24 San Francisco
July 17, 2009. 3:18pm
Dir. Travis Mathews: hiya!
Travis: Set the scene for us. where are you, what are you doing, listening to, etc...
Mike: Currently, I'm in my living room, on the couch. I just finished dishes, after making a small lunch. And, I just turned on a group called The Field, but I might change it...Actually, I'm just going to put my iTunes on shuffle. Oh, I'm also drinking a glass of red wine - not to sound like a drunk or anything. Just celebrating Friday...early.
Travis: okay, so starting with the most obvious place, music. there's a huge radiohead poster hovering over your bed and you mentioned its importance in cementing your love of music. they even made your Top 10 favorites. what is it about those guys?
Mike: Radiohead...Ya know, when I was first exposed to them, I hated it. Then again, I was in like 5th grade when "Creep" came out, so it was very whatever to me when I'd hear it on rotation on the radio. Then I got Kid A, when it came out. And I sat down. I took the time to actually listen to it, so it was my first real exposure to them - I would listen to it over and over on my discman (how dated, eh?)...And at this time, I was in high school, and was a snobby punk kid who only liked fast, short, songs. Teen angst, I guess. But when I heard Radiohead, it changed how I felt. It was a bunch of things I had never thought about, or felt even. I guess emotions I had kept stashed to the side. And from there, my interest in the band really began. They're something that I feel I have a good grasp on, as in their material and history...but still something that's so mysterious.
Travis: that's beautiful. i love how they opened up feelings for you that were kinda hidden. that's how it should be
Mike: and, of course introduced me to so many other artists, and genres. I began reading about their influences through magazines and on through radio interviews, some internet
Travis: and then it never ends..you got the bug. would you say that music is your number one?
Mike: Yeah, I would say it's pretty high up there. And, I really try to stay on top of it, but I also recognize I have so much more to learn, which is the fun of it too..
Travis: I know you are/were a punk kid, something that i dont think is so apparent in the IN THEIR ROOM piece. what's going on with that?
Mike: Really? I think my room is still pretty punk. But not "punk" in the sense of mohawks and spikes. Maybe because I hadn't unpacked everything when you came - I have a pretty fresh Bad Brains poster somewhere!
Travis: it felt to me like it was in that gray area where punk meets indie, but it's also being colored by the things you said
Mike: But i like to think my room has the attitude still...indie is pretty punk, too. "Independent" is a pretty punk thing. Right? People don't often understand when I say "oh, such and such is punk" when that thing has nothing to do with "PUNK"...and when I was in high school I got caught up in thinking that's what it was too - the look, versus the state of mind, which brings me back to Radiohead - they really cleared that up. I think Radiohead is punk as fuck.
Travis: ah, i like that, and it makes total sense. nice way to bring it back ;0
Mike: Because how could I be a punk, if I wasn't going to go outside the box and try other things? That's what it's all about! So, I feel I'm more punk now, than ever. Oi! Just kidding, haha.
Travis: you and ginno were the only 2 guys i found from the buttheads site buried within the butt site. what's a typical butthead?
Mike: Haha, shit, I think I'm still trying to figure that out. I'm still trying to figure out why I submitted myself to that site. I guess dudes who are interested in something beside the popular gay culture? I guess that's why I joined.
Travis: no hook ups?
Mike: Nope. That's not really what I was looking for, exactly - more hoping to meet new people in general. But, I haven't gotten many messages. I guess it's mostly based off of that goofy picture I sent in - so whoever reads it doesn't really have an idea of Mike. I have gotten emails from people, from the Buttheads thing, but no one in SF, and mostly things like "what's up"
Travis: dyou remember what was going on when you posted? the state of mind or intentions going on?
Mike: I felt that I was still fairly new to a lot of the different subgenres the gay community has, and had read Butt in the past, felt I could meet like-minded people by doing that? Because when I was in Southern California, where I am from, I hated it. I could never relate to West Hollywood, and since most of my friends were straight, I hardly did any searching for an underground which is what I've done a lot of since I've moved here.
SAN FRANCISCO and HAPPINESS
Travis: youve been in san francisco for...a year now?
Mike: October 2008! Almost a year. Whew, what a ride it's been.
Travis: what's been the best thing about living in sf?
Mike: Shoot, best thing in SF - well, I think it was probably the first time in my life that I've felt completely satisfied, proud, excited, and amazed. All at once. Everyday it's something new.
Mike: And everyday there's a moment that I think "I'm so glad to be here"
Travis: wow. that's really great. it's so refreshing to hear someone exuding happiness in a genuine and appreciative way.
Mike: I've come to love walking everywhere. And just observing other people's interactions with one another
Travis: it's the best way to be part of the city, walking around. and something that makes it so special. there are very few places in this country where you can do that. you even put "happiness" at the top of your 10 favorites list.
Mike: Yeah, and there are moments that I see things and I am the ONLY person that saw it. Or at least, that I know. And it makes it special. Even if it's a bird hopping in front of me while I walk by. I feel like I've become a lot more observant...it's never boring here!
Travis: sounds like youve had a good first year
Mike: And not only observant, but more appreciative of simplicity. Happiness should be number 1. Wait, was that number 1?
Travis: it was at the top of your list. i wasnt sure that those were in order, were they?
Mike: I feel like if I'm not happy, it's hard to treat others well. Not in a "I have to get my way" sort of way...but just satisfied with myself. I think that sort of excitement for life shows more, too. Even in the hard times. Optimism! No, they were all number 1s, haha. I didn't put them in any specific order. Haha, I've been listening to Johnny Thunders a lot lately. L.A.M.F.! That was my music update, btw.
Travis: being the cynical bunch that most people are, i think we're used to believing that people with such optimistic outlooks are pushovers or naive. i dont really know you that well, but you dont strike me as either of those. right. thanks for the update. ;)
Mike: No way am I a pushover! Or naive!
Travis: in your interview you talked about knowing it's right (with a guy) when you're feeling this crazy energy between you and him and then having a blast. when was the last time you had a blast?
Mike: I know what I want, and know what I need to do to get it. But I feel like being upset is just a roadblock in my way to doing my thing...so why waste the time. Recently! I actually just took the step into a relationship
Travis: nice! Well, im sure people would be interested in as much detail as you care to give.
Mike: I find it to be a pretty neat story, that kind of just happened...I had contacted him on Myspace (gag) before I moved up here, because I thought maybe I could meet people before I got here...we had a back and fourth of messages, and he was cool, but it fizzled, I don't know if I had lost interest or what...anyway, so back in March, he contacted me again, claiming that I had looked familiar, and asking if we'd talked before...and I remembered him, from before he had said that he was contacted like that in the past, with the whole "I'm moving to SF" shtick, but the dude never followed through. and well, I was in SF. Like I had said I would be! So we started hanging out, and it wasn't really a match right away. We got along well, seemed to have enjoyed one another's company.
Travis: he was talking to you about you and didnt realize it?
Mike: but he wasn't really looking for anything, and I think I didn't know what I wanted. I had only had one serious boyfriend in the past. No, he recognized my picture and when I told him we had talked, he told me he had other dude say they were moving there and they never went through...I mean, I wasn't making him promises. Iwas actually just shooting the shit initially about how he liked the city. But I thought he was cute...so haaaay. So, we started hanging out...and we didn't even kiss until like two months into it? I wasn't going to push anything, and I don't know if he was in the same boat, or what. But, what was cool, was that our hang outs weren't based on that. We just liked to hang out. and I think the fact that I kind of had to chase him some, made me more interested. I guess it goes that way, haha.
Travis: right. without a good friendship there it's not gonna last. that's cool. but 2 months, yikes!
Mike: But also, I was able to learn a lot about him. I was thinking with my head, not my dick! Haha
Travis: has he seen you in the ITR piece?
Mike: Maybe a month and half...afterall, I feel I'm still new at dating and meeting men. I still get hesitant when people show me that type of attention - in LA it was so "is this guy gay? or just looking at me for some reason?" He hasn't seen the piece, but he knows all about it - he's the dude I'm texting in the video! :p
Travis: shuttup! i love it
Mike: You captured me building something with him! haha
Travis: i love the snapshot of your life that happens. all those little artifacts are going to take on greater meaning or connotations the further we get from when i actually shot you. i love that it's a time capsule. one day you're going to say. omg, that phone is ancient! lol
Mike: Yeah, I do too. I'm going to show him the piece; he hasn't seen it because we aren't online together most of the time. I think it'd be better to watch together. but, we were on the MUNI together when I met Eli!
Travis: how was that?
Mike: Cool! I recognized him, but didn't really know if it was him and he came up to me and introduced himself. He was very nice, and we just chatted about the experience. Very cool dude.
Mike: So, as of June, the dude and I decided we were gonna give the "relationship" thing a try, which was really only a title change (sounds like a car)...seeing as we were doing that kind of thing already
Travis: does the change in title mean exclusivity?
Mike: Yeah, that's what it confirmed
Travis: san francisco has a reputation for its smorgasbord of definitions to relationship. i had to ask. how do you feel about open relationships in general?
Mike: They intrigue me, and I've talked to friends about theirs, just because I'd never been exposed to that before. And never knew anyone who was involved in one. It works for some, but I don't think it'd work for me. I'm not really interested in being a part of it. Shit, I'm still learning how to be a good guy to one person, haha. But it's still an interesting thing...and if it works for people, go for it. All a matter of being happy in the end.
Travis: yeah, i was thinking as much about you. it's like, you gotta get comfortable with the form of it before you can really consider tearing it down and making your own thing. it's like art! and maybe it's just not your thing in the end…so you mentioned eli awhile back, what did you think of the other boys in the ITR piece?
Mike: Yeah, that is true. But, I'm still young, who knows, that opinion might change one day. But for now, it's not on my to-do.They seemed cool. And I was surprised to see that I knew a couple of them already, haha. Which makes it more neat, because we've talked about it with one another...it's interesting to hear the behind the scenes of their filming and to share how mine was. I think the dvd needs outtakes and bloopers! :p but after showing some of my friends, and watchign it a handful of times, I really began to enjoy it
Mike: Eli posted that Nathan (who I am guessing might be the one from the video) is DJing at Underground SF? Some Detroit Techno stuff, which sounds fun
Travis: im gonna be there! im thinking it's gonna be fun. have a great night and thanks for taking some time to chat!
Mike: Thanks Travis.