Friday, August 10, 2007

8/10/07- This week's guest: Tay Zonday...

You have no doubt seen the video that over 5 million people have viewed on Youtube in the past week. That video is "Chocolate Rain" by Tay Zonday(video is posted below the interview). In a matter of mere days, this song has been covered by the likes of John Mayer and Tre Cool and has spawned literally hundreds of Internet spoofs. This man is truly destined to take his new-found fame, run with it, and carry himself all the way to the top. His may truly be the most prolific and insightful guest I've interviewed yet. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tay Zonday:

1. How did you first get interested in wanting to become a musician?

I don't know that I consciously want to be a musician. You make it sound like I prayed in the foothills of Tibet and had a revelation from Buddha. Everybody sings. Maybe they only do it when they're alone in the car. Maybe they only do it in the shower. People are not "interested" in "becoming a musician" in these spaces. Music is the default status of life. So the question is not why particular people become musicians. The question is why a majority of people become silent. They sing in the shower. They sing in the synagogue. They are silent on the sidewalk. They are silent in the grocery store. What made you interested in wanting to become silent?

2. What are some of your favorite musical acts and influences?

I don't know. I just respect all music.

3. Do you feel that alot of the music industry today has become too commercialized and cookie-cutter?

Since its inception, the music industry has been a distribution industry. It has been about gaining exclusive access to scarce retail space. It has been about gaining exclusive access to scarce broadcast airwaves. Once exclusive access is secured, it is much easier to produce "impressions" . . . forcing encounters between your brand and the general publics' brains. The volume of impressions creates the behavior of purchasing music much more reliably that "good" music. Since broadcast and distribution is becoming less scarce with the internet, it is becoming easier to rely on good music to generate purchases.

4. What was the worst job you have ever had?

I don't do well with these questions that require a singular extreme. The "favorite" music act? The "worst" job? How can anybody reduce their life to these qualifiers? Isn't each situation rich with context and contradiction? Isn't it always multiple things at once? We've got to get ourselves unhooked from sound-bytes. They are always shortcuts of convenience. The problem is that it's for the convenience of power and not the convenience of enfranchised people.

5. Has all of this new-found fame changed you at all?

Am I in the midst of newfound fame? I have not noticed any interesting changes in my psychology. The public seems much more interested in my psychology than I am. I really don't pay much attention to it. At least, not with the voyeuristic titillation that sometimes moves the public. I'm not looking in the mirror every morning and asking "how am I changed today?"

6. Any plans to release a full-length album?

Who knows? I take it a day at a time. As soon as I affirm a plan, the margin of error becomes too high.

7. Have you seen any of the parody videos of chocolate rain on youtube? Do you have any favorites?

That's another one of those questions that requires an extreme. It requires a label. How can anybody stand a mode-of-thought that is so concrete? I appreciate the fact that anybody would be interested in interpreting my work.

8. What's on your Tivo/DVR?

I don't own a television. Though my family often has stuff saved on their DVRs when I visit them.

9. Any advice for an aspiring musician out there?

I think I touched on this in #1. Understand what it is that inspires you to be silent. Once you begin to understand why you aspire to be silent, it becomes easier to understand why you are not a musician.

10. What is the message being told in "chocolate rain"?

"Chocolate Rain" is not dogmatic. It is not like the step-by-step directions for putting together a new table. It is cryptic. It is meant to be subject to interpretation. Some experience it on a deeply academic level. Others experience it as a catchy and entertaining tune. I refuse to be the referent by which other interpretations are evaluated. People get out of it what they get out of it and that's cool. What more does it need to be?

"Chocolate Rain":