And music distribution, with digital distribution, it's really opened up that channel as well, and how things are marketed can be very creative and interesting nowadays. It's actually kind of a fascinating time to be involved. It's not exactly the best time to start a business but that was never my intent. My intent really was to start a little label to release music that I believed in as a hobby, not to make money off of it. So yeah, I'm still plugging away at it and, hopefully, in the next year or so it will expand and become something a little bit more.
I don't know if I can pinpoint it. Growing up my brother was always a huge fan of music and I've learned a lot from my brother. I listened to a lot of the music that he listened to growing up. He was a huge Prince fan and The Smiths, and various other sort of indie rock from the early '90s and ... a little electronic stuff from England.
Also I was traveling at a young age and was exposed to music from various people that I was working with. And it just hit me kind of early, I think around 8, 9, probably like 9 or 10, I started to prick up my ears to it and I was exposed to a lot of different kinds of music, more than I would have if I had just been in one place or just listening to the radio.
So I really credit sort of my initial tableau of the music that influenced me to traveling and to listening to anything exposed to me that I wouldn't have otherwise. And probably around the age of 15 or 16 is when I became kind of heavily interested and really sought it out. And my musical taste expanded beyond sort of the parameters that I had initially, and it just blew open as a teenager and I became kind of voracious.
At one point, Smashing Pumpkins was your favorite band, right?
Yeah, yeah. They were the first band I really followed. I think the first band that I fell in love with was probably The Beatles, but the first band that I really followed in a current timeframe was the Pumpkins. It was the first band that I saw live, the first concert back in '97. They were an exciting band to follow because all of the singles that they released had B sides. The B sides were just as interesting, if not more so, than their album tracks. And they were just a kind of an amazing--they had so much music from 1991 up until '99, '98. So it was just an exciting band to follow. That kind of exposed me to other things, just the notion of following music so intensely.
Have you heard any of Billy Corgan's recent stuff?
I have. I think what I'm most excited about, he's an incredible song writer, but he's just announced this plan to reissue a number of the classic albums remastered with bonus material, most of which he is saying is largely unreleased even on bootleg form. That's really exciting. Their back catalog is massive and their archive is huge. I'm really curious to see what will come out of that and I think it's a fun opportunity for him to kind of indicate this is the larger picture of where we were any given time making each record, and I think that's really exciting. So I'm psyched about that project; that'll be cool.
Do you have any current musical recommendations?
I've been having little record parties where people come over to my house and everybody brings vinyl and everybody gets a turn at playing music, which is a lot of fun.
A friend of mine brought a record by a band called Social Climbers that came out in 1980, I think it was, 1980-81. It's the coolest record I've heard in a long time. It's all drum machines, but then instruments on top of the drum machines. It has at times a Talking Heads sort of feel to it. It's got kind of a post-punk sound to it. There are male and female vocals. It's so cool. It sounds really modern in terms of what some bands play now. It sounds like if you released it today Pitchfork would be all over it. I managed to find it. My friends sent me a link to find it on vinyl because it's not an easy record to find and they never released it on CD. But I think it's actually being reissued next year. It's so good. Social Climbers is awesome.
When are you leaving to shoot "The Hobbit?"
I leave for New Zealand in October. They've been filming since March and I think they're actually on a hiatus right now. But yeah, I'm heading out there in October.
Are you excited?
I'm thrilled. It's 12 years this August since I traveled to New Zealand for the first time. It's just crazy to think that that much time has passed. But to be able to go back to New Zealand and work with largely the same crew and many of the same cast in that same world is just a trip. It's like a high school reunion and also a mix of time travel.
And to play that character again in that same context is going to be very surreal. It just feels like it'll be a wonderful reunion just to catch up with everyone. So I'm so excited. It's just a little part. I haven't read the scripts yet, but there are the tiny little pieces for Frodo, because obviously Frodo's not alive chronologically during the time of "The Hobbit." But I'm just looking forward to going back.
I'm going back for I think it's only a few days of work, but I'm going to stay for a month and just catch up with everyone and meet a lot of the new cast members and just sort of enjoy being back in New Zealand for a bit. I miss it.
That was such a huge part of your life. How long were you guys there? Three years?
Well, it was 16 months of principal photography, but the film remained over the course of four years. We started production in '99 and we wrapped in, I think it was October or November of 2003.
And all that travel to support it.
A lot, a lot, yeah. A huge, huge part of my life. I was 18 when I first traveled to New Zealand to start working on the films and I was 22, almost 23 when we finished. So it was a significant chunk of my life in terms of a significant time in one's life, when one is kind of being a teenager and growing into being a man. So it was a profound life experience. In some ways that trumps just the making of the film. It had such an impact on me just as a person. It'll be really gratifying to go back and revisit it a bit.