Planning how to approach an interview article for a magazine, is extremely important for any journalist. Firstly researching the magazine is extremely essential, this was done in order to become familiar with the house style. Focusing on writing techniques and re-occurring themes.

MixMag

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Here are a few examples of interviews that can be found on MixMag’s website.

“The Martinez Brothers are barely making any US appearances this summer due to a hectic Ibiza schedule. Having just played New York’s MoMA PS1 party along with New York’s best new club Output, it was only appropriate to get a quick update.

We sat down with one of the most talented duos in dance music right before their Wavefront set in Chicago to talk about their label, domestic festivals and the rapid popularity increase of underground music.

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You guys have your own label called Cuttin’ Headz. Any releases coming up?

Steve: We have a couple of releases that we have in mind to put out. And it is definitely going to be not just house music. We want to have an outlet for our hip hop stuff as well. And not only that, just an outlet for good music at the end of the day.

Chris: We are coming up with a lot of concepts for the label and it is all coming together organically. You can definitely expect the first release to be this year.

What’s up the lack of domestic appearances this summer? There is obviously a bigger demand for your sound elsewhere.

Steve: The biggest reason for that is we have a residency at DC10. So to play there every two weeks and then come back to the States is a little bit hectic. It is better for our travel schedule in general.

What do you think of the domestic festival scene? Is what you’re seeing here at Wavefront comparable to what you see across the pond?

Steve: I think everything here is going to keep growing and becoming more widespread. Obviously, the dance music scene on the pop side is huge. But on our side, which is obviously the more underground stuff, it is definitely getting so much festival attention right now.

Chris: Even with the younger kids. Even the way hip hop and house now have so much in common, all that effects the festival bookings.

So you notice a spillover into the underground fanbase from the EDM community?

Chris: It is happening. It is crazy. I mean, all of our high school friends were texting me pictures from our gig. These were the kids that were laughing at me in high school and now they all show up at our gig and are going crazy. Now they are listening to underground music. My entire high school shows up to my gigs in New York.

Is the approach to a festival set like Wavefront drastically different to a club gig at something like Output?

Steve: Definitely. Today we only get an hour and 15 minutes. It is hard to get into a groove. It is a different type of vibe. We are just here to have a good time.

What’s your production schedule like? What’s next, release-wise?

Chris: We have so much music. We have a lot of vinyl releases. A lot of hip hop material. Definitely a mixture.

Steve: We have a couple of remixes coming out. We have a Green Velvet remix that is going to be out later this year. We have a lot of original stuff as well.

Who are some guys like yourself in the underground world making big waves at the moment?

Steve: Anthony Naples is killing it right now. We played with him recently at the MoMA.

Chris: The Apollonia guys are also always great.

How is the Ibiza season so far?

Chris: The dynamics there are different and amazing. Each club has its own energy and swag. Like DC10, it is just such a special place. When you go to Ibiza, there is no turning back. The energy at these clubs like Amnesia is still intimidating even to this day.”

As you can see from this 1st interview, it begins with some information on the artists being interviewed, before starting with the questions. Themes seem to include; festivals, production, Ibiza, and the artist fan-base.

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“Frankie Knuckles is a cultural house music staple, and one who even has a street named after him in Chicago. To say he is the ‘real deal’ is a gross understatement as he’s an individual who has helped define a genre. Mixmag caught up with the legend to chat about EDM, dance music history and his set at the upcoming Wavefront Festival.

Being such an integral part of the development of house music, what is it like to see a big festival like Wavefront give an ode to Chicago dance music heritage and give you guys your own stage?

The concept of this festival is nothing new to Chicago. With the ‘Chosen Few Old School Picnic’ occurring annually for the past 23 years open-air events like this have been happening for awhile now. However, a festival of this magnitude with such a stellar line-up has never been done. I wasn’t here or involved last year with the first Wavefront Festival so like for most folks attending it’ll be just as new to me as it is to them.

The festival itself seems to be catering to a more ‘cultured’ demographic of dance music fans, with less focus on EDM and more focus elsewhere. Do you think that domestic festivals like this are sustainable?  

Absolutely! It’s about time more festivals come to these shores. We have events like EDC in Las Vegas and Ultra in Miami which for the most part are commercial entities catering mostly to EDM/crossover audiences. By involving artists like myself, Jamie Principle, Ron Carroll, Mark Farina and several other Chicago musical heroes, it brings a more grassroots feel to the event.

Over the course of the festival, who are some acts that you are really looking forward to hearing? Any DJ in particular that you would deem ‘unmissable’?

Fatboy Slim, Mark Farina, Ron Carroll. Unmissable? None of the house DJs should be missed. With all these brilliant DJs coming in from all over to play in Chicago I’m sure everyone will bring their A-Game. Chicago is Mecca for house music therefore, I’m thinking its gonna be almost like a religious experience.

Dance music now is so massive and widespread with kids in their teens producing Beatport topping festival hits. Do you think it is still imperative that these younger guys go back to the roots and learn the history? Or has the history slowly become obsolete to this new generation?

History will never be “obsolete”. History is necessary and relative. Especially if you’re trying to find your place in this industry. It’s not enough to just sample and take old musical ideas and make them yours. Studying and knowing the history of dance music is essential to a DJs survival. It’s part of a DJs education. Technology may give you all the tools you need to become a great DJ but one tool technology can never give you is STYLE. Style comes from education and exploration of music.

Your recent charts and the music you play out still maintain that classic house feel, with artists like Louie Vega and Kerri Chandler getting support from you. What can Wavefront fans expect from your set there?

Like Vega and Kerri over the years I’ve manage to create a sound of my own. For longevity’s sake it’s essential to develop a signature sound. It’s your musical mark. It’s the thing you’re most recognized by. Throughout my career I’ve managed to perfect this sound and with it, people that know me know exactly what they’re going to get.

Any additional plans to bring a similar Chicago-themed stage to other festivals? The city and the genre have such an amazing relationship so it would make sense…

I’m not the producer of this festival therefore, I have no control over the stages that are presented. But to those who plan to produce these kinds of events in the future, it would be nice to see a stage that truly represents House Music in its original form without having to revert back to playing the old classics but incorporate everything current and relevant.”

As you can see, this interview also starts with some information on the Artist and is  illustrated with a picture at the top of the page. Themes include; Festivals, fans, and the development and history of the house music scene.

Interviews taken from http://www.mixmag.net/

Looking at previous interview’s provides a better understanding of the themes and the writing styles used in the relevant text. Using a similar frame work means an article is more likely to be produced that fits in with the house style of the magazine.

“Craft questions in advance to ensure you ask ones that start conversations rather than halt them in their tracks.” [1]

After doing this research, the next step would to be creating questions that both fit in with text, and are also relevant to the individual being interviewed. Asking questions that may not have been asked in other interviews, may be more likely to engage both the individual being interviewed, and the audience. As the article may then provide them with something they didn’t already know about the individual.

Contacting the individual, and getting the interview.

In terms of Musician’s and Dj’s, the best way to contact them is often through there management or booking agent. An email address for the relevant individual can easily be found on the internet. For example searching M.J Cole booking agent, provided me with the website for Elastic Artists. http://www.elasticartists.net/artist/mj-cole/. From here an email can be sent requesting an interview. There is also a phone number available if you fail to make contact via email.

After requesting an interview, providing the individual agrees, you may choose to request a meeting in order to do the interview in person. This interview may be recorded with a Dictaphone or noted by the interviewer or an assistant, before being typed up and laid out for the article. Other options may include doing the interview over the phone, or sending your questions by email for the artist to respond in their own time. This may be most convenient and less time consuming for both parties. It also gives the interviewee more time to respond and think about their answers. This may beneficial to the over all piece.

As well as the questions them selves. An article like this, is likely to also contain a piece of information on the individual, and an illustration such as a photograph of the artist in question. Research will be required in order to say what you want to say about the artist in an opening paragraph. The Photograph used for the article may be taken during the interview, providing it is done in person. If not requesting a photograph from the artist via email is a possibility, or looking for one your self on the internet. This could entail contacting any individual that may own copyright to the picture chosen for the article. It may also be courteous to send the picture you have chosen to interview, via email to the artist in question, in order to make sure their happy with it.

“Good journalism is dependent on a total stranger’s cooperation and participation. At the heart of this issue is the interview. The finished product may be a piece of writing that you craft, but the material is a result of the interviews you conduct.” [2]

The final steps would be to type up the interview, possibly edit the photograph, and then piece the article together, in the house style of the text it is being used for.

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[1] Chip Scanlan. How Journalists Can Become Better Interviewers. (2013). Available:http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/chip-on-your-shoulder/205518/how-journalists-can-become-better-interviewers/. (04/12/13).

[2] Sarah Stuteville. 13 Simple Journalist Techniques For Effective Interviews. (2013). Available: http://matadornetwork.com/bnt/13-simple-journalist-techniques-for-effective-interviews/. (04/12/13).

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