It didn't, they told me, reflect the general levels of hilarity that had taken place in the interview.
"Sure it was about how the mysterious death of his entire family due to throwing themselves backwards on forks inspired him to write a despairing three CD masterwork but it was REALLY funny!"
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:26 (3 years ago) Permalink
is there anyone who doesn't hate listening to themselves conducting an interview?
Hahah, having dug out those old cassettes I'd mentioned and relistened to them over the past month: eurgh.
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:27 (3 years ago) Permalink
Love the one you're with.
― Pete Scholtes, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:41 (3 years ago) Permalink
i also transcribe every (laughs) in there too, tho sometimes that's just so i can console myself that they laughed at my lame joke
I tried to quote Ron Mael saying I was a smart guy in an interview once but the editor was having none of it
in retrospect he was probably mocking my eagerness to prove I "got" his band anyway
― MPx4A, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:44 (3 years ago) Permalink
"ournalists who try to spell an interviewee's laugh"
― Inspiration for the sex robot sprang from the September 11 attacks (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:50 (3 years ago) Permalink
Read that as 'onanists' and thought "Well..."
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:52 (3 years ago) Permalink
haha i'd misquoted and edited the j out with the preceding a...i'll never make a music-writer
― Inspiration for the sex robot sprang from the September 11 attacks (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:52 (3 years ago) Permalink
i like how when someone says, "nobody's ever asked me that before," it can either mean, "huh, that's a good question" or "jesus you're an idiot" depending on their tone and inflection.
― hellzapoppa (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:53 (3 years ago) Permalink
(i inferred the latter from a sighing iris dement.)
― hellzapoppa (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:54 (3 years ago) Permalink
Probably shouldn't have asked her "So what do you think of the Goo Goo Dolls song about you?"
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:56 (3 years ago) Permalink
Yeah, I tried to sneak Mark E Smith saying "They were alright guys. Cool guys like you John" past some subs but to no avail.
I mean journalism has broken my body and come close to snapping my mind. All I wanted was a quote of The Fall lead singer saying I was cool in print - even if he said it because he was pissed and I'd just bought him two pints of San Miguel - but would they grant me that one indulgence? Would they fuck.
Transcribing is the fucking bane of my life. I've only ever said "LOL" out loud once. And that was to Polly Harvey. You can almost *hear* her looking at my like I've just beamed down from planet Daft Cunt.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:04 (3 years ago) Permalink
One of the worst mistakes I ever made was agreeing to surrender the audio of one of my interviews to The Wire, who posted it on their site.
― neither good nor bad, just a kid like you (unperson), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:13 (3 years ago) Permalink
the weird thing about interviewing - given that pretty much all of mine have been one-on-one - is that you never quite know whether you're good at it or not* - no one ever listens in or grades you or is able to give you specific tips for improvement
*re: the actual interviewing process, not the ability to write up a good feature based on the material you managed to get
― لوووووووووووووووووووول (lex pretend), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:16 (3 years ago) Permalink
I used to take "That's a great question" at face value and feel really flattered until I realised it was a hedging tactic and often meant nothing of the sort.
I was, however, chuffed beyond measure when Lemmy said, "I enjoyed that. Good questions. Not like most of these idiots." Thing is, they were the kind of fairly basic questions that most people would ask Lemmy so maybe it was the Jack Daniel's talking.
― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:37 (3 years ago) Permalink
has anyone ever had a musician record a song dissing them after giving a negative review?
― free the charmless but occasionally brilliant Dom Passantino (history mayne), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:42 (3 years ago) Permalink
Lemmy's a straight shooter. I think you can take him at face value.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:47 (3 years ago) Permalink
Lex: Isn't it the case that it depends quite a lot on the other person. Like you, I see a good interview as being more like a conversation. If you get stuck with some passive aggressive/hates doing interviews idiot, no ammount of 'skill' at your job is going to rescue the piece.
That said there are some notable exceptions where this becomes part of the game. Lou Reed. J Mascis. Kevin Shields etc.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 17:50 (3 years ago) Permalink
interviewed Mascis twice - the first time was a nightmare, for-reals five minute gaps of silence between question and monosyllabic answer. interviewed him again a few years later, with really specific questions, for a MOJO piece on Dinosaur, and he was great, talked at length about stuff, was endearingly un-self-conscious (and certainly didn't strive to make himself look like a nice guy re: how he treated Lous bitd). i now wonder if, a la Andrew WK, it was actually an impostor J.
― shart in a bag, light it on fire (stevie), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:16 (3 years ago) Permalink
people, especially creative types like musicians, are ALWAYS the same in every single situation. even if they've been drinking, if they're high, if they're jet lagged, if they're having a bad day or a shitty soundcheck has just blasted out their hearing or if their girlfriend has just dumped them. every experience of that same musician will always be the same. always
not being challops, but if interviewee is the same every time i'd suggest that's the robot imposter not the dude who's grumpy and monosyllabic one time and chatty and friendly another time
― Karen Tregaskin, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:22 (3 years ago) Permalink
sorry i hould have typed LOL at the end of my sentence to signify i wasn't being entirely serious i guess
― shart in a bag, light it on fire (stevie), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:24 (3 years ago) Permalink
no i know yr joking
but maybe there should be a special rolling musicians hating on being interviewed/critiqued thread
so we can bitch and be all 'omg i just stepped off a plane in vancouver jet lagged out of my mind and couldn't find any weed and some interviewer dude asking me really obvious questions straight out of the press kit and i can't keep my eyes open yet he gives me beef coz i'm monosyllabic' as a companion thread to this one
i haven't done an interview in a couple of years and always prefer email over f2f but sheesh this thread. brings back bad memories ya know
― Karen Tregaskin, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:29 (3 years ago) Permalink
XP: There are ways and means of getting shit out of monosyllabic people in most situations but not all.
I had the lack of humility to presume that I'd be the one to break Lou Reed. That I was so well researched he'd just take to me. He'd break down in tears and end up sobbing on my shoulder and tell me everything. I had the fucking chops to get anyone talking. Fucking bawling. Spilling the fucking beans.
There, there Lou. You can tell me.
On listening back to the tape it wasn't as transcendentally unpleasant as it seemed during the actual experience - when I wanted a black hole to suck me out of existence to safety beyond the event horizon - and we even had a pretty funny exchange about tinitus and listening to music in the bath but it was still useless and the piece got spiked.
That was my only one where I felt like I'd failed to get 'the piece' or 'the story' however.
There are ways and means of making sure that even with people that act like they hate you, you can come away with enough to cover the basis of a feature/news story.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:32 (3 years ago) Permalink
But the people we're talking about on this thread have longstanding reputations for being difficult. Interviewees who are monosyllabic or outright hostile year after year, with interviewer after interviewer, can't really pull the stupid-questions/jetlag excuse.
Email interviews are usually horrible - dry and stilted and too easy to evade or fudge questions. What's so hard about a face-to-face conversation?
― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:34 (3 years ago) Permalink
i like it when you click with someone and have a legitimately pleasant conversation. it's more enjoyable and you get better quotes. but i also just try to keep in mind that it doesn't matter whether or not they like me or think i'm smart or clever or any of that shit -- as long as i can get some reasonably interesting things from them on the record, that's all i need. in most cases i'll never talk to them again, and if i do they almost certainly won't remember me. we're both just doing our jobs.
― hellzapoppa (tipsy mothra), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:37 (3 years ago) Permalink
That's very admirable. But if I found out that, say, David Bowie, liked me, I'd be made up, despite it being a silly thing to worry about.
Part and parcel of me being a music fan. Although this would only really count with about six or seven people.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:39 (3 years ago) Permalink
i'd definitely love to hear about what it's like from the other perspective, not least because it'd probably help me be better at doing the interviewing...
i'm generally pretty respectful and well-researched, even though i know i might be able to get better results froma different approach. winning their trust is often my aim, though, and i never want it to be a destructive experience. "difficult" subjects often mellow if you show 'em you know nearly as much about their group as they do, and you're genuinely curious about the rest.
xp yeah lou seems like the exception to pretty much every rule, john!
― shart in a bag, light it on fire (stevie), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:40 (3 years ago) Permalink
But if I found out that, say, David Bowie, liked me, I'd be made up, despite it being a silly thing to worry about.
i fall into this trap far too often, i fear.
XP: to Mothra. What I mean is: you're creating a false binary about professionalism and enjoyment. They're not mutually exclusive.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:41 (3 years ago) Permalink
I'm having flashbacks to my horrendous interview with Eric B. and Rakim years ago where they wouldn't respond at all with full sentences, and Rakim just kept saying in a montone voice "I want to encourage our fans not to do drugs," while he looked glassy-eyed and on something himself.
― curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:43 (3 years ago) Permalink
yeah point taken dorian but for those people why bother doing interviews at all? it's not like lou reed needs to do interviews at this point why go through the motions?
obv i can't speak for all interviewees but i'm not a verbal person. if i had good conversational skills i probably wouldn't make music at all but that's another story. i often feel very put on the spot if i'm f2f. if i'd had media training maybe i'd know how to field questions and have prepared answers for those dog-and-pony-show interviews but i put that shit in the press release coz i don't wanna talk about it any more
what's a worse interview for you guys? monosyllabic coz someone hasn't prepared & doesn't wanna be there or dog-and-pony media training standard answers?
― Karen Tregaskin, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:44 (3 years ago) Permalink
xp to Doran - The problem with coming away from an interview with the idea that the artist personally likes you is that you're set up for the disappointment of meeting them again somewhere down the line and realising they have no idea who you are and having to remind them that you've met and then they go, "oh yeah" and smile weakly and then you wish you'd never said anything. Goddam these celebrities. You open yourself up and then they break your heart.
For this reason I've always liked the prostitute comparison - you meet in a hotel room for an hour and pretend you know each other better than you do. Although obviously with a prostitute nobody's expected to transcribe the tape afterwards.
xp to curmudgeon - Rappers are the best for this kind of stuff. Prince Paul once fell asleep on me during a Gravediggaz interview (but was lovely on the phone years later so maybe it was just lethal jetlag) and Jay-Z conducted a whole interview (fluent, friendly) while watching TV over my shoulder.
xp to Karen - That's Hobson's Choice. I guess I'd still rather someone showed the courtesy of coming up with some kind of answer, however generic, rather than making the interviewer feel like a prick. It's basic politeness. I think artists sometimes forget that the journalist could be doing other things with their time, and might have flown some distance themselves, and merits a little civility. But tbh, this is kind of the reason I was glad to leave the dance press - no more interviews with people who plainly didn't want to talk about their music.
― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:51 (3 years ago) Permalink
i had a memorable interview with can ox's vast aire where he kept up a fascinating spiel while flicking through a copy of the bible, a copy of the sunday mirror and a copy of Hustler's Hottest Teens (page open to a tres graphic blowjob scene), while keeping one eye trained on a TV news bulletin covering the opening salvo of the Iraq war
― shart in a bag, light it on fire (stevie), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:55 (3 years ago) Permalink
XP: I know what you're saying Dorian and it always feels like you're doing the wrong thing by either ignoring the person again or bounding up to them enthusiastically. I made the executive decision never to go backstage at a gig or a festival or to go to an awards ceremony or an aftershow party or to any kind of event where I know that these sorts hang out unless I was doing paid work and now the problem never raises it's ugly head.
I've got a signed copy of Raining Blood and my photo with Chuck D and that is enough for me. As much as I detest Almost Famous, the "they're not your friends" line should be tattooed on all aspirant music writers.
"Media training" is ok, because most of the time it's easy to get people out of that mode. Alright, they might not answer 'that question' but I feel you should be going in with multiple angles or possible objectives.
If someone is a passive aggressive, hates-the-press-but-doesn't-have-the-fucking-balls-to-tell-his (because it's always a bloke) record-label-that-they're-not-doing-any-more-interviews wanker, then there's little you can do.
I've tried the tactic of saying this straight out to people: "You haven't got the fucking nerve to tell your label's PR dept. that you're not doing press and now I've come here all the way from X to talk to you and you've just wasted everyone's time. You cunt."
And it has had a wide range of results. Some of them unpleasant. However it's always given me something to write about.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:56 (3 years ago) Permalink
xp to Karen - I should say that, not being a musician, I have no idea how bad some interviewers can be. I'm sure some of them can drive you to distraction.
― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:57 (3 years ago) Permalink
Doran, who have you actually said that to? I've often wanted to but never quite found the right moment.
― Dorian (Dorianlynskey), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:58 (3 years ago) Permalink
it's usually the publicist who forces you to do interviews and they're almost always wimmins
― Karen Tregaskin, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:58 (3 years ago) Permalink
Reign In Blood I mean.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 18:59 (3 years ago) Permalink
Mainly metal bands. Killswitch Engage - they suddenly became very charming. Machinehead. One of them punched me. Then we got on really well. Mogwai. But I said it as a joke and they took it as a joke and we got on pretty well after that. Minus. One of them later attacked me with a pair of scissors. Something a bit more toned down to Editors. No discernible change whatsoever. (I was so desperate not to let this band make me turn in a boring feature I reinterviewed them twice and ended up saying off record: Look, you're putting me in a position where I will have to make you look like a fucking cunt and I really don't want to but you're refusing to answer any of my questions properly. Again with no change whatsoever. There's something almost psychopathic and sado masochistic in the way their front man deals with the press.)
The two guys from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. My first band interview as an adult. They made me feel like fucking shit. They were fucking horrible. And I came out of it thinking 'What have I done? I'm terrible at this.' But then I heard the interviewer after me punched one of them so I think they were having a not-getting-on-with-the-press day.
I said it to them and then walked out. It was like a year or two later than I realised that by saying it earlier in the interview I might shake the 'dynamic' of the meeting a bit in order to get some better results. I'm a slow thinker like that.
I should say that a lot of people I know are appalled by this story (including some who post here) and say that I must have got them on a bad day as they're generally really nice people.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:07 (3 years ago) Permalink
I saw Reign In Blood on that Quietus flyer last Friday and had to be reminded who it was by heh
― mdskltr (blueski), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:08 (3 years ago) Permalink
One of them later attacked me with a pair of scissors.
― kshighway (ksh), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:12 (3 years ago) Permalink
I can't believe shit like that really happens in the context of a music interview.
― kshighway (ksh), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:13 (3 years ago) Permalink
appalled on your behalf though john!
― shart in a bag, light it on fire (stevie), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:13 (3 years ago) Permalink
friend of mine and sometime ilx lurker has just reminded me of the following: http://thequietus.com/articles/00104-black-sky-thinking-kanye-west-sensitive-soul
john can you please be installed as ilm's official uncle and tell more stories
― Do the english boil pizza? (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:16 (3 years ago) Permalink
I made the executive decision never to go backstage at a gig or a festival or to go to an awards ceremony or an aftershow party or to any kind of event where I know that these sorts hang out unless I was doing paid work ... I've got a signed copy of Raining Blood and my photo with Chuck D and that is enough for me.
I admit it; I've had my picture taken with three artists: Lemmy, Rob Halford and Ozzy. Oh, and a couple of the guys from Amon Amarth, but that was actually for a story in Metal Edge, not out of gushing fanboyism.
― neither good nor bad, just a kid like you (unperson), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:17 (3 years ago) Permalink
XP: Kshighway. I was on tour with a small band who have or had well documented drink and drug problems. I'm talking the story up a little. We ended up wrestling. Then fighting. He was holding a pair of scissors. I got cut. It was only a small cut but I bled quite a lot so it probably looked worse than it was.
Unperson: do I know you? I've got Kerry King, Frank Black, Chuck D, Julian Cope and Sonic Youth which is pretty good I reckon!
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:18 (3 years ago) Permalink
Oh man. Still!
― kshighway (ksh), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:21 (3 years ago) Permalink
First of all I have to sign forms saying I will mention various mobile phones in whatever I write about it.
delete kanye west
― Do the english boil pizza? (acoleuthic), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:21 (3 years ago) Permalink
We've never met so far as I know. My real name is Phil Freeman and I'm the former EIC of Metal Edge and I write and have written a whole bunch of other stuff for a whole bunch of other outlets. I blog here.
― neither good nor bad, just a kid like you (unperson), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:22 (3 years ago) Permalink
Ah, I was wondering who you were! There aren't too many metallers writing for WIRE. Pleased to virtually meet you.
― Doran, Tuesday, 12 January 2010 19:25 (3 years ago) Permalink
Is there a reliable alternative to doing phone interviews on anything besides a landline? I'm currently paying appx $40 a month to keep a landline (which, to be fair, is actually really cheap compared to, say, five years ago) so I can continue to do phone interviews at my house.
so getting back to the nerdy tools talk, t-mobile has a wifi calling service now, which means if you have a wifi connection in your apartment (or anywhere else), you can make phone calls over it. quality is crystal clear, and a bonus is that it counts as a local call even if you are phoning mongolia to interview kongar-ool ondar.
verizon is signal king, it's not just marketing hype.
― 鬼の手 (Edward III), Tuesday, 12 January 2010 20:10 (3 years ago) Permalink