When Good Interviews Go Bad--Sigur Ros on NPR

Witness Sigur Ros talking to Luke Burbank, in advance of its upcoming release, Hvarf / Heima. Or, rather, witness Sigur Ros really not sure what to say to Burbank's line of questioning -- a phrase I use loosely. The video is linked here.

Now, commenters have been lashing out at Sigur Ros for being aloof or whatever, but I take umbrage at the whole lack of proper preparation. Yes, radio interviews are supposed to be shorter and briefer, and perhaps might cover more banal topics. But Burbank needs a refresher course in Journalism 101, for the following three reasons:

1. He sounds as though he has never heard Sigur Ros before. Ever. Case in point:

"Did you start out playing this kind of music? Or did you start out as a more 'regular-sounding' band?" Um, read the band's bio, dude, before you talk to them.

2. The banality of the questions -- "How do you create your tunes? Does one person start playing an instrument, and everyone adds in to that?" -- doesn't exactly lend to stimulating conversation. Sigur Ros are notoriously reticent anyway; and how does one respond to a question like that, exactly?

3. The awkward self-deprecation that pops up about halfway through, where the interviewer jokes about "interviews like these." Yes, he could tell that the conversation was reaching trainwreck proportions at that point. But the band can really do nothing but agree -- thus creating a black hole of awkwardness from which no one can recover.

Sure, I've had some shit-tastic interviews myself -- and made a fool out of myself in front of people. (Trust me.) But dear lord.

-- Annie Zaleski

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