Marianela Pereyra, a video jockey on the fledgling Fuse network, practically bubbles over when she talks about how much she loves her show.
The leggy 23-year-old is one of the hosts of Interactive Music Xchange, or IMX, and has interviewed popular performers like 50 Cent and Blink-182. Viewers can log on to the channel’s Web site to vote videos on or off the air.
For Pereyra, it’s a perfect fit: She gets to wear anything from a “Care Bears” T-shirt to leather pants, write her own interview questions, and say whatever she wants.
The network, available to digital cable and satellite customers, has been on the air just under a year and reaches about 36 million viewers. It bills itself as the edgy, underdog music video channel with “more music, less crappy TV.” (This, of course, is a poke at MTV and VH1, whose airwaves are crowded with “Behind The Music” episodes and reality shows.) It’s owned by Cablevision’s Rainbow Media.
Goofy ads featuring Sally Struthers and IMX’s laid-back feel give the channel a certain rebellious tinge reminiscent of, well, MTV when it first started.
AP: Is there really a need for another music video network?
Pereyra: Sure, I think there’s room for everyone in this cable universe. If you’re a music lover, our station fills the gap in music TV, because videos aren’t really played anymore (elsewhere).
AP: What do like about working for “alternative” music TV?
Pereyra: I like that we’re viewer-driven, music lovers have a choice and vote the videos on and off the shows. They control the playlist. And I also like that the network gives us the creative liberty to express opinions on the show.
AP: Do you model yourself after someone like Martha Quinn?
Pereyra: I wouldn’t stay that. I think I have my own crazy, edgy style. I was born in Buenos Aires, so I grew up listening to Argentine tango. When we moved to the states I was raised in a very urban neighborhood and I started getting into hip-hop and rock and stuff. I appreciate diversity.
AP: OK, but do you know who Martha Quinn is?
Pereyra: I have no idea.
AP: She was one of the first VJs ever, when MTV started.
Pereyra: Ah. Well, we’re not your parents video channel.
AP: What’s your favorite video?
Pereyra: I really love the new Incubus “Megalomaniac” video, and Blink-182’s “I Miss You,” video. I have so many favorites, my I-pod is full of all these different types of music.
AP: What’s your least favorite video?
Pereyra: Everything we play on the channel I adore. I’m also one of those people that doesn’t like to knock artists. Who am I to judge artists? I mean, I have the option to say it if I want to on the channel, but it’s not in my personality.
AP: What’s the cheesiest old-school video?
Pereyra: Vanilla Ice, “Ice Ice Baby.” It was so popular, it was disgusting.
AP: What’s the first video you remember seeing?
Pereyra: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It was the first album my parents bought me.
AP: Speaking of the King of Pop, do you have a favorite Jackson video?
Pereyra: “Remember the Time.” When I was little, I set up a video camera in my basement and made my own version of the video, even.
AP: If you could be in a video for a band, which would it be?
Pereyra: The Darkness, I think they’re so awesome. I’d dress in a bear costume or whatever they wanted me to do.
AP: Does your show promote independent bands at all?
Pereyra: Actually when bands perform, people in the audience wear T-shirts with their own band and we ask them about it, and where they play if they’re in New York and stuff. We’re all music lovers. We want those guys to succeed.