The Buzz: Kids Interview Bands
If the success of their website is any indication, Connie and Olivia might be one of the most dynamic reporting duos since Woodward and Bernstein.
The former’s journalistic endeavors began in 2012, when Olivia’s dad, Chip Midnight, was slated to do a video interview with New York-based band Alberta Cross.
“Then I got to thinking, ‘Who really wants to see a 40-year-old interview bands on video? I bet more people would watch it if some cute kids did the interview.’” says Chip, a freelance music journalist for more than two decades.
He asked Olivia and her friend Connie if they were up for it and, to his surprise, the sixth graders said they were. The interview turned out well and he posted it to DoneWaiting.com.
Despite a warm reception, he thought the video was getting buried −and the girls were eager to talk to more bands− so he decided a website of their own would be best.
And KidsInterviewBands.com was born.
To date, Connie and Olivia have interviewed 58 bands, including some pretty big names in the alt-rock world: Flogging Molly, Smashing Pumpkins, and Keane, just to name a few.
Though the website is the girls’ main outlet, they also have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube.
“The comments we’ve received on the Clutch interview on YouTube echo many of the things that we’ve heard about all the interviews,” Chip says. “People think that all interviews should be done by kids because they come up with unique and original questions, and not the typical questions that bands have to answer day in and day out.”
The website is updated every Monday and Thursday, and right now the girls have enough material in the can to get through February.
Several Central Ohio media outlets have interviewed Connie and Olivia, and even USA Today has taken notice, featuring Kids Interview Bands on its Pop Candy blog.
That said, it’s arguable Columbus Underground is late to the party but, hey, it’s not easy keeping up with the kids these days.
Between school and homework and interviewing famous people, Connie and Olivia are quite busy. So we recently did an email interview, below, with the girls and Chip. (Their responses have not been edited.)
Melanie McIntyre: How did you two meet?
Connie: We met in 2nd grade as we were both in the same class and we also played on the same soccer team “The Fireballs!”
MM: How do you come up with your interview questions?
Olivia: We try to come up with questions that have fun answers. My dad helps us write questions.
Connie: We usually go to Olivia’s house and sit down and write the questions. If it’s a rush interview we usually do the questions in the car traveling to the interview. We also use the internet to listen to the bands music.
MM: Have you been nervous about interviewing a particular band?
Connie: YES!!!! I was very nervous for the Reverend Peyton & His Big Damn Band interview because he has a big beard and looks very scary. For the interview Olivia and I wore beards which made the interview easier. He was really nice and so was his wife Breezy.
Olivia: I was nervous about interviewing Grouplove because I love that band. And, it was scary because we interviewed everybody in the band but the singer. Most of the times we just interview one or two people in a band.
MM: Is there a particular band you’d like to interview one day?
Olivia: Passion Pit. Muse. Weezer. Phillip Phillips.
Connie: YES!!! YES!!!! YES!!!! MUSE!!!! MUSE!!!! MUSE!!!!
MM: Do either of you have dreams of becoming a reporter?
Connie: I really enjoy interviewing the bands and who knows where it may lead but my dream is to become a professional tennis player.
Olivia: I don’t really know what I want to be. Being a reporter could be fun but right now it’s just a hobby.
MM: Why do you think you work well together?
Connie: Because we are both into the same kind of music and enjoy going to music festivals.
Olivia: I agree with Connie. We both like music and the same bands. And our parents all like music. A lot of our friends at school only like songs they hear on the radio but Connie and I listen to a lot of music all the time.
MM: Do you give the girls any journalistic advice?
Chip: This started out a hobby, just for fun. I coached them a little bit− gave them some pointers on making sure to look at their interview subjects after asking a question, try to ask follow up questions if possible, thank the artists for their time, etc. As we’ve progressed and some new opportunities have arisen, both Connie’s dad [Darren Richards] and myself have tried to coach the girls− one of the biggest things that we’ve worked on (and we’re starting to see pay dividends) is getting the girls to be comfortable not using questions written on index cards as a security blanket.
We find the conversation flows more freely when the girls memorize the questions and treat the interview as a conversation rather than a question-and-answer session. They still have some work to do but it will come with time− we always have to remind ourselves that they are just 6th graders with no formal interview experience. And the fact that they’ve progressed as far as they have in just 6 months of doing this is pretty amazing.
To learn more about Connie and Olivia, visit KidsInterviewBands.com.