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ptsc
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:22 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:05 pm 
 

Especially when it comes to interviews that are conducted via email, they tend to end up very mechanical etc. In your opinion, what would be a great way to make such more appealing to read?

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GuntherTheUndying
Crimson King, Eater of Worlds

Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:36 pm
Posts: 2798
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:16 pm 
 

You answered your own question. Interviews conducted by email seem unnatural because there is no interpersonal exchange. You can't naturally communicate with someone if you're not actually communicating with them directly. Natural communication is an intricate concept, so placing a medium between two individuals will likely seem 'mechanical.'

Otherwise, interviews are engaging when the interview itself is engaging. Yeah that sounds dumb, but some interviewers and interviewees can't work well with each other and it shows. I prefer when the interviewee runs with a questions and goes into detail. Again, this is largely influenced by natural communication between interviewee and interviewer. If one or both of them is off, the interview will likely suffer. You can make almost anything engaging if done right, regardless of topic, really.
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thrashinbatman
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
Posts: 1158
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:44 pm 
 

Email interviews can work, but they're generally very boring because the questions they ask are boilerplate and generic. I've done quite a few interviews, and I've had some email interviews where the questions I was asked were really good, and prompted me to write almost a page in response. I've also done interviews where the questions got a single sentence out of me because there was nothing else to say. Be more creative when you ask questions.

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Temple Of Blood
Old Man Yells at Cloud

Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:16 am
Posts: 2893
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 3:21 pm 
 

Email interviews are preferable and tend to be more informative.

See Snakepit Magazine for the best interviews around.
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savagevelocithrash
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:48 pm
Posts: 135
Location: Chile
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:17 pm 
 

As an editor of a small printed fanzine, i can tell you that email interviews can be as good as personal interviews depending of how much effort you put into the questions. Don´t relly too heavy on recent events like the new album or the last tour because it will be no longer that interesting once another album, tour or line-up change come across, so try to get some question more in depth with the history of the band, their motivations, and what they think about their own music and its creative process so the interview can be interesting for both long time fans and newcomers. Also, try to avoid the cliche questions like "what are the ten best metal albums ever?" and things like that unless you can connect that with the general narrative of the interview.

But the biggest advice i can give you is the same everybody will give you: know the band, listen to them and understand what the band is all about, then try to do the questions, so you came upon with interesting and fun questions instead of the same old inane interviews you can read on mainstream metal news portals.

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Thy Shrine
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:37 pm
Posts: 254
Location: Golgotha
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:54 pm 
 

i would basically instruct any interviewer to take the Howard Stern approach of just asking them anything and everything about themselves. I doubt we all want to read the same old "new album, influences, the old days" type of interview that most metal interviews seem to be. the interview should not just be a list of questions or whatever, it should just be a natural conversation.
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gasmask_colostomy
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 am
Posts: 944
Location: Where the heart is
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:39 pm 
 

I’d agree that the questions have to be interesting at first, and that means asking about more than is just on the surface. Sometimes the best way to do that is by asking broader questions at first and then focusing in on certain parts of the answer to make follow-up questions. Keep going on that topic until you’ve heard most of the possible content, then you’ll have a detailed interview to print. One area of detail is better than many topics that are barely explored. If the interviewee responded with brief answers, you can delete some of the follow-up questions in the published interview to give a more coherent answer.

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Zodijackyl
63 Axe Handles High

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 7462
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:22 pm 
 

Get acquainted with the band before you do the interview - anyone can look up info on MA, so an interview should be going beyond that info.

Get to know a bit about the person you're interviewing, and read some other interviews they've done. See what they react well to and like to talk about. Find out what they're really passionate about and tap their interest for that - it could be musical or lyrical, and it could be the atmosphere that they thrive in, from nature to football hooliganism. Learning what drives an artist is fascinating. On the flip side, avoid asking about mundane personal stuff, especially in email interviews, since that often gets people to close up rather than open up.

Finally, if you're doing email interviews, try to find a flow to it. Write the questions, then go back and answer them in order yourself. Have a friend interview you in the same format, where you talk about your writing. Learn your craft and make it a pleasure to answer your questions.

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ptsc
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:22 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:35 am 
 

Thank you for willingness to help with your responses, guys! :)

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pale_horse
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:36 am
Posts: 665
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:54 am 
 

Ask them what they think about organized religion and other shit we need to know.
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Twisted_Psychology
Metal freak

Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 8:22 pm
Posts: 4972
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:02 am 
 

As a musician, I always think it's cool to hear about the writing/recording process for a given album. In terms of more experienced bands, I like to hear about what somebody thinks of a given album or bands years down the line. Spare me the gossip/stock introductory template.

I'd also like to see more interviews where musicians talk more about their day jobs. It seems contrary to learning about somebody as a musician but such things can shape their musical aspects. I read an interview about Steve Von Till's career as a teacher alongside his time in Neurosis and it was quite compelling.
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Temple Of Blood
Old Man Yells at Cloud

Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:16 am
Posts: 2893
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:12 am 
 

pale_horse wrote:
Ask them what they think about organized religion and other shit we need to know.


:lol:
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ShinyOx
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:30 pm
Posts: 21
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:20 am 
 

As someone that has been interviewed, I can certainly say give me a different question to the ones I have answered in the previous couple of interviews! There is only so much excitement that you can muster for a question, when you already answered it 20 minutes beforehand. Knowing that bit extra about the band is nice, but realistically I know a lot of interviewers do a lot of interviews a week and with everything else going on with a magazine/fanzine (and for most of them, full time jobs outside of it as well) you just don't have time so it's certainly not essential.

In person interviews will 90% of the time generate better interviews than email ones, purely because if you can chat and have a laugh with the person doing your interview, you tend to inadvertently open up more on the questions. Secondly, because you are there, you are 100% concentrated on that interview. Whereas an email interview, many bands answer them on the bus, between studio takes, and it isn't at the forefront of their mind.

Essentially it boils down to, in person, just be polite and engaging and have your questions ready and a decent enough mind to ask decent follow ups on the spot. If you are doing an email exchange, ask something different, someone that actually requires the artist to think about their answer.

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Jonpo
Hyperc6l6mb6wler

Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:05 am
Posts: 7517
PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:19 pm 
 

WRITE YOUR OWN FUCKING QUESTIONS. Do not ask questions based on answers you've read in a previous interview with the same artist. Oh my god that drives me so crazy.
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ptsc
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:22 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 7:46 am 
 

What about questions concerning matters that are outside the band and their work themselves. For example, is it of any interest to guys the musicians' view on certain aspects of life that do not necessarily have to do with music? Like social aspects, philosophy, personal stories and experiences that influenced those people to become what they are, basically?

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Gravetemplar
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:08 am
Posts: 1095
Location: Antarctica
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 1:51 pm 
 

My most important advice is to be humble. Don't be a smart-ass, don't ask super long questions about things you guessed. An interview should be the artist, not about what you think or what you deducted listening to their work. Let them speak. There's nothing worse than an interview with very long questions and then just a very short answer that adds nothing to what the interviewer said. An interview is not a review of an album and it's not an opinion piece either.

My second advice is simple: don't be Bardo Methodology. Avoid everything he does. His style is prone to generate confusion and easy to manipulate.

ptsc wrote:
What about questions concerning matters that are outside the band and their work themselves. For example, is it of any interest to guys the musicians' view on certain aspects of life that do not necessarily have to do with music? Like social aspects, philosophy, personal stories and experiences that influenced those people to become what they are, basically?

Depends on the band. Do you think they have something interesting to say on the matter?

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ambientsorrow
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:25 am
Posts: 221
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 10:37 pm 
 

Doing your research. One of my favourite zines at the moment is Forgotten Paths (I think the editor, Odium is a regular contributer to this site) and you can tell he really researches the bands before compiling questions to ask, which end up providing thought provoking answers which are interesting to read. Questions follow the lines of things like dissecting lyrics, what they mean to the artist and how they view them against society in general. Progression as a band in terms of growth as an artist in writing techniques, different visions from album to album in sound and lyrically etc.... Overall kind of encompass the band from beginning to current day highlighting important events whilst avoiding a majority of the "mechanical" straight forward questions that don't give any depth.

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Eli_the_Destroyer
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 211
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:51 am 
 

Ok, my biggest fucking gripe with interviews is when the interviewer seems unprepared, like they didnt even think ahead, and many times the people being interviewed can clearly see it. If you are going to take up a bit of someones time, dont waste it. Just watch some interviews with Doyle from the misfits to see how frustrating it must be to sit through a pointless shitty interview.

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ptsc
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:22 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:16 am 
 

It's very interesting to see such a variety of angles, so that's very much appreciated, folks!

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Chaosmonger
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:59 pm
Posts: 1055
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:18 pm 
 

I'd advise them to ask what they REALLY want to know from the band and not just the standard 'tell me how the band formed,' 'tell me about the new album' questions. Not that you can't have those questions too, you kind of need them as most bands are doing interviews to promote their latest release. I also enjoy it when bands talk about what they listen to, like Fenriz.

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ptsc
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:22 pm
Posts: 34
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:22 am 
 

By the way, I don't wanna turn this thread into a Bardo Methodology talk but what is your overall impression of his way of conducting interviews?

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MawBTS
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:16 am
Posts: 860
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 7:32 am 
 

Could your interview questions be asked to literally any other band? Then they're bad questions.

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TheLoneForest
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:16 pm
Posts: 304
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:20 am 
 

Ask them how much they weight, how much money they make, their political and religious affiliations, how their sex life is etc

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MawBTS
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:16 am
Posts: 860
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:04 pm 
 

Ask them if they're on the Trump train.

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HaPoStaPu
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:20 am
Posts: 183
Location: Armenia
PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:17 am 
 

Offer them some cocaine, mushrooms, weed or extasy. And/or poppers if you want them to really open up.

You could also sleep with the band and extract top secret information James Bond style.

Seriously though, e-mail interviews can be fine. Just ask about stuff you're interested in.

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