To go back to the question, yes it is massively important to have a plan because you need to know where you want to go and what you don’t want to do within writing. I’ve taken some jobs and some articles in the past that looking back on them now it wasn’t a good use of my time because I’ve known what my goal is for a couple of years now – feature journalism – and those jobs haven’t really helped me towards that end. They’ve been pocket money to help me pay the bills while I try to build up the confidence, the talent, or the connections to make that goal achievable. Now for the first time that goal is within reach because I do have the talent, connections and confidence to make that happen.
I know you’ve said before when we have talked that reviews are your bread and butter work.
AM: Yeah reviews and interviews in the past. Last year I was doing a lot of stuff for Mess + Noise and The Vine. That’s all good and I don’t regret that at all but now I’m less inclined to do that because I feel like I’ve done that and it’s not something that I necessarily need to return to. Last year especially I’d get an album I’d have to review and sometimes it would really affect me because you’re putting that pressure on yourself to first have an opinion on it, then to justify that opinion and then to turn it into words, into a review. For the amount I was getting paid for review -which is small -I can’t justify the time I spend doing that anymore. On the same level even having a review published on the web it becomes a conversation piece but now I don’t really see the point in doing that because I’d rather spend weeks, maybe months researching stories that are going to affect society, that will make people think twice about certain actions or look into why certain things are [that way] in society. I feel that is a better use of my time to influence society in that way rather than just sitting back listening to an album and turning it into a review—I just see less value in that personally.
I don’t review either, well maybe on super rare occasion. I get hit up to review things all the time and I’m just like, no. I spent 10 years doing it and it’s just something I don’t enjoy doing. I feel weird about critiquing someone else’s artistic work. I enjoy doing interviews the most because the artist gets to speak about their art and to elaborate on it and what they do, they get to tell more of the story and it complements the work in a way.
AM: Yeah definitely. I think you’re a big proponent of publishing interviews in full, Q&A style right?
Yes without a doubt, to me that’s the most honest way.
AM: Yeah definitely I feel the same as you have seen. I love the simple Q&A format because if you are writing a feature or in a profile style you can chop out bits that aren’t relevant or you can change their words in some ways to fit what you’re trying to say whereas, if it’s just in a conversation as the conversation happened that tells people a lot more in some ways and they can make their own conclusions on the way the conversations went rather than the journalist being able to affect the way people respond to a story.
I think about what I want to do in regards to writing all the time and I know it’s the in-depth interview and it’s hard because there isn’t much call for someone that can do in-depth Q&As with artists. Even bigger publications like Rolling Stone who – well at least I knew used to – pride themselves on the in-depth revealing kind of artist interview. I’ve experienced editors asking me for things less ‘deep’. To me that’s why I love the early Rolling Stone interviews and the 90s stuff like the Anthony Bozza work and like the Rolling Stone interview book. Isn’t the deep, revealing stuff what they want?
AM: Yeah I know what you are saying. It’s funny how things change. I have one of those Rolling Stone interview books where it’s just long, long Q&As with artists and celebrities and it’s just amazing! These days how rarely do they run those kinds of stories! I know in the current issue of Rolling Stone there’s a kind of a Q&A with Zach Galifianakis because they have a cover story on the Hangover 2 but, in terms of extended interviews in print media, hardly anyone is doing it except Interview Mag. I wonder why that is? I don’t have answers for that. I wonder why that changed over decades, especially in something like Rolling Stone. Like you said at one point they could pride themselves on having the best most in-depth interviews in the world in terms of print media whereas now they’re competing with so many other publications and they’ve also lost in some ways what they were good at—the in-depth interviews that no one else could get.
I think about it a lot. It makes me so, so sad. As you know I use independent media like zines to print my longer format in-depth Q&As, my blog and Collapse Board gives me that platform. What publications are most fulfilling for you to write for at the moment?
AM: It’s always been good to write for The Weekend Australian because their editors are brilliant and the sub-editing there is brilliant. They always come back and fact check everything to make sure it’s all good whereas in the past, time poor editors tend to not take a closer look at the article, facts or structure.
Do you feel you ever take risks in your interviews?
AM: I think are you asking if I provoke people to react in certain ways?
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