Welcome to Breakdown, an unofficial resource and discussion list about the innovative guitarist/producer Michael Brook. This site is infrequently updated, but contains a great deal of background info which will remain online. For up-to-date news and information, visit Michael Brook's official site and MySpace page.

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Michael Brook: The Breakdown Interview: 25 October 1999 The Breakdown Interview
25 October 1999
by Chad Ossman

Breakdown: When I first found out this interview might be a possibility, I sent an email out to some of the people that had visited the site over the past few years now. Some people sent in questions, and I myself spent some time going back through some old interviews, looking for questions you have not had to answer over and over. I read about your involvement with a studio in Toronto called A Space.

Michael Brook: Oh, yes.

Multimedia and film work?

A long time ago, yes.

What sort of work did you do?

It was a kind of an art gallery that covered a wide range of stuff. And I got involved with them... they were putting on a sort of multimedia theater event there with a group called the Hummer Sisters. And I was in their house band essentially, that was playing with the Hummer Sisters. And then I got a part time job there when I was going to school because I understood technology a bit, running their video editing center that they were just setting up. And then the video facility kept expanding and eventually became a separate entity called Charles Street Video, that was production and post production facilities for artists, and it was subsidized by grants from arts councils and also raised its own money through user fees.

Did you study film in school?

Not very much. I did a little bit. At some point I thought I was going to be a photographer, so I went to a photography college in Toronto. I guess just went there for about a half year, and kind of figured I didn't really want to be a professional photographer. And that's what the course was oriented towards. And it was a good course, just I got into in it enough to realize I didn't think I wanted to spend all my time doing that.

I just went to film school and come to pretty much the same conclusion, except for film.

Uh huh, Really? So what did you decide to do?

Getting involved in the web and multimedia, which is why I'm so curious about A Space.

Well, it was multimedia in the sense that people stuck some black and white video cameras and plugged them into monitors and waved them around to rock music. So it wasn't... you know, it was multimedia of its day.

I heard you had also participated in some installations that Brian Eno had staged?

Yeah, through my job at Charles Street Video, which is what the A Space video place became. Brian started coming up and using our facility. He was living in New York then. It was cheaper for him to fly from New York to Toronto in order to edit his tapes. So he came up, and we sort of knew each other socially through Jon Hassell, and I started helping him make his videotapes, and then when he started doing installations, he asked me to come and help him do those.