INTERVIEW WITH ACTOR AND SINGER ANTHONY J MIFSUD

Anthony J. Mifsud is a Maltese-born Canadian actor, singer and songwriter. He performs professionally under the moniker Mif. Mif began his entertainment career in Toronto as the front man and vocalist for the award-winning Canadian hard rock/heavy metal musical group Slash Puppet and released two CDs internationally.

A 2007 CD re-issue of their 1989 independent cassette-only release The Demo. It received accolades on several hard rock and heavy metal fanzines worldwide, making it to #7 on Sleaze Roxx’s “Top 10 Best” releases of 2007. Other accomplishments with the band include awards for “Best Toronto Club Band” at the 1990 Toronto Music Awards, and “Best Independent Video” for the song “When The Whip Comes Down” at the 1993 Los Angeles Area Music Awards. After departure from his musical styling with Slash Puppet, his songs are described as darker, heavier and more progressive.

Mif is also an actor, appearing internationally in numerous film and television productions. His film credits include such films as Kick Ass-2, D-Tox, Detention, Just Business, Foolproof, Direct Action, Robocop: Prime Directives, Dirty Work, The Stupids, Gossip and Partners In Action. On television, Mif continues to be featured in the recurring character of the Greek Delivery Man in the third and final season of the Netflix Original Series Hemlock Grove. Other notable guest starring appearances and episodic roles on television include shows like Beauty And The Beast, Psi-Factor, and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.  As a voice artist, his voice has been heard on several radio and television network programs and commercial spots across North America, pitching products for such sponsors from Bailey’s Irish Cream to Chrysler and Ford.

Eve: You’re a Maltese born, but live in Canada. How long have you been living there, and what it is like?

Anthony J Mifsud: My parents migrated to Canada from Malta with me as a very young child in 1963, and between 1963 and 1970 we travelled back and forth a few times as they could not make up their minds where they wanted to settle. They finally chose Canada in 1970 and I have been residing in Toronto, Ontario ever since, originally in an area known as the “Junction”, where most of the Maltese community arrived in the 1960’s.

One undeniable difference is the vastness of Canada with its varying landscapes, seasons and activities. While I still yearn and often miss my original homeland of Malta, I believe that having been raised mostly Canadian has afforded me an abundance of opportunities that have led me to where I find myself today, especially as a professional entertainer!

Eve: What’s your real connection to Malta? Do you visit Malta frequently?

AJM: My real connection to Malta comes from my being born here and having spent some time here as a child being raised around many family members who still reside here. Most of my father’s family remains in Malta. I was born in Pieta, baptised in Marsa and grew up in Hamrun, where both sides of my family are from originally.

While this recent trip back marks only the second time in 40 years that I have been able to return, the indelible mark that those early years left on me still remains and always will! I have never forgotten where I come from and will always be Maltese in my heart and at the root of my soul.  I have every intention of making my visits more frequent now with hopes of establishing ties professionally to reach that end. I still speak and read Maltese quite fluently and while I now struggle with writing of the language, I have always kept speaking it because I wholeheartedly believe that keeping my native tongue makes me truly Maltese.

Eve: You perform professionally under a stage name ‘Mif’. Why this decision and abbreviation?

AJM: It is a nickname that I picked up from the guys I performed with in the band Slash Puppet, and it is simply the first three letters of my surname, Mifsud. In 1991, as I was going in for an interview with Much Music in Toronto, a decision was finally made (after much deliberation with our management company) to use ‘Mif’ as my stage name. Short, original and easily recognisable, it has stuck with me ever since. While I now use my full name wherever I see fit in my acting work, my stage name still remains Mif for my ongoing musical endeavours.

Eve: Speaking of which, how do you combine your singing and acting talents?

AJM: There are many similarities when performing as a singer and as an actor, with the element of spontaneity being the one very common ingredient in both of the performing arts.  Live on stage as a front man and vocalist you are always in the moment in front of your audience, while on set as an actor you have to be in the moment as soon as the cameras starts rolling.

There is some more time on film and television sets for an actor to prepare in and around takes, but the spontaneous factor does happen as soon as a director shouts “action” and at that point it’s just you and the camera. It is then that the camera actually becomes your audience and you must perform in the moment. Another way of bridging or combining my talents includes publishing deals, where my music is used on film and television sound tracks.

Eve: What’s the hardest part about being an actor and what’s the best?

AJM: For me, the hardest part of being an actor begins with the studying of scenes and lines for an audition, full of anxiety even after all these years of auditioning! Conversely, the best part of being an actor is the invariable euphoric feeling that comes with learning from my agent that I got the role.

Eve: What do you enjoy doing during your time off?

AJM: As an avid athlete all my life, I have always enjoyed sports and attending sporting events whenever I can on my time off in Canada, with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC and Toronto Blue Jays being my favourite home teams to follow. I have also developed a passion for travelling and experiencing different countries and their cultures, especially when it also involves my professional work. I have been fortunate to visit many different destinations both as a tourist and as a professional, with my beautiful Malta, Brazil, England, France and South Africa (in Cape Town where I recently filmed “Lima” with Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director Neill Blomkamp), being some of my favourite places. I hope to continue to do some more travelling and hope someday soon to be able to return here to Malta to do some filming…keeping my fingers crossed!

Eve: What is your most treasured material possession?

AJM: The gold Maltese Cross my recently departed mother gave me as a gift that she had purchased in Malta while on vacation some time ago. I continue to wear it around my neck along with my crucifix to this very day to always remind myself of who I am and where I come from… just as she wanted me to!