Here we have an email interview with Roel, one of the (somewhat warped) masterminds behind the now legendary Retard-o-Tron mixtapes! My review of the first mixtape is here.
How about a brief introduction of yourself?
What inspired you to make your mixtape?
I’ve always had a thing for bizarre, sensationalist, non-mainstream movies and music. When I was a kid I heard older friends talk about the “Faces Of Death” videos or the insane backstage antics on heavy metal band videos, and those really piqued my interested. Thanks to Troma and movies like Braindead I took a deep plunge into the cesspool of B-movies and other low budget schlock, and swam around long enough in it to discover awesome examples of bad taste.
I also loved watching skateboard and graffiti movies, some of them containing early blueprints for shows like Jackass. I also dug shit like blooper videos and all kinds of “caught on tape” shit. Obviously, porn was a great source of amazement and disgust. I love to see what some people will do for money.
When broadband internet became available and our computers became portals to the immense media library the internet offered, I set about to find the darkest corners and see what else was out there. At a certain point I looked at what I had collected over the past 15 years and figured, “there’s so much good shit in there that’s hard to find, I should put some of it together”. I thought the mixtape concept would be ideal for this, so I went and started work on Retard-O-Tron Video Mixtape #1.
How do you get the clips?
From buying VHS tapes or DVDs on thriftshops, garagesales and fleamarkets, ordering from small underground mailorders like the amazing B-Videos 101, trading with fellow geeks, scouring P2P networks like Edonkey, newsgroups, torrent sites, or foreign P2P networks like Perfect Dark or Winny. I didn’t have the hardware to transfer VHS to my computer, so I tried to find versions online that somebody else already captured.
How long did it take to get all the clips?
I used some clips that I had lying around for over 10 years, and some clips that I found while working on the Retard-O-Tron DVDs. Sometimes you try to find a particular scene or piece of footage to complete something you’ve edited together, and you’ll find something totally unexpected instead. Also, people like Bryan of B-Videos 101 or Robin Bougie of the awesome Cinema Sewer empire sent me copies of really obscure and rare items from their collection. It really helps if you have people like them helping you out!
Were there any clips you didn’t use? (if so, which ones!) and was there anything you thought was too harsh to include?
Although I was initially fascinated by “death tapes” like Faces Of Death, I really don’t like that stuff anymore. The cruelty of human kind and the inevitability of death have become perfectly clear to me since I first seen Faces Of Death. You’ll see some nasty ways people get hurt in ROT, but no death footage.
I’ve also gone on a few Japanese fetish porn binges, which are always a great source for shock value, cruelty and imaginative ways to help perverts float their boats. Some of that stuff is really hard to watch though. There’s a whole branch of perversion that solely seems to revolve around degrading and abusing women. Some of that stuff is hard to watch: gorgeous women dressed in beautiful bridal gowns getting force fed shit, up to the point where they’re crying while puking up a brown sludge. It scores incredibly high on the WTF-scale, but it ain’t the stuff I’d like to see when chilling out in front of my TV with a bong and a beer. So I kept that stuff out.
I’ve got a few nasty clips that didn’t make it to ROT#1 and ROT#2. Mixtape makers who think they’re up for it are free to contact me and use the clips though.
The presentation is slick, how long did it take to edit each tape?
I think I spent a year on each tape, from the moment I decided to start work on it untill the finished DVD was in my hands. Early on in the process I’ll just be editing clips together at random, till some sort of order starts to appear. I’ll shuffle stuff around, polish up rough cuts, find more or better clips, better fitting music, until the mixtape is feature-film length. Then I spend plenty of time on the titles, DVD menu, trailers, extras, DVD cover, booklet and stuff like that.
Do you have a favourite clip from one of your mixtape(s)?
After finishing a mixtape I have seen each clip a thousand times, and I’m sick of most of them. Hervé Villechaize singing has always been a favorite of mine, though.
In the field of video mixtapes, I really dig Crazy Dave Tape II. I came across it right when I was finishing work on ROT#1. I didn’t know people were still making mixtapes (or party tapes, whatever you wanna call them). I only knew old stuff on VHS, most of it I never even seen.
Will there be more mixtapes from you?
I’m afraid so. I wrapping up work on another Cinema Sewer and ZXQL3000 co-op, which is a religious themed porn movie called “The Cumming Of Jizzus“. After that, we’ll start work on ROT#3 — the final one.
If yes, what can we expect in the next mixtape?
More emphasis on movies and television weirdness!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I want to give a shout out to some of “new generation” of video mixtapes, like the Crazy Dave guys, the hardest working man in video mixtape land Brian Unfried, and all the other guys who made a VMT and put some effort into it. I love seeing video mixtapes that take their own approach to the phenomenon, that uncover even more hidden gems. I don’t like the ones that just slap together some random clips they found.
And oh yeah: MAKE YOUR OWN FUCKING MIXTAPE!!
Many thanks to Roel for taking the time to answer my highly inter-ma-lectual questions. Best of luck on RoT3 and The Cumming of Jizzus, surely one of the best titles EVER! 😀