So, I came across this video when I was doing research for my You Am I interview the other day. It made me laugh. It made me cringe. It was like looking into one of those distorted mirrors at a fairground: ugly, but familiar.
It’s of a mock interview that Tim Rogers, pretending to be an interviewer for Underoath magazine, does with members of the band. (There are a number of them, but here’s a sample: Symon Parnell (Tim Rogers) from Underoath mag interviews Rusty Hopkinson.)
It was painful to watch. I thought, are we really like this? The embarrassing name drop (“do you know so-and-so, he met you at a bar once”), the glazed look when thinking of the next question, the feigned casual arrogance.
As a music journalist who has been interviewing bands for years (my first was for street press with Spiderbait, the year they won the Hottest 100), I’ve had interviews that have gone brilliantly and others that have sputtered along.
You always try to make a connection. You always try to arm yourself with interesting questions so nobody’s bored. But the truth is you can’t be a massive fan of everyone you interview; nor do you have time to listen to everyone’s back catalogue. If you are a massive fan, sometimes you do get a little star struck. And you do ask personal questions because people want to know stuff they can’t get through the music. You’re the connection between the listener/reader and the artist. You’re the conversation that the listener/reader would love to have with their favourite artist in a bar. There’s no point getting an ego about it. Really, you’re the bar stool!
My interview with Rusty Hopkinson, the rad drummer from You Am I, was a lot of fun. And, frankly, sometimes it’s fun to speak to other members of the band who aren’t jaded by the whole interview experience and haven’t been asked the same questions 1,000 times.
You Am I are currently touring and the interview appears in today’s edition of U on Sunday in The Sunday Mail. We talked about a range of things from band personalities to how people consume music today: he’s an avid vinyl collector and has more than 3,000 records – one he was so excited to get he even lost his passport over it.
I did ask him about the Underoath mag video (which came out a few years ago during promotion of their Dilettantes album) but that made the cutting room floor, so I am posting it here for you today.
Also in today’s U on Sunday mag are Tim and Katy, a couple who met at clowning school in Paris and run The Game, a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive experience at Woodford, and Scott Breton, Brisbane’s own Leonardo da Vinci, who has just won a $50,000 art prize, which will see him touring the galleries and schools of Europe.
In the meantime, here is the conversation between Rusty and myself about the Underoath videos.
I have to say I really loved the videos that you guys did for the Underoath magazine interviews.
Rusty: That was really hilarious.
That was painful as a journalist to watch.
Rusty: We weren’t really worried, but there was conjecture that we could really be shooting ourselves in the foot as far as any journalist ever speaking to us again. But at the same time, what we found was that people actually loved it. There were lots of journos who would come up and go, ‘That’s based on me, isn’t it?’ and they’d want it to be based on them.
They wanted it?
Well, I think it’s because some people just have that view that they’re probably nerdier than they actually are. I think people tend to see themselves exaggerated in life sometimes and some people were like, ‘Wow, you’ve based it on me, haven’t you?’ And I’d say, ‘Well, no, not really’. It’s the composite of a lot of people but it’s just a bit of fun. This is more just poking fun at the sort of pretentious nature that some people have towards music. People like to be trainspotters and like to correct people about facts, often they’re wrong. We’re all like that ourselves. You just don’t really want to talk to me about certain eras of music because you just don’t have the time to waste hearing me babble on. But even though we’re certainly making fun of those fans, we love people like that because what people need is that enthusiasm even if they’re wrong or even if they’re the most boring people you’ve ever met, the fact that you find people that are quite obsessive like that is kind of endearing.
I think half those journalists are nervous half the time, especially if they’re quite young.
Rusty: Yeah. We just try to make sure that we’re in places where we can get them drunk and loosen them up.
Tim did a really good job as an actor. Is he a bit of a joker?
Rusty: Yeah, he’s a great actor. He’s done a bit of acting. He’s done some really good theatre. He’s a very multi-talented person and he just took that idea and ran with it. He came up with the character and we just walked into the studio where we were mixing our record and there he was. Once we stopped laughing, we got down to it and it was just a lot of fun.
There are actually a number of videos: one with each band member, including Tim, and one with the whole band together. They are super funny and worth having a giggle to. If not an ARIA this time, Tim Rogers should get an award for his Oscar-worthy performance.