Apr.4 / 2014

Matt Wells’ keys to an interesting interview

My favorite moment of interviewing a band is when I ask them the questions that nobody else has asked them. I sometimes feel like a bearded prospector panning for gold as I sift through articles and older interviews searching for that information and I have a genuine moment of discovery when I find that question I know will make the conversation even better. Unlike actually panning for gold however, finding that gem of a question really isn’t that difficult. The downside of fast food entertainment is that quantity body slams quality and we have seen how it has hurt music, film, TV and so on and so forth. It has even hurt what I do.

Interviewing people is a big thrill for me because I love trying to tell stories but the business has taken the thrill of an interview and turned it into a functionary act where the interviewee sits in a room while journalists are ushered in and out like a herd of question-asking cattle. In my 12 years in the game, believe me when I tell you, this fast food interview is not enjoyable for interviewer or interviewee and in my humble (maybe jaded) opinion it makes for stale TV. So my goal with an interview is always to have the guest walk away feeling like they enjoyed our time together, whether it be five minutes, 15 minutes, or heaven forbid more than that. By doing that, at the very, very least, we might learn something new about the people we admire AND there might even be a glimmer of life left in those poor bastards who have been asked the same question all day because with five minutes, all an interviewer can do is get the necessary information to promote whatever it is they have been assigned to help promote. I’ve just depressed myself.

THAT BEING SAID, I went panning for Tokyo Police Club gold and I found it in the form of something called “The Circle Back.” While in the studio making their latest album the band found themselves thinking too much, they would start with an idea and then push themselves to move away from what their songwriting instincts were telling therm. For hours and sometimes days the guys would work on a song and eventually find themselves back where they started, but they needed that journey to prove to themselves that their instincts were right all along. Hence “The Circle Back,” a term I heard them mention in a random online interview in the middle of answering another question, and a topic I thought they might like to discuss further. When you watch my chat with them on the show this week you’ll see that despite the dark cloud interviews are currently living under, thar’s gold in them thar hills.

I need a hug,


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