There are so many things to love about Pitch Perfect 2: It’s a musical comedy, it was written and directed by women, and it features YouTube sensation Flula Borg in his big screen debut as the co-leader of the “evil” German a capella group, Das Sound Machine.
An accomplished musician and brilliant comedian, Flula has been running a YouTube channel for the last seven years where his hilarious and surrealist videos have racked up tens of millions of views. The German expatriate is a modern one-man band of the Reggie Watts variety, turning celebrity interviews with Will Ferrell into techno songs, waxing poetic on the idiomatic expressions of the English language (“Jennifer is a Party Pooper”), and recording songs in his car with friends like Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.
With an NBC sitcom (Cuckoo) also on the horizon, America is about to get a lot more Flula.
Back in 2013, The Daily Beast conducted a hilarious email interview with Flula about creating videos for the Web, only a portion of which made it into the final article. With his permission, the full text of that conversation is now available here for your enjoyment.
Note: This is in entirely Flula-speak.
How did you get involved in producing videos for the web?
Flula Borg: It was, I must say it, a Coincidental. Some years ago I was in Los Angeles recording an Album when I was deported back to Germany. Of course, I was feeling Frustration about this; I was like a tiny, baby Balloon with perhaps 32 Liters of Air inside (when normally this Balloon may hold perhaps 2 Liters). As I did very much need to release these Unhappy and Stress Feelings, I recorded a Song about my Most Favorite Things of Germany: My Opa (Grand-Father), Döner Kebap (a great Turkish Food), Poodles (the Dogs of my Parents), and Bread. (Note: German Bäckereien--Bakerys--make the most delicious Breads. German Bakery Food is like Heroin, but with no Needles, Sadness, or the Character “Bubbles” from The Wire.)
When I did release this Song and Musik Video (“Flula in Germany”) to YouTube, it received many hundred thousand Views, which was for me a large Surprise. And then The Epiphany did enter me: To become The Most Great and Famous Artist in the World--One Goal I am having for me--The Internet is a Great Place for My Starting. Why? Because inside this Digital World I can touch Humans in all Countrys--all they are needing is Internet for reaching. So now, Every Week, I produce minimum one Video--usual on Tuesday, which is Fluesday--for YouTube. Tuesday is Fluesday. While yes, I am first a Musician, I make now many Strains of Video, to include Flula Vlogs (“Flogs”), Cover Songs I make in my Auto (“Auto Tunes”), and other Dope Items. It is a Fun Process and Challenge to always make Creations.
How has the growth in exposure affected your production process?
More Exposure has give to me more Diszipline, because I am seeing that more People are wanting to observe what I am making/filming/singing; this does motivate me to make Videos for every Week. I feel that we Humans are like Cats; I am a Cat also, and I am holding a Red Laser Pointer. Always the Cats are saying, “Excuse me, but I feel Boring now; move your Red Laser around the Walls so I may jump to chase your Lights!” I do not want to be rude with these Kittens, especial if there are now more and more Cats wanting to Watch My Laser. This Kitten Increase makes me feel more Pressure to “Shoot My Laser,” i.e. make more Videos, Songs, Writings, Art. I enjoy this. But I must say it, my Production Prozess has not changed, only my Drive to make Videos more Frequent has increased.
Which of your videos do you prefer making, your idiomatic explorations or music?
My Video Blogs and my Musik are each having a Different Purpose for me. Like a Baby that is needing Nice Diapers AND ALSO Apple Sauce, I need my Vlogs AND ALSO my Musik for Living. My Vlogs help me to Release Frustrations of the World--Why do Daddy Long Legs have this Name “Daddy Long Legs”? Why does my Friend want to go “Balls to the Wall”? Why, and how, is Jennifer a Party Pooper?--while my Musik helps me to spread the Inspirings I receive from the World. For Example: Observing and recording Cows helps me to write a Techno Cow Song with real Cow Sounds, while a Dirty Car tells me to Record a Britney Spears Tune inside a Car Wash. I am like a Plant that does need some Sun AND some Water; if I do not receive Both, then I am just a wrinkle, drooping, German Fern looking very Sad on your Sill.
What benefits do you get from recording in non-traditional spaces?
Artists often are recording in a “Studio” or in a “Nice Place with Equipment” or what. Yes this is nice, but a Question for you: Where did Cave Men and Cave Ladies make Musik and Art? Well, obvious not in Abbey Road Studios--as Abbeys, Roads, and Studios were not existing 250.000.000 Years ago. So I say: “No Rules” for What Is A Good Space for Recording. All Spaces may be good for Recording, as Each shall give to you A Feeling Unique. I have heard many Times in America: “Hey, do not knock It down until you have tried It.” So, I Try It, in many Locations to see how it touches my Brain; and then perhaps I knock it down.
Who has been some of your favorite performers to work with?
I love to work with Performers that are Very Different to me. As the Example, it was great to Record the Rolling Stones Tune “Satisfaction” with NBA Basketball Star Dirk Nowitzki in a Car. Normally he is dunking and swishing Balls on a Court, so to sing with him was great as he was making Art in a New Way for him. I also did love to create a Song from the Razor-Shaving-Sounds of my best American Friend, David Giuntoli (you may perhaps know him from the NBC Show “Grimm”). He is an Actor, but sometimes I do convince that he should make Techno with me. And he does do it, on the occasion. Right now I am making a Techno/Reggae song with Larry King; the song is about his nice Dog, Biscuit.
Which interviewers or performers influenced your unique interview/performance style?
I do not really know what is my Interview and Performance Style. I think this Style does just come from the Emotion and Energie that I feel before a Performing occurs; if I do not release this Energie, I feel Stuffed like a Teddy Bär with too many Feathers and Cotton inside that must exit me. I do not know how this Energie may Look or Sound as it does leave me--all that I do know is, It Must Come Out.
How big a role does audience participation play in your financing/production and does that influence your creative direction?
My Audience does influence me in Many Directions. First, they help to Finance my things when they do watch my Videos, play my Songs, and purchase Flula Items from my Shop. When I receive more View or Dollars/Euros from a Video for Instance, I know this is what People are liking. But I must say it, only because a Video does receive many Views, this does not mean that I say immediately: “Excellent, I Shall Make More Videos Like This Video,” because many Times when I do this, two Things usual occur: 1. The Next Video I make is terrible, and 2. I feel some Guilt, almost like I am cheating, because I was not making Original Things. So usual the Best Strategie is then this: Listen to the Audience to see what they are liking, and perhaps take only a tiny Spice or Sprinkle from the Video/Song/Book they did like, and then make a New Thing that is different in Most of the Ways, while still having a little Bit of this Spice or Sprinkle inside It.
But sometimes I just Ignore all Things and record a Tune by Lil Wayne nude, with Looping Machines, in a Bathroom.
Have new voices in the internet video community reached out to you for guidance or development?
Yes a little bit this has occurred, but for me the most best Advice is that you must ask Your Own Head first what is good/bad/interesting/boring for you and what you are Making. Yes, People who are speaking to themself are many Times crazy and smelling strange and walking around 7-11 Parking Areas at Times like 2:32am or 4:29am. But, if you are an Artist who is looking for Answers and Things and you are doing these Actions, then I say to you, “Bravo”! And also, if you are smelling bad, I say: “Deodorant.”
What lessons could traditional entertainment/media learn from your approach to comedy?
You know it is funny (not funny in the “ha-ha-ha” Way, but in the “it is odd” Way), because I am not really a person of Comedy. I am a Musician who also does love to explore the World in many Ways, so my Approaching with my Songs, Videos, and Haikus is: Make It Real. When I have achieved some “Success”--i.e. Media Press, Video Many Views, etc.--it has occurred when my Content is Authentisch to me, and so in this way Organic and also more Natural. When I lose this Philosophie and “Try to Copy Other People Or Things,” I usual receive Feedback like “Meh,” or “Ew,” or “Wow Flula this Video was terrible and a Snore Time.” So for me the Lesson it is: Do not try so hard to be a Different Thing Than You, because usual this is terrible and Everyone cries.
Do you see yourself more as the American Henning Wehn or the German John Doyle?
It is always changing how I do see me, I must say it. Like on this morning I was feeling very much like a German Han Solo, making Space Adventures and World Travels in my Mind as I was writing a Poem about Nanotechnologie and Action Hamsters. But then Yesterday I was feeling like a Teutonic Tina Turner, as I was recording a new Track about the 1988 Film “Die Hard” and dancing very much. Tomorrow perhaps I shall feel like the Bavarian Jay-Z, doing many different Media Mogul Activities like designing a new Flula Shirt, filming a new Video about Cake, and in General planning Entertainment World Dominations. Like Hypercolor Shirts, my Image of Me is shifting always.