Brooklyn-based production company m ss ng p eces, working with Red Bull Music Academy, commissioned Max Joseph, of MTV's Catfish, to create a short documentary about DFA Records, the influential NYC label that started the dance punk movement of the early 2000s. Complex caught up with Joseph to talk about the creation of the doc.

Interview by Ross Scarano (@RossScarano)

What’s James Murphy up to now?
He’s directing a short film right now for this Canon project. Ron Howard is the main face of it, but four other celebrities are directing shorts using Canon cameras.

How cool is he?
He’s the hardest person in the world to pin down. He was not in the United States period while I was making the doc. The closest he got was the Coachella cruise ship, where he was playing a DJ set. I had to fly and get on the ship, and then I had to hunt him down. There was no agreed upon time. I had to track him for hours. The entire first day, I roamed the ship up and down, looking for my white whale. He was literally wearing all white. I finally found him, and had to interview him on the ship. He was funny, charming, smart, and always had something interesting to say.

Was he easy to talk to?
Yeah. I was so annoyed by the process of finding him, but the second we sat down to talk, it all went away. He gave such a great interview. His non sequiturs were better than the answers to the questions I’d crafted. There are more of his non sequiturs in the doc than proper answers.

The first DFA single I remember hearing was the Rapture's “House of Jealous Lovers.”
That would've been in the early 2000s in New York, the beginning of the dance punk movement. And then they left the label to make some other, more commercial stuff that wasn’t as good. But they’ve since returned.

Do you like the last Rapture album?
It’s really good. There are some really great arrangements. “In the Grace of Your Love” is a beautiful, eerie dance song. I think Luke Jenner has gone through a lot, personally, and it’s made for great lyrics. I’ve come out of this DFA doc even more of a DFA fan than I was before. The Juan McLean is great.

They’re so underrated. “Happy House” is one of the best songs from that label.
When I was interviewing Juan, I asked him which of his song’s was his favorite and he said “Happy House.” He said it’s the song he’s most proud of. I probably should have only interview each person for 20 minutes—it’s a short documentary—but because I’m so interested, I ended up interviewing everyone for about an hour and a half to two hours.

Will the transcripts of those ever see the light of day?
I have enough to make a feature. Red Bull commissioned this, and I frankly wasn’t making enough to spend the time to do a feature, but I have so much material from so many people, I have to pursue something larger. The conversations about how music changed from the ‘90s, when no one danced, to the 2000s, when the Rapture and LCD brought it back. People thought it was a new thing, but really it had a lot in common with post-punk and what the Clash had done with their Super Black Market Clash album, that ska-infused punk.

Somebody wants this material.
We’re talking about, but it’s complicated because it started out as a commissioned piece. But hopefully it’ll see the light of day.

Interview by Ross Scarano (@RossScarano)