Wednesday, 7 February 2007

My Interview with musician & director Ari Zilnik

A Conversation With Ari Zilnik

Conducted by Aaron Matthews

Ari Zilnik is best known as DJ Fizix, who, at 14, was the youngest DJ ever to participate in the DMC (*Disco Mix Club) DJ competition. He won the fourth place position. He has also been a member of such local Richmond Hill bands as Other and the I Heart Randy's. You may also know him as one half of short-lived turntablism duo INF, a collaboration with Marty Rotenberg (infamous for breaking up after a single show.) He also gained notoriety for being sued by Whitby, Ontario rapper K-os after remixing one of his songs without permission.

Today, we sit down with Mr. Zilnik to learn about his latest project, The Velcro Theory, for the first part in a two-part interview series.

AM: Hello, Ari. How are you?

AZ: I'm doing good, man.

AM: So tell me about INF. I attended that show, I loved it, personally. You guys were doing something utterly different from all the other Led Zeppelin tribute bands there. What happened?

AZ: Love, man. I don't want to talk about it.

AM: Okay, can you tell me about your DJing career?

AZ: DJ Fizix? I don't have time to DJ much anymore, I wish I did. I've been kind of busy. (looks out window)

AM: But you were in that competition, weren't you?

AZ: The DMC Competition? Yeah, I was the youngest person there. I think I was actually the youngest DJ ever to enter.

AM: What about Kid Koala? Wasn't he pretty young at the time?

AZ: No, I don't think he was that young.

AM: He just looks like he's 7.

AZ: (laughs) Yeah, totally. I think you're thinking of A-Trak , actually (* Toronto-born DJ, at 15, youngest DJ to ever win a DJ-battling world championship.)

AM: How old were you, then?

AZ: 14.

AM: Wow. How did you do?

AZ: 4th place or something.

AM: That's actually very impressive.

AZ: Yeah, I guess it's kinda cool.

AM: So the new project is called the Velcro Theory. What is it, exactly?

AZ: It's just me expanding into a solo project, just like every other artist out there. I'm also doing a yet-unnamed project... A bit of a competition.

AM: Who are you competing against?

AZ: Marty Rotenberg, actually. We each have to make four tracks, and collectively decide whose is better.

AM: These are all instrumental, right?

AZ: Yeah, I'm going for kind of a MSTRKRFT feel. (* Jesse Keeler's new electronica side-project)

AM: Can you tell me about some of your other influences?

AZ: Other than MSTRKRFT, I'd have to say RJD2.

AM: You heard he's dropping out of hip-hop, right?

AZ: Yeah, but I'm still sort of denying it (laughs) I really liked Since We Last Spoke. But I don't think he should sing, he's a bad singer.

AM: So where did the name The Velcro Theory come from?

AZ: I don't know. Well, actually, I just thought it was kind of a cool name. The Velcro Theory, you know? (laughs)

AM: What are you hoping to achieve with this other unnamed project?

AZ: We're gonna do one show in some dingy club in Paris; and we'd like to get a write-up in one of those like four sentence reviews at the back of magazines.

AM: Well, you know, that's where Daft Punk got their name. They released a single as a group called Darling, and they got reviewed as being "daft punk."

AZ: Really?

AM: Yeah, I read it on allmusic. Or maybe 10 years from now you'll be featured in one of those British music magazines as being a lost classic.

AZ: (laughs) You mean like Q [magazine] Yeah, just release one single, and break up.

AM: Well, INF only played one show.

AZ: (laughs) Yeah, that's the best way to do it. Don't even release anything.

AM: Also apparently Daft Punk never appear in public without masks on or something.

AZ: Yeah, like in the video, that guy wears a dog mask.

AM: The Spike Jonze video?

AZ: Yeah, that's the one. They also dress as robots, right?

AM: For concerts, usually.

AZ: You know, I actually have a robot suit at home.

AM: You mean like in the Around the World video? (* directed by Michel Gondry. Features dancers wearing outfits representing different instruments in the song. The robots represent vocoders.)

AZ: Yeah, sometimes when I'm at home, I just do this. (imitates the robots in the video)

AM: (laughs) That's great.

AZ: Hey, I got to go. Let's pick this up later.

AM: Alright, thanks, Ari.

AZ: Later, man.

AM: Bye.

Aaron Matthews is a critic, artist, and amateur filmmaker. He is currently working on his first film, Puppy Bohemia. His work has been published in Access Magazine, and been repeatedly rejected by McSweeney's. He can be reached at

Ari Zilnik, in addition to his musical career, is also an aspiring filmmaker. Watch his music video for RJD2's Since We Last Spoke at the following address.

Since We Last Spoke:

You can also see The Velcro Theory's Myspace at this address:

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