Whether you’re a new DJ on stage or a veteran music producer, taking interviews about the music you make is weird.
It’s uncomfortable and awkward. In fact, for most people talking about yourself is. In an interview, it’s not too hard to see why sharing a local song takes trust, vulnerability, and even a little courage. Oddly though, there isn’t much written advice for musicians, especially in dance music.
How then to navigate in these meetings? How do the interviews go wrong?
We sat down with Kat Bein, a quirky and skilled music journalist with an extensive roster of legends throughout her career path, to lay the groundwork for what we believe is an indispensable guide for DJs. Bein chatted with Boys Noize, Porter Robinson, Louis the Child, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Charlotte de Witte, and Fatboy Slim – just a handful of the most recent in his badass chats rolodex. She also has an encyclopedic knowledge of dance music, which adds a colorful touch to her editorial articles and conversations on the stage.
Who is Kat Bein?
Bein covers music as a regular online contributor for Billboard, Twirl, Miami New Times and more. During the last 18 months of the pandemic, she has also developed a Twitch channel, where she enjoys full creative control and a new way to connect with her audience through the stream. Her “Kat is callingâSchedule feeds on the platform on Thursdays and Wednesdays, she does a show calledâ Cutie Club âwith two of her best friends in music journalism, Zach Schlein and Jose Duran.
While new and mostly under the radar for now, the Cutie Club takes a delightfully original twist in music education by sharing video clips grouped by theme. It’s almost like a combination of Pop-Up Video and Mystery Science Theater 3000, but with a fun group of clever music lovers instead of rowdy robots in the front row. All in all, her experience skyrockets and branches like a tree, but it’s rooted in formative moments dating back to her college days, where she followed musicians to share stories about local dance music artists. in the school newspaper.
These days, Bein gets a constant influx of pitches from music publicists and record label executives every week, so we asked him what usually sticks. To provide a resource for DJs or producers getting ready for a post interview, we’ve shared some of the best gems from our conversation below.
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot
“I get a lot of emails,” says Bein EDM.com. âAnd if these are just template emails, I hardly will read them. “
As one of the easiest ways to lower your chances of getting an interview with a reporter, models require a specific message to hit the mark. âIt seems if it’s not personalized for me, no one will care if I don’t read it,â she added.
Well-organized emails are important, but keeping it simple can make life easier for you and the reporter you share your music with. Bein broke it down for us:
“‘Hey, Katâ¦ Like, look at this.’ Here’s an artist. Here’s a couple of paragraphs about them and what makes the story. But is there a story behind that? And then here’s the song, and then, “Tell me what you think.” , it’s really good.”
By creating simpler locations, you can make sure you get your foot in the door before you shoot yourself.
Know what you want to talk about
Once you’ve gotten the interview, it’s time to prepare for it. Probably the most common way to look south is not having a topic to focus on or a point to make.
âKnow what your message is to the world,â Bein said wistfully. âIt doesn’t have to be very clear, but if you have the opportunity to speak to someone, have something to say that matters to you. Even if that person isn’t asking you the right question, at the end you can say, “I just want to say one more thing,” and if you have something to share, a message of positivity, or something that matters to you, take it. Now is the time for you to. to say something.
Beyond the tearing of the diem, Bein had some thoughts on the content of what you should share. A lot of artists choose to talk about how they hope to change the world and that’s great, but it’s more important that an interview be personal and not grandiose.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself, because who you are and what you’ve been through and the way you see the world is what makes you unique and what makes you special, and you shouldn’t worrying too much about making others happy with what you do, âBein continued. “I mean, obviously you want to make people happy, but don’t be what other people expect of youâ¦ Just know who you are, be who you are, and be open about it.”
Stopping for a second, Bein leans back in his chair and thinks aloud. âI don’t know if that makes sense,â she admits. “Just be yourself because you’re just awesome the way you are. You are awesome. And don’t think too much about it.”
Be honest about who you are
Knowing who you are and representing him with confidence is easier said than done. Where it gets tough is making sure you don’t come across as a jerk, right?
The best artists do not apologize for their madness. They own it. And those who do it gracefully often become lovers.
âThe more honest you are about yourself in your expression, the more impact you will have in the first place,â explains Bein. “Even if you’re hyper-specific about something that’s happened to you and you’re like, ‘Well, that could never have happened to someone else, so why would anyone care? worries? ” It does not matter. Almost the more specific the better because that feeling is what people can relate to. And so go ahead and share that.
Even though it takes a while to find the courage to share your music, you should. In fact, according to Bein, if it’s making you uncomfortable and embarrassed to open up about it, then you’re probably on the right track.
“If that seems a little uncomfortable to you because ‘I’ve never really shown this to anyone before,’ then that’s a good thing,” she said. “You should follow this uncomfortable part and see where it takes you … [because] no one can laugh at you because you are yourself.
With practice, the self-confidence to share becomes easier. It’s necessary, says Bein, because at the end of the day, music fans can’t know the real you if they never get the chance to find out who it is.
âWhen people care about you, they care about your music,â she explains. “It becomes more than just a hot song that they heard in a DJ set for a second, and maybe they Shazamed it or maybe they listened to it later, then When they can make a personal connection with you then your music really matters to them and it stays with them and they are looking for your next song.
Remember why you are doing this
One of the most important things to keep in mind about music interviews is that it doesn’t matter which side of the table you are on.
Money is not the reason you do this. You do it because you love it, finances to hell. For journalists like Bein, it’s about sharing stories that deserve to be anchored in the myth of dance music.
âMore than anything, I really love connecting with artists who make me feel something when I listen to their music or feel like they really have something interesting to say,â said Bein. “I want to hear what they have to say and I want to help them get that message out to the world.”
Like the mood musicians create on the dance floor, journalists have a job to do as well. Either way, this job is best understood as a creative passion, not an obligation to make someone else look good.
âI don’t necessarily try to kiss the ass and I don’t write to make artists feel like I’ve done them a favor,â Bein reminds us. “I really write for fans who want to feel connected to the music that makes their lives better.”
In addition to enriching people’s lives with hot new tracks, Bein considers it the responsibility of music journalists to bridge the obscurity of the music industry to the hearts of the weirdos who will love them the most. .
âI want to accurately represent people while making that connection for their fans, because I’m a fan,â she says with a smile. “Because that’s how I grew up, reading music journalism. I was that nerdy kid who wanted to read all I could about the artist I loved, and that’s what I want to do now for other nerdy kids.
For Bein, it’s helpful to remember why she’s doing this in the first place, so for the musician across the table, it might help remember your own nerdy kid who put you on this path. in the first place. Then sit back and share that person, because at the end of the day, that’s really what it is.