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I love music. I would argue that I have the ability to love all music (except for country… sorry, ex-girlfriend!), although some would argue that they think that I have absolutely no sense of taste when it comes to music (see: my pie chart).

And somehow, I wound up a music journalist for a print publication (amongst other things, anyway) and an editor for an online publication (take a guess as to what that might be – and if you haven’t figured it out by now, drink the first thing you find underneath your kitchen sink).

Note: festive attire optional.

I have interviewed famous people (and not-so-famous people) about their bands and I have a blast doing so because I make it fun for them. I would ask them questions like, “Do you think homeless people hate knock-knock jokes?” or “What smell would you NOT want your shampoo to smell like?” and other such unprofessional absurdities to facilitate the more important (and significantly more appropriate) questions.

For the record, Andrew W.K. thinks homeless people LOVE knock-knock jokes and thinks that a shampoo that smells like Ranch dressing would be the worst shampoo ever.

And, while being a music journalist and a music editor are fun gigs, there came a point when I stopped liking being the former for a bit.

In particular, I stopped liking the unprofessionalism exhibited by bands.

Every time I got on either Gmail or Facebook – which is all the time – and because I leave my browsing windows open because I’m an idiot, I would hear the usual Gmail/Facebook Chat ‘blip’/'poink’ sound.

IMer: “Hey, I was wondering if you would write about [insert name of IMer's band here].”
Jom: “What are you doing?”
IMer: “Playing a show at [insert name of stupid bar].”
Jom: “Are you releasing a CD?”
IMer: “No.”
Jom: “Is the gig for charity?”
IMer: “No, it’s just a show and I was thinking you could do an article on it.”

It’s at this point that I have to explain that, while the print publication I work for is very event-centric, events have to be unique.

And I don’t want to sound like a total dick to people who make ill-informed requests like this, so I try to empathize with them by saying something along the lines of how we’re all in local bands and how we play gigs all the time, but playing gigs alone doesn’t make you or your band special.

It’s my policy to write about gigs that are unique, so, in my mind, gigs are unique if and only if:

1) You are releasing a new LP or EP
2) You are releasing a new DVD
3) You are helping raise money to benefit a charity or cause
4) You are opening for a big-time, nationally and/or internationally-recognized artist

I tend to use this same philosophy when it comes to featuring albums on Sputnikmusic. Sorry, but just because you discovered Fruity Loops and are using the USB microphone from Rock Band to record your “noise” doesn’t mean you are entitled to being acknowledged for something any gelatinous troglodyte can do. We’re interested in acquiring MORE readers by featuring significant releases from acclaimed artists that matter, not drive newcomers away by spotlighting your bullshit. Find another site that might actually give a shit.

Like maybe this one. They're hiring!

In my experience, bands don’t seem to understand that, in the world of limited print space in print publications, unique events are the kind of things print publications want to write about. Personally, it also helps the market not be over-saturated with homogeneous nonsense.

When I finally have a reason to write about a band, some bands like to never call me back, respond to my e-mails, or have photos when I ask for them. It’s not really disrespectful; it’s just fucking annoying.

So, here’s my advice, upon my hiatus from music journalism for the time being, to bands looking to get interviewed:

- Remember that people who are writing about music generally like music and want to interview you, but can’t interview your entire band. I will explain this later.

- Consider timing your request for an interview with something cool you’re doing (PROTIP: see the numbered list above; e.g. releasing a CD, playing a big charity gig). Simply playing a gig isn’t newsworthy when so many bands are playing gigs every month.

- Consider a publication’s lead time. Don’t wait until a week before the festivities. A print magazine I wrote for when I was at university has a lead time of two months, while the one I currently write for has a four week lead time. As soon as you know when your big event is going to occur, write a press release. Do you suck at writing? Get a friend to do it for you. You gotta know somebody who can bail you out. Then take this person to the bar or out to lunch.

I don't always drink beer, but when I do during the summer months, I prefer Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy.

- Your press releases should contain the usual questions – who, what, where, when, why, and how much – and send them to the correct editors to all of the publications you think might cover you. From here, only follow-up once. Pestering is annoying. If someone tells you he/she already has that publication’s editorial calendar filled out, don’t e-mail other people that work there unless you like to piss your free time away. This goes for bills, too – don’t ask to jump on a bill that’s already full – you’re going to drive the person organizing the event bonkers. All told, if you send out a good press release in a timely manner and follow-up once, you will most likely receive a couple responses.

- Have a band photo, and if you don’t have a photo, GET ONE. I cannot stress this enough. The same rule applies to the press release thing – if you don’t have any friends who secretly wish they could be photographers for National Geographic or some shitty targeted-at-teenagers magazine, jump on Craigslist and reward the person who helps you out with food and/or beer. Also, when you send the photo, include the photo credits and all contact information. If you take too long to do this, you might get cut out of the publication or relegated to the Internet, where nobody will see you.

- Return all phone calls and e-mails, and be on time to all of your appointments. If you think professionalism isn’t necessary in the music world, you should go back to working drive-thru somewhere, because nothing drives me (and other journalists) insane than people who disrespect my/our time. YOU are the one who wants the interview, so YOU are responsible for fulfilling your obligations.

PROTIP: Dress for success (if you are a relatively-pretty female)!

- Don’t bring every single one of your bandmates to your appointments. The reason for this is simple: it’s bloody impossible to include quotes from every single bandmate when the text limit in the print publication is a whopping three-hundred words. Your appointment can be held at a bar, but don’t be hammered, and don’t have a fight with your significant other on the phone when I’m conducting the interview (PROTIP: put your phone on silent so that you are not distracted by such frivolities). If you can’t be everywhere at once (which is normal and expected), choose one or two people to speak on behalf of you/your band for every interview. You do not always have to pick the same person/people, but he/she/they should be as reliable as you, assuming you understand this so far.

- Come up with a word to describe your band live other than “energetic” without resorting to the goddamn thesaurus.

The capacity of human intelligence seems to limit the capabilities to expand upon any possible creative aptitudes SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP

A lot of the time, not getting good quotes is the journalist’s fault because he or she isn’t interested in what you have to say, but please, DON’T be afraid to get into conversations about your music. Force these people to do their fucking jobs! However, DO be afraid – be very, very afraid – of giving very short, generic answers without allowing room for expansion, because that makes for a lazy interview, lazy reporting, and a lazy story. You are probably a pretty interesting person, and the more you talk, the better my story gets. The best example I can give:

Not even kidding. Violent J is incredibly nice and gives the best interviews (unless you're Bill O'Reilly).

- Bring a copy of your music to the interview or make it accessible digitally. Do not suggest to the journalist that he/she buy it from iTunes. It’s fucking insulting when bands ask me to buy their music in order to review it.

- Never talk shit about other bands. Talk about YOUR band and/or about positive interactions you’ve had with your music scene and fellow bands. I suggest this for two reasons: 1) people who read about how positive you are will be more inclined to want to put you on their bill or have you play at their charity gig, and 2) it doesn’t make you look like a fucking asshole.

- If you have weird spelling, you need to spell out stuff in the interview. You should probably do this anyway. Fact-checking fails a lot when I can’t find you on MySpace, Facebook, PureVolume, or Google. While errors like these are most certainly the journalist’s fault for being a lazy schmuck, you can play your part in preventing such oversights.

- Don’t insult someone like me by saying you’ll only do e-mail interviews. For example, let’s say an interviewer took something you said about your band in an e-mail interview, picked something that made you sound like a total jackass, and used it in her piece. And just because this happened to you once, you think all music journalists are talentless bitches and out to make their interviewees look bad for kicks. Not only is this a stupid train of thought and makes you sound cognitively-impaired, but it’s also pretty fucking rude to go in to future interviews thinking that this next person is out to get you. Not every interview is going to go well, either (more on this next).

I do everything I can – and sometimes go out of my way to do so – to represent people positively, even if they spend twenty minutes talking about something redonkulous, like who leaked Hayley Williams’ tits onto the Internet or why they are grossed out by feet.

Of course, we've known the answer to who leaked them for months, now...

If you feel that you’re getting an unfair interview or are getting fucked over somehow, call their shit out and move on to the next interview (but keep in mind not to hold every other writer accountable for the one person who can’t do his/her job. Believe me when I say that lots of people try real hard to do positive stuff)!

Anyway, that’s about it. I feel like all of this is common sense, but sometimes, people need things spelled out to them. The Cliffnotes of all this:

1) Don’t ask to be interviewed if you aren’t doing anything special
2) Don’t be unprofessional
3) Do your homework before initiating contact with publications
4) Don’t be generic or boring
5) Do have fun. Your hobby/career is awesome. Reflect that!

And if all else fails, you can be like this guy. Digging for gold? How INSIDIOUS!





FlawedPerfection
08.03.10
You and Ryan should just write some Musician's Code of Conduct.

Also, I'm applying to RRR how did you know!?

Damrod
08.03.10
Really liking this, and a lot of truth in this for sure. Should be "How to be interviewed 101"-must read for bands. =)

Mordecai.
08.03.10
Hey Jom

IndieOut
08.03.10
should your band always be signed to even be relevant enough to ask for publication?

theacademy
08.03.10
fuck yea for using the word troglodyte. ilu.

theacademy
08.03.10
also yea MJ made a huge mistake posting those videos

Jom
08.03.10
@IndieOut: Absolutely not. Being signed isn't a requisite by any means, especially if you want to be interviewed by a local or regional publication, especially if it's an insider sort of publication. That was what I was gearing towards, anyway... I wouldn't call the publication I work for nationally significant, but because it caters to local and regional readers, it's a tremendous stepping stone for some bands... and plus, it's nice to have "regulars" to catch up with!

However, do keep in mind that if you've only had one band practice and haven't actually recorded any songs, it's not a good idea to contact Rolling Stone or NME.

EDIT: and some bands are completely content with only being relevant locally or regionally. I guess it depends on what your goals are and how your bandmates feel. I would relish the opportunity to play a continental tour, for instance, but one of the local bands here is totally fine with playing in just my province.

Eclectic
08.03.10
Really good read

WeepingBanana
08.03.10
wait, you've spoken to andrew w.k.?????

Zizzer
08.03.10
"We’re interested in acquiring MORE readers by featuring significant releases from acclaimed artists that matter, not drive newcomers away by spotlighting your bullshit"

Does this mean staff members are only interested in reviewing well-known stuff now?

Slum
08.03.10
"Sorry, but just because you discovered Fruity Loops and are using the USB microphone from Rock Band to record your “noise” doesn’t mean you are entitled to being acknowledged for something any gelatinous troglodyte can do. We’re interested in acquiring MORE readers by featuring significant releases from acclaimed artists that matter, not drive newcomers away by spotlighting your bullshit. Find another site that might actually give a shit."

Holy shit that's hilarious

Deceptioneer
08.03.10
sounds like unfathoms

Bitchfork
08.03.10
For such an ironic and parodic read, I love how you don't research the methods I used behind my EPs as well as the amount of time you spent commenting on both a joke artist and a relatively unprofessional site's irrelevance - kind of pointless seeing as how you're only bringing light to both objects and making your point invalid. Way to carry out a concept, deary.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
Although I'm genuinely surprised you never made fun of Sputnik's perception of my inflated ego with a picture of myself and then calling me a scene kid and making fun of how "hip" I am (or, as some believe, how "hip" I attempt to be.)

But please do this. I chuckle at how even though you seem to dismiss my existence on this site as a mere nuisance, you go into all this detail about a user who's been here for, what, like two months on this account - particularly when you're a moderator of a site. Again, I have to reiterate the point that even though you're making fun of someone thinking that something which is obviously irrelevant is slightly relevant. Kind of defeats the purpose of your argument.

Deceptioneer
08.03.10
get on FB i'm frickin bored

Captain North
08.03.10
This is great information. Props.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
K Lautner.

Slum
08.03.10
Chill out man

Bitchfork
08.03.10
Yeah Jom, chill out whatchu smokin' mang?

Slum
08.03.10
I see what you did there, Bitchfork. I see.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
Yes, as Lakes said "I used to think you were monumentally dumber than I was, but now I see you are vastluy superior to me."

Facebook chat reveals so much.

Slum
08.03.10
Except I don't think that at all.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
Which way, that I'm monumentally more stupid than you or monumnetally more intelligent?

Slum
08.03.10
I can't judge how intelligent you are over the internet, but the persona you put on is certainly questionable in intelligence.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
The persona I put on is just that, a persona. B4k is not who I am in real life at all. It's kinda sad that people on the internet have forgotten what happens on the internet is oftentimes not what happens in real life. It's kinda funny, though, too.

Ire
08.03.10
I lol'd so hard at that middle part Jom. I finished an interview with Rolling Stone last week... I wish I had this tbh.

Captain North
08.03.10
Yeah, but the fact that you feel the need to put on a persona doesn't help anyone's opinions.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
I do this for personal comedic relief. I'm sure more than a few of us though Sputnik was a less dangerous 4chan and signed up.

Ire
08.03.10
It also doesn't help that you're a 13 year old who tries way too hard to be a hardcore elitist. Everybody on the site has some lol worthy elitism but you're the only who takes it to ridiculous heights. I know this sounds somewhat ironic because of my perception of your opinion but if you really took a while to listen to non... b4k music you would see how crazy your opinions are.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
It's not like I haven't tried. I mean I like emo and hip-hop, but it's like, a lot of modern-day bands are completely useless.

Ire
08.03.10
Spend an entire month getting into romantic classical music. You're opinions on modern/post modern and on era music will change a lot if you can really understand the music.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
I'v elistened to classical music and actually studied with some juniors at my school some music theory here and there and it made me even more hopeless for today's music.

Captain North
08.03.10
Dude, there are way better sites for 4chan type shit without quite that level of...whatever it is.

Bitchfork
08.03.10
Hardly any of them are geared towards music, or if they are the users are dumbasses.

AliW1993
08.03.10
Im not in a band but I found this really interesting, good blog.

Willie
08.03.10
I loved all of the jabs at some of our more "special" users. Edit: I've only interviewed the vocalist for Believer, and he was cool. Self-Promotion: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/feature.php?id=5727

DaveyBoy
08.03.10
Trey, are you calling Chan special?

alachlahol
08.03.10
is Bitch blowing this out of proportion?

Willie
08.03.10
Ha ha, Chan is the most special of all of us. He has his face all over... nevermind, too easy.

--is Bitch blowing this out of proportion? --

Do you even have to ask.

Jom
08.03.10
I went to bed at seven comments and woke up to see thirty-nine. I got all excited that I'd have some questions to answer about working as a journalist, or feedback of some kind, but in a crushing wave of disappointment, over half of the new comments are from Bitchfork and his unwarranted self-importance. DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING.

Willie
08.03.10
So, Jom, tell me about being a journalist. Have you ever had to deal with artists that were just complete dicks? Why are you getting away from journalism? Something specific had to push you away from it (and provoke this blog).

IsItLuck?
08.03.10
Very interesting read. I have been pretty hesitant to interview bands in the past, but this tell me I shouldn't really worry about the flow of an interview, as the ball should rightly be in their court, not mine.

joshuatree
08.03.10
Probably one of the best blogs I've read yet here. Seriously good points, made me lol more than a couple times. Warranted stabs at Bitchfork and mj are also always appreciated

Skimaskcheck
08.03.10
awesome.

robertsona
08.03.10
LMAO the rrr. nice

IndieOut
08.03.10
so just say i'm in the middle of canada, just wrote a full length with my buds, had it recorded, played a few shows in my area, and was just releasing the album. Assuming you don't live anywhere near the middle of canada, would you be interested in doing a publication of band x sustained by no additional information other then the fact we're releasing a full length?

alachlahol
08.03.10
motherfuck i read this whole blog post and the only references i caught on to were those regarding Bitch and Chan's tits, what am i missing

Iluvatar
08.03.10
i didnt even notice there was any bitchfork lols i just saw mj and i laughed!

Yazz_Flute
08.03.10
I'm going in to my senior year in high school and music journalism is something I have some interest in when I go to college. How difficult was/is it to get in it and be successful? And if you don't mind how good of a living do you get from it? This is just a curiosity question as I, too, love music, writing, and douchebaggery.

Electric City
08.03.10
i lold at bitchfork and mj. chan and shadows were nice touches too

Tulannical
08.03.10
one of the best blogs yet

pneumoniahawk93
08.03.10
Great article.

As a journalist, what would you say a solo artist should do if they've just started recording and playing a few shows, with no publicity at the time. Is talking to someone like you a waste of time, or is it better, because I get mixed opinions from this article. Also, if you were to ask a journalist for an honest critique of your work,( not for publication or anything, but for analysis and self-improvement) would they be willing, or is it not something that they are interested in?

Tyler
08.03.10
I'm always off put when an artist asks me what I think of his work in an interview.

Maniac!
08.04.10
I have a few questions actually. I thought about going to college for journalism, film interpretation, and other classes of those sorts. I am wondering how you get started doing this. Where do you begin after you graduate highschool?

Zizzer
08.04.10
Mizzou has the oldest and best j-school in the world... just sayin'.

Enotron
08.04.10
wait, what was the mj reference?

tiesthatbind
08.04.10
Yeah, I missed the MJ reference too. The Bitchfork dig was hilarious, though.

joshuatree
08.04.10
http://videos.wittysparks.com/id/72057659433917129

mj

proves he's not really a troll, and is just a demented, obsessive freak

Enotron
08.04.10
i'm scared, because I liked him. but ok : (

Tulannical
08.04.10
shit, that video is pathetic

Enotron
08.04.10
did he post this video while on sputnik?

Deviant.
08.04.10
"Recently the band has threatened to sue me on the grounds of libel, for impersonating Drew Speziale and trolling their facebook page. However, their charges are groundless and their threats toothless."

Enotron
08.04.10
HAHA wtf?! the video is having buffering problems, I've yet to get to that part.

Tulannical
08.04.10
it's in the description.. also he uploaded it 5 days ago

Maniac!
08.04.10
oh my god... that can't be...

YOU MEAN THERE ARE NERDS BEHIND THIS?

Jom
08.04.10
Well, shit... I just posted a huge reply to people who asked me questions, and it told me my comment was too long. I'll have to reply in the near future. I'm sorry!

Prolapse
08.04.10
You guys saw the videos too? I had like the 2nd view

Maniac!
08.04.10
But Jom! :( I wanted my answer RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

Maniac!
08.04.10
Is that really the guy behind MichaelJordan?

Prolapse
08.04.10
Yes it is Maniac

Maniac!
08.04.10
Nvm, I got towards the end, that is really sad

Enotron
08.04.10
was kind of expecting him to go batshit or reveal some insane new detail of his ctts hate, but it's more or less the same shit he would say on sputnik, if not rationalized to some degree.

Maniac!
08.04.10
I love how he rants about how 'pretentious' CTTS is, but comes off as an arrogant fuck eith every word he ever spoke/typed

Enotron
08.04.10
i don't think he mentioned pretense, rather then he did faux authenticity or contrived emotions or pseudo-poetism, things of that vein.

Enotron
08.04.10
but yeah he's pretentious. i still like him, though.

Maniac!
08.04.10
towards the end he said something along hte lines of 'their pretension aside' he always at least implied it. he is a tactless, hypocritical asshole. but he is intelligent, i will give him that. He just uses his knowledge in the worst ways

joshuatree
08.04.10
"was kind of expecting him to go batshit or reveal some insane new detail of his ctts hate, but it's more or less the same shit he would say on sputnik, if not rationalized to some degree."

yeah but to make a video? seriously

it is pretty hilarious how awkward and visibly nervous he is just talking to himself

Enotron
08.04.10
he's pathetic as far as his obsession with ctts, especially in his thought that ctts actually have any influence over art, culture, etc.

but that aside, I still liked his writing and he was a pretty nice guy if you actually got in a non-ctts bsaed conversation with him.

Enotron
08.04.10
joshuatree: haha, can't say any of that wasn't expected.

Maniac!
08.04.10
Anyway, back to the blog post.

JOM I WANT MY ANSWERS! Jk man, I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

Electric City
08.04.10
man i hope ctts does sue and sputnik is the jury of peers

Enotron
08.04.10
I'm wondering what publication jom wrote the icp interview for

Yazz_Flute
08.04.10
motherfucker

jk

Enotron
08.04.10
stop being a pinhead dave

Electric City
08.04.10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG9h0EfMuoM

Romulus
08.04.10
man the mj video won't open for me

Obfuscation25
08.04.10
MJ=Napoleon Dynamite???

tiesthatbind
08.04.10
^I was just about to say, he sounds like Jon Heder.

Yazz_Flute
08.04.10
Surprised nobody made a Harry Potter reference to MJ yet.

He's not as black as I had envisioned.

[i]He's blacker[/i]

Yazz_Flute
08.04.10
And now that post is damned to look dumb...

Frankenhole
08.04.10
I just checked the video out, and even though I haven't been on the site/lurking long enough to know who this guy is, I'm confident in my conclusion that this guy has some serious OCD.

klap
08.04.10
Jom just playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers

SeaAnemone
08.04.10
I interview a bunch of cool bands but I'm embarrassingly bad at it

robertsona
08.04.10
the king stay the king

AbrahamLincoln
08.04.10
how about a list of some of the people you've interviewed?

Aids
08.04.10
Awesome read, very infromative.

Deviant.
08.04.10
After having just watched that video I gotta say, I'm a little underwhelmed. I guess I was expecting the spectacle of MJ to be slightly more, idk, grandiose

Eclectic
08.04.10
I saw one minute of that video, that's all I wanted to see.

sniper
08.04.10
I would have expected him to speak faster, and idk... be more interesting.

Eclectic
08.04.10
"I would have expected him to speak faster, and idk... be more interesting."
Same here

I suppose when he could hide behind the MJ mask he felt far more confident

sniper
08.04.10
Yeah I knew he looked like that though. I just never heard him talk before. I wish I could go back.

Ire
08.04.10
I always knew he was a misguided tard. I just didn't know he was that bad. Then again, his reviews.. ugh.

Dryden
08.04.10
ugh

sniper
08.04.10
Dre

theacademy
08.04.10
its the palace of wisdom thing all over again...

see #8 on this list: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=430653&listid=41960

Metalstyles
08.04.10
Eclectic wrote: "I suppose when he could hide behind the MJ mask he felt far more confident"

well, that's logical man, it's the interwebz after all, of course unconfident people make themselves seem as dauntless as possible by creating a "badass" web imago to compensate the fact they're just not that awesome in real life.

No but seriously, I was (still am somewhat) baffled that the insecure nerdy dude is actually MJ. Also, he didnt't sound that "sophisticated" at all in the video as he made himself out to be here. But, I'm not gonna start talking shit about him, because MJ wasn't that bad at all when he wasn't rambling about CTTS, pissing off mods, or stroking his own ego (though, I must admit, those three were obviously his favorite activities).

Emim
08.04.10
Poor Jon Heder completely killed any respect he had left on this site. I was surprised by how much of a impotent nerd he is.

731
08.04.10
lol at the intensity of this hate

he really must've trolled you guys hard

Willie
08.04.10
He was barely even a troll. He participated in a one-nerd circle jerk and tried to cause controversy in the most contrived ways... and when that didn't work he pretended that it did.

Emim
08.04.10
The old "Aha! You think you have won but it was really my plan to begin with! You have fallen into my trap!"

Tits McGee
08.04.10
awesome blog, all I have to say

TheyTookOurJobs
08.05.10
Gnar blog mate ;)

VicariousIntent
08.05.10
Awesome read, I laughed at quite a few points. I don't think bands realize a lot of this stuff, and as an aspiring musician I found this useful. Good stuff man.

Knott-
08.08.10
awesome article JoM

can't believe any of you are surprised that mj was an introverted, awkward, obsessive, uninteresting social reject

really

also rrrlol

Ayon
08.11.10
It's not that he is an introverted, awkward, obsessive, uninteresting social reject that's so surprising. What' surprising is he's nerdier than anyone could have ever imagined.

SowingSeason
08.11.10
awesome article. very true and made me laugh.

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