The ‘how do you feel after that?’ interview
How would music acts fare with a post-gig interview?
Picture the scene. Your favourite act has just walked offstage after an intense gig in a sold-out venue. They’ve been onstage for an hour or an hour-and-a-half and they’ve gone in that time from pre-show nerves to adrenalin to joy to despair (equipment malfunctions) to euphoria to adrenalin. As they walk offstage, with steam and sweat rising into the air where appropriate (we’ve obviously not talking singer-songwriters here), a journalist approaches for the post-gig interview and the “so, how you do feel after playing to 14,500 people tonight?” question.
I can imagine the horror on the face of every single music PR and behind-the-scenes team member as they read that opening paragraph. It’s something which would be regarded as a nightmare scenario – it’s probably a nightmare scenario for the reporter too, believe me – and something which never happens in a business where the interview environment is tightly controlled in favour of the act.
Yet the last couple of Sundays have seen men and women who’ve just played in front of thousands of people on the biggest day of their year, and given their absolute all in pursuit of glory, talk to journalists within seconds of their respective All Ireland finals ending. The immediate post-match interview has resulted in some colourful moments to be sure and is something which is part and parcel of the furniture around sports events. You’re getting players when their guard is down and they’re still trying to make sense of key incidents from the game which are swirling around their head.
It’s a setting which can result in some candid honesty which you won’t get in the weeks leading up to games – and especially not at any of those media evenings which are as tightly controlled as any pop star’s promo schedule. It’s not quite akin to getting inside the dressingroom after the game, but it will have to do. And it’s a lot better than relying on a player’s social media feed where you might occasionally get some soon-to-be-deleted gem inbetween plugs for whatever yoke they’re a brand ambassador for this week. The post-match interview has become the only time when an interviewer can look a player in the eye and hope to get some honesty out of them. Otherwise, you might get a few minutes on the phone and the player plugging their local car dealer for all they’re worth.
The music business has also become something of a control freak in recent years. Acts who are on their first album will do absolutely anything you ask of them – no interview is too small for them to consider – but it’s a much different matter when they move up to the bigger leagues. After a while, an interview begins to look like a trip to the dentist and is quickly demoted in favour of appearing in fashion shoots or the like. By the time the successful act comes to their second or third album, you’ll be lucky to get a press release with a few quotes on it. By the time the act is in court suing their manager or promoter, they certainly won’t want to tell you how they feel. Perhaps it’s time to try out those GAA tactics for a change to see what we’d get. Who’s game?