The Airborne Toxic Event new video and interview
The Airborne Toxic Event recently released their first music video for their single, “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” from their 3 song ep that was self-released here in the States and by Square Records in the UK, and I had a chance to ask Mikel (singer/guitarist) over email a few questions about the video and their recent trek to the UK. Also for some more background on the band, check out Joe’s interview with Mikel from last year on Radio Free Silver Lake.
IAF: The video for “Does This Mean Your Moving On” turned out great, how did you guys get hooked up with Jason Wishnow, his Oedipus vegetable short is great.Â
Mikel: Thank you. That’s very kind. Jason and I have been friends for a long time. We went to college together. We’ve always been peripherally involved in one another’s projects. He did a play in college that was set in a cafe. I was the singer in the cafe. He used to make short films and I would be in them. I would play shows and he would always say he wanted to play the bass. (That’s bass, the fish, as in Chilean sea bass. He wanted to stand on stage with an enormous bass fish, like nothing was going on. That’s just how he thinks.)
He’s an amazing film-maker and the kind of person that’s always got his hand in 100 things at once. So when we were going to make our first video, I thought, of course I’ll ask him to do it.
IAF: Is the video getting some airplay in the UK?
Mikel: We’ve heard rumors that it’s going on MTV over there.
IAF: You just did a short week long UK tour, including The Great Escape Festival, to support the release of your single in the UK. How was the tour?
Mikel: The tour was simply amazing. We didn’t expect the response we received. At one point, we were playing Komedia in Brighton as part of the Great Escape Festival. When the doors opened 20 kids walked in and we thought, “well, at least we won’t be playing for the bar.” Which would have been fine. We’ll play anywhere. But then Mary, our manager, asked us if we’d seen the line outside. So we went out and looked and there was a line four people across all the way down the block. 600 people showed up. It was surreal. There 1200 people at the London Club NME show. We just never would have expected that. But then, you know, in Birmingham we played for 30 people and spent the night looking for good kebab and chips.
Also, the tour was sort of like being on vacation with four of your best friends. We saw all these cities and landmarks and took pictures and all that. Noah and Daren and Anna and Steven are all just really smart, funny people and we definitely found ways to entertain ourselves in the van.
IAF: How did you get hooked up with Cerne Canning (Franz Ferdinand’s manager) and his new label Square Records who released the “Does This Mean Your Moving On” single in the UK?
Mikel: A friend of his in Los Angeles got the EP from a friend of ours, you know how things just get circled around like that. So he contacted us and asked if we were interested in doing something with him in the UK. What’s so unique about Cerne is that he really wasn’t interested in making money off of us and, you know, clearly didn’t need us or anything for his career or whatever. He just liked the music and wanted to help.
He’s one of these great appreciators of music. When he came to L.A. a few months ago, he spent his days scouring swap meets and tiny record stores looking for out of print 45′s and rare vinyl. He’s also just such a centered guy, which is rare, I think. He’s very clear about the importance of relationships, staying grounded, focusing on what’s real. We feel lucky to have him around.
IAF: Is The Airborne Toxic Event Square Records first release?
Mikel: Yes. I don’t know if he plans to make it a full-blown label or not. Again, I think he just wanted to help us.
IAF: Is there a full length planned in The Airborne Toxic Event’s near future?Â
Mikel: Absolutely. We keep planning to do it, thinking, oh, yeah next month when we catch our breath. But everything has just been happening so quickly, the timeline keeps changing. I have about 100 songs at home from the past year and a half or so. Of which, I brought, say 40 to Daren (our drummer), of which we brought 30 to the band, of which we’ve played about 20 during shows. We think maybe 12 will make it to a record. It’s really a long process. Kind of daunting to think about how much work has gone into it. But we feel very ready to make this record. Like it’s the pinnacle of a pyramid that took two years to build.
IAF: I see your playing the Sunset Junction in August (side note: personally I’m pumped about seeing Morris Day and the Time), can we expect anymore Airborne Toxic Event shows between now and then?Â
Mikel: Totally: “Jungle Love! Whooooah” “Hey JJ, no, no Jerome…Yeeah.” It just occurs to me we’ll be playing on the same stage as Morris Day. Isn’t that fucking weird?
We’re not playing any Los Angeles shows between now and then (other than maybe some radio stuff). We’re going to spend the summer playing in San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, Santa Barbara, places like that. I’m selling my car and buying a van.
IAF: One last question, you guys seem like a well read bunch, what books are currently on your night stand?
Mikel: I’m currently reading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. I love his books. It’s a novel, it’s an essay, it’s first person, it’s third person, it’s present tense, it’s past tense, it’s narrative, it’s commentary. He just breaks every rule. Plus there’s a lot of freaky sex. But, you know, among Czechs living in Paris, so it’s sort of civilized.
Mikel: thank you.