As we here in the U.S. of A. gear up for our nations birthday this Friday the 4th, we here at EA are proud to bring you two new interviews this week!
The first is with Denise Korycki. This interview was conducted in 2011 as I was really a big fan of Denise's directing work with the Cannibal Corpse DVD's. I had an interview with Alex Webster scheduled not long after Denise's so this was a perfect one two punch.
And, yes, the Alex Webster interview will see the light of day as well!
Q: Greetings Denise! Thank you for doing the interview. Are you at home in Brooklyn or on the road?
A: I actually just got back from a trip to Stockholm, Sweden. On the last Cannibal Corpse DVD I did, "Global Evisceration", we traveled to ten different countries in two weeks – one of those countries was Sweden. We didn’t have much time, obviously, to spend in a lot of the countries we toured, so I decided to go back to Sweden to visit because I really liked the vibe there.
Q: I read your bio on the Wild Wind Production site. Do you have any formal education in videography, filmmaking, etc? What got you started?
A: I majored in a few different fields in college. Eventually, I decided to pursue a degree in Radio and Television Production. One of my teachers was a freelance producer at VH1. She recommended me for an internship there during my last year of college. The show I was working on, "Hollywood & Vinyl", was looking for a production assistant and after I graduated, they hired me immediately. The timing worked out great!
Q: What are some of the things you learned, good and bad, about the industry during your internship?
A: When you’re a production intern, you have to do a lot of transcribing so I quickly discovered that people do not always speak as eloquently as we think they do; they fill their sentences with “ums” and “ahs” and “likes” and the editors / producers pull most of the stutters out to make them flow better. I learned that shadowing an experienced producer is the best way to learn how to be a good producer yourself. There are some people who graduate from college and automatically think they are directors or producers, but, in reality, it takes time to hone your craft if you want longevity.
Q: I absolutely love the two Cannibal Corpse DVD's you did. They are in one word: exhaustive. You really have a knack for telling a story and editing a ton of footage to leave no stone unturned. How did you get involved with CC and those two projects ("Centuries of Torment" and "Global Evisceration")?
A: Thank you for the kind words on the Cannibal DVDs! I’ve actually done 3 with them, if you include the “Making of…” that was released with the Evisceration Plague album. I love working with Cannibal Corpse!
I’ve always believed that behind every one story, lies a ton more stories. It was a really amazing process to watch all of these stories unfold throughout the making of the DVDs. It was a lot of work sifting through all the old footage. If I remember correctly, I think I had about 3 terabytes of footage for the Centuries DVD!
I met Cannibal back in 2006 while I was on The Sounds of the Underground tour shooting As I Lay Dying. That year, I was also working as the Series Producer of Fuse TV’s Uranium and we did an interview with Cannibal at Erik Rutan’s studio for “Kill”. In January 2007, I ran into Alex Webster at the NAMM convention in Anaheim, CA and we spoke about documenting the band. They wanted to do a tour documentary, but I thought it’d be great to document the band’s career since they had been around for so long. Metal Blade was super supportive and receptive to it all. The rest is, well, video history.
Q: Who makes up your crew when you're working on a project such as the "Global Evisceration" DVD? Can you give me a break down of your game plan when it comes to projects such as this? Do you map out what you're going to be filming each day?
A: The crew on "Global Evisceration" was basically me. I produced, directed and shot the DVD. I edit the majority of the projects I work on as well, but also bring on a couple of different editors to help out towards the end. Jim Starace (www.mastervolume.com) and Lia Starace (www.splicegirlpost.com) have been editing with me since one of the first DVDs I did - Killswitch Engage “Set the World Ablaze”.
I don’t script anything out because you never know what will happen from day to day on tour. Life on the road is unpredictable, so I basically just go with the flow and keep the camera rolling most of the day. I weave out all the uneventful parts when editing. My goal is to try to capture the honest moments and the personalities of each band member. I want the fans to really know what it’s like to go on tour with Cannibal.
(Denise filming Paul M. from Cannibal Corpse in Tel Aviv, Israel)
Q: You've worked on several band projects, among other things. If it were completely up to you, what would you be focused on in the future? Films? Band videos? Documentaries?
A: I would absolutely love to focus on documentaries full time. I love uncovering the human story and by the human story, I do not mean a made up, crappy reality show. I mean the true human story. I’m obsessed with autobiographies and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. It gives you a new perspective on life.
Q: What kind of subjects would you like to tackle for these documentaries?
A: I don’t have a specific subject that I can say I’d like to focus on. The world is so vast; people are so inspiring. My passion lies in discovering and uncovering stories. Your neighbor could be the subject of my next documentary, for all I know.
Q: You've worked with some amazing artists (musicians, actors, etc). There must be some great stories! Can you tell me one that stands out?
A: Wow! That’s always such a hard question to narrow it down to one. I can go on for months with stories. Some of them are “you had to be there” stories, some of them I can’t tell or I’d have to kill you… hmmm… Here’s a couple of them, although I must warn you – I’m way better at storytelling with video than I am with conveying it through words.
On the Cannibal tour we did last summer, we were at the Belgium airport at 6am. I was filming the guys wiping the crust out of their eyes, basically, when Rob pointed out that there was a Jesse Jackson “look alike” standing behind him. We were kind of tired and a bit delirious and laughing about how ironic that would be if it were Jesse Jackson… Just as we were talking about this guy, he walks up and, sure enough, it was him! To see Jesse Jackson chatting with Cannibal Corpse in Belgium at the airport at 6am was a bit surreal. I captured it on video – you can see it on Metal Blade TV’s site!
Another story – I was working at VH1 on a show called “The Rock Show”. Ozzy was scheduled to be our guest. I had never met the Prince of Darkness before, so I was anxious and excited and nervous and overwhelmed – meeting Ozzy was going to be a dream come true! I was getting ready to head into the studio and all of a sudden there’s commotion on my TV. I caught the end of it before my TV cut out - believe it or not, I didn’t have cable, I just had an antenna for reception. I quickly ran out of my house and jumped on the subway – had to get into Manhattan from Brooklyn to meet Ozzy and nothing was going to stop me! After all, this was the day, it was the day I was going to meet Ozzy! Turns out, that day would be significant for all the wrong reasons - it was September 11, 2001. Needless to say, Ozzy was on a bus back to Los Angeles by the time I got into the studio in Manhattan and learned what was actually happening.
Q: Holy crap! What a story! Did you ever see the 9/11 documentary made by a pair of French brothers? They were actually filming a probationary fireman going through his first year as a fireman. They showed it on regular TV and then released a longer version on DVD. They had footage from inside the towers that fateful day.
A: I actually have not seen that. I may have to put it on my Netflix queue. Honestly, it took a while before I was able to watch any footage about September 11th. I’m fortunate enough to say I did not know anyone who died in the WTC, but the visuals I saw in real life have been burned in my brain for the last 10 years. Wow, it’s strange to think it’s been almost 10 years.
(Denise filming a live event)
Q: Who's on your bucket list of who'd you'd like to work with in the future?
A: I would LOVE to do a documentary on Suicidal Tendencies! They are one of my favorite bands of all time. I’d also love to do a documentary on Prince. I love his music and he fascinates the hell out of me. If anyone out there can make any of those happen, let me know!
Q: Suicidal was one of the earlier bands to attract fans from different genres - punk, metal, ska, rap, etc. What do you like about the band?
A: The music is killer! But, I must say that Mike Muir’s lyrics, basically, saved my life. I’ll never forget that feeling I had when I first listened to “How Will I Laugh…” I remember when I worked at MTV Networks, I would sit down for hours and watch old interviews with Mike. I can never get enough of his inspiring words.
Q: Do you consider yourself a metal head? You've worked with many metal bands thus far.
A: I consider myself a music head. Metal is dear to my heart and was one of my favorite genres of music growing up. It’s like family; it’s in my blood. But, good music is good music and I love all kinds – from Jackie Wilson to Pantera to Elliot Smith to Life of Agony.
Q: When you're not working, what do you like to do for fun?
A: I go to see live shows about 2 or 3 times a week and watch tons of documentaries. And, honestly, work is fun for me! I work for fun. I know it’s hard to believe and it’s not always all roses, but it’s exhilarating to work. I try to shoot whenever I can. I like to capture moments in time. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder to film shows in NYC without paying a venue fee, so I’ve been shooting less and less live shows over the years.
Q: What are some of the highlights of your career thus far?
A: It’s a trip to think about the fact that I’ve met almost all the bands whose posters I used to hang on my walls when I was a kid. I’ve had the privilege of not only meeting them, but of developing lasting relationships with many of them as well. Also, being able to travel the world and experience music and cultures in so many different countries is something I never thought was possible. Meeting fans from all those places I’ve been to reinforces my belief that music is a universal language.
Q: What projects are you working on now?
A: I’m actually working on a video for a charity organization called Watchlist. I’ve got a few things in mind for the rest of the year, but nothing is solidified yet.
Q: Denise, thank you for taking the time today. The last words are for you.
A; Thanks for all the support! Please keep buying music and DVDs and continue to support the arts. We are nothing without the fans. And true artists are fans themselves.
When I was a kid, I never thought a career like this was possible. But, as Ozzy once said in an interview I finally did with him on my birthday a few months after September 11th, “don’t ever stop dreaming because dreams really do come true… sometimes…”