Tuesday
Nov162010

Interview

November 7, 2010

 

Since his creation by Morgan Taylor in 2005, Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon, acclaimed by The New York Times, which described Gustafer as ”A cross between ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Dr. Seuss.”

We had a chance to sit down with Morgan and Gustafer for a nice chat.

1. The Next Gustafer Yellowgold DVD/CD set, titled Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock, will be released on February 22, 2011.  This will be the first of the Gustafer DVD/CD sets to have a real story, with beginning, middle, and end, and even some suspense.  Please tell us more about this exciting project:

It was a storybook idea I had started back as early as 2006.  I had a shell of a story and a front cover drawn and that’s about it.

I developed it quite a bit with my wife and Gustafer partner Rachel, and my brother Grant who is a television writer out in Los Angeles.  It kept growing and growing as a book, and this year I got to finally begin doing the “official” artwork for it.  And as we worked we realized that it still didn’t work as a fully-realized book because the music and video elements would not be present.  So we took a turn and made it all into what would become our first “story-based” DVD.  The images I drew for the book are now animated, and they roll by on the screen in comic-book panel fashion and weave together the 10 music videos that make up the full story.

2. We love Gustafer Yellowgold in our home.   The songs are hugely popular amongst toddlers, teens and adults.  What do you think is the secret to appealing to a wide range of listeners?

I write for myself.  It’s nice, because I don’t have to follow any formulas except for the ones I established for myself organically.  I want and try to write really catchy songs.  I enjoy making people laugh with weird humor.  Those are both things that people of any age respond to.

3.  Tell us more about Gustafer Yellowgold.  How did he come about?  How has he evolved over the years?

He started out as a character I would doodle when I worked in a record store back in Ohio in the 90′s.  He stayed in my subconscious, I’m now realizing, and he’s been the fictional first person in a bunch of songs I’d accumulated over the years since moving to New York City in 1999.  Once I saw how the character worked together with the illustrated song-lyrics, I realized I had a great nucleus for a really fun family music project.  So we started making DVDs in 2005 and Rachel stepped in quickly as the manager of the project, booking lots of live shows and doing the outreach.

4.  The karaoke-style subtitles are genius!  What inspired you to include those?

That started because I first drew them out as little books.  We had to organize the words on each page of the story book, so when we switched the project over to video we put the lyrics across the screen like subtitles.

5.  What does the future hold for Gustafer Yellowgold?

More DVDs are already in the works and we’re constantly expanding our website.  Being a video-based entity, we are in a fun position since television and the Internet are now melding.  A Gustafer TV show of some kind would be a blast.   But for now we’re touring, touring, touring.  Taking it door to door across America – literally in some cases.  Sometimes we’ll do house concerts to fill in some weekdays on our tour schedule.  Those shows are a blast.  There’s an intimacy you can achieve when your on someones living room rug and the animations are up on the wall.

6.  You and your wife are about to welcome your second child.  Congratulations!    Any advice or tips for parents out there on how to best manage family life and a thriving, successful business?

We’ve made it work with one child on the road, but we’ll have to see when the next one comes.  There’s a chance we will look back on all this and ask ourselves, “Were we out of our minds?”

7.  You are living your dream Morgan.  Can you please elaborate on the importance of doing what you absolutely love?

Well, gosh.  I’m not sure how else to really put it, but it makes me less afraid to die.  I’m contributing something positive to the world  and doing my best to fulfill my potential.  Gustafer brings families together and inspires creativity in kids.  You know – things are happening that I never could premeditate.  It’s so rewarding, and I get to spend most of my time with my family.  I feel really lucky.

8.  You just recently kicked off the Top Of The Sock Tour.  We are totally excited to be attending your show on November 20 at Symphony Space!    Tell us what we can expect?

I’m going to throw in a couple of the new songs from the upcoming DVD.  But I’ll play many of the “hits” too.  I’m happy because I get to play it live with my band for a change and it will even include a mini string section.  What they play adds such nice texture.  I love it.

9.   You and your family reside in the Catskill Mountains.  Can you tell us about your favorite places to go, eat and hang in your neck of the woods?

We’re still learning the lay of the land, but we’ve got some of our favorites already.  There’s a great sushi place in Stoneridge called Momiji.  It’s better than our old favorite back in the city!  And there’s a really good pizza place that has a kid’s night called Pizza Barn.  They use all organic stuff including locally grown vegetables.  There are lots of great places to hike and walk up here too.

10.   The award-winning DVD/CD sets Gustafer Yellowgold’s ‘Have You Never Been Yellow?’ and Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wide Wild World were released by Apple-Eye Productions in 2007. A third DVD/CD set, Gustafer Yellowgold’s Mellow Fever, was released in March 2009, with guest performances by Lisa Loeb and Wilco members John Stirrattand Pat Sansone.  Any surprise guests on the new release?

John and Pat are back again on a song called “Beehive”.  It’s a highlight for sure.  I send them the track and give them general notes of what I want, and fully trust they’ll send me back something awesome.  And they do.  And did!

We are thrilled and excited to attend the show on November 20th at Symphony Space!