In my urgency to get the review out there, I guess I forgot to comment on that whole on camera interview thing. We learned about how it happened, but never got closure on how I did. Seeing as I still haven’t watched the footage, I’m as much in limbo as you are. In any case…
I’d done on screen stuff before, but sparingly. Back at university I did a little bit, but usually shied away from the visual side because I didn’t feel that I looked good enough to be in front of the camera. Being behind a microphone was more aligned with my comfort levels and I learned those skills. The mic does afford an extra layer of protection: The audience can’t see what you’re doing. It allows you some wiggle room in terms of having questions handily written down somewhere for reference.
I jumped at the chance to do the interview because it sounded like an excellent opportunity. I didn’t know the band beyond having heard their most recent album once, but I know how to research. The internet is out there. I immersed myself in King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. I loaded up Deezer and carved through their back catalogue (with eight LPs and two EPs I did the best I could). I sifted through their recent achievements and developments, tour plans. I put together a series of questions for their lead singer that straddled both the day to day questions of a life on the road and the greater artistic drive at play. What does success mean for them, etc? My favourite interviews are those that don’t discard the personal for some vain notion that people in positions of accomplishment stop being people. Who was this guy and why does he do what he does? I wrote a list of questions and read through them again and again.
The more I read them, the less I remembered. This wasn’t helping. I wanted to have a more casual interview and putting things down on a page was making me feel increasingly nervous. I was gonna fuck it up, forget everything, freeze. What could I do to mitigate this mess? I arrived outside the venue and met the photographer. Stay cool. Pretend like everything’s fine. If she believes it, maybe you will too. I didn’t feel cool. She asked me about my interest in the band and I blurted out some combination of words. She blinked and said “you must be a big fan of the band.” I blinked and replied “Yes. They do good music things.” Or something about that articulate. She’s buying it I thought maybe you will actually nail it. I pulled out my phone “I wrote down some questions. Will it look unprofessional if I look at my phone during the interview?” She replied “you can if you want. Do you want to?” I thought about the interviews I like, how spontaneity stood out to me. I stowed the phone. “Fuck it, I’ll wing it.”
We met with the band’s PR agent and scouted out where to shoot. There was an alley out back that seemed well suited to the interview. We set up, I stewed in my nerves and we waited for Stu to come out. He arrived and everything was all go. I asked him to do a snappy piece to cam intro for the site. I joined him in front of the camera and started it up. “Hi, I’m Leon from Live in Limbo and I’m here with Stu Mackenzie from King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard”. This was happening, I was doing it for real. I started a line of questioning about vegemite and went from there. I ignored the camera and talked straight to him. I kept rolling, despite the doubts amassing in my head. Am I reaching the mic up high enough? Why is he so tall? Is my arm shaking? Am I talking for too long? It’s cold, are my nipples showing? Are the questions I’m asking making sense? Or am I sounding like a douche with an agenda? What were my questions again? Wait, forget the questions, listen to what he’s saying, respond to that. Oh no, don’t forget the questions, what if I get lost? Just keep things flowing. Am I responding correctly? Do I even look like a human being to any potential viewers? He’s not responding to this “success” stuff, why am I doubling down here? MOVE ON. TRY A DIFFERENT TACK.
The interview went on, he didn’t leave or close off entirely. Things started to taper off a little and it felt like a natural time to conclude things. I thanked him, turned to the camera (I think I even thanked the “viewers” for their time of all things) and signed off. We stopped rolling and I sighed. We shook hands as I thanked him again and said goodbye, completely unsure of how it went. The photographer said it went great and with no evidence either way, I chose to believe her. Now I’m waiting to see if a) I do appear to be human and b) my nipples behaved or not.
Once again, I’m in limbo but soon enough the interview will be Live in Limbo. Isn’t that neat?