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There have been a number of people who look at interviews of musicians, and think, “I could do that.” It seems fairly straightforward, right? You ask the person a few questions, capture their responses, and you’re all set. Well, what really matters is the goal of your interview. If your job is to interview musicians for the purposes of promoting the instruments and other gear they use, there are three ways you can go about doing musical artist interviews… and two of them are wrong, or at least ineffective. Let’s start with those.
Wrong Way #1: As a Celebrity
You need to promote some kind of product or service. Why are you asking this popular musician about who he’s dating, or what jeans he buys, or what trendy restaurant he likes to visit? Look, we all understand that there are people who are interested in those topics, and if you end up getting a gig writing for a style magazine or a gossip website, these questions will be valid and relevant. But if you’re writing a piece focused towards selling guitars or amps or effects, your article will have zero value.
Wrong Way #2: As a Fan of the Band
Aren’t musicians also music fans? Of course we are. And sure, we’re interested in things like how our favorite players came up with new songs on the last album, or when the next tour starts, or what a certain oblique lyric really meant. There have been great publications, like Rolling Stone, who have done a good job at this. While delving into the mysteries of music itself is fascinating, it’s not what you need to promote a product. Separating the music from the process of making it is challenging for many writers.
The Right Way: As a Fellow Musician
There’s really only one truly effective way to interview a musician for a gear company… focus on the products. You should have an excellent understanding of the fine details of an instrument or other gear category. Don’t just ask vague, generic questions about their guitars, basses, keyboards, and so on. Get to know the advantages of the product so you can focus your questions (and the artist’s answers) in ways that best represent your client, and be most effective at selling their products. And trust me, the musicians you interview will be thankful to not answer the same group of questions about their lifestyle and their songwriting over and over. They’ll enjoy talking to you as a fellow musician (or, as the case may be, fellow audio engineer, fellow studio owner, fellow producer, live sound mixer, and so on).
At JKC, we’ve spent the past 25 years doing hundreds and hundreds of artist interviews, and then making the most of them with exclusive web content and enticing social media stories. We can only do this based on the fact that we can relate to these artists as artists ourselves. Contact us today to learn more about maximizing the effectiveness of your artist relations program!