If you're here to look into new and different methods by which you can market your band or artist. You've come to the right place. I'm Tom Colohue, and this is Marketing Methods; your guide to traversing the basics of the marketing world while avoiding the pitfalls, the traps and the unreasonable arseholes in it.
Marketing Methods by Tom Colohue
Part Twelve: Details Of Interviews
Here we have a difficult area to navigate.
A lot of people point out that all publicity is good publicity, but that depends entirely on the media/journalist you're connecting with. An interview has their own story that they want to get out of you, and you have to be aware that the questions they ask you will invariably lead you in whatever direction they want you to go. Even if you've specifically been told that you're going to be interviewed about your new EP for a local and familiar piece of press, don't believe it.
Preparation is key here. For each interview you need to go in knowing what you plan to publicise and what is an off limit question. If you'd like to talk about the layering of guitars, you can find a way to slip it in regardless of the questions asked, unless the interviewer seems to be asking you if you've ever had sex on a plane. That would just be an utterly stupid question, but I've had it, so it happens.
Some interviewers will have a set list of questions that they have to ask you, regardless of the answers that you give. Some allow for a more roaming and free flowing tempo - giving you room to speak from the heart, talk about the things that matter to you and also to avoid looking like a complete idiot.
Context goes a long way. If it's a video interview, you'll have the chance to show your facial expressions and body language, which will help give tone to your words. In a written interview, things aren't that easy. Looking stupid becomes much easier because people will apply their own tone to your words while they read it, so your choice of words become paramount. The most obvious and clearly helpful piece of advice is to keep it simple. Words that people don't understand are considered patronising, just as speaking of interval harmonies will alienate the fans who don't know music theory and have no interest in learning it.
Cover many topics. Everybody reads an interview looking for different things. Some want to see a more personal side of the performer that they've seen, while others just want to know what your favourite track on the EP is. Ultimately, a good interviewer will allow the personal, he technical and the creative to all wander forwards, but some are rather set in their ways. Even if the interviewer is asking questions that barely even relate to the music, and could be asked of anybody from politician to race car driver, it's your responsibility to take up those questions and make the best of them.
As an example, if an interviewer looks down at their notepad and asks you: "Who would you say is the main influence for your work?"
That's a very simple and forward question, despite being very open ended. Even an astronaut could give a good answer for that question. Nevertheless, it can be easily used to say more than just 'Ritchie Blackmore'. In the same way that teachers took you from using simple answers to using complete sentences in school, you can take one step farther in the interview adventure. Give several influences. Give some for your music and some for the music of your band. Say why. Say your favourite works by them. Say something that they did that you'll always remember.
Admittedly, going too far can be as bad as saying too little, but the balance there comes with experience.
For a band, as a group, the most important thing is that you're all singing from the same sheet. If one member is more talkative, let them talk, but don't do so at your own expense. Let it be clear that each different member has their own opinion to express rather than having somebody quoting the facts. Be even, accomodating and friendly.
Also, don't push the interviewer. Seriously, patience is a virtue, and it takes forever to transcribe and make the right contacts quickly, then wait for the slot to open up. They're doing you a favour, so think of your reputation. Treat every interviewer like they're a hot girl who you are yet to penetrate and you'll be fine.
Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England. Though he specialises in Fiction, he also writes music theory articles, and new media articles based primarily on the internet. On occasion, these also intermingle. He is well recognised by numerous critics and analysts for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms. For more information, Tom Colohue keeps a Facebook Fan Page, which contains updates from new articles and his personal blog, Mental Streaming. This page can be found via this link.