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  • Interview: Mick Gordon

    [05.17.11]
    - Darren Yeow

  • Is this what you always wanted to do or did you want to be something else growing up?

    MG: I don't know man. I enjoyed a lot of Martial Arts when I was younger and then when I was about 12 I picked up one of Dad's Guitars and started trying to learn Sweet Home Alabama.

    That was it man, all I wanted to do was play Guitar forever.

    I use to play it all hours of the day & night and I'd often wake up with it in my hands after falling asleep practicing.

    Sources tell me you were a country lad? True?

    MG: Well yeah man, I was born in Mackay but I lived in a small town about 45 minutes in land from there called Mirani.

    Then when I was 6 we moved to a tiny central Queensland town called Capella which back then had not much more than a pub and two grain silos.

    What was it like growing up in such places?

    MG: Well, dad worked for the shire council and our house had the best backyard ever -- the shire's showgrounds, football fields and dams. I'd spend any spare moment I had riding my bike around getting up to all sorts of mischief.

    There was a really big radio tower next to the grain silos which was about 35 meters tall.

    There were three standing platforms all the way up to the top which were linked by these ladders. The ladders had old and rusted cages around them with a gate at each end that were always padlocked.

    One day, I rode my bike down there to find that someone hadn't bothered to close up the padlock and I decided it might be fun to climb up there and check out the view.

    I climbed up a squeaky ladder to get to the first platform, then up the second ladder to the middle platform.

    So, here I was about 25 metres up in the air and it felt really high especially since the platforms themselves only had a dodgy-looking single handrail around them and the whole tower shook in the wind.

    The view here was nice, but I wanted to see what it was like at the top. I started scaling the third tall ladder but halfway up both my feet slipped off the step.

    My little arms gave out under my weight and I fell backwards. My back hit the cage around the ladder and I fell about three meters onto the second platform.

    The force and the direction of my landing made me roll towards the edge of the platform but, thankfully, I got wrapped around one of the handrail's supports before falling off completely.

    There I was, about 8 years old, dangling from a rusted platform about 25 meters above a concrete ground after a nasty fall. It took me a good 30 minutes to work up the courage to climb back down.

    Luckily I didn't break anything otherwise Dad would have kicked my arse!

    *Giggling profusely...*

    MG: After 6 years in Capella my Dad got a new job in Emerald so we packed up and moved to an old and spooky country house on some Cotton property about 20 minutes from Emerald.

    We were there only for three months while a house became available in town.

    I no longer had football fields, dams and a showground as a backyard but we certainly had lots of countryside play in.

    I always loved exploring and digging holes to see what treasures I could find -- we'd find old camps from people long gone and dig up their old cans, pots, pans, bits of glass and metal. It was always great fun.

    One day I was digging about 100 meters from the house and I started to uncover a cool-looking metal pipe that was clogged with dirt and grime. I kept digging pulled up a 12 gauge shotgun!

    Its butt was fairly rotted from water damage and the chamber was home to bugs and worms but the firing mechanism still worked.

    I told Dad and he said to put it back and cover it up real good, because there's only a few reasons why you'd want to bury one of those!

    After 18 months in Emerald we moved to Rockhampton where I spent most of my early teenage years.

    I picked up a Guitar a few weeks after we settled in and spent every moment either practicing to get better at it or getting up to teenage-mischief!

    Crazy stories man! My childhood was pale compared to all that. So, how do you go from being a small town kid to a big city audio director?

    MG: Ha! Well, I certainly miss the wide-open spaces at times but life's nothing but one big adventure.

    We moved around a lot as I was a kid and I think that has stayed with me as I hate being stuck anywhere for a long period of time.

    I've been kicking around Brisbane for a bit and I lived in Santa Monica for a while -- thankfully these days I can pretty much work anywhere with an internet connection.

    Other than that, I dunno... my city friends call me "Bogan" a bit.

    Note: Bogan = Aussie slang for redneck

    Can you tell me about your start in the industry, as the readers are students. Was it tough? How did you get your foot in the door?

    MG: Sure! Well, after years of playing guitar I figured I was starting to get the hang of it.

    However, turning that into something financially viable was a different story -- my breasts weren't large enough to be a pop star and I couldn't find a hat big enough to be a country music star.

    I needed to find a way of making money out of music because I'm not good at anything else.

    I originally was keen on writing music for film but that's a tough industry and I didn't get anywhere.

    So I decided to look elsewhere. I always loved video games and I have lots of fond memories of my original Atari 2600, so I set out trying to get into games.

    How does that happen? Well, like anything -- you meet people! I put myself where the developers were.

    I went to conferences, IGDA meetings, other creative events, and started handing out demos of my music.

    I eventually started making some good contacts and these ended up leading to my first gigs. That's pretty much it!

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