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Interview Rehearsal

(By Richard Morales)
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In preparation for a big show or radio gig, rehearsing as a band being interviewed is a great thing to do.  This can be done at the rehearsal studio or elsewhere but is another often overlooked rehearsal technique that should be added to your routine once the band is starting to pick up steam.

Even being booked as an opening spot for a big national act could garner enough attention to be interviewed.  Practice makes perfect and this is the case with giving good answers to interview questions. 

Finding an Interviewer

The key to a successful interview rehearsal is to find a friend that is willing to sit down and be the interviewer.  They will have to do most of the work in this process.  Being able to come up with questions ahead of time is not easy.  Here are some criteria for the person interviewing you that is not all inclusive and not necessarily mandatory:

1. Music Taste

Finding someone that is into similar music as what you are writing is incredibly important.  If they know the bands that your band cites as influences it will help immensely in the quest to create good, probing questions akin to those seen in magazines. 
2. Music Knowledge

Along with taste, the interviewer must have good knowledge of music in general.  If they play guitar or drums themselves, it will let them have the opportunity to ask questions they otherwise would have no clue about.  Hopefully, if they are a player, they will read the interviews in the trade magazines and be able to formulate similar questions for your band.

3. Penchant for asking Questions

A good interviewer in this situation needs to have a real desire to know more about you and your band.  They will have good questions pre-written but also need to be able to come up with good follow up questions once your band begins answering questions. 

4. Motivated

They will be motivated to do this for you and your band.  Whether there is some pay involved, they are a true friend or they are getting in free to your next show they have to want to do this.

Once you have found a friend willing to do this for you, it’s time to get ready.  You will probably want to at the very least make an audio recording of the interview so you can go back and review it.  Have the interviewer begin and make sure everyone gets a chance to talk at some point during the interview.  If the interviewer is really savvy, they will have questions for each band member.

The goal of this interview rehearsal is to get comfortable with someone asking questions and you being able to answer them on the fly.  As with other elements of performance, the more one does something the easier it gets.  So is the case with an interview.  The interview rehearsal is designed to grab those first-interview jitters and get rid of them.

Once the interview has been done, the band should go back and listen to what they said.  This is especially important if there is an expected radio interview coming up.  There are no take-backs in live radio.  Be sure that everyone is speaking clearly.  Also, it is critical for radio to avoid curse words.  The radio station runs on a delay but something like that could make it difficult to get more interviews on radio.

Another critical thing to listen for when going back through the interview recording is to make sure everyone actually answers the questions that are presented and to keep to the questions and avoid tangents.  The worst interview one could do is the one where the interviewer gets to ask one question that becomes a 5 minute long diatribe; this is another way to not get asked to do another radio interview.

Once any weirdness is identified, the interviewer should try asking some of the same questions to see if better responses are generated.  If they have more questions, new ones should be added at this point as well.  This will give the interviewees a chance to apply what they learned from listening to themselves.

An interview rehearsal is an important rehearsal that is often overlooked.  Even a new band that has just begun playing shows could benefit from this type of practice.  There have been many times that bands get approached by fans after shows asking all sorts of questions.  A good band member should be able to be comfortable fielding questions from these fans just as they would be if it were a reporter asking them.

Building a relationship with fans can yield more fans next time.  If you spend a couple minutes with someone that likes your music, they are more likely to remember you and your band and tell a friend.  Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising for any band.  This can be positive or negative and a lot of that has to do with how you and your band mates respond to questions from those fans. 

Updated: July 15, 2009

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Rehearsal Techniques
Presenter: Richard Morales

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