Simon JamesInterview

Over the last month I have started a couple of projects that will hopefully increase the marketing coverage for our rock band ‘The Ask’. I have been writing about the possibility of setting up ‘The Ask Interviews’ in a previous blog and I finally managed to get all the ducks in a row to record the first interview.

I have never interviewed anyone before and it was quite a complex activity. The first issue to solve was location. I didn’t want to have to hire a studio and felt that finding a suitable venue that also put on music would be a good opportunity to promote the venue and might enable me to get free access. I eventually found agreat location and had a meeting to discuss options and it all came together very nicely. Next was to sort out suitable recording equipment. I did look at getting some microphones that are designed especially for interviewing but it seemed an unnecessary expense whilst I am still trying the whole interview thing out. In the end I decided to use the vocal mics that we use at home in the studio (I did buy a new stand though as the ones we use are very cheap and a bit knackered).

Next I wrote out some suitable questions and made a list of people I would like to interview. The focus is on the song writing process so I needed to find local song writers interested in taking part. At this time I also kicked off ‘The Ask Monthly Mix’, a Spotify playlist. Again the intention here was to feature North West England song writers so that anyone local liking the playlist would have a reasonable chance of beingable to find the artist playing nearby and therefore fostering further engagement. I decided that my first interview would be great if it was someone featured on that first monthly mix and I was delighted when Simon James, a local country singer/songwriter agreed to be my guinea pig for the first interview.

So I booked the venue space and put Simon in the diary. As the day drew nearer I started looking at tips and guides on how to promote and host the podcast. This led to me creating logos, a page on our band site to provide links, I created the Spotify play list and started promoting that and asking for more local artists who wanted to get involved. 

The day of the interview arrived and Simon was early, already waiting outside the venue when I arrived, and to my horror the whole of the road was closed off in front of the venue with a JCB looking like it was ripping up the whole of the road. We went into the venue and I set up the equipment and the JCB was currently silent as the driver was taking a break. I was extremely worried just how loud the JCB would be and would I have to cancel the recording. I decided that we would go ahead and if necessary I would transcribe the interview and have only a written version for release. In the end we were lucky that half the interview passed without a sound from outside and then Simon battled through the odd noises for the second half. Even though it is obvious that there are external sounds encroaching on the interview recording I think it makes it all more real and Simon was a great sport to keep going.

After the interview the work of getting the sound file ready for release started including creating an intro and outro to go with the podcast. I then found a suitable hosting site, tagged the mp3 and loaded the file. Various links were then sent out across the social networks and a campaign of promoting the interviews, the Spotify playlist and a call for more artists to get involved began. Early days with it all but it feels great to have done something outside of my comfort zone and I have learnt a lot of new IT processes. The interview sounds great and is a really good listen.

A few lessons were identified, I need to check when the roadworks will complete before doing the next video! I need to look at whether the mics can be better positioned to allow me to stop the sounds bleeding between them so that I can gate the signal easier (rather than having to manipulate the volume envelopes when one person stops speaking). Some of the questions worked better than others and I will tailor them for the next interview. Other than that I am pleased with how it went and I just need to keep up the social media posting to spread the word.