1. avatar Nocarsgo
    Hi there. I've started doing a few interviews with local bands and while the response I've gotten so far is brilliant, I'd like to hear what bands think of about being interviewed. I'm not a pro at this sort of thing and hell, I'm a complete newbie at this, so any advice would be appreciated. God knows there'll be plenty of musicians on here that have had terrible interviews.

    So what things do you hate in interviews?
    Are there ever any questions in general to avoid?
  2. avatar thepostboxtheory
    I dont think there would be questions that bands really hate..

    Just try not to say, 'So what genre would you say you are?' 9 out of 10 bands would be really stumped.. lol

    Say 'What kinda bands/artists influence you?'


    We wouldnt mind an interview sometime, if your interested?

    Cheers,
    Claud
  3. avatar my-angel-rocks
    Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIMGPlH4XPo

    Do not ask "So, how do you write songs?"
  4. avatar Danny Lynch
    do you get your interviews published? if so do you do it kind of freelance or are you workin for a specific magazine/paper? id love to be doin with youre doin, although im in a local band, so may be viewed differently in an interview setting which could influence responses.
  5. avatar stevieo
    Be yourself, dont put on a voice and dont talk shite would be my observations. I put on an authoritative polite voice and winded up sounding like Peter Robinson. For NVTV I changed tack and sounded like I was out on the Good Friday Agreement. I did one in Portugal and sounded like a dick. Finally under the calm and welcoming inquiries of George Jones I kicked back and found my media mojo. We all mock our local broadcasters but any Ive dealt with can dissolve your nerves with warmth and hosptality. Right wheres the session work...
  6. avatar stevieo
    ...nothing to do with your original post, apologies.Get them to relax, have a bit of craic first How did your band get together, what are your influences, gig stories, ask about upcoming gigs/recordings throw in a few curveballs. Feile fm asked me who I would like to play with living or dead and where I would like to be musically/ professionally. Those questions threw me I ended up saying Keith Moon and wanting to own a helicopter...
  7. avatar tinpot anto
    There are two types of bad interview

    - Where the interviewer knows nothing at all about the artist
    - Where the interview thinks they know everything about the artist.

    Research like crazy, listen to as much of the band's music as you can and read previous interviews. Plus suck up, everyone loves that :)
  8. avatar Garzo
    I hate the 'What's the worst gig you've ever played?' question. It's hard to answer it without insulting someone. And there is a third type of bad interview-the one where you ask me any question ever. Que five minutes of 'Ummmmmmmm'
  9. avatar Steven Dedalus
    [quote:6aa372974d="tinpot anto"]There are two types of bad interview

    - Where the interviewer knows nothing at all about the artist
    - Where the interview thinks they know everything about the artist.

    Research like crazy, listen to as much of the band's music as you can and read previous interviews. Plus suck up, everyone loves that :)[/quote:6aa372974d]

    Perhap.

    But what about those occasions where:

    - The band do not want to be interviewed, and are deliberately difficult.

    - The band have NOTHING to say, and no way of saying it.

    I know this is a thread aimed more towards what bands don't like in interviews, but I'd just like to throw it out that if a band doesn't want to be interviewed, then they shouldn't do it.

    For example, I interviewed J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, and he simply DID NOT WANT TO DO THE INTERVIEW. And he came across as a total jerk. It was really unpleasant (at one point he told my friend who was sitting in on the interview to kill herself) and really gave me mixed feelings about the band. When I saw them live shortly after, all I saw was a frumpy middle-aged dude who doesn't care about music.

    (Their new album is AWESOME, by the way.)

    As a counter example, I was supposed to interview Stephen Malkmus, and when I phoned his house, I was greeted by his wife, who told me that he'd gone out for a walk in the forest leaving his mobile phone at home, and she'd been bombarded with calls all afternoon from journalists whith whom interviews had been set up.

    It was frustrating, but better than spending a harrowing twenty minutes in the company of one of your all-time heroes who is treating you with open contempt.
  10. avatar my-angel-rocks
    [quote:a1d505ec01="Steven Dedalus"]When I saw them live shortly after, all I saw was a frumpy middle-aged dude who doesn't care about music.[/quote:a1d505ec01]

    Why doesn't care about music, rather than doesn't care about music interviews?
  11. avatar Steven Dedalus
    [quote:476a6e0583="my-angel-rocks"][quote:476a6e0583="Steven Dedalus"]When I saw them live shortly after, all I saw was a frumpy middle-aged dude who doesn't care about music.[/quote:476a6e0583]

    Why doesn't care about music, rather than doesn't care about music interviews?[/quote:476a6e0583]

    He looked bored and uninterested in perfroming, and I found the show to be extraodinarily uninspired.

    In fact, I left after about seven songs cos it was so bad.

    Also, during the interview, he seemed to have no real interest in his own music, and when I asked him about the opening track on the album he was supposedly promoting, he couldn't remember anything about it, and asked me to hum it for him to see if he could remember what it sounded like.
  12. avatar tinpot anto
    [quote:3d87d22287]But what about those occasions where:

    - The band do not want to be interviewed, and are deliberately difficult.

    - The band have NOTHING to say, and no way of saying it.[/quote:3d87d22287]

    We've been interviewed by all sorts of people, and I've always found that no matter what sort of mood I'm in it can be very different after 20 seconds in an interview. A good first question will pull me right out of a bad mood, and a bad one will generally elicit little more than a few cursory platitudes.

    I don't really have sympathy with the idea that it's the artist's fault if they are grumpy or difficult. It's a journalist's job to conduct an interview, you are interested in them, and your audience is interested in them, they do not have any obligation to be remotely interested in you, especially if your audience and theirs are not the same.

    Ya win some you lose some. :-)

    Edit: though most band's have nothing at all to say, so I don't know how you can ever get round that one, except giving them a pass.
  13. avatar Crackity_jones
    'Do your research' would be the main piece of advice I'd give. If the band has any inkling that you are clueless about them, it's not going to go well. And always prepare more questions than you think you'll have time for. Some interviewees just need a nudge to start spouting off for ages, whereas some will give short, cursory answers and you'll need plenty of stuff prepared to make it worthwhile.

    The best piece of advice I was ever given was 'keep them talking', so I'd say that as well. Don't interrupt - when you listen back sometimes, you'll realise the interviewee was about to expand a point really nicely and you've just cut him/her off. So, unless they're really going off-beam and you need to pull them back, let them talk until they are ready to stop. Maybe make a note of what you want to come in with, and be ready to ask that when you get the chance.

    Having said all that, time is often tight so a bit of common sense is needed.

    I must say, I've been lucky in that i've never had an equivalent of Steven's J Mascis story (which resulted in a really nice, clever piece, by the way). It'll happen sooner or later.
  14. avatar Steven Dedalus
    [quote:ec357e810f="tinpot anto"]

    I don't really have sympathy with the idea that it's the artist's fault if they are grumpy or difficult. It's a journalist's job to conduct an interview, you are interested in them, and your audience is interested in them, they do not have any obligation to be remotely interested in you, especially if your audience and theirs are not the same.

    [/quote:ec357e810f]

    That's not really what I was getting at. It was more the idea that if a band hates doing interviews, and hates journalists, then perhaps it's better to not do an interview, rather than do really punishing ones.

    Essentially - and I already know I'll get rippped for saying this - I feel it's the job of the music journalist to act as the fan on your behalf, ie. I'll assume you're reading this article cos yr interested in the band in question, so I'll ask them the stuff you might want to know if you were here instead of me.

    But I can only communicate what the band gives me, so if the band takes the hump from the word go, then there's very little I can do about it. Especially if it's one of those cases where they just hate journalists for no reason.

    Indeed, I actually consider the journalist to be the ultimate fanboy. I only got into it because I loved music so much, and wanted to write more about it. And when the chance comes up to talk to the artists you really admire, it's just too good to pass up.

    And then when you start speaking to them and they have difficulty communicating anything other than their own name, it can be very frustrating.

    I was a massive fan of British Sea Power, and had to interview Yan ahead of the release of their last album. It was like talking to a shop window dummy. He had nothing interesting to say, and getting anything out of him was like pulling teeth. I'd done my research and knew a few fun facts about the recording of their album, and he just wouldn't give me anything usable at all.

    At one point, when responding to a question about what went into the making of the new album, he revealed the fascinating information that:

    - they'd demoed the album first.
    - then they'd recorded it in a studio.
    - then they planned to tour in support of it.

    Which is perhaps the most boring answer possible, completely ignoring all the cool stuff like they did parts of it Canada during a massive storm and stuff. It was a complete waste of time.

    On the other hand, I interviewed Beth Ditto, and for every question I asked her, she gave me a story back, full of twists and turns, and made everything sound interesting. It was a joy to speak to her (and I think I may have been the first Irish/Northern Irish journalist to do so, fact fans!).

    Basically, when you say,

    [quote:ec357e810f]they do not have any obligation to be remotely interested in you, especially if your audience and theirs are not the same.[/quote:ec357e810f]

    I disagree, cos for me that would be like doing a gig where only two people have turned up, and turning in a really lacklustre perfromance as a result.

    It's not the fault of those two people that no-one else came down, and you should play the show of a lifetime to reward those two people for making the effort.

    Most music journalists do it for the love, I think. And if you want people to be interested in your band, make the music journalist interested.

    And also make great music.
  15. avatar tinpot anto
    The [i:eddb4a7246]only[/i:eddb4a7246] job of a musician is to make music.

    It works both ways too, surely you've been obligated to interview artists who you don't like, it's very difficult to fake either way, and it's in no one's interest.

    I think that sometimes it's just not going to work :-)
  16. avatar Crackity_jones
    [quote:c994ecc53d="tinpot anto"]It works both ways too, surely you've been obligated to interview artists who you don't like, it's very difficult to fake either way, and it's in no one's interest.[/quote:c994ecc53d]

    I can only speak for myself here, but I avoid that as much as possible, and I don't remember ever having been pushed into an interview I didn't want to do. Again, lucky so far I guess.
  17. avatar Steven Dedalus
    [quote:b0a67471fb="tinpot anto"]The [i:b0a67471fb]only[/i:b0a67471fb] job of a musician is to make music.

    It works both ways too, surely you've been obligated to interview artists who you don't like, it's very difficult to fake either way, and it's in no one's interest.

    I think that sometimes it's just not going to work :-)[/quote:b0a67471fb]

    I'm with Chris on this one. 99% of the time a good editor will get the right person for the job. So if I only listen to Pavement and Guided By Voices (which is sometimes what it feels like...) then perhaps interviewing James Hetfield might not be the best bet.

    And with regards to the only job of the musician being to make music, in principle I agree with you. But I also think it's the job of the musician to make me care about the music they are making, either by being so undeniably good that i can't ignore them, or by communicating their love of music through a different medium, ie. interviews.

    There have been loads of instances where I have fallen head over heels for certain bands simply through an interview. I used to regard the Flaming Lips as a novelty act, untiil I read an amazing interview with them, and watched the DVD about them. After that, I'd die for them.

    To illustrate what I mean, here's a wee story.

    I've always liked Guided By Voices, but always had a problem with the quality control on the albums, and the fact that they occasionally ruined great songs by recording them so badly.

    Then I read an interview with them where Bob Pollard explained the merits of lo-fi recording in such a brilliantly eloquent way that I totally connected with what they were doing.

    Then I heard a radio interview with him where the presneter said, "Bob, I heard you can write five songs when you're on the toilet."

    To wich Bob Pollard said, "YEAH!..........and three of them are good!"

    Stuff like that just wins me over every time.
  18. avatar Nocarsgo
    [quote:bf966f7b0e="Danny Lynch"]do you get your interviews published? if so do you do it kind of freelance or are you workin for a specific magazine/paper? id love to be doin with youre doin, although im in a local band, so may be viewed differently in an interview setting which could influence responses.[/quote:bf966f7b0e]
    I'm not really working as a journalist- I've got my own wee music blog which is getting a bit of exposure called Secret Fireworks. I am working with Gigging NI though (www.giggingni.com). I'm aiming to write a few articles for Fastfude, and I'd love to write a few for Alternative Ulster, but I want to get some experience first, and I think it's nice to give bands as much exposure as possible. For example, you won't get too many Google results for Driving By Night interviews, but after doing one with Terry, it's one of the top results. The same with Heliopause. I'm not much of a writer, I just like doing it.
  19. avatar DavidHill
    I don't like being asked the following...

    Who do you sound like and What are your songs about!

    Idk who i sound like and i would rather ppl listen to the music and interpret it for themselves.
  20. avatar fopp
    [quote:3c2abdafab="DavidHill"]I don't like being asked the following...

    Who do you sound like and What are your songs about!

    Idk who i sound like and i would rather ppl listen to the music and interpret it for themselves.[/quote:3c2abdafab]


    I should probably keep quite cause I know nothing about journalism. When did knowing nothing ever stop anyone?

    I'd like the old question "what are your songs about" to be asked more frequently. In fact, just asked at all.

    I think that it's pretty common knowledge that there can be as many interpretations of a song as there are people who listen to it. However, it would be interesting to know what the song writer was thinking while he/she wrote the song, why they made that choice of words rather than any other. If there's no answer other than, "sounded nice", then fair so, but if there's something more interesting at the heart of the song then it'd be nice to hear it more often. What's wrong with knowing the writer's interpretation of the song as well as your own?
  21. avatar tinpot anto
    Funny enough, I was listening to an interview with the guy from Depeche Mode on Radio 4 over the weekend there, and the interviewer asked him a question (in a quite skilful way: take note!) along the lines of

    [i:6cd7536faf]"You are often asked a lot about the meanings of your songs, but have always shyed away from answering too directly, the new album however has songs that seem much more straightforward, direct and accessible than previous recordings - was there a conscious decision to eschew the esoteric?"[/i:6cd7536faf]

    He answered that he'd once heard Chuck Berry describe the origin of the song "Sweet Sixteen" as being because his manager had told him that the largest part of his audience and fans were 16 years old, and he should write a song for them. Hearing that had appalled him, and shattered his illusions so he preferred not to know.
  22. avatar Chi-Lite
    That's actually an interesting reply ya see.

    That's what years of smack does for ye.
  23. avatar DeliriumTremens
    I always think of better and funnier answers when the interview is finished.
  24. avatar belezabaub
    It depends on the band but mightened be a bad idea to talk about gear. Not the snort up your nose kind but instruments and effects. Many musicians love gear as much as they love music and it can really help if you have a little bit of knowledge of stuff like that.

    J Mascis is a good example of this. He is completely obsessed by gear. He owns over 20 "Big Muff" pedals, he owns over 20 pedals that to the normal human ear give a very similar fuzz sound. The guy is a complete geek when it comes to equipment.

    That being said J Mascis isn't a particularly nice person, anyone who knows the Dinosaur Jr album Bug will know that he made Lou Barlow scream the line "Why don't you like me" over and over again on the song "don't". In an interview I read ages ago, J confessed it was a little private joke for himself at the expense of Lou.

    Lots of musicians are geeks. Perhaps talking about gear isn't something that you'd want in your edited interview but it might be priceless in making your interviewee feel comfortable talking to you.

    Zane Lowe, like him or love him, is very good at this. He talks about sound non-stop, refers to bands that have similar styles and can explain what he likes about sound in a single sentence. Simply saying my favourite song is... is shit, saying I love the way the fuzz comes out of nowhere in... make the artist feel as if you have listened to the song.

    Having said that, I know nothing about interviewing on any level but not everyone has wit and personality and feels at ease talking to strangers so if you can at least get them on a comfortable topic it might help.
  25. avatar isis
    You just have to make the piece interesting to the reader. Don't let bands ramble on too long or you'll have a three hours tape to transcribe (this is ok sometimes but when your writing 4 articles a week it can be a bit of a pain in the ass). The first lot of interviews I did I was more nervous than the bands but you get the hang of it. Its an art form like any other. Keep the structure of your piece in mind and get the answers that you need.
    Don't get star struck either, they're just people. Theres nothin worse than the 'I'm your biggest fan interview'.
  26. avatar The Ronster
    I like talking about what the songs I've had a part in writing mean.

    I went to the effort of putting ideas/experiences into words, and while of may be the credible thing to say that it's all up for interpretation, they really aren't. At all.

    Anyone who's actually thought or felt what they are singing shouldn't have a problem explaining a song. However, if it's just a load of conveniently rhyming couplets then I've no doubt the writer is hoping someone will put the effort in and 'interpret' his nonsense.

    I've only done one 'live' interview so far. I'll take all-comers though.
  27. avatar SweetDickWilly
    My lovely bandmates and I have done a few interviews. Most of 'em we've enjoyed because the person interviewing us knew us and was keen to give us a platform to express what we felt about our music/music in general. Be prepared and friendly, offer us some sweets (haribo) and we'll open up to you like 4 beautiful flowers.
  28. avatar Steven Dedalus
    [quote:2ecb12f52e="isis"]You just have to make the piece interesting to the reader. Don't let bands ramble on too long or you'll have a three hours tape to transcribe (this is ok sometimes but when your writing 4 articles a week it can be a bit of a pain in the ass).[/quote:2ecb12f52e]

    I've never had this problem.

    SAMPLE INTERVIEW
    Me: "The opening track on the album seems to resonate with the themes running through the rest of the album. Was this intentional, or was there a desire to achive some kind of cohesion to the album?"

    Them: "Dunno."

    Me: "The last tour was a multi-media extravaganza which defies all of human history to create the greatest spectacle on earth, whilst this time round, it's a more stripped down lo-key affair. Is this out of some kind of desire to re-connect with any audience potentially alienated by post-modern media marketing?"

    Them: "Dunno."

    Me: "Are you actually in a band? Do you care what you're doing?"

    Them: "Dunno."

    Me: *Sound of loaded gun being put in mouth.*

    Etc.
  29. avatar tinpot anto
    See when you mentioned earlier about loving a band just from reading a good interview?

    I now love that band. Best interview ever. :lol:
  30. avatar isis
    [quote:bb9bf1734d="Steven Dedalus"][quote:bb9bf1734d="isis"]You just have to make the piece interesting to the reader. Don't let bands ramble on too long or you'll have a three hours tape to transcribe (this is ok sometimes but when your writing 4 articles a week it can be a bit of a pain in the ass).[/quote:bb9bf1734d]

    I've never had this problem.

    SAMPLE INTERVIEW
    Me: "The opening track on the album seems to resonate with the themes running through the rest of the album. Was this intentional, or was there a desire to achive some kind of cohesion to the album?"

    Them: "Dunno."

    Me: "The last tour was a multi-media extravaganza which defies all of human history to create the greatest spectacle on earth, whilst this time round, it's a more stripped down lo-key affair. Is this out of some kind of desire to re-connect with any audience potentially alienated by post-modern media marketing?"

    Them: "Dunno."

    Me: "Are you actually in a band? Do you care what you're doing?"

    Them: "Dunno."

    Me: *Sound of loaded gun being put in mouth.*

    Etc.[/quote:bb9bf1734d]

    Thats crap. At that point I normally wish them luck and go find something better to do with my very limited time on this world.
  31. avatar isis
    Although those questions are slightly on the long winded side (no offense)
  32. avatar Steven Dedalus
    [quote:f81a44d5a2="isis"]Although those questions are slightly on the long winded side (no offense)[/quote:f81a44d5a2]

    They were also entirely made up in an attempt to provide a satirical and lighthearted look at the medium of music journalism.

    Normally I just ask, "What do you sound like?" and "What do your songs mean?"
  33. avatar the_seos
    Always record the interview (audio/video) as this will allow you to accurately quote your interviewee...

    Whilst busking a few years ago, i agreed to an interview with a local Sunday newspaper when the paper had just recently started publishing...They sent a trainee journalist with a note pad and a pen to write a piece on busking in the City of Derry. Although she was friendly and i felt relaxed enough to discuss her given topic, and my own musical background and ambitions for about 45min, the final product was a full page write up of misqotes and humsan interest based embelishments which left me thinking i told her too much. For example, when she asked me 'What started your interest in music and what are your influences?', i told her about how i always enjoyed various different musical genres but how i had bought my first guitar in primary school and learned a few chords from a few of my parents' friends when i started listening to more rock music. She then asked me if my parents were musical. I told her that they both listen to a variety of music and that my dad used to play in a band. She then asked if i had learne anything from my dad. I replied that he tought me what a bar chord was....

    The interviewer then interpreted all this as

    'The talent for music appears to come from his father's side. "He [my dad] was involved with a punk band when he was younger[...]he helped teach me along the way[...]then dad helped me and i've been doin my own stuff"...'...

    Note that she actually put that in quotations (without my [...] obviously). She also made up whole paragraph 'quotations', based loosley on what i had said, even adding a mild swear word on one occassion!

    To top it all off...literally...either the interviewer or the editor thought it was a good idea to use the Headline
    "Busking in the City Centre: 'JANET AND THE LUST FOR GLORY'....

    Having told her that i had been in a college band called 'Jesus and The Lust for Glory' (apparently it was the original working title for Monty Python's 'Life of Brian'), but that unfortunately due to censorship on the college's part, we were on the posters and other advertising as 'Janet and The Lust for Glory', i also let her know that we had been annoyed enough about this to change it with a marker on any poster that we saw....Now, i'm sure even as a newbe interviewer yourself you would probably have the sense not to use the headline to highlight a minor point of an interview, with no relevance to the topic and which is something that the artist has actually expressed dissatisfaction with the use of...

    i considered contacting the paper to point out these and all the other errors but in the end i chose to give the interviewer a break and put it down too inexperience.

    Overall though her piece was an interesting read even though she actually seemed to write a bit more about me than the actual main discussion topic of busking, which was flattering and good promo for my own music at the time.

    Of course i do realise that some the the changes she made could have been 100% intentional in an effort to make the article flow better but this could definitely have still been achieved had she recorded what i said more accurately with a dictophone.

    Anyway...maybe i'm just being too picky!?!
  34. avatar the_seos
    oh...also...

    I did a dissertation on how bands try to acheive public recognition whilst releasing their debut e.p in 2006.

    This required interviewing a bunch of bands on the processes they went though to achieve thier goals...

    I found that being semi-formal was most successful as it keeps the interviewer and the band relaxed but also focused...So if you've got an idea of what kind of info you want to get from the band (based on the questions you plan to ask) then keep a close eye on the responses you are getting to make sure that you get that info and do't end up letting the interviewees go off on a tangent too far or for too long...but the interviewer should remember to not be to rigid with this as sometimes tangents can lead to the interviewee divulging valuable info which could allow you to follow a previously unplanned line of interview questioning...

    Learn what you can about the band, what they've done and their current activities, so during the interview you can ask about them and listen out for details which the public may be interested in...eg. gigs, releases, acheivements, unusual events in thier career etc.

    And again...stay close to the truth.

    Good luck!

    Give us a shout if you like our stuff...we're always up for promo interviews...

    www.myspace.com/deceptionpolicy
    www.bebo.com/deceptionpolicy
    www.youtube.com/deceptionpolicy[/quote]
  35. avatar thecomeons_2
    forgetting the tape recorder or making a bollocks of the taping isn't a big problem. i did some interviews when i did [i:5f8ba92e07]rock a my soul[/i:5f8ba92e07], which was a pixies/breeders fanzine around the time of the band's demise. the first one was with mc4 and was bollocks (it didn't see print), it lasted far too long and i rambled an awful lot.

    with buffalo tom i found the printed interview turned out really nice. not only because i had worked out what to ask and such, but because i had to rely on my notes as the tape machine effed up on me and i paraphrased bits of the conversation.

    of course, when i finally got a change to speak with black francis i gushed a bit at times, but i managed to cut those bits out.
  36. avatar Deestroyer
    [quote:60b8eecdf1="tinpot anto"]The [i:60b8eecdf1]only[/i:60b8eecdf1] job of a musician is to make music.

    It works both ways too, surely you've been obligated to interview artists who you don't like, it's very difficult to fake either way, and it's in no one's interest.

    I think that sometimes it's just not going to work :-)[/quote:60b8eecdf1]

    I have to agree with Steven on this. If you're doing an interview in the first place, it's because you want some promotion. If you want to be promoted, you're only wasting your time and the time of the journo by being tight lipped or uninterested/ing. There's no point agreeing to the interview if you don't plan on saying something of value or don't believe the interview has any worth. Why bother? Of course, if the interviewer is a twat then that's different.

    My advice is to appear interested in the interviewee and hospitable and straight enough to engender a relaxed atmosphere. After that I've found it's usually plain sailing.