It’s been an absolute nightmare of a week for journalists doing interviews. First, Nicki Minaj (rightfully) shut down an interview with The New York Times after a reporter threw out a BS question. Now, Bradford Cox is reaching into every journalist’s worse nightmare and making it flesh. The Deerhunter lead singer completely blew up the whole idea of interviews, shining an uncomfortable spotlight on the writer in the process.
In a talk with the Observer, Cox flipped the focus of the interview on writer Justin Joffe after he noticed that the interviewer’s questions weren’t going anywhere (and all focused on ideas like inspiration).
“Are you thinking that I’m being difficult or that this interview isn’t going well? Because I feel like you came into this with a really nervous energy. I’m not special. You don’t have to worry about what I think, you know? You shouldn’t view yourself as smaller than me. It never works for me to do an interview with somebody and I feel like if I don’t give them the answer that causes them to have a “wow” moment … because a lot of times the honest truth is very boring, and it’s not inspiring.”
Cox then asked if there was an angle that Joffe’s editor was looking for. Presumably, Joffe nervously tugged on his collar before telling Cox that he was just trying to converse in a way that didn’t sound like questions from a notepad. Cox countered with an answer that pulled back the curtain on the process again.
“But how I feel is not important, what’s important is the article. If I want to feel good, the first step is probably not to do interviews. The reason I don’t like doing interviews is because what I do, musically, it’s very artificial for me to talk about with any authority. I’ve been honest about this for the past 15 years. I do control some of the structure and the editing, but I don’t know where a lot of my ideas come from. I don’t start out with something I wanna say. I’m not a political artist. I’m not protesting anything. I’m just looking for a personal truth, you know, in the ether. And it’s just incredibly dishonest for me to talk about. There’s no difference in you telling me what you think the song is about and me telling you what I think the song is about, because neither of us are right or wrong.”
In a slightly more #shareable moment, Cox told the interviewer that he chose to be gay so as not to have kids who listen to Taylor Swift. Check out the whole interview here.
Also, check out “Snakeskin”, the excellent, Bowie-esque single from Deerhunter’s new album Fading Frontiers.