Never thought I’d say this, but Marc Maron shared some excellent insight on how he prepares for his interviews.
I put it this way because he doesn’t seem like the ‘by the books’ mentor that one would hope for when pursuing their own career path. That said, a successful path should never be copied, nor should it follow a formula that works and has been done before. A creative career path needs to be just that - creative. It should be different than others, otherwise, what separates you from the competition?
I always try to pull important quotes and/or advice from as many successful creatives as possible. Marc Maron may not be a Larry King or Charlie Rose but he certainly knows how to talk. But more importantly, he knows how to listen.
So here are the tricks that work in his book:
- Lean In To Your Neuroses: “This podcast was a surprising thing. It just synched up with my need to talk to people…Once the show started evolving as a conversation show, those conversations were essential to me. The best conversations I had were things I needed to talk about.”
- Prepare: “Generally for prep I’ll go to Wikipedia and get hung up on where people are born. I blast through their life and get a feeling for what they might have gone through as a kid.”
- Listen Closely: “I can’t really detach. When I’m not talking [during the interview], I’m way in it.”
- Let Dialogue Evolve On Its Own: “I don’t make a list of questions. Ever. I think a lot of my interviews are driven by my need to feel connection. You listen and when you hear intonations, you hear feelings. It’s just feeling where there’s something more, getting them to a place that they’re not usually.”
- Know When To Provoke: “If you’re dealing with someone you don’t already know, who you’ve experienced only by their work, you have a one-sided relationship. A lot of times what I do is I impose my idea of them and let them fight it.” –> I’ve heard Larry King say the exact opposite - never enter an interview with a predisposed opinion.
- Stay Honest: “I had John Cale in. I hadn’t listened to his new record, so I spent an hour talking about his old stuff…Finally he was like, 'Are we going to talk about my new record?’ So either I’m going to pretend or walk into this awkwardness. I admitted it, and it worked out. It was better than being dishonest. People know.”
So, thank you Marc Maron, for adding to my arsenal and thank you Fast Company for publishing the article.