Beer balls in full-effect, I stumbled upon Nardwaur at VICELAND during their Snoop Lion concert at SXSW. Here ya go!
G- What’s going on everybody? Once again, this is Greg Allis with Live High Five and we are at Viceland for the Snoop Lion show and, by chance, we happened to come across Interviewer Extraordinaire, NARDWUAR! He’s right here in front of us and he’s gonna let us ask him a couple of quick questions, and we’re not gonna take up too much of his time.
So, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! I would like to know… when did you first get started interviewing, and how did this become what it is?
N- Well, I was president of the student council of my high school, and I was in charge of getting dances happening. So, I asked all the people in high school what sort of bands we should get, and at my high school, a lot of people were into punk, and they recommended a lot of local punk bands. So, I got a few local punk bands to play our high school, and when I got the bands to play, these sort of legendary local punk bands, I said ‘Hey, why don’t I interview the bands’ just to document the night. And that’s how it all started, actually, and I was inspired to do that because my mom had a tv show, a cable access show, where she interviewed people called “Our Pioneers and Neighbors,” and she interviewed local people. And even though they were just local people and they weren’t famous, they had interesting stories. So, that is what kind of inspired me… You don’t have to be famous to have an interesting story!
So, these punk bands came to our high school, I did interviews with them, and then eventually, I got to the University of British Columbia and got a radio show! Like hey, you’re doing this stuff when you were in high school with bands… Why not get involved in a radio show. And that’s how it all got started.
G- Excellent. Now, since you brought up punk bands and bands in general, The Evaporators. You’re making plenty of noise in addition to what you do anyway… What is the plan for The Evaporators for 2013, and can we expect you to do any touring or play, specifically in New York State, so we can see you for the first time.
N- We have played NY a few times. It hasn’t been recently. The last time we played was in 2004 with Franz Ferdinand, and we backed them up at Roseland Ballroom, which was amazing! I enjoyed it… I enjoyed the gig! You can’t really go by merch sales, though.
N- Let me just run this by you… There were 3,000 people there, and we were backing up Franz Ferdinand. How many cd’s did we sell? There were 3,000 people?
N- The night before, we were in Montreal, Quebec. Not NYC. There were 2,000 people there. How many cd’s did we sell?
G- My lord.
N- So, that shows there was a difference between Montreal and NYC. Or maybe it has nothing to do with NY. But, I do want to return, partly because Andrew WK has been playing with us, at least at SXSW playing keyboards, and we recorded a song with him, a couple of songs with him, and we want to play his own club, Santos Party House in NYC.
G- I will make the 5 hour trip from Syracuse to NYC to see that!
N- We did play Albany a long, long, long, long time ago.
G- Long before me, I’m afraid.
N- A guy called Howard organized the gig. I can recall that. I don’t know what Albany has to do with Syracuse, but at least it’s Upstate, isn’t it?
G- It’s two and a half hours east, and it’s an easy drive. And if The Evaporators play, I will be there! No question.
So, my personal favorite interview was the last interview you did with Curren$y. You almost made him cry… You always bring excellent gifts, swag, have very poignant questions, and that’s my favorite interview thus far. What I’d like to know is… what is your personal favorite interview, or what is the interview that is the most memorable, most fun, or the craziest that you’ve had in your very long career doing interviews?
N- Well, my favorite one on radio, because I still do a radio show, is Iggy Pop. For a radio interview, it was amazing, and you can check it out at www.nardwuar.com. In case people are wondering who the hell I am, I’m Nardwuar the human story, and you can check that out at nardwuar.com.
Iggy Pop on the radio was my favorite on the radio. In person, one of my favorites was with a Canadian Prime Minister called Jean Chretien. He was the prime minister of Canada, and it was pretty wild to be able to do an interview with him, and I asked him a question… What happened was, it was an event, APEC, Asia Pacific conference in Vancouver, and a whole bunch of protesters got pepper sprayed, which isn’t too cool, right? You know, the were protesting. And he said, in response to a question I asked him, ‘For me, I put pepper on my plate,’ joking about the protesters, and that got a lot of traction across Canada. Nobody knew that I asked that question, but it was just the fact that it was wild that he was saying this thing, and I was able to generate that answer. I asked him a bunch of stuff about punk rock as well, but I cut that out of there.
So, for political, Jean Chretien, because, you know, interviewing the prime minister of Canada, on the phone, Iggy Pop. And I’ve gotta say, since we’re here at a Snoop Doggy Dogg interview, touch wood, Snoop Doggy Dogg, speaking with him because a lot of people remember my interviews with Snoop Doggy Dogg, and he invited me to his house. It was pretty wild!
Second I will say, though, is Pharell, because Pharell enjoyed the interview, and then he hooked me up with Jay-Z. And because I did an interview with Jay-Z, some other people saw some of my stuff, including Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 in NYC who I bumped into. Bumped into him at SXSW, and when Drake came to Vancouver, he gave me Drake’s cell phone number, and I was able to get an interview with Drake because of Peter Rosenberg. Then, Drake hooked me up with Lil Wayne.
(I’m laughing in amazement)
So, all that started with Jay-Z/Pharell, so that’s number 2. But we’re at a Snoop gig, and it all kinda began with people remembering me from that. You know, ‘You interviewed Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Snoop Doggy Dogg microwaved a blunt for you!’
G- Excellent! I have one last question for you, and I really appreciate your time! From one interviewer to another, who are on complete different wavelengths and calibers of their careers, what I’d like to know is, maybe you can’t help me out directly, but there’s other people that are interested in journalism. They like music, they like news, they like current events… As somebody who has been doing this for a long time, from somebody who’s been doing this a very short time, what advice might you be able to give to somebody who’s looking to do what you do, and be a professional music and cultural journalist, and make it work so people actually pay attention?
N- Well, I would say get involved with campus community radio. I still do a show on a campus community station, CITR. I alos do a show on WFMU in NJ, and it’s an edited version of my CITR show. So I would say get involved with college radio, because at commercial radio stations, you’re the DJ, and you’re told what to do. But at college, you’re a writer, you’re an operator, you’re a producer, and you’re in total control.
Also, with the college stations, you learn a lot because there’s a lot of other DJ’s there, and also, you feel challenged, and it keeps you on your toes. At commercial radio stations, you kinda sit down and if somebody phones in a complaint, you hang up on them. College radio, somebody files a complaint, you listen to them.
Remember, the people that complain are your friends. Your enemies let you rot in hell. So, I love college radio because I learn something every single time I do my show on CITR in Vancouver and I think the minute that I think I know everything is the minute I should quit.
So, I would say to people, just keep getting the knowledge. The more knowledge you have, the better.
G- Excellent! Uhh, we just interviewed Nardwuar an SXSW! Viceland! Snoop Lion! Outside, drunk.
N- It’s Greg?
G- I am Greg Allis, yes.
N- Well, thanks so much, Greg! I really appreciate the support. Keep on rocking in the free world, and Doot Doodle Oot Doo…
G- DOOT DOOT!