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Thursday, August 30, 2007


Frank Warren's PostSecret is one of those community based art projects that continues to impress and amaze me. I never get sick of reading new secrets on the website or flipping through my newly purchased PostSecret book. Please go to the website and support this amazing project. Also make sure to check out this trailer for the upcoming PostSecret video.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


One of my favorite songs of all time. I loved listening to this on my IPOD when I lived in NYC.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Interview With Girl Talk

Like it or not, the world of music is changing. Sample based music is more popular than ever, and as software becomes increasingly user friendly, more people are remixing, reworking, and reshaping music. Girl Talk is one of those people. Armed with a laptop, some editing software, and a keen ear, he has quickly become the poster child for a new form of sample based music. Taking other people’s songs and editing the fuck out of them, Girl Talk is blurring the already fuzzy line between modern producer and musician, and the world is taking notice. Everyone from Rolling Stone magazine to Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) is giving him props for his unique take on popular music. Despite his recent superstar status, Girl Talk remains a humble guy more than willing to break down his craft. Listen up as the man himself gets deep in this exclusive Heavy In The Streets interview.

DJ Sorce-1: Your album Night Ripper sampled from lots of different genres and eras of music. Have you ever thought of doing an album like Night Ripper made up of one specific genre or artist?

Girl Talk: In the past, around 2003 or so, I was thinking of doing an all Hall and Oates album because they’re one of my favorites. I heard Gym Class Heroes is actually doing something like that now. I haven’t thought about doing an album like that recently though. I’m in such a mode of making music in the same way I’ve been making it. I’m constantly sampling different things and trying out different combinations so I think I’d have a hard time dedicating myself to one band. Maybe in the future I’d tackle something like that, but right now I’m still doing stuff in the same style as Night Ripper.

DJ Sorce-1: In Night Ripper, a lot of the samples come from very recognizable and commercially successful songs. Have you ever though of doing a project where you utilize more obscure material?

Girl Talk: I kind of just sample what I’m into at the time. When I started doing Girl Talk, the general idea was to make new music out of familiar sources so that the familiarity of the music would be a big part of it. My first record was more experimental, and I think back then I was more in tune with what was going on in the underground music world. These days I’m really dedicated to listening to the radio and I’m kind of a pop fiend. If I ever got to the point where I listened to underground music all the time, I might get into a project based around more obscure music. I think that ideas been worked out by a lot of hip hop producers over the years with the classic crate digging style of making music. A lot of people into digging are often searching for an obscure sample. The heart of what I do a lot of the time is that many of the samples are recognizable. You can see how I’m manipulating them because you already know the original song.

DJ Sorce-1: Yeah, so part of the experience is the fact that it all comes from recognizable music.

Girl Talk: There are always bits and pieces I use that are a bit more underground that I think sound good. That’s the main criteria, whatever will sound good. But if I did an album of all obscure samples I think it might lose some of the charm.

Girl Talk "Touch 2 Feel" Video from Unstoppable Album

DJ Sorce-1: You sample a lot of commercial stuff, and I’m assuming you don’t like all of it. How has sampling so many different styles of music changed your perception of music? Have you stopped judging songs as harshly since you started doing Girl Talk?

Girl Talk: Yeah. I honestly like all of the music I sample. Normally when I hear something that isn’t appealing to me, it’s because I don’t understand it. Clearly there is an audience for it and every style of music has someone who thinks that it’s the best style. I try to always appreciate everyone’s perspective, and I can almost get down with anything. Most music that comes from the radio is popular for reason.

I really just appreciate music in general. I try not to think of it in terms of good and bad. I think that’s kind of a weird way to look at music. Most people have their opinions, and to them, some music is good, and some is bad. I don’t really look at it that way. I think you can appreciate music on different levels.

Girl Talk and Paris Hilton

DJ Sorce-1: That’s a cool outlook. I absolutely did not like a lot of the stuff on Night Ripper as individual songs, but when it was put together a certain way I loved it. It made me realize that there must be something about the originals I like if I like them reworked.

Girl Talk: Yeah, it’s easy to have the knee jerk reaction to dislike something that everyone else likes. I think a lot of disliking music publicly in terms of talking about it is a defense mechanism. People are afraid of being embarrassed if someone else doesn’t like it, so they’re always trying to be into things that people can’t make fun of them for. That’s why pop music gets such an overwhelming reaction. People love to hate it.

Girl Talk - New Year's Eve 2007 in Chicago (entire concert)

DJ Sorce-1: Have you ever considered doing a strictly instrumental composition of recognizable samples?

Girl Talk: Night Ripper is my third album, and I think on the second album, it was a bit more like that. There were vocal bits and pieces here and there, but a good chunk of the album was based around more original sounding electronic music. A lot of sample choices on that album were smaller bits. There were big interludes that were just based around beats and musical percussion with small samples coming in and out. I don’t think I’m gonna be making the same exact style of music like Night Ripper forever. I’m always making beats on the side, so maybe I’ll get back to the more instrumental driven style.

DJ Sorce-1: I know people like Grizzly Bear and Beck have contacted you to do remixes. Have you ever had any rappers approach you about doing beats or remixes for them?

Girl Talk: Yeah, some major label guys have been contacting me about beats. The only official release I have is for this rap group from Pittsburg called Grand Buffet. I did a beat for one of their songs on an EP a few years ago. That’s something I could get into hardcore. I’ve been surprised by the indy response to the music with people like Grizzly Bear contacting me for remixes. It’s cool, I’m happy to do it, and I really like their music. I would just expect more of the hip hop world coming at me and asking for stuff. But yeah, I’m always making beats.

DJ Sorce-1: Are there any names you can drop of people who have been inquiring?

Girl Talk: Not really. A lot of it is just major label bullshit. They just want a preview and see who they can pitch it to. My very brief experience with major label people is that they’re all about them pretending like they’re your buddy. They just want to make contact with you and have your email address in their folder and that’s it. So I don’t think there will be any releases in the future on that level.

DJ Sorce-1: In the Pitchfork interview that you did a little while ago, you described making music as a mathematical process where you use a wav editor and a calculator. I was wondering if you had any formal musical training. Even though a lot of your stuff is laid out according to the beat, you also have to have an understanding of tones and pitches to make sure there isn’t clashing of different notes.

Girl Talk: I don’t actually have any formal musical training besides playing saxophone when I was little. I have a hard time with a lot of that aspect of music. I’m lucky to have a lot more musically inclined friends I can pass stuff along to for feedback. I just let my ear do the work. With a lot of hip hop on the radio now, things are often out of tune or off key. That has its own appeal to it, even if it is slightly off. Because of that, it frees me up to let my ear do the work and not worry if everything is completely in key. Whatever sounds good to me I put out.

DJ Sorce-1: I was reading on your blog about a remix project that you’re working on called Trey Told ‘Em. Could you tell me a little bit about that?

Girl Talk: It’s a project with me and a friend of mine named Frank Musarra. He’s been a long time collaborator of mine. I pass all my mixes to him before I put them out. He’s a bit more musically inclined than me, and he’s a really good computer producer as well.

I’ve been getting a lot of remix offers, and I’ve had a hard time keeping up with them. A lot of times with remixes they almost force you to do music that wouldn’t be in your normal style. Even if I like the song I’m remixing, if I was working it into a Girl Talk song, I would probably use 30 seconds of it at most. They want me to build these whole tracks around their tracks, which is a weird thing for me to do. A lot of times people don’t want me to use samples. They want me to have original instrumentation so they don’t have to deal with sample clearances and things like that.

The project with Frank is something that doesn’t have a sound attached to it. When I make music as Girl Talk people expect a certain sound. I think Frank and I work well together, and we make a different style of music. I’ve been staying busy with that, and we’re finishing up an Of Montreal remix sometime this week.

DJ Sorce-1: From what I heard on the MySpace page it sounds really solid so far.

Girl Talk: Thanks. It’s a bit more musical. There’s a lot more synthesizer work and original instrumentation than I would ordinarily use in Girl Talk.

DJ Sorce-1: Do you think your success as an artist is going to have any effect on copyright and sampling laws.

Girl Talk: I don’t know, I think it may have already. I haven’t been sued, which I think speaks volumes because of how far reaching the last album was. The album was talked about in Congress during a trial on internet law. Anyone who could have potentially sued me has probably heard it and they’ve been open to it.

Night Ripper is a piece of music that most people have treated as an original album. Everyone from Rolling Stone to blogs review it like an album, as opposed to a DJ mix or something. It’s an album composed of all samples, and if I was trying to clear all the samples and pay royalties to everyone, it would be impossible. I’d have to sell a CD for a couple hundred dollars just to pay the artists back for the amount of samples used. It’s not really reasonable. Either there’s a style of music that’s impossible to make and sell at the same rate as other CD’s, or there should be some sort of roof where you only pay so much in royalties so you can sell the CD at a reasonable amount. I don’t think the way the law is written up really makes sense when it comes to making an album like this.

Everyone is remixing music these days. It’s becoming a popular fad, and music remixing software is becoming a lot easier. Major labels need to learn how to harness and support remixing as a way to promote their artists. People doing remixes on the Internet often times helps out these major label artists, and I think in the case of my album that was the case. I don’t know if it Night Ripper will effect the laws necessarily, but I think it will help people to look at sampling in a bit of a different way.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) on Girl Talk and DJ Drama

DJ Sorce-1: It’s always interesting how the major labels won’t budge on their view of sampling and royalties. The kind of music you’re making is only going to continue to grow, and the labels are going to have to find a way to work with it.

Girl Talk: Yeah. There’s this weird perception right now that if you play bass, drums, or guitar, you’re creating completely original music. First of all, the people playing these instruments didn’t invent them. Second of all, the cord progressions, note systems, and way they tune their instruments are all defined by someone else. Even their styles are influenced by someone else. It’s clearly them taking pre-existing ideas, putting their own twist on it, and making something new. You can do that with sampling, but I think people are a little slow to believe that because it’s a new technology. I think you can play a sample just like someone can play a guitar, and it can be just as original.

Girl Talk Makes A Beat

DJ Sorce-1: You’ve made it very clear that you’re not a DJ and you’ve tried to keep yourself separate from that label. Are there any DJ’s that were an inspiration to you when you started out?

Girl Talk: When I started out I never really listened to DJ’s other than people like DJ Shadow. His music sounds completely different than mine, but I think we use a similar idea. We make original sounding music out of samples. As far as party oriented DJ’s, I wasn’t into that when I first started Girl Talk. I was more into John Oswald, Kid 606, Negetiveland, and all those people who do different versions of sound collage. A lot of people don’t label those guys as DJ’s, but they work in the field of samples. That was my main inspiration. Since then I’ve heard a lot of amazing DJ’s. It’s a very specific and amazing art if you can master it. But it’s not what I’m doing. I’m more related to someone like Kid 606 or Jason Forrest in my mind, and people don’t refer to those guys as DJ’s.

DJ Sorce-1: So many people don’t understand what you’re doing that you often get attached to labels that aren’t accurate. I guess in some ways what you’re doing hasn’t been done, so a lot of people don’t know what to call it.

Girl Talk: Yeah. If your definition of a DJ is anyone who works with pre existing media to make new media, then I fall into that category. I’m never offended by the term. I say I’m not a DJ with major respect for DJ’s. I just don’t do the same thing that they do. I don’t think there are a lot of people that perform live the way I do. It’s very in between. You go see Daft Punk play live, and that’s considered a live performance even though most of their songs are based around samples. You’ll go see a DJ play and they’ll spin records of familiar songs and maybe do amazing blends and creative things with the records. I fall in between. Everything I play is original mixes and it’s completely based on other people’s material. I think more and more people will start doing performance oriented things that revolve around samples, and new labels will be created. Hopefully this will lead to less confusion…maybe it will lead to more.

Girl Talk - Open Source Cinema Interview

DJ Sorce-1: Do you have a preference between studio recording and live performance?

Girl Talk: They’re really different. For me, the art that I do is based in the composition. The final product is all about the CD. I make conscious decisions and go second by second to edit everything together. With the live show, it sounds similar to the CD, but it’s definitely a loose version. I do it all live, and sometimes I can’t do the transitions I want live. It flows nice, and people won’t really be able to pick out mistakes, but in my mind there are all sorts of things happening that I don’t want to happen at a particular time. I enjoy performing live, and it’s kind of the pay of, but it’s definitely the loose, sloppier version of what’s on the album.

DJ Sorce-1: I know you put a ton of emotion and effort into your shows. Do you think you’re ever at risk of getting burned out on touring?

Girl Talk: I’ve had a pretty smart schedule. I had a day job for a long time, so I was only performing on weekends. I quit my job a couple of months ago and kept the same touring schedule. I’m in Pittsburg Monday through Thursday and then usually I just have shows on Friday and Saturday. I think that helps out a bit with not getting exhausted. I always try to have at least a couple new things musically so the shows aren’t boring for me. Before a lot of shows I’m kind of tired, but once you go out there and see everyone paying money to see you party, it’s very hard to turn your cheek on that. Even if I only see five people who paid money to come and see me, I get excited to perform and have a good time. For the most part during the week I chill out and work on music pretty hardcore. Most of the shows on Fridays and Saturdays are really my weekend so I actually want to party and have a good time.

DJ Sorce-1: That sounds like a smart balance. Do you usually bring a backup laptop in case your computer crashes?

Girl Talk: Yeah, I always have a backup sitting there, which I rarely have to go to. I’m pretty confident in the software I use and feel that 99% of the time it won’t crash. It’s really just about the people at the shows. People jump up on stage, and I sometimes perform in the audience. I protect the computer as best as possible. I always cover it in saran wrap before the shows. But people sweat all over it and knock into it, so that’s the real threat right there, someone breaking it. That does happen from time to time, but like I said I have a backup, so it’s usually not too big of a deal. Sometimes there is a lot of pressure though. I’m a one man band depending on one piece of equipment, and if it goes down all music stops.

DJ Sorce-1: I read about a recent airplane incident you had on your MySpace blog. The landing gear wasn’t working properly on one of your flights, and it sounds like things got incredibly scary. When stuff like that happens, does make you scared to travel?

Girl Talk: Since it’s usually just me traveling, I fly to almost every show. I’ll drive to anything that’s six hours or closer, but usually I fly. That’s the first time anything like that has ever happened to me. When that was going down I felt like, “Screw this. I really don’t need to be going to this show right now, and I really don’t need to play shows every single weekend.” It freaked me out a bit, but for the most part I’ve had pretty good luck. Flying is nice. It’s a bit annoying constantly having to deal with cancellations and stuff like that, but I’ve grown to learn how to enjoy the airport pretty well.

DJ Sorce-1: I’m afraid of flying. If that happened to me, I don’t think I could get back on an airplane the next week and be ok with it.

Girl Talk: (Laughs) Yeah. It’s weird. The shows are very fun, but it’s not necessary for me to do the amount of shows that I do. So when that I happened, I thought, “Man, I could just be sitting at home checking my MySpace but here I am dying trying to get to Louisville, Kentucky.” It does make you second guess your career choices.

DJ Sorce-1: It seemed like from your write-up that you were really going to have to crash land…

Girl Talk: They basically told us that the backup landing gear was working, but we should still brace ourselves. They were seriously showing us the exits and explaining where to go if there was a fire in different parts of the plane. It was very much like, “OK, were going to wreck right now, but we’re going to handle this the best way we can.” Even when they said the backup plane gear was working, I couldn’t tell if they were just saying that to chill people out. It was pretty messed up. Everyone was cheering when we landed successfully, so I think everyone was in the same state of mind.

DJ Sorce-1: Jesus, that’s intense. Hopefully you never have to go through anything like that again. Can you tell people a little bit about what to expect from your next album?

Girl Talk: I always work on new material for live shows. In the past, with my other three albums, I never really said, “Ok, this album is going to sound like this.” It just kind of naturally happened after a year of making material for live shows. The past year I’ve been experimenting with playing material in the fast, mash-up style of Night Ripper. I have a whole lot of stuff compiled at this point, so I think the new album will be in the same ballpark as Night Ripper. I’d like to tighten it up even more so, and I think I have even more material to pick and choose from than I did with Night Ripper. I really can never tell until I actually start editing it together, and I want to start doing that as soon as possible.

To read an earlier interview of mine with Girl Talk, click here.

To listen to more Girl Talk, visit his MySpace page. To check out his website, click here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back From Vacation

Sorry for the complete lack of interesting updates lately. I was on vacation in the Outer Banks and couldn't bring myself to sit in front of a computer. I should have more material and interviews up soon.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Farting Stone: An Interview With Joe Lo Truglio

2007 has been a break through year for The State, and Joe Lo Truglio is no exception. The past year has seen him land roles in surefire comedic hits like Superbad and Fan Boys. 2008 is quickly shaping up to be another banner year for the L.A. based actor, who has a slew of projects in the works, including a horror movie script co-written with Ken Marino about monsters and marijuana titled Burnt. After talking with Joe at great length about zombies, old school horror, and his various side projects, I have no doubt that his stock in the celebrity game will continue to rise for years to come. I’m pleased to introduce Joe Lo Truglio as the fifth installment of my interview series with The State.

DJ Sorce-1: So I’ve been reading about this horror movie you and Ken Marino are shopping around called Burnt.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah, it’s kind of a mix of different horror genres. You’ve got your classic monster movie like Frankenstein or Dracula where there’s a scary monster but you have some sympathy for them. Then you have your teen slasher pick. And then you have the brutal, very Cinema Verite Last House on the Left escaped convict tale. It’s like a mix of those three…and marijuana. If you combine all of those elements you’ve got a surefire hit, or at the very least a midnight movie.

DJ Sorce-1: (Laughs) Would you or Ken direct it?

Joe Lo Truglio: We’re very close to it, so ideally that’s what we’d like to do. When money and budgets come into play, and you have people you have to answer to, it’s never that easy. But it’s something that Ken and I would love to direct.

DJ Sorce-1: Would you be going for the gritty old school feel?

Joe Lo Truglio: It’d be kind of an old school, 80’s, non CGI flick…something more along the lines of Savini.

DJ Sorce-1: You guys strike me as being fans of the old school stuff. That’s the kind of horror I like best. Some new horror is cool, but to me, a lot of it is just crap that looks nice.

Joe Lo Truglio: I agree. Ken and I like the old school monster idea where here’s a thing out there chasing people, and they gotta get away. We like horror movies that develop their characters into more than just bait to be sliced, diced, and quartered.

DJ Sorce-1: I think that makes the film scarier. You feel an attachment to the characters if you succeed in developing them.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah. You see where the victim characters are coming from. Usually there’s a repressed issue going on in their life that they have to deal with as they deal with the monster in the movie. Have you ever seen David Cronenberg’s The Brood?

DJ Sorce-1: Not yet, but it’s top priority on the Netflix queue.

Joe Lo Truglio: That movie gave me nightmares for years. I saw it when I was like nine and it just freaked me the fucked out. Oliver Reed plays this psychotherapist with a revolutionary new therapy that gets repression out of peoples system. The therapy manifests whatever someone is feeling into flesh…which is classic Cronenberg. Reed’s prize student is a woman who gives “birth” to these non human children, who are manifestations of her anger and rage at certain people. The children take out vengeance on whoever she happens to be upset at. It’s completely crazy and awesome. You’ll have a good time watching that one.

Horror is a great genre man. There are a lot of different levels it allows you to play with to explore whatever fucked up issues are happening in today’s world. It allows you to comment on something without sounding too preachy or didactic.

The Brood - #78 in Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments

DJ Sorce-1: Yeah, I’m a horror junkie. I just started a zombie movie blog. Are you a zombie movie fan?

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say zombies come in at around a 7. I’m a fan of zombie movies. I’m a big fan of George Romero. I loved 28 Days Later. I would have loved 28 Weeks Later if I could have seen what the hell was going on. You saw it right?

DJ Sorce-1: No, I’ve actually been holding off because I heard some negative things about it.

Joe Lo Truglio: 28 Weeks Later suffered from shaky camera syndrome. Things were cut really close, and the camera was going everywhere. So it was hard for them to execute some really scary ideas for scenes. There were parts where cerebrally I was aware of what was going on, but what I was seeing was complete chaos so I couldn’t viscerally be afraid because it was so muddled.

It’s funny; I had an idea for a zombie movie that turned out to be 28 Days Later. I worked on this treatment for a film about a rage virus. Three months later I went to Sundance, and 28 Days Later premiered. I was like, “Wow, they beat me to the punch.” And they did a great job, so I wasn’t that upset about it.

DJ Sorce-1: That must suck when something like that happens.

Joe Lo Truglio: I like to look at it like I’m in synch with other really creative people as opposed to throwing things at the wall and saying, “God damn, I was so close!”

DJ Sorce-1: That’s a great outlook.

Joe Lo Truglio: If you write enough and think of enough good ideas, you don’t get too worried when someone else completes a similar project first. That’s something The State always tried to be aware of. Luckily we were really prolific. If a skit didn’t make it because we realized someone else had already done something similar, it would go in the garbage. We had complete faith that another 10 ideas would come flying out. One of which would be good…maybe.

The State commercial from 1994

DJ Sorce-1: You guys have had an abundance of good ideas lately. You’ve all got so many things going with film and TV, plus The State DVD box set is coming out soon.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah, this has been a State resurgence year. August is a pretty big month for all of us. The Ten just came out last Friday. Balls of Fury, which Tom and Ben did, is coming out this month. I’m in a movie called Superbad. And Michael Black’s movie is supposed to come out this August. It’s pretty exciting to have The State alums have these projects that are all coming out simultaneously yet worked on separately, as well as the DVD set. It’s been quite a State tsunami.

Superbad Trailer

DJ Sorce-1: You guys really seem be coming back big. Starting with Wet Hot American Summer, there has been a big revival and all the fans are coming out of the woodwork.

Joe Lo Truglio: I think the group is excited about that as well. I’m excited that The State is coming back in the sense of letting people know we never really left, and we’ve always been here. We’ve just been doing different things individually or in pockets. We’re letting our fans know we never really broke up; we just took a hiatus because of differences in schedules. It’s nice to be back and work together in one unit again. We’re planning a movie now, and it’s slowly but surely coming together. We’ll see how that plays out. The group wants to do it. Now it’s a matter of scheduling and figuring out how we put this machine together.

According to Joe "For one day, The State was called Medium Head Root-this is the picture."

DJ Sorce-1: It’s great that everyone is doing well individually, but I’m sure it makes it harder for everyone to come together for one specific State project. You have 11 different people with busy schedules trying to come together, and it seems like that would be overwhelming.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah, it can be overwhelming. We want to do what we’re good at, and that’s sketch comedy. And that’s ultimately in some form what the movie is going to be. Whether it will be tied together by an overarching theme or not remains to be seen.

DJ Sorce-1: As a group that has such a distinctive comedic style, I’ve always been curious who your big inspirations are. What is your favorite sketch show of all time and what sketch show do you think The State drew the most influence from collectively?

Joe Lo Truglio: That’s a tough one. I never saw Monty Python until I was in college. I knew who they were, but I hadn’t watched the show in full until college. And once I did, I loved them. I didn’t watch a lot of sketch comedy as a young kid or teenager. I was reading a lot of Mad magazines and watching a lot of horror movies. I also watched a lot of comedies like Caddyshack. But in terms of top picks for sketch shows, Mr. Show is an incredible sketch show and Little Britain is great. Those are favorites of mine.

I would say Monty Python probably is the biggest group influence. All of the Python members were incredibly talented and they tried to create fluidity as well as an absurdity to their show. I think The State is more absurd then any type of political comedy.

More so, we were influenced by the white, middle America suburban experience. We read a lot of Mad magazines, and that kind of comedic pop culture influenced a lot of the humor that was in The State. What comes to mind is Don Martin cartoons and the crazy sound effects that he would spell out like kerplat, kerplooey and kerplunk. I’ll think of words like that, and I understand why so much absurdity and nonsense popped up in The State. There isn’t a direct reference to a State sketch that has something like that, but that kind of silliness reared its head in The State often.

DJ Sorce-1: It’s interesting to hear you give that answer, because my mom always told me The State reminded her of Monty Python. She always wondered if you guys were big on them.

Joe Lo Truglio: We definitely were. Ben Garant and Tom Lennon were encyclopedias of knowledge when it came to Python. They knew every sketch. When some of us who weren’t as familiar with the show came up with a joke or idea, Ben could tell us when Python has already done it. Ben and Tom were heavily influenced by Python and I was the virgin Python member of The State.

DJ Sorce-1: (Laughs) A lot of you went to NYU, correct?

Joe Lo Truglio: We all went to NYU. After the first semester at NYU, Michael Showatler transferred to Brown. He had already started working with us as The New Group, which we called ourselves at the time.

New Group flier from back in the day, Drawn by Joe Lo Truglio

DJ Sorce-1: College must have been a pretty important time in terms of exposing each other to ideas that would later influence the show.

Joe Lo Truglio: Definitely. We were obsessive compulsive people when it came to sketch comedy. We would rehearse things into the ground. We would try to put together the best props in the world and think of the best cue music between sketches for our live shows. We were pretty crazy. It was dare I say, unhealthy. We would spend hours and hours rehearing one sketch.

What that did, besides give us aneurisms, was give us a good work ethic early on in our careers. That transferred well when we were actually getting paid for The State at MTV. We proved that we were capable of doing a TV show, we took it seriously, and we weren’t going to screw around. We screwed around, but we still took it seriously. We played four-square in the hallways, but ultimately, we’d have some sketches written by the end of the day.

Joe, as one of Doug's (played by Michael Showalter) sidekicks.

DJ Sorce-1: Ken told me some stories from when you guys worked at the MTV offices and it sounds like it was a fun time.

Joe Lo Truglio: It was a great time. We had a lot of attitude. (Laughs) We also had a lot of feelings of entitlement, which let to some head butting with some other people at MTV. I also think that helped carry the show a little bit. When your that young, attitude and confidence go a long way, even if it’s to the detriment and headache of many other people around you.

DJ Sorce-1: It seems like you almost have to be like that in entertainment to get respect.

Joe Lo Truglio: Well…I’ve learned you don’t have to. It’s understandable to feel that way at a young age, but I think ultimately people want to work with people that are cool. When you work with people you like, it creates a good working environment. That’s why The State did what we did so well. We were all friends, and we respected each others talents. In projects I work on now, I want to work with people that have that same attitude. Judd Apatow’s crew is a perfect example. They are talented, collaborative people that trust the people they’re working with, and they get great movies as a result.

DJ Sorce-1: That’s refreshing to hear, because I’ve had a lot of experiences to the contrary. It’s good to know there are good people that achieve a high success level.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah, they’re out there man. It makes sense that good work comes out of a situation like that. Everyone just wants to make something funny and not put up any red lights. God, it’s so hard to break down your working process without sounding like a complete pretentious asshole. (Laughs) Anyway, next question.

DJ Sorce-1: I wanted to ask you about the famous hormone skit from The State. That’s one of the skits I always associated you with, and I was wondering if you could give some of the inside details about what went into making that skit.

Joe Lo Truglio: The hormone sketch was written by Ken Marino. Ken is a very visual writer. He often wrote the sketches that incorporated lots of visual gags, so Hormones is a quintessential Marino sketch. It was performed in the first show The State ever did when we were The New Group in college. We loved the idea of becoming hormones. Personifying body parts was cool and fun, and the feminist punch at the end was nice. The music had a goofy, nice build to it and it worked really well with what was going on visually. I also think the idea of a teenager’s first time doing it was an idea that was ripe to make fun of. People were able to relate to that sketch.

DJ Sorce-1: Yeah, it so accurately captures the awkward; don’t know what to say moment before the hookup.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah, and after. It ends real quickly and it’s kind of like, “Ok, that’s it, it’s over, you’re done, go home.” When I talked about how we would rehearse sketches over and over, that was one of them.

DJ Sorce-1: I also read that you did some animation for The State.

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah, I drew a lot as a kid. I animated part of the Krispy Pops commercial sketch in one of the earlier episodes. I animated something for the Little Brown Dog Food sketch. I also did a short animated duck for James Dixon Jedi Talent Agent. I was very excited to do some drawings and animation for the show. It’s always been something I’ve loved.

DJ Sorce-1: Do you ever think about trying to do a serious animation project?

Joe Lo Truglio: It’s something I’d like to do. I have a script for an animated film I’m trying to get off the ground. I’d love to write and be a part of an animated movie, but I don’t think my illustration skills are ready to carry an entire project on my own. Ken and David actually want to animate the comedy album that we recorded with Warner Brothers. We would outsource the cuts to different animators and put out a DVD of it once they were all animated. The cuts on the album are kind of hit or miss, and I think the animation would give it another element to help it translate better.

DJ Sorce-1: In an interview with Used Wigs you said that the film set for Wet Hot American Summer was the most fun film set that you ever worked on. Are there any particularly funny stories you want to share?

Joe Lo Truglio: Yeah…here’s one. This is probably funnier in person than it will come out in print. Me, Marino, Paul Rudd, and A.D. Miles went to this steakhouse and we were having a cigarette outside after we had eaten. Marino started staring at a piece of the sidewalk we were standing on and said, “What’s that?” We didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. He went over to a loose stone in the sidewalk, stepped on it with his foot, and farted. He timed his fart on the loose stone tablet, so that when his foot hit the stone, he farted. We kind of looked at it and said, “Oh yeah, that is interesting.” One by one we went around and hit the stone, and we were each able to fart on cue as we hit the stone. That’s a fun memory I have from the Wet Hot experience. It was the farting stone. Outside this steak restaurant in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, we had discovered the farting stone.

DJ Sorce-1: (Laughs) I wouldn’t worry. I think that’s going to translate pretty well to print. Do you have any last projects that you want to plug before we wrap this up?

Joe Lo Truglio: Besides Burnt, I’m writing a screenplay based on my own childhood called Scaredy Cat and trying to develop an animated webisode called Frankie Buckles Goes to the Moon. I’m also in some new movies like Superbad, Fan Boys, The Pineapple Express, and College Road Trip. Ken and I also have another horror comedy that we’re working on. And fantasy football. Those are the things I’m working on.

Fan Boys Trailer

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My Moment of Truth

At The Smoking Section we've been doing some throwback reviews of our favorite albums. I chose to do mine on Moment of Truth. This album was huge for me in so many different ways. From DJ Premier's production and cuts, to Guru's elevated rhyming, I will always love this album. To read my review, click here. If you don't have this album yet, buy it.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Zombies R Sweet

Sup everyone. I just started a new blog a few days ago. It's called Zombies R Sweet, and it's going to feature movie reviews, film clips, and writing about various zombie movies. I've been a big zombie movie fan since I was a teenager, and I look forward to the challange of running two blogs at once. To check out the blog, click here.

To read my review of Hard Rock Zombies, the first movie review for Zombies R Sweet, click here.