Catch-up: For those who may not be aware or want a refresher to where I left off in this story, go check out Pt. 1 here: https://wp.me/p8pLKi-cc
I had just discovered the perfect band to interview and now it was time to gear up for it.
My advisor helped me write a professional-looking email to send them the next day and the response came back shockingly quick. I can’t remember the exact narrative and times but the drummer of the band, London Van Rooy, agreed to a phone interview that weekend during the afternoon before a show they had later that evening.
With a time set and everything, I started googling up information and taking notes wildly as I went. I listened through every one of the projects chronologically spending extra time on their most recent LP and most popular EP. I was a regular junior reporter with my notebook full of questions and important facts like album titles and band members names/roles.
At this point, I had only ever done two or so interviews ever and the few people I did talk to before were nowhere as cool sounding as these guys were to me. And to top it all off, I had never done an interview over the phone.
The whole dynamic of not being able to use non-verbal cues to help communicate had me on edge. To cope, I began writing all of my notes and questions on to sticky notes and hanging them all over the wall of my dorm room, sorting them by color and type. I remember my roommate walking in to find me looking like Charlie from “Sunny.”
I’ve found that nerves like these never quite go away and the best way for me to deal with them is to just prepare.
When the time finally came to call London, I felt more exhilarated than nervous and I actually abandoned my plans a little bit as we started talking. I explained to London that this was my first time doing an interview like this and he was very understanding and patient with me. He’d cut up and we were able to joke a little bit.
Had I talked to someone that wasn’t as relaxed as London I may have shut down and failed the interview completely. I was comfortable knowing that London got butterflies in his stomach before shows still and that it was normal to be nervous about what you cared about. He even offered to send me a free T-shirt.
I’ll link the article I wrote with the interview down below but the take away for me was to not take yourself so seriously and let loose a little or else you lose a valuable human element.
You should take the job seriously and make sure you prepare but don’t forget the absurdity of the situation you are in. Another important take away is to always make sure you get complete quotes!
I was so nervous and focused on writing everything that I didn’t get a single complete quote in my interview, only bits, and pieces. The lesson learned there was to prioritize note-taking, record interviews and ask your interviewee to repeat themselves if necessary.
So ya, embrace the inevitable screws up and learn from them. My first taste of true music journalism and it was bitter-sweet but I was ready to do more.
I’d like to continue writing more about my descent into the madness that is music journalism as I feel this one interview wasn’t the only thing that got me hooked. It was just the first time I was truly exposed to it. With that said, I’ll be turning this into a reflective series that I can have a little fun with.
But anyway, thank you Small Leaks Sink Ships for being awesome and I promise to do a proper spotlight or album review on them soon.
Here’s a link to the interview published in The Stallion back in April 2016.
Check out this Small Leaks track off their newest album.