I talked to a bunch of smart journalists about how they conduct interviews.
1. Know your subject.
2. Come in with a plan.
3. Write questions ahead of time, but prioritize conversation.
4. Just come out and ask the hard stuff.
5. Embrace the silences.
6. Think in soundbites.
7. Play dumb.
8. Keep the mic running after you finish.
I’m not about to go into a full-blown review of Daft Punk’s latest album because I don’t have the time to and I also don’t want to be stoned to death like Soraya M., but I will say this one little infant-sized bit about why this album lowkey blows a little bit.
What made (and still makes) Daft Punk such an incredible band is that they identified and isolated one of the central tenants of dance music (namely, the idea of repetition) and made it into the nucleus of their entire catalogue. Every song circled back on itself within the first twenty-seconds, with minimal lyrics and it’s simultaneously minimal and maximal instrumentals. In this way, their robotic aesthetic became a tangible extrapolation of the very sound they were pioneering, and gave the whole Daft Punk construct a fully-rounded and fully-formed identity. There was a visual and sonic cohesion between having dance songs that looped in on themselves again and again and again, and having the songs be lead literally by two robots.
Random Access Memories should be lauded for its immaculate production quality, its insane attention to detail, and for fully embodying a retro-concept album but never once getting boggled down in nostalgia over whatever is left to even get nostalgic about. But while having live instrumentals, and a calmer, more quiet approach to dance music at the height of EDM (?) is respectable, it’s not worthy of implementing that same attention to repetition. The two don’t jive in the same way. RAM becomes boring to listen to and disappointing post-hype because by building buzz over the return of Daft Punk, the event becomes Daft Punk, and Daft Punk’s DNA in an album like this is the problem. Okay that’s it, bb luv u.
— Patti Smith
— D. H. Lawrence
Can you ever really be sure of what you’re interested in? Of what parts of the zeitgeist or the cultural conversation actually trigger you? In that framework, does Tyler, The Creator really represent anything other than the extent to which self-promotion can lift lift lift you up like a house tied to a thousand balloons with a portly asian boy scout hidden, and make you into something bigger than yourself?
I wonder this out loud because Tyler is that sort of self-styled, self-created and self-inflicted cultural totem that tends to arrive every few years and make a ruckus, represent something on the level of cultural symbolics and then, like, maybe fade away so that we can’t see them unless we squint?"
When I asked you if you wanted me to say anything here tonight
You said ‘Only three words, one of them testicular’
So I’ll pass that on
Here I am at surely the most eclectic of all the London branches of Bowie Anonymous
All the nicest possible freaks are here
We’re in the Victoria and Albert Museum preparing to rifle through your drawers
It’s truly an amazing thing
This was my favourite playground as a child Medieval armour : my fantasy space wear
And, alongside, when I was 12 — and a square sort of kid in a Round Pond sort of childhood, not far from here — I carried a copy of Aladdin Sane around with me — a full 2 years before i had the wherewithal to play it
The image of that gingery boney pinky whitey person on the cover with the liquid mercury collar bone was — for one particular young moon-age daydreamer — the image of planetary kin, of a close imaginary cousin and companion of choice
It’s taken me a long time to admit, even to myself, let alone you, that it was the vision and not yet the sound that hooked me up — but if i can’t confess that here and now, then when and where?
We all have our own roots
To this room
Some of us — the enviable — found the fellowship early in the funfests of Billy’s Bowie Nights or equivalent lodges from San Francisco to Aukland to Heidelberg and all points in between
For others, it was a more lonesome affair, paced out in a sort of private Morse Code like following bread crumbs through a forest
I’m not saying that if you hadn’t pitched up I would have worn a pie crust collar and pearls like some of those I went to school with
I’m not saying that if you hadn’t weighed in, Princess Julia would have been less inventive with the pink blusher
Simply that, you provided the sideways like us with such rare and out-there company
You pulled us in and left your arm dangling over our necks
And kept us warm — as you have for — isn’t it ? — centuries now
One of us