Grant Purdum (Tiny Mix Tapes, Gumshoe Grove, Signal to Noise, Onion AV Club)
SPB: What kinds of topics or tone do you like to see when you read an interview with a band?
Purdum: Good question. I was just thinking about this the other day while killing ants in my bathroom actually (Texas + summer = ant party). What I prefer from interviews is to see the veneer/veil of the interviewee drop off until only the human elements are left. This is a fine trick to pull, so rarely brought to fruition it's easy to forget it's even possible. Plus, not every artist is capable of forgoing the PR campaign in favor of a down-to-earth conversation. Unfortunately, to achieve this effect via a phoner or email interview is nearly impossible; you gotta be in the same room, and you should probably do some drugs/have some drinks together or at least have a sit-down meal. This IS rock 'n' roll after all, right? Another thing: The questions have to be crisp and compelling. Most people don't realize how boring/soul-sucking it can be to be on tour, and as a result don't understand the repetitive, and often defensive, nature of many of the musicians they come across. You gotta push, but not prod; probe, but gently. And never, ever, ever ask a musician how they created their music, unless you want to hear the same answer 1,000 times: "The process is organic. We just plug in our instruments and they play themselves. No planning whatsoever is involved. Oh, and we write all our songs in five minutes." I want to know why they feel the need to perform, what their experiences entail, how they grew up and why they've forsaken money to chase a dream that is rapidly becoming less and less possible to live out in the first place.