Interviews with musicians can be really, really boring. It’s not a defect of the artists or the interviewers, it’s just that their content is so damned predictable because the occasion for an interview is the same most of the time—a new release and/or a tour. The newest album is always “the best we’ve done yet,” and everyone’s invariably “really excited” for the upcoming tour. NO KIDDING. Artists tend to favor their newest work, and even when they know it pales, they’re often obligated by label and PR contracts to hump it for the media. Plus, artists spend all day on the phone with interviewers, repeatedly answering the same questions. That’s got to be a brain-meltingly tedious chore, so moments of refreshing insight can be rare. So I was delighted to get hipped to the untrammeled awesomeness of Kids Interview Bands.
Kids Interview Bands is a video interview series hosted by 7th graders Olivia and Connie.
The site launched in August 2012 and the girls have done over 100 interviews with touring bands passing through the Columbus, Ohio area including some of their favorites (Neon Trees, Imagine Dragons, Phillip Phillips, Walk the Moon, Tegan & Sara, Matt & Kim).
Both girls are active in sports and other activities that typical 7th graders enjoy. They aren’t sure if they want to make a living interviewing bands but they are having a lot of fun getting the chance to talk to all the great artists who have agreed to sit down and chat with them.
If you’re following music that’s Pitchforkishly trendy at the moment, you’ll already know a lot of the bands that Olivia and Connie have spoken with. But while there are a lot of here-today-gone-tomorrow festival circuit hopefuls to be found in the dozens upon dozens of video interviews the pair have posted, they’ve also landed some marquee names. There are some truly wonderful interviews in the bunch, where the musicians don’t merely humor the kids, but let their guard down and have fun along with them. For example, I’ve never been much of a Garbage fan, but I LOVE this:
Insane Clown Posse have become a great American cultural punching bag, and for good reason, but they’re natural, forthright and even a bit illuminating here. Shamefully, they blew a huge opportunity when they were asked what subject they should have given more attention in school—staying awake through science might have clued them in on FUCKING MAGNETS.
Some of the questions lobbed at Queens of the Stone Age are genuinely tough. I harbor serious doubts that if I were put on the spot I could pick a favorite Muppet.
Here’s the Pixies’ Joey Santiago, probably enjoying the hell out of the one interview in which he doesn’t have to talk about Indie Cindy.
Mastodon’s drummer Brann Dailor is kinda my new hero. He’s really great here. In two words: headbanging lessons.
All of these are terrific questions, are they not? I wish the kids had had the chance to ask Lou Reed stuff like this. (Or better still, G.G. Allin., though it probably would have been inadvisable to let 7th grade girls anywhere near him.) But here’s their big coup—the most virally popular of all the kids’ interviews, and justifiably so—a friendly chat with the mild-mannered, upbeat, and almost Santa Claus-ishly genial Tom Araya, lead singer of Slayer.