One series of interviews I particularly enjoyed researching and conducting for The Wire was “Invisible Jukebox”. The idea is similar to the long-standing “Blindfold Test” in DownBeat: you play a musician a set of tracks which they are asked to identify and comment on – with no prior knowledge of what they’re about to hear.
It proved to be a great way of getting something new and different, something highly personal, from an interviewee; musicians would often respond very emotionally and insightfully to the carefully chosen tracks. Often more so than in many a “straight” interview.
There were quite a number of people that I interviewed using this format, and I’ve included some of the better ones – Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Ali Farka Toure, Jack Bruce, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Leon Redbone, John Harle, Lester Bowie and Billy Jenkins – here, and on the Music page. Some of these interviews also made their way into book form, in an Invisible Jukebox anthology.