Mark Mazzye, a 28-year-old graphic designer here in NYC, is one of the unfortunate souls who witnessed M.I.A.’s semi-disastrous headlining set at July’s HARD Festival. The one so problematic she promised to do a free show here to make it up to everybody. Except that hasn’t happened yet, and she’s playing Terminal 5 this Monday. Tickets are not free. (She promises to do the free one as soon as her mother is allowed back into the country.) This has upset some people, including Mark, who has announced his intention to lead a protest outside Terminal 5. He could use some company/publicity, though, and it seemed like a good idea to talk to him about this.
First off, I guess I should gauge how serious you are.
I’m very serious about it. I’m hoping that with this, I can draw more attention to it and get more people to actually RSVP, you know what I’m saying? It would be odd for me to show up by myself and just be there by myself. I know there are plenty of people who are disappointed in the show and how it went, and are really hoping she’ll do the make-up show, and obviously she’s being difficult.
Right, so, is it just Facebook where you put up this notice?
Yes. I mean, I went on Facebook. I went on her Twitter thing and Tweeted at her, so now when people search for her name, it will show up. I went to her Facebook page and I put it on there. I’ve tried to do it everywhere I can. I put it on the Voice comments section, you know, just trying to get people to see it and hopefully get involved.
How many people have RSVPed to date?
None. I haven’t heard anything from anybody. And you know, like I said, not even anybody has said something to me like, “You’re being a dick” or “Oh, you know she doesn’t give a shit what you think.”
Yeah, it’s odd that you haven’t heard anything at all, positive or negative.
Right, and it’s not like I posted it and her people took it down from Facebook. It’s still up there as far as I know, and I posted it more than once.
Well, I have a good idea, of course, but it’s probably best that you explain in your own words: What would you be protesting, exactly?
Well, I mean, the fact of the matter is that I went to the show, and I paid more than $60 for my ticket to see her, and I understand that it was an all-day event, but me personally, I was paying to see her and not really anyone else, except for Sleigh Bells. And, umm, it was just a really difficult time getting out to Governors Island: We left to get there with plenty of time and still missed Sleigh Bells. We were like, “There’s still M.I.A., it will probably be something, our night will be salvaged by that.” And she came out, and there was such a multitude of technical problems between her being not . . . it didn’t seem like she was very prepared for the show. Her mic wasn’t working, and then when her mic was working, that wasn’t any better necessarily. It was drowned out by how loud the music was, and she kept saying, “Turn it up more! Turn it up more!” for the music, but not the microphone. And people were leaving in droves. We turned to the back and saw so many people just peacing out, it was ridiculous. And she had her hype people, their microphones were perfect–you could hear them, and they’re just yelling over her, and you couldn’t hear her over them.
So you know, after a while, I think it was like 40 or so minutes, it started to thunder and lightning out, and then it started to rain, so they decided to cut off the show, and I’m like, “Well, what did I just pay for exactly?” You know? And she had a lot of people on Twitter the next couple of days saying, you know, “What’s the deal? How could you do this horrible show?” Blah blah blah. She eventually–the pressure got to her, and she said, “Eff it, I’ll do a free show when I come back to New York.” So lo and behold, she gets back to New York to Terminal 5 on Monday, and there’s no free show. And a bunch of people ask her what the deal was, and she’s like, “Oh, I’ll do it when my mom’s allowed in the country.” It’s like, you know, you’re really gonna cop out on your fans like that?
You’re not moved at all by the mother gambit, then?
No, I think it’s a really poor excuse to get out of the show, you know? She’s saying she wants her mom to be at the show–why this one? You know, you’re doing an entire tour of Canada and the U.S. Why does it have to be the one you promised your fans to do for free?
Had you seen her live prior to that show?
How long have you been an M.I.A. fan? How invested were you in her prior to all this? For example, can I ask if you buy her records?
Yeah, yeah. I was definitely a fan first, prior. I had all her albums, I had just gotten her new one and was really, really looking forward to the show. When I heard she was coming out with a new album this year, I said, “Oh god, this is so great, I get to finally see her live, and I think she’d put on a great show.” Then this happened. Ever since then, it’s been really hard to listen to her music, because every time I hear it I get angry about what happened, and, you know, it’s for all the wrong reasons to get angry. While I feel she has a good message to her music, I kinda have less respect for her as a person . . . I just feel like she may have gone on Twitter and said, “I’m gonna do this free show,” without looking into it beforehand. And now she’s trying to find a way out of it, but people aren’t going to forget that, and I think the huge indie scene here in New York City is probably the biggest or one of the biggest in the world, and you know, if you’re gonna piss off your fans like this, this is the worst place to do it.
Do you actually still have your ticket stub? I always lose those things.
I did save it. I saved it because she said to hang onto it, so I said, “Okay, I’m gonna hang onto my stub and see what happens.” I was hoping to maybe go there Monday with my stub and see if, you know, that would get me in, which I doubt, but I could at least have it with me, and that’s what I was encouraging people to do.
For this protest, what are you envisioning ideally? How many people will have to show up for you to consider it a success, or for it to be worth doing at all?
Anybody more than me. I’m hoping at least five to 10 people would be sufficient enough to go out there.
Yeah, I agree with ten.
Yeah, and you know, it’d just be something, and to see people make signs or anything, just to get the message out there.
I was gonna ask: Have you given thought to signage, slogans, and so forth? What’s the one-line summation of your demands?
“Where’s our free show?”
That’s pretty catchy.
Yeah, I mean, why would I spend, what is it, $35 to see her at Terminal 5, plus whatever fees they’re gonna slap on it, when I already spent money on a really bad show?
I honestly have no idea: What’s the legal basis here, for you to protest outside a major concert venue? Can Terminal 5 management just be like, “Get the fuck out of here,” and that’s that?
I really have no idea. I didn’t even look into that–I was just gonna show up. I can’t imagine it will be any type of big deal. I figure, I’ve been to Terminal 5 plenty of times–even standing across the street . . . there’s really nothing around there that would be a problem.
What’s the best show that you’ve seen in New York this year?
The Antlers did a free show at, I think it was Pier 57 . . . on a pier out in Chelsea, just two days before the M.I.A. show. It was unbelievable.
In a sense, the issue here is that she played such a bad show that she should do another show for free. Are you concerned at all that that free show, too, will be bad?
I guess so, but I think that if she’s gonna actually try to do a free show, it’s gonna be a way for her to say, “Listen, I can put on a great show,” and she’ll be trying to prove it to people, and hopefully make them see her in a better light. She’s not exactly having a good year, so I feel like there’ll at least be a little more effort put into it.