As I own a webzine and have tons of interviews as an interviewer, I have seen tons of bands pass by I ask questions to. Some of them come prepared, some of them panic, some of them give fluent answers, others reply with short phrases. There is no golden rule of how to do interviews, but as someone who interviews bands on a regular basis, I can at least give some advice on how to weapon yourselves against a mental blockage.
Prepare well in advance
Most journalists do research about your band but still ask typical questions. When you are new to the scene, expect to explain how you got founded, where your name comes from, and then general questions about whatever you are going to release. Questions about songwriting might pop up, the lyrics and much more. You don’t need to write anything down, just gather your thoughts and make sure you know what to reply on those basic questions.
Stay to the point
It’s important to not dwell into matters that don’t really matter all too much during the interview. If an interviewer is asking you about songwriting, don’t start talking about the restaurant you once went to have a burger. Stay close to the topic, humor is often allowed and encouraged in interviews to keep it more interesting for anyone who encounters the interview. The opposite, of course, is also important. Don’t answer the questions with only yes or no, or a short answer. Give the interviewer something to work with.
Don’t be afraid to correct mistakes
A lot of music journalists do this on a voluntary basis, and might not really have the resources to do a lot of research before an interview. Sometimes, the interviewer can make a mistake, can call you the wrong name, or can forget some facts that he or she probably should have known about. You are definitely allowed to point out the mistake, and correct them, just so that there won’t be any mistakes in the article.
Calm your nerves
If you are nervous about doing the interview, just remember that journalists are people too. Think of the journalist as if they were a friend of yours who you would want to convert into being a fan. Some times it can be stressful for bands to be in a video interview or a radio interview, nevertheless, a good interviewer will make you feel at ease right away.
Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you will kick ass during the next interview. If it doesn’t come naturally, don’t worry, it takes time to practice these things and tips. I have had interviews with bands coming in very nervous and having to repeat themselves a lot, when we do a follow-up interview after a year they have definitely turned into pros.
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