DISCOVERED: Mighty Moog makes it big
AS A kid growing up on a farm in Grafton, some of Blair Joscelyne's earliest memories are of racing a motorbike tyre against his brother down a hill, fixing up machinery and playing with studio equipment at 2GF where his father was a manager.
He didn't know it at the time, but these separate but parallel streams would come together later in life, when in 2007 he and a mate started filming themselves tinkering with cars and uploading the videos to a new website called YouTube.
That first video got watched around 300 times, but in the ten years since the show, called Mighty Car Mods, has racked up millions of views around the world, and catapulted Blair, who is better known to millions of revheads around the world as Moog, and Marty Mulholland into online stardom.
The hugely popular DIY car modification show has just been picked up by Discovery Turbo and Velocity, where it will be shown to more than 60 million people in the United States alone.
Not that Moog is counting the numbers though.
"Things haven't really changed for us since the show has been on cable TV," Moog told The Daily Examiner.
"It hasn't really changed what we're doing on the show, but it's more a sense of, we're happy the show can be seen by a new audience.
"YouTube is a young audience, where a lot of people who are watching cable TV are 35 or older, so that's exciting that we can be seen on a much larger scale."
While the scale of the show may have grown from their two million subscribers on YouTube, Moog said the core of the show remains the same.
"While we might be travelling overseas and doing some more out-there things, we've always done videos that are interesting to us and that's the what's important to us," he said.
"If people didn't watch us, it wouldn't change what we do or anything like that. We're completely independent, so we're free to make things that's interesting to us. Like most people who create things like artists and musicians and writers, we all want people to see our work, but we don't let that be a deciding factor when it comes to making our videos."
Looking back on his time growing up in Grafton, Moog said while he didn't realise it at the time, his upbringing seemed to be the perfect preparation for Mighty Car Mods.
"I was born in Grafton and spent the first part of my life on a farm, so I spent most of my life around machinery, tractors, fences that needed to be fixed, tools that needed to be modified, so there was that aspect of resourcefulness there," he said.
"Then on the flipside with my dad's work as manager of 2GF I had access to quite a technologically advanced radio station, and as a kid my early memories are of recording into a microphone, so I became so comfortable with studios and mics and the technology, so I think Mighty Car Mods for me is a combination of those two things, the resourcefulness of working with machines and using technology to tell a story."
The original Mighty Car Mods series was born from a chance meeting between Moog and Marty when they both worked at a music high school.
"For a long time I worked as a documentary camera operator and sound editor, so I have been all over Australia and filmed some amazing things, and while I was doing that Marty was a working musician and was really interested in pulling things apart and putting them together again," he said.
"We both met as high school staff at this school and started chatting about cars. I had an imported turbo, and he had an imported turbo, so we had that instant connection. He said he was interested in working on cars, and I was doing documentaries, so we decided to just do something together and see what would happen.
"So we did this little video and uploaded it onto YouTube, and this was in 2007 so the site had only been around for 12 months or so, and back at that time the idea of putting ourselves on the internet doing something like working on a car was really out there, and we were blown away that 300 people would watch us working on a car.
"We decided to keep making them, and there was no financial interest or anything like that, we just wanted to do it for fun and we really liked doing it."
Since 2007 the show has continued to grow in popularity, which Moog said really hits home when they hear about the dedication from fans who watch their show and attempt their own car modifications.
Moog said he thinks it's the sense of adventure and friendship of Mighty Car Mods, as well as the ability for most people to give things on the show a crack, that makes it so popular.
"In high budget car shows there's the presenters in Ferraris and Lamborghinis driving around the Italian alps, and most people who watch the show will never have an opportunity to do that, so there's this chasm between the viewer and the presenter," he said.
"Most of the time with Mighty Car Mods, viewers could probably achieve what we do in our videos. Every now and again we do a dream build and do something crazy, but most of the time someone could watch a video and try it for themselves.
"I would like to think the underlying message in our videos is that it's more than cars. It's about adventure, learning and friendship, and we always encourage people to go on their own adventures."
In popular culture, from Mad Max to Mt Panorama, Moog said cars play a big role in Australian society, and hope that this love of cars can help build communities for people who share this love of motoring.
"The story of our adventure can be interpreted by people who want to be involved in getting together and making a community out of cars and tinkering with them," he said.
"Once you buy an old car it doesn't work, there's far more stories in a broken car than a working car, and once you get your dad, your brother, your uncle, your mates involved to fix it, it builds that community.
"Working together to fix something is the most rewarding thing, and when you put the key in the ignition and that thing you collectively built roars to life, that's what we're here for. That's the most exciting thing."