have that part of you. It shapes you.”

Hey Karen, Tell Us About Your Music for Where the Wild Things Are! “We wrote music that would be easy for kids to sing along with. The songs have that innocence and spirit with poppy hooks here and there. Simple, emotional, sweet stuff.”

And here’s the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs video, “Heads Will Roll”: