GENRE IS DEAD! Interview With ‘Between Me And My Mind’s’ Jamie Shultz and Steve Cantor

GID: The movie is being released in theaters for one night. What would you guys say is the significance behind releasing the documentary in theaters for one night instead of releasing on Blu-ray or On-Demand right away?

SC: We talked about a lot of different options. There were distributors who wanted to do a limited release where it would play in two cities and then expand over the course of several weeks. We also talked about doing something direct to consumers who are absolute die hard Phish fans. Ultimately, we premiered at the Beacon Theater at the Tribeca film festival where 3000 fans showed up and it was unbelievable. The turnout was probably the best of either of our careers. So, we thought we should give fans the opportunity to experience that in theaters together. Trafalagar came to us with a proposal that’s now turned into releasing it on 500 screens all in one night, so it’s an exciting way to go about it.

JS: I think because Phish fans love the community of Phish, it will create an evening that’s memorable and shared by all. If it was just released on a disc or as a link, it’s not the same experience watching on your couch as it is watching it in theaters with 200 other Phish fans.

GID: That’s a great point. Recently, I saw The Cure Anniversary in theaters and it was a markedly different experience from watching it at home on the couch. With everything being on demand there’s not a lot of chances for fans to come together for night and this seems like a great way for fans to have that one shared experience.

JS: We agree and that’s one of the reasons we decided to do it this way. There will be other opportunities for fans to see the film that we’re working on. We want to make sure that all the fans get to see the film at some point.

GID: Trey has been making music for nearly 40 years and he has such a legacy with Phish. They have some of the most dedicated fans on the planet, so what do you think will surprise fans who see this documentary?

JS: I think it won’t surprise fans, but reinforce what fans already know. Although Trey is a rockstar performing in front of 25,000 people a night, he is a very warm, approachable genuinely incredible guy. It’s no accident that Trey and Phish have built this following over the years. They’re very inclusive and they feel like the fans are part of their family. And I really do think that comes across in the movie. Trey doesn’t come across as a rockstar, he comes across as a regular guy, which he is. Something as small as Trey making coffee and walking across his living room – it’s not the most exciting scene, but I think fans will enjoy seeing it because it puts Trey on the same level as all of us. Also I think the camaraderie Trey has with his family, with his bandmates, with his best friend are all things that fans are gonna enjoy.

GID: Was there anything that surprised you about Trey that you learned during the making of the film? 

JS: He thinks about everything – a lot. It’s funny because people look at Phish as a jam band and think they must go up there and wing it. But there’s no winging it. Yes, they go in their own directions musically, but it’s because they rehearse for thousands of hours. Trey thinks about every single lyric and every single note coming off his guitar and also how that note coming off his guitar is going to interact with the notes that Jon Fishman is playing and Page McConnell and Mike Gordon. So when you see what we saw as filmmakers for three years, it’s just every little creative thing being dissected over and over and over again. It’s done with the best intentions. He wants to make everything amazing. For me, it was interesting to see how obsessive he is with the details, but then when he goes up on stage it appears as though it’s just magic.

GID: Finally, how did it feel to be given the honor of following Trey and Phish around to make the film?

JS: I’ve been a fan since ‘92 and I remember being a kid in the audience looking at this guy and hearing all this amazing music coming off stage wondering how cool it would be to make a film on these guys one day, but I never really thought that would happen. As I got further along in my career and Steven and I started tackling bigger projects, it seemed like something that could happen.

Then we met with Patrick and Trey and they ultimately decided to allow us to do it. It was thrilling but it was also intimidating in some ways because I knew as Phish fan that this had to be amazing. When we premiered the film at the Beacon, Steven and I were very proud, but I was very nervous about how fans would react. Fortunately, they seem to be enjoying it, which is a huge relief! Even though it was exciting to get the gig it was also nerve racking to make the film because we knew it had to be great, which I think it’s a really solid film.

Learn more about Between Me and My Mind here.

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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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