Troy Nelson and Cody Hurd are better known as Black Daisy, a Seattle comedy group with a flair for the absurd. (They are also sometimes known as Voltage Periscope, a parody nü-metal band.) They’ve been gaining fame, both locally (having done some music videos and won local filmmaking contests) and nationally (their shorts have been in the most recent Tromadance festival and will appear on an upcoming DVD). They’ve also worked with lots of cool bands, including The Lights, The Cops, Dolour and No-Fi Soul Rebellion. Their work reminds me somewhat of Tim & Eric, though no imitators are they! (In fact, neither Troy nor Cory were familiar with Tim & Eric’s work when I asked!)
I met Troy when I was buying Eraserhead from him at the record store where he works, and it turns out we were both huge fans of Dumbland; he gave me a copy of the new DVD, The Hardy Har Har Collection. I really enjoyed it, and next time I went to the store, I asked him if I could interview the two of them. He agreed, so here it is!
Part the First
At this moment in time, what is your favorite song?
Black Daisy: We both are into this idea of taking one second out of 200 different horrible and cheesy songs and put all the seconds together to make one chaotic song. Then we would show it to some “intelligent” avant-garde type person, and hope they like it. Then we would say, “Ha ha, smart fucker, you like 200 really shitty songs!!”
What’s your favorite band that you don’t think a lot of people would have heard of?
Black Daisy: Voltage Periscope, of course. That or probably Mucky Pup. I wouldn’t say they’re a favorite, but they were retarded. Look ‘em up.
What, if anything, is on any particular wall (your choice) in your domicile?
Black Daisy: We don’t live in domiciles, we both live in homes.
What’s the strangest thing you own?
Black Daisy: The strangest thing Cody owns is a bunch of human bones from some dead dude he dug out of the ground. That, and a wacky rainbow tie. You should see it; it is totally way out there!
Of the things you’ve done, what’s your all-time favorite (however you want to interpret that, be it artistic works, actions, whatever)?
Black Daisy: Probably our song and video parody of a Nü-metal band. That music sucks so hard that we were glad to capture that shitty magic in a studio.
Who’s your favorite visual artist (excluding yourself)?
Black Daisy: If we were really into art, we most likely wouldn’t do what we do. Banksy is cool. Fredryk Phox is a genius.
What are the five most recent films you’ve seen?
Black Daisy: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Cloverfield, 3:10 to Yuma, The Bourne Ultimatum.
What’re your top three movies?
Black Daisy: Way too hard to answer, and I am a little hungover today. I consumed some drinks that had alcohol in them last night.
Do you own any original artwork, and if so, whose?
Black Daisy: Troy has two paintings by Blaine Fontana, who I heard lives in Washington now.
What is your favorite game?
Black Daisy: Well, when were not playa hatin’, we play some video games. That and, “who’s in my mouth”.
What sort of pie do you enjoy?
Black Daisy: Well, obviously we want to say “hair”, but we don’t want to sound shallow.
If you could say one thing to David Byrne, what would it be?
Black Daisy: “I do not deserve to be talking to you.”
Describe some horrible/otherwise amusing local commercials.
Black Daisy: Sh-poopie!! Or however you spell it. Vern Fonk has brilliant commercials. We’d love to do a commercial for him someday.
What are your five most favorite books in the world?
Black Daisy: Man, I can’t speak for Cody, but reading is painfully boring to me. That may have just tipped people off that I am not super smart. That, and I put the word super in front of words.
What is the most boring thing you’ve ever experienced?
Black Daisy: Reading.
If you could name a child anything in the world, what would it be?
Black Daisy: Tank Bone-Yank, or maybe Haystack.
What would be a better weapon, a gun that fires dogs or a gun that fires cats?
Black Daisy: Wow, you just put a cool image in my head with that question. I guess it depends what you are shooting at. Dogs would do more damage, and it seems that the cats would just end up landing on their feet.
What is your favorite meal?
Black Daisy: Anything from Taco John’s. (They are mostly in the Midwest)
What is reality?
Black Daisy: Whoa, you are going, should I say, “deep on that ass”. I’d say every single little thing is reality.
Part the Second
How was Tromadance?
Black Daisy: Tromadance was a success, and the Troma people are really nice. They are even putting one or two of our films on the “Best of” Tromadance DVD, which is exciting. We are going over some contracts that they sent us as we speak.
How’d you guys get together?
Black Daisy: It was 12 or 13 years ago when we met. I was Cody’s guitar teacher. We were both really young, Cody was 13 or 14 years old. Then later we reconnected as friends in Seattle. I had gotten a video camera for Christmas, and we thought it would be funny to make a dumb little 20 second film. Cody filmed me doing a magic trick where (using on-camera editing) I turned a card into a beer, and back again to a card. Eventually I turned the card into a ghetto blaster. We didn’t think much of it, until it placed second place in The Stranger’s 28 Second Short Film Competition.
Do you have a theory of comedy you subscribe to?
Black Daisy: Yeah, if you can make dumb smart, then you’ve succeeded. It’s hit and miss, but when you hit, it’s rewarding.
Who’re some of your favorite comedians?
Black Daisy: Comedians can be so terrible; it’s hard to find great ones. Obvious ones would be Todd Barry, Mitch Hedberg, Eugene Mirman, Mike Birbiglia, Bill Hicks, Katt Williams, David Cross, Dave Chappelle. As for local comedians, it would be everyone involved in The People’s Republic of Komedy. Most of all the comedians that perform at the weekly Laff Hole shows that they host are great. As mentioned earlier, Fredryk Phox is brilliant. He’s not too known right now, but on the web he’s a fucking superstar. At least to us.
Have you done any comedy projects outside of Black Daisy?
Black Daisy: No, not really. We stick together pretty well.
How’d you guys get connected with Bill Rieflin (of Ministry, Revolting Cocks, the Minus 5 and many other bands)?
Black Daisy: Troy became friends with him through Bill just being at Easy Street Records quite a bit. He gave Bill our first DVD and he liked it so much he called Troy to tell him how good he thought it was. Then he let us use a song of his for one our new short films called “Test Pattern”. We are also Ministry and RevCo fans, and Bill is one of the greatest drummers of all time. He also just so happens to be one of the most down to Earth people we’ve come across in a while.
With the (outstanding) Head Like A Kite video you guys did, did the band have any input, or was it all you?
Black Daisy: We wrote and directed it. They had some input of course, but the story was ours. They are naturally just awesome, so it wasn’t hard to make a decent video.
Do you have any filmmaking background?
Black Daisy: Not really, just goofing around with home video cameras growing up. You sort of just figure out stuff like jump cuts on your own. Troy has 7 or 8 short “movies” he did when he was 14 or 15. My day job is film editing.
Do you have any designs on long-form comedy, either a feature-film or long stage piece?
Black Daisy: Maybe someday, but not at this moment. We’ve gots the A.D.D., man.
How did the Voltage Periscope song come about? Was it from the Interview Segment, or did you have the song first and decide to lead into it?
Black Daisy: Troy was driving in his car and was listening to a commercial radio station that was playing that awful nu-metal/rap music. He thought of the chorus and recorded it into his cell phone. He forgot about it until a year later when we listened to it. We demoed it in his basement and brought it to Seattle producer extraordinaire Erik Blood. He really brought that song to life.
Have you been in bands before as well?
Black Daisy: Yeah, we both have, but they are not really worth mentioning. We are pretty focused on our band Voltage Periscope.
Were “The Light Switch” and “Card Magic” cut from the new DVD? Why?
Black Daisy: They weren’t cut, they are on our first DVD that is now “out of print”. Which just means we got sick of burning them.
The “Shaving Cream” extra on the DVD — is that an real execution of that classic prank?
Black Daisy: Yes, and it worked perfectly. Our friend Johnny set up a camera and Troy was out like a light. Troy didn’t know that it was filmed until he cleaned up. We’ve laughed at that so many times.
Have you ever thought about making a comedy record?
Black Daisy: Yes, there is one in the works as we speak.
Do you have any other projects you’re working on?
Black Daisy: Just making music videos for bands. We just completed our third music video for the band Feral Children.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Black Daisy: Thank you, this has been a real treat.