Where were you born?
I was born in Sydney British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. In my first three years we lived in Port Ramfru, Prince George and Salt Spring Island. My dad was a logger. We moved to California when I was three.
Why did your family move to California?
Because my dad went to college here. He loves California. He ate his first taco in 1963 at the age of 20, on Sunset and Alvarado. He had lived here and loved it until he he got a draft notice, so he boned out back to Canada.
Where did you live when you moved to California?
The San Fernando Valley. The gigantic suburb, the endless suburb.
What got you into music?
I think it started from my dad. He loved Jazz, and was really well versed in it. I didn’t like it when I was a little kid, but there was always music in our house. My mom listened to country my dad listened to Jazz, and somehow that meant they had a Rolling Stones record. My first favorite song was Painted It Black.
So you were into Rock and Roll?
Yeah and my Dad nurtured the things that that I liked. He took me to see Rock ‘n Roll High School in the theater. He took me to see Decline of Western Civilization in the theater when I was like seven. He took me to see the Who, when Kids are Alright came out.
Cool.
I think those things affected me more than I think he thought they would. He just thought they were funny, but I was really into it.
What kind of work did he do?
He does home renovations and stuff. He’s 70, and he still does it.
So did you play music at all?
No, never. I have tried to learn the piano a few times but I don’t have the discipline for it.
So with music you’ve always been OK in the audience?
I’m a fan.
Were you going to shows when you were a teen?
All the time. My first show was a DOA show in 1982 when I was nine. I had a 12 year old friend who took me.
What kind of punk shows were you seeing?
I would go and see stuff like the Butthole Surfers where some goth band would open and some shitty hardcore band would be on the bill. That was cool. It was the late 80’s, so there was fast new hardcore- all the straight edge youth crew stuff like the Descendants, Bad Religion, even Infest which is now hailed as important. At the time like there was only 20 people at the shows.
Were you intimidated by the Hardcore scene?
I mean, they were super violent in L.A. It was scary. I remember walking into a fucking Descendants show when I was turned 13, and within five minutes I had gotten head butted by a grown man in the face. There was a lot of violence, a lot of fighting, a lot of stabbings. Which I was not about.
But you still went.
I still went because it was like the best thing to me that you could do.There was freedom in that music. That’s why the fighting tripped me out because it didn’t seem to have a place in it. It seemed like it should be like a safe place instead of an unsafe space.
Were you into art in your teens?
Yeah. My dad always took us to the museum you know and there was always a lot of books in our house. I liked art and always drew, but I never even knew that there was such a thing as art school until I was like 30. Which is weird because I think that’s something I would have probably done if someone had told me about it.
So what were you doing between the ages of like 18 and 30?
I was having a cool time, I was doing a lot of drugs, I did drugs until I was 28, and that commanded most of my creative time.
When did you start doing drugs?
I started doing drugs young. I dropped out of school when I was 16. I had lots of friends, was very social but really didn’t do anything. I really think I didn’t do anything except for  party. I had all kinds of like fun. I mean, it was fun until I was 20.
Then you spent eight years not having fun?
For me it’s not fun to have to be a drug addict.
At the same time, you spent a lot of time with some really creative people during that time, right?
I was witnessing great stuff ever since I was young. I was always in the middle of something important. If I liked something I was pretty passionate about it. I always liked to find the thing that feels the most honest for that moment. So I would put myself in the middle of it. I mean I also was kind of like a novelty because I was so young, and sort of crazy. I wasn’t a dick, but I would smoke crack when I was 17.
But you didn’t really participate?
I had a lot of opportunities to be a part of it, and I didn’t. When I was young I felt like I was growing up faster, I was like ahead of my time, but now looking back I was an incredibly slow starter.  I couldn’t get to the next step of producing things. I was on drugs and I was afraid.
Did you have any opportunities to work in the music industry in the 90’s?
I used to think when I was a kid that a good job for me would be an A&R guy. That was something that people wanted to be then, and I got that job when I was 21.
What label were you doing it for?
Geffen. I didn’t make a lot of money at all. I had an office that I was supposed to go to. I would go there and sit there and not know what I was supposed to do. I was so confused and bummed out the whole time.  Seeing like how record labels work and how people treated music just really solidified what I learned when I was like 13 from Crass Records.
Which is?
Just be fucking independent and create your own world and your own reality and don’t try to play with those people. Just don’t do it. If you can say no to them directly, do it, because it feels good.
What brought you to sobriety when you were 28?
I mean I had been brought to sobriety many times in my 20’s. I had been in lots of rehabs and I had had much uglier moments in my life. I knew what to do. I had been going to AA for like six years on and off.  When I finally got sober I went back to my old job of being a bartender. I did that for three years.
So you really don’t mind being around drugs or alcohol?
I should say that I’m pro drugs. I think drugs should be legal. I think a lot of people benefit from them. I think I benefited from them at first. And if someone I know is really like fucking up, I might not even say anything to them. If they want to talk about I’m down to talk about it any time but preaching doesn’t work in any area.
Once you got sober you started being more active creatively?
I should say like I had done some creative stuff before.  I always look booked shows and made flyers but ut my lifestyle at the time made me not totally reliable. When I was sober I started being more active. I was just trying to nurture my community, whatever that was.
So, you’ve been involved in music. Have you ever produced it?
Like sitting in a studio? No. I don’t like that part of it, I don’t like editing. Anything that feels like school doesn’t appeal to me you.
So it’s more like making the record happen?
Yeah. At first I was working with other labels but there was always compromise when you worked with other people. I don’t want to compromise. I would rather work to make the money and spend it myself on making something.
So that is why you started Teenage Teardrops?
Yeah. Since 2006 we’ve put out 50 releases.
Has it always been vinyl?
It’s vinyl, tapes... there’s been two books.
What were the books?
I put out my brother Pat’s first book, which I should really reprint. I put out a book of Martin Foy, who is a Brooklyn artist that I love. There’s been a bunch of zines in there.
How do you choose who you work with?
Everyone I worked with on Tear Drops is a friend. When I decide to work with someone I already love and respect them as people and as artists.
When you started were you thinking of it as a business?
It wasn’t a business idea because I didn’t know how it would work. It became clear over the years that it was not a business for me. I understand how you can make it a business, but for a truly independent label make a little bit of a profit you have to work very hard. Some people are down to do that, but I’m not down to do that. I’m not down to like hire a publicist, I’m not down to take out ads. Anyone who I make a record with or whatever, I say “We’re going to make it as beautiful as you want it and as we can and it’s going to be so nice, but I’m not a real record label.” Just so they understand that they don’t have expectations in that realm.
How involved are you in the production?
I get as involved as they want me to be. I really like like designing the covers, and usually they let me do that but they don’t have to. The best case is if we collaborate somehow because that’s really fun.
And you distribute them afterwards?
With declining sales in the record world in general, I just wind up mostly selling them one at a time through the mail to whoever.
How did you meet the Zen Mafia?
I met Jesse and Jenna at the same time about seven years ago. Soon after that I met Deanna and the twins. Nate and I were already friends. We’d already been hanging out, all of us, all the time. They all kind of changed my life. Like, Jesse and Jenna, they were only 21 but their level of honestly was shocking to me. I was really into it. I didn’t really realize it at the time but they did teach me a lot in that realm.
How did the name Zen Mafia come about?
The first time I heard the phrase was at a party in the Hollywood Hills. Deanna started screaming it.
Why did she start screaming?
It wasn’t unusual for her to start screaming at a party or anything. It was just a funny thing at the time. But then a couple of days later Anthony started the tumblr.
Who was on the tumblr?
We all had access to it.
What would people post?
The tumblr was kind of a place for all of us to do our favorite thing as a group: bait people.
What do you mean by bait people?
Just bum people out. It’s childish but it’s a way to say Fuck You. Collectively too.
And Anonymously.
Yeah. It’s a gas to like figure out who’s doing it. Everyone had their own style. We did that for a while and the name stuck. We all made hats and shirts and shit over time.
I feel like you’re downplaying it a bit.
I think it’s the just the name of our family. The idea that you make your own world with your friends is really important. I love the world I live in, but it is a creation of me and my friends...
Which is like a family.
We treat each other like family. We tell each other the truth. Sometimes it’s mean, buy we take care of each other. I want this house to be somewhere where anyone could come over and there is food and a place to hang out.
And people do.
Yeah. Like yesterday Jasmine just had that crazy accident on her bike, and today she called me and asked me to take picture of the wounds. Then it turned out she hadn’t been able to wash her hair because her arms were fucked up, so then Jenna fills up a bucket with warm water and washes her hair while we’re taking pictures. I just think that that’s so special. I also think that anyone could do. Anyone could love their friends and make it an important thing.
What do you think Zen Mafia has allowed creatively?
I think it gives everyone permission to go all the way. When you have a group of people you respect, you can tell them your ideas and they can tell you what they think of it, and then you can build from there. You can go as far as you’re comfortable going. People will tell you the truth but they’ll also up you. It’s really good to have people upping you all the time. And I will do whatever I can to help anyone in this game to do their thing. The main goal  is to feel good about what you do and to make your friends laugh or feel something- to make your friends feel good about what you do. It can be confusing when you go out into the rest of the world but that’s okay.
Because some people don’t get it.
Some people shouldn’t get it. I don’t want I appeal to everyone, I don’t like everyone. I have got this terrible habit of reading the comment section on human rights stories in like the Huffington Post. There’s a lot of fucked up people out there, which makes it even more important to like strengthen and embolden yourself with your group of friends.
To collectively say “Fuck You.”
I think of like Zen Mafia crew as the modern American- the ideal modern American. Because we’re telling the truth and we love each other, and we’re not going to do any of the fucked up shit that we’re supposed to do,
Was the Zen Mafia show your first radio show?
Yeah pretty much.
How did you find out about KCHUNG?
I think because of Like Fishbeck. I had already known him from putting put out a Lucky Dragons album. He sent out an e-mail invitation. Initially the Zen Mafia show was supposed to be all of us, but over time it became mostly me and Jenna. A lot of people got their own shows. Any one of our friends can show up any week. At this point there’s at least 50 hours of the shows archived and downloadable which is pretty rad.
The aesthetic of the show was always very raw. I had never heard radio like that before.
Right off it was like a party show where everyone wanted to talk on the microphone. I feel like that’s so unprofessional that it’s good. We always have the mics turned all the way up. Musically it was so many different kinds of music. I have so many records, that for the first year the idea was to just never play the same song twice.We would just like bring 20 or 30 records from home that I hadn’t listened to in a while.
You’ve been making music videos recently, right?
That’s a new thing. I hadn’t been pursuing it but I like doing it.
What was your first video?
Dunes, who are an L.A band.
That video’s great.
Thanks, man. I put out a single from them. They were doing a project where they wanted to make ten videos so they asked me to make one. My friend, Dan Sullivan, who is a this awesome cinematographer and editor had always said I should direct a video and he’d shoot it. So we made it and it was a good experience. We’ve wound up making five or six more in the last year.
Where do you get your inspirtation when you make your videos?
It’s always different. For the Hoax’s video my inspiration was The Long Goodbye. See how far off track I got? I need a starting point and then I see what happens.
You were always taking photos before you were making videos.
I love doing that. I think the that really started with for me with Nan Goldin. I didn’t go to art school, but when I was 19 with a skateboard and a backpack just staying on people’s couches and stuff I always had a black book for drawing and The Ballad of Sexual Dependency from Nan Golden in my backpack. It’s weird, her friends are really important to me, because I looked at the photos of her friends so often. I feel that way about my friends.  
Her photos really glamorized drugs and violence. I feel like your photos are different to that.
Well the fucked up glamorization of  sex, drugs rock n roll style is so boring to me, and so prevalent. It sells so much. It’s such a like dead end because if you die young, you lose.  So I do believe in playing a more positive part, but positive on your own terms. Like maybe a lot of people wouldn’t recognize my life as positive but I see it that way.
How long have you been showing your photos?
The first time I had a show by myself was on my 30th birthday. I took polaroids every day for a year, and then I put them up on a wall in order. There was like 4000 polaroids or something and I like whittled it down to like 1500 it was totally insane.
You’ve been having art shows lately, right?
For sure. For years I’ve been putting things on the internet and some people have kept up with it. I’ve gotten opportunities from that and it seems to be more lately. The only negative part for me… I find that when I do them I don’t feel great right afterwards.
Yeah it always feels weird after doing a show.
I just try to do it in a way that I’m happy with it, and  have no expectations. I’m less fearful every year, and as that’s happened I’m freer with my thinking and my creativity. I am a very late bloomer you know, and so there’s a little bit of an underlying franticness because I feel like I’m just getting started. Luckily people in my family seem to live to like 95 on a diet of Hamburgers and Gin so I think I still have a lot of time.