Toronto Mike

My Interview with Custom

A Microphone

I wrote earlier this month about how I was corresponding with Custom and how great his new music is.  He was nice enough to grant me an interview, and here it is.

Q: Most people know you for your hit single "Hey Mister".  That was a few years ago now, when can the people expect to hear some new Custom on the radio?
A: in the spring hopefully.

Q: Jazz composer Maria Schneider took home a Grammy last night for her album "Concert in the Garden," without selling a single copy in a record store.  She financed the album through an Internet-based music delivery service that opens the financing of production to dedicated fans.  Is this the future?
A: Potentially.  I think it's up to people like you who 'the audience' look to for taste.  Tastemakers.  If the tastemakers of yore are mtv and radio, can the web and maybe satellite radio fill that space somehow?  Here is hoping.  Also, Ani DF has done the indie thing with great success for years.  It's about the artist's dedication and creativity.  We are now responsible to think as much about reaching an audience as we are how to make good music.  It's a lot but it seems to be reality.  I think the days of letting the label do everything are waning.

Q: Most readers of this site are from the Great White North.  Please share with us the details of your Canadian roots.  We love CanCon.
A: Wild Rose Country.  Born and raised in Alberta with stops in Halifax and Vancouver later on to make a movie.  I fucking love Canada.  I feel especially patriotic even though I am living down here in New York.

Q: Your single "Hey Mister" was selected by the esteemed Smells Like Sour committee for SLS7.  Is it fair to state this is your finest achievement to date?
A: By far.  Think that in ways The MTV awards for film and music to a degree have surpassed the Oscars and Grammys in their legitimacy with the audience.  They are more indicative of true public perception about the work.  And MTV is a relatively new thing in the broader timeline.  Perhaps SLS will be the next step in the evolution of awards.

Q: I consider INXS's "Kick" to be one of the finest pop-rock albums ever.  You directed Michael Hutchence in "Limp" just before his tragic death in 1997.  What kind of guy was he?  Did you notice anything out of the ordinary with Michael in late '97?
A: Michael was an amazing guy.  He was incredibly dedicated, charismatic, creative, fun to be around and down to earth.  He was really a 'rock star'.  That may sound like a weird thing to say, but there are lots of famous musicians and then there are 'stars'.  He had that.  Magnetism.  Like even people who didn't know him, would feel something, look up when he entered a room.

Q: Speaking of "Limp", why was it never released and how does one get access to it in order to actually view it?
A: Michael passed away shortly after principle photography.  That led to a myriad of complications, obviously, that are too vast and complicated to discuss here.  There are no plans for release at this point.

Q: What's next for Duane Lavold the filmmaker?
A: Something is brewing.  I'll let you know.

Q: What's your favourite movie?
A: So many.  I don't know.  The obvious ones:  Smokey and the Bandit.  No.  Scarface, Godfather, Apocalypse, Breakfast Club, Fight Club, Trainspotting...  I don't know.  I like a lot of movies but don't watch enough.  Recently, Lost in Translation.  I love Bill Murray and S.C. is a fucking brilliant director to make that beautiful a film from such a simple story.  Very difficult.  Station Agent.  Just watched that scene in Miracle last night, where the coach is making the guys skate lines after losing the game to Russia:  Again. Again. Again.... then the player says his name, coach says, "who do you play for?"  The United States of America.  Wow.  Scenes like that kill me.  It's a perfect scene.  So intense, hard to accomplish.  Beautiful.  Moments.  Like songs, that capture an emotion perfectly.  That's what it's all about.  What we aspire to do as artists.  What a fucking scene.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to share with the faithful?
A: Yeah, my new music.  Maybe we can arrange for a little preview situation.  I have a cool video for the song 'USA' maybe we could get up.  Something like that.

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