We Interviewed The Guys Behind That Maxi Theme Song Video
Last week, we posted an excerpt of a video shot at a local Maxi & cie, which is a popular supermarket chain here in Canada. The video had over 200,000 views in less than a week. We got in touch with the two guys behind the song and video to find out more about the process and their reaction after the whole thing went viral. It isn't the first time we've had a local video gone viral through our fan page. Octavie's stunning rendition of Jason Derulo's cover made the rounds of the internet, amassing over 17,000,000 views and even got local radio play.
Michael Perry, the guy who is singing the song in the video, collaborated with Benoit Lirette on the production + video was shot by Wize Eyez Photography during a staff party. Watch the video we posted right below, and scroll through the interview and discover more music from Michael Perry after the jump:
How old are you? Do you study? Do you still work at Maxi?
BENOIT LIRETTE: I am 28 years old. Yes. I am studying to get the equivalence of secondary 5. I currently work the night shifts at Maxi. In this case, I can no longer bring immediate joy to the customers.
MICHAEL PERRY: I’m 24 years old and am pursuing my Master’s degree in English Literature. I no longer work at Maxi; but, I did work there from high school in 2008 to the start of my MA in 2015. For 7 years, I used Maxi as a place to practice singing. Most people there would definitely remember me singing and doing vocal warm-ups in the aisles. As I live quite far from the store, I still call to say hello to some of my former co-workers and one of my favourite customers, Maria.
IX: How did you find out that your music video went viral?
BENOIT LIRETTE: Frankly, it was the Montréal newspapers that did the job. I didn’t really go online just to check up on the video [laughs].
MICHAEL PERRY: Truthfully, I was in a meeting for student council when my friend Elham, who used to work with me at Maxi, messaged me. She texted, “Hey babe so apparently your maxi video went viral!!! Congratulations!!?”. I hadn’t recently thought about the video. Later, when I went on Facebook, I noticed that other friends were tagging me in many different posts. Nothing prepared me for the reposts that were on Youtube, much less IX Daily’s. When I saw 75 K views, I was floored. Then it just kept rising.
IX: What was the reaction of your friends who watched the video?
BENOIT LIRETTE: My friends all thought it was very good and especially funny.
MICHAEL PERRY: I got messages from people I don’t even know. My friends sent me congratulations ranging from “This is great!” / “Dude, you’re famous!” to “You’re my hero!” and “I want to be on a song with you”. Family and friends in the United States contacted me to show their support. We were even invited to a film festival elsewhere in Québec.
IX: Who came up with the concept of the video?
BENOIT LIRETTE: Michael and I had recorded some music in the past so I suggested to the store’s director that we record music and film a video. After that, I worked on the production of the song in collaboration with Michael [Perry]. Did you know that the store played our song every hour on the hour for about three months after me made it? Then, they switched to about every half-hour.
MICHAEL PERRY: So the video was all Benoit’s idea. I’d written a song about one of the head cashiers, “Vanessa”, that circulated among the employees since I wrote it in 2010. In 2014, there was a creative competition between all the Maxi stores in Québec. After Benoit suggested to Martin [the store’s director] that I sing a song, Benoit and I sat in the break room and tried to come up with something. I remembered a tune I created for the words “Chez Maxi et Cie.” on the very day in 2008 when I interviewed for the job. I worked out a demo on Garageband. The store put on a party and that was where the great people at The Right Focus and Wize Eyez Photo filmed us all throughout the store.
IX: Did you know it was going to get so much attention a year after it was made?
BENOIT LIRETTE: I didn’t think this would be possible. But I’m glad it happened.
MICHAEL PERRY: I didn’t think anything of it. When we got the final product, I showed it to my grandmother who was grinning from ear to ear. See, my grandmother first taught me to sing after she noticed my interest in it when I was 8 months old. So it was enough just to have amused her and to have made her proud. Would I have loved this attention had it occurred a year ago? Totally! But everything in its time.
IX: What is your favourite part of the 'Maxi & Cie' video?
BENOIT LIRETTE: My break-dancing [laughs]. I enjoyed wearing the Iron Man helmet that I made. I take every opportunity to promote the fact that I make these costumes on my own.
MICHAEL PERRY: Oddly, my favourite part of the video is at the 27 second mark when five cashiers stand at one cash register and help slide along one customer’s groceries. On one hand, it’s extremely out of this world to need five cashiers dancing and applauding in order to sell you a box of cereal and a bag of baby carrots. On the other hand, it’s a kitschy way to show team work – which is a wonderful thing for any company. I also like the short clip of us in Joe Fresh sunglasses. For me, the end, when we all cheer was a genuine moment. Of the version posted on IX Daily, my absolute favourite additions are the moments when the subtitles poke fun at my pronunciation because, as much as I love the French language, I am not francophone.
IX: Did you always want to make music?
BENOIT LIRETTE: Well sure. Yes. It's my hobby. Producing music is my passion. I love DJing and mixing sound. In fact, I throw parties just so I can DJ [laughs].
MICHAEL PERRY: I have always wanted to make music. In many ways, music has been my saving grace. At 6 years old, I used to sneak away with my baby-sitter’s tape recorder and sing into it. When I turned 11, my mother gave me a computer with a Digital Audio Workstation and I immediately started producing songs. A few years ago, I’d missed a shift at Maxi because I was up ‘til 5 AM – two hours before the start of my shift - working on music. In fact, I used every moment I could at Maxi to record ideas for songs on my cell phone and then flesh them out at home.
IX: Can we expect more music (and videos) from you?
BENOIT LIRETTE: I have plans to keep working with Michael. We’ve been working on and off on songs since 2012. On my own? Perhaps more music. We will have to see how videos pan out for me. But we never know.
MICHAEL PERRY: For sure! My ultimate career goal is to be the “Biggest Star of Earth”. As always, we never know what the future holds; but, with friends like Benoit, I know I will have fun making whatever music and videos we produce. I just look forward to continual development as an artist – particularly as a singer and songwriter. And Benoit’s DJ sets always include the remix to “Perfect Love (… the One for You)” we performed.
More sounds from Michael Perry: soundcloud.com/michaelperry/
Editor's note: some of the answers were redacted and shortened for the purpose of keeping your attention span.