Thursday, December 2, 2010

Interview Notes

I uncovered a box today with some old stuff in it -- documents, letters and even some old photos. I came across the following, written for me by my supervisor when I worked at the radio syndication company MJI Broadcasting, and about to conduct my very first interview with a rock band. I am still amused by it:

Interview Notes:

1. Don't be nervous. These folks are humans just like you. You cut them and they'll bleed just like you.

2. Try to make your questions short and right to the point.

3. Allow the artist to answer the question. Don't answer it for them. This can be done if you allow your question to go on too long, or if they hesitate at first, don't jump in and volunteer the answer for them.

4. Even though they may have answered or responded to some of your questions before, they haven't done so for your tape. They know the game, and know that they'll be faced with a lot of the same questions.

5. Look for opportunities. If they mention something that you weren't aware of, capitalize on it. Don't be afraid to go off onto other subjects. A lot of times your best answers will come about this way.

6. Don't let them know you're nervous or that this is one of your first interviews.

7. Ignore the clock, but make sure you get at least 30 minutes from them. If you feel you're falling short, you can always find out about their influences, what they're listening to, their tour, the success factor, etc.

8. Make sure your equipment, the interview room and everything else is in order.

9. Concentrate on everything they say.

10. See if they want a soda or a water. Have Lee send out if you need to.

11. If there's a technical problem, don't be afraid to interrupt the interview and address it. Shit happens.

Really good advice. Number one stuck with me forever. Oh, and I'm sure you want to know who was the first... My very first interview was with Our Lady Peace. The song "Starseed" was blowing up for them on radio. They were nice guys. Second interview? Blur. I was nervous as hell. They were promoting their album "Parklife," which I really didn't get at the time. And Damon Albarn kept adjusting his junk while sitting in the chair talking to me. Imagine 24-year-old me, nervous as hell (trying not to fuck up or look stupid) and trying not to look at Damon Albarn's package... eyes darting to the floor...