What Do You Say Interview Guide

Details involving the process of getting interviews for your band and tips on how to have a successful interview.

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At some point during your music career, you will have to give an interview. An interview serves multiple purposes. You can plug upcoming gigs and show off your band personality to the public.

Hitting The Press

Although securing an interview with Rolling Stone may be a little hard, there are still plenty of outlets for interviews. Almost every hometown newspaper has some form of entertainment section. If not, there is probably a chance they will give you a small column. For radio interviews, connect with college radio stations. Some college radio stations allow DJs to make their own shows and may have some type of local music segment. For larger radio stations, check their formats for any type of local music broadcasts (Probably late-night Sunday when no one is listening). Internet promotions sites may also consider giving you an interview segment. Some public access channels are also willing to do band interviews with a live performance. You should also start asking other bands in your area where they have interviewed. Do not exclude high school or college newspapers just because they seem unprofessional. Any type of press that you receive will help you build your professional portfolio as well as your band press kit.

Tips For Success

I asked a colleague of mine who gives band interviews on almost a daily basis at a radio station if he had any advice on band interviews. He stated, Band interviews suck. When I asked him to explain, he said that most bands only want to talk about boring things involving themselves. He also stated that it annoys him when bands show up with no personality, and go on air with no personality. You can make your interview better by following a few simple steps. Only have 1 or 2 members be the primary spokespersons for the band during the interview. Things get too hectic when you have 5 guys all wanting to answer the same question. Choose the person most knowledgeable about your band or the one with the most out-going personality. Remember that this person will reflect your band's image. You may consider letting the person whose personality reflects the medium to give the interview. I am affiliated with a radio station based in a costal town that reflects beach music. Recently, they did an interview with the drummer from O.A.R. who had a very surfer guy-like nature to him. It fit very well with listeners and was one of the best interviews the station had. During a busy gig week for a previous band of mine, we booked an interview for a college radio station. I brought along 2 other band mates with me and they came just because they wanted to be there. During the interview, it was obvious that I was the one who knew all the answers to the questions and could elaborate the best. When the DJ asked the simple question, When is your next gig? I pointed to one of the guys to answer and he did not even know! When another question was asked dealing with the musicianship of the band, the other guy gave some really long philosophical answer that really went no where. It brought down the interview tremendously. Keep your answers simple and to the point. Before you come to the interview, prepare a list of questions you want the interviewer to ask you. They will have their own list, but by providing your own, you already know how you will answer them. You could have them ask questions related to things such as opening for a national act, previously playing a benefit concert, winning a contest, etc. Anything that will make your band seem interesting. Always have some interesting stories to tell about your band. Nothing makes for a more boring interview than hearing the questions: Who is your main influence? and How long have you been together? Almost every interviewer will ask these overdone questions. An interesting story can come from a gig experience, personal life, way the band communicates with each other, etc. The interesting story for one of my bands was the fact that our first gig happened 1 hour after the rhythm guitarist was hired and he had about 20 minutes to learn 3 songs for a Battle of the Bands show. We ended up taking 2nd place. If your band does not have much experience, look at the lifestyles of each member for interesting stories. If all of your members are straight edge, you can use that. Use anything that makes your band stand out. Make sure that you mention any upcoming gigs, CD releases, etc. This may seem obvious, but sometimes during interviews, people get sidetracked and completely forget to mention what they came there for. You do not have to announce it every 30 seconds, but be sure to mention it at least twice during the interview. You should always have something to promote during a band interview. Some journalists or DJs ask every band they interview the same witty question as a form of personal trademark. A radio station in my area asks bands, What is your musical guilty pleasure? Look at past interviews to look for trends so you can be prepared to give a good answer. It is sometimes hard to avoid mistakes made on the interviewer's part. A few months ago, my current band's lead guitarist did an interview for a local entertainment column about our band. The next day, a previous band member called up our lead guitarist extremely mad and wondering what was going on. My guitarist was clueless Until he read the interview. The article basically said that the band was struggling and gave false reasons for the previous band member quitting. They also posted an older picture with the previous band member in it, and listed the names in the wrong order. Although it is nearly impossible to see a final copy of the interview before it is published, be sure that the interviewer has all updated information and a recent picture. There are just some things you cannot do about being misquoted. Unfortunately, there is a high turnover rate in the field of journalism. Be sure to keep your contact list at press outlets updated. Newspapers will often have several staff writers in a department. Review past interviews to find which person may be the best match for you. Getting press for your band is an important step towards gaining a fan base and establishing your name. Some people may think, Boring interviewboring music. Establish your music along with your personality.

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    ginjaninja
    when they ask a question, only answer in "yes", "no", or Possibly in the near future"
    ricthesic
    ChazBcWarlock wrote: easy, show up stoned, what more is rock'n'roll
    hell yeah dude lol
    Black`Mage
    It is a good idea to know what you are talking about and not have the entire band there to answer a couple questions, but you don't need to prepare months in advance. Contact local music websites and prepare a little bit (such as making sure when your next gig is) but other than that, just let it flow during the interview and you'll be fine.
    Gakusey
    Why is there a picture of Matt Tuck (a small icon, I mean) next to the article, on the main page? Is he, like, an interview guru or something?...
    liamduzrocks
    22acacia wrote: HavokStrife : viento wrote: if youre a ****ing loser you should prepare months in advance... but if youre natural cool dont worry and show up drunk yeah, great idea. Screw up the interview and get a bad rep for your band. I think the best way to go would be more in the middle. Not overly prepared, but not prepared at all. Be ready to answer the questions, but at the same time, it's just an interview. Relax and be yourself. Spoken like a true Nu-Metal straight edge queen. Because we all know that no successful talented bands have EVER done drunk interviews. This article is pointless and shouldn't even be here. Fuck interviews. If you just realize that no one is better or worse then you and you are relaxed then who cares if your drunk stoned whatever.
    record labels care if ure lookin for a record label n ure ****ed off ure head they most likely wont look at you music business has changed in the last couple of years, so that even if all the cooler rockstars drink n take drugs n show off in puclic n all that bs, they cos the record label money in damages and court cases, and a drunk is more likely to finish a band than a sober person.
    ihaveatail
    22acacia wrote: The world is in a sad pathetic state when we have to prepare ahead for minor social reaction.
    its not a minor social interaction, its an opportunity to let other people know about your band and hopefully expand your fanbase. and yeah, a little humor does wonders for interviews.
    skagitup
    This is the most ridiculous article i've ever seen Anyone who needs to be told how to act in an interview clearly shouldn't be in one
    mp3stalin
    studwig wrote: if you go lookin for an interview your band sucks just play and let them decide if they want an interview or not
    i agree with the grammar-less one. why should you go LOOKING for coverage? just play. if you get a fanbase... they'll come to you.
    saad_nirvana
    exactly.. looking for coverage just proves you suck at playing so you have to go look for one
    TheSixxMan
    Jeez, these things are good. I never would have thought of many of those things, and would have stumbled right into it Once again, I'm sending this to the rest of the band. Iain
    BlueRumRed
    i found the part on making sure the interviewer is updated with current photo etc as i find this highly annoying reading in magazine to find names screwed up and then you start talking about this band and then your friends are like yer.....you get the point
    XxPunkMafiaxX
    Why do you even bother 2 prepare? You end up looking lyk a stuck up snob whos scared of losing ppl that like you. IMPROVISE!! Not everything in life comes when u want it 2 and u hav time 2 prepare. Wat if u **** up on stage? Unprepared...IMPROVISE!! lol
    studwig
    if you go lookin for an interview your band sucks just play and let them decide if they want an interview or not
    shadow_murph
    show up drunk and/or stoned who gives a **** about getting ready for an ionterview if your in the ****ing band you should know what the hell you play and why! it's just to simple for you nu-metal emo shit fags i guess
    funkynasoo
    being prepared for an interview is essential. dont for one second think people like slayer wing it coz there so metal. bad interviews looks really bad. my bands first filmed one went terribly our drummer sat playing with a water bottle the whole time and looked at the floor and our guitarist suddenly turned into a farmer. magazine ionterviews are ok. ask them to mail you the questions and type responses that way you can make sure everything is cool before sending it back.
    Jonjy2
    Wow everyone is bashing this guy...At least give him credit for trying to help. And I didn't think it was such a bad article anyways...God
    CapnKickass
    I got interviewed before by a newslady reporter, I had a metals class where we built go carts. I was sitting in my groups car, then the reporter comes up and starts asking me questions like "What did you make your car out of?" I look at my car before answering "...Metal" I thought it was a weird question as it was clearly made of the aforementioned substance. On a sidenote my groups car won the race
    bmartin_thrash
    Spoken like a true Nu-Metal straight edge queen. Because we all know that no successful talented bands have EVER done drunk interviews
    . Actually Motley crue was drunk and stoned and ****ed up on whatever and almost every interview back in the 80s. And im pretty sure zakk wylde is drunk a good portion of the time
    Aziraphale
    I've never had any problem with talking, but there are some goods tips in here about what to think about when arranging interviews, for example researching which interviewer works best for you. Good article, original subject.
    Ramco
    Good article, but you could have touched on more. The basic rule of a good interview is always have 2-sentence answers; the first should be a joke, the second should be the real answer.
    HavokStrife
    viento wrote: if youre a ****ing loser you should prepare months in advance... but if youre natural cool dont worry and show up drunk
    yeah, great idea. Screw up the interview and get a bad rep for your band. I think the best way to go would be more in the middle. Not overly prepared, but not prepared at all. Be ready to answer the questions, but at the same time, it's just an interview. Relax and be yourself.
    Sapient
    I remember listening to an XM interview of Heaven and Hell, and Dio came in so drunk he couldn't speak.
    sp0ckr0cks
    i wouldn't prepare for an interview, but i have thought about what i would say before and wondered what would sit well with whoever's listening
    22acacia
    viento : if youre a ****ing loser you should prepare months in advance... but if youre natural cool dont worry and show up drunk
    no shit, well said. the more you worry about dumb shit the more stupid you look. just relax and none of it will even be an issue.
    viento
    if youre a ****ing loser you should prepare months in advance... but if youre natural cool dont worry and show up drunk
    the5thhorseman
    If I had an interview I might look at 1 or 2 previous interviews done by whoever is interviewing us just to see what questions s/he asks. That's about it though. I've never prepared much for any speech, interview, or any speaking engagement. Just be yourself and don't make an assclown of yourself and it will be fine.
    guitarshark2099
    ChazBcWarlock wrote: easy, show up stoned, what more is rock'n'roll
    +1 just go in and dont give two shits about it. answer the questions but dont stress about it...
    Guitar_Poet
    HavokStrife wrote: I think the best way to go would be more in the middle. Not overly prepared, but not prepared at all. Be ready to answer the questions, but at the same time, it's just an interview. Relax and be yourself.
    yea, i think so too. going in completely unprepared can make you look like a fool, but going in with answers written on your hand is just as bad. be casual, but dont be a jackass. i hate reading interviews with bands where the main speaker is drunk or stoned... they sound like morons, and whats more, is that they sound like they dont give a shit about anyone else. if they dont give a shit, why should we?
    zerodeck
    powerage225 wrote: I dont think anyone on UG will be doing significant interviews anytime soon and unless you are a total idiot about your band, you should know what to say anyway
    what a stupid thing to say, I hope you will never be succesful
    DevilMayCare
    I always like your articles Dutch Apples, even if I don't agree with everything in them they almost always point out something new or interesting to me.
    jake4491
    Good article. Ofcourse You shouldnt even worry about the interview. I mean jus show up and bring the other members if they want to go and jus be yourself. Big deal.
    powerage225
    I dont think anyone on UG will be doing significant interviews anytime soon and unless you are a total idiot about your band, you should know what to say anyway
    The Arch-Mage
    Great article, Dutch Apples! I think if a lot more musicians followed these steps, then they really could get their music out to a much larger fanbase. Keep up the good writing!
    22acacia
    HavokStrife : viento wrote: if youre a ****ing loser you should prepare months in advance... but if youre natural cool dont worry and show up drunk yeah, great idea. Screw up the interview and get a bad rep for your band. I think the best way to go would be more in the middle. Not overly prepared, but not prepared at all. Be ready to answer the questions, but at the same time, it's just an interview. Relax and be yourself.
    Spoken like a true Nu-Metal straight edge queen. Because we all know that no successful talented bands have EVER done drunk interviews. This article is pointless and shouldn't even be here. Fuck interviews. If you just realize that no one is better or worse then you and you are relaxed then who cares if your drunk stoned whatever.
    22acacia
    The world is in a sad pathetic state when we have to prepare ahead for minor social reaction.