the best and worst music interviews we've ever done

​To close out this week’s music takeover, we asked our nearest and dearest to tell us their highs – and lows – of music journalism. From Wiley making omelettes to a shouty Michelle Williams, here are some of the best / worst / mad / bad interviews...

by i-D Team
20 February 2015, 9:50am

My favorite interview ever was with a very high Rick Ross. After waiting for almost an hour in his hotel suite with a fancy fruit platter and a black bottle of his Belaire bubbles, I was shown through to Rozay's room and joined him in a smoky corner to talk about his childhood, money and pandas. He called me babygirl repeatedly and we took selfies. Close contenders include trying to befriend Lana Del Rey, accusing Pharrell of being a vampire and walking the most kawaii popstar in the world, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, through East London and up to the flat above the Old Blue Last. She bloody loved it! Francesca Dunn

Annoyingly my worst interview was with Zach Braff who ain't in the music business (thank fuck), but I once interviewed Earl Sweatshirt and he insisted we watched World Star Hip Hop while we did it, or he wouldn't be able to concentrate. I'm awkward at the best of times, but this was in a hotel room with his entourage and he kept playing the grossest videos ever and then being like, "Is that her arm or his dick?" and I'm like, "that is definitely not a penis babes." Then for the shoot, we were walking around Shepherd's Bush and he kept suggesting we put stuff through peoples letter boxes, so it was kind of like babysitting an insane child with a penchant for porn. Shannon Mahanty

My most awkward interview was (poor) Michelle Williams. She was over in the UK doing a short stint in the West End production of Chicago and I went to meet her. There was a slightly tense atmosphere as soon as I walked into the room but everything was going OK until I asked her about Kelly Rowland, who was also in the UK at the time doing X Factor. "Have you had time to hang out with Kelly while you've been over?" She gave me the filthiest look, paused, then stared straight at me. "Are you suggesting I'm going to hang out with Kelly so I can get my picture in the papers?" It was HORRIBLE. I tried to explain that this wasn't what I meant at all, because it obviously wasn't, but I don't think she was entirely convinced and the rest of the interview was about as convivial as a red carpet encounter between Mariah and JLo. Nick Levine

Hands down, my most favourite interview ever was with Quincy Jones. We talked for a while about his career, and he told me a bunch of stories about Michael Jackson and the first time he ever met Tupac (remember Pac dated his daughter, Kidada). While the whole interview was full of awesome, the part that had me in the fetal position involved Mr. Jones telling me I looked familiar and if I was one of Aaliyah's friends. I wanted to reply "Yes. In my head," but I just politely replied, "No though I love her and miss her everyday." After the interview, I quietly sobbed in the privacy of my home. Just kidding, but anyone thinking I could ever be cool enough to have hung out with Aaliyah is like the greatest compliment ever. Having it come from Mr. Quincy Jones is a double platinum bonus. Kathy Iandoli

I guess mine is interviewing Dre and getting chucked out of the room for mentioning Detox. Ooops. Kieran Yates

My best interview ever but wasn't actually mine - I was there as marketing manager. It was when Wiley refused to do his press day at the Presidential Suite at the Royal Garden Hotel and requested it be moved to his house so that he could finish making his omelette in peace… One of the guys came to do an interview and Wiley was looking at him funny for ages, then he said "I know you from somewhere you look familiar." He couldn't work out where from. The guy got really, really awkward then confessed that he was previously on the show Take Me Out. Wiley of course spent the remainder of the guy's interview on YouTube looking for the clip and in stitches with laughter. It was brilliant. Sian Anderson

It's hard to choose one, but a memorable-ish interview was going to Atlanta with a bunch of journalists to interview Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins (I know, right). On arrival around 3pm, we were greeted with a range of spirits, including, approximately, 28 bottles of Patron. At Jon (and his mute mates the Eastside Boyz)'s bidding, we were soon doing shots out of a petrol can (it was a 'thing' by all accounts) for about an hour while he played us soon-to-be-classic bangers like Lovers And Friends. When it was time for individual interviews, which we were told would be about an hour per journalist, we were ushered in to meet Jon one at a time. On finding out I had Irish heritage, he insisted we did another three shots. All I really remember is having a lovely time and before I knew it the interview was over and the next person was up. Later on that night he took us on a tour of strip clubs and even gave us a stack of one-dollar bills to 'make it rain' (I kept my $26 for a much needed Taco Bell later that night). It was only when I transcribed my interview a few days later that I realised I had been given barely ten minutes with Jon and during that time all he'd pretty much said was 'Ooooohhkkkaaaay' and 'Yeaaaaaaahhhh'. Which is about all I'd managed to say too. Didn't make for the most informative of interviews but regardless. Total lad. Hattie Collins

One of my favorite interviews was a telephone call to Amanda Lear. Amanda is one of those icons whose legacy is everything. She was a queen of the disco era in the late 70s along with Grace Jones and Donna Summer. Over the years she has continued to make music, paint and in the past few years has become an accomplished actress. When I got through to her, her distinctive drawl threw me completely as she recounted her days as a model living in London hanging out with Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and of course David Bowie, who encouraged her to sing and inspired her recording career. I kept pinching myself... 'I am actually talking to Amanda Lear!' Then she went on to tell me about her friendship with Salvador Dali... she was a muse to many, appearing on a cover for Roxy Music's album For Your Pleasure' - you know the one, walking a black panther dressed in a skin tight ensemble in 1973. Princess Julia

My best interview ever has got to be with the don that is Seth Troxler. I went to his place in London and we chilled and chatted for over an hour, mainly about the two most important things in the world: music and food. His dog fell asleep on me and dribbled on my leg which was a bit gross but then he said "youuu wanna drink?, cracked open a bottle of expensive, delicious red and we smoked this weird type of cigarette thing which made me forget all about the dog dribble and the majority of the conversation we had... James Hutchins

By far the strangest interview I've ever done was the one-and-only grandfather of hip hop, Afrika Bambaataa. We ended up speaking for about two hours, the first half of which he schooled me in the history of hip hop, hanging out with Johnny Rotten, James Brown, The Clash, The Bronx in the 70s, all the good stuff, it was incredible. We finished up and before I could leave he just said "Expect mother earth, she is the living entity, the wrath of the creator and the destroyer will come down upon all humans." And then spent the next hour not letting me leave, and going into quite terrifying detail on the relationship between aliens (although the aliens are already here), pyramids, the new world order, the end of the world, The Knowledge, how he was going to save the world from the apocalypse, the secret subterranean freemason world under England, Nostradamus and how the airliners are stealing his records. Felix Petty  

A few stand out: Calling Tweet Ashanti then hanging the phone up was pretty shit of me. Erykah Badu making me want to cry wasn't great. [i-D'S Music Ed] Hattie Collins making Missy stop her album cos the sound was 'a bit off' was another highlight. Chantelle Fiddy


Photography Mads Perch
[The Wild Women Issue, No. 274, March 2007]

music week
music interviews