Fidgeting. Nervous chuckles. Long pauses. Really, really long pauses.
Almost from the moment the interview began, members of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros looked uncomfortable, or bored, or maybe just too tired to deal with Bryant Park host Luke Burbank's questions.
Burbank asked, "How do you guys create a song?"
Absolute silence from Sigur Ros, then, finally, "We just sit down and create a song."
The interview was not just bad, it was awful, disastrous enough to merit posting on the Bryant Park blog as "possibly the worst interview in the history of electronic media." In the week since that five minutes of video hit the site, on Oct. 10, more than 240 people have written in — many of them Icelanders and fans of the band taking Burbank to task.
"Yes, they are shy and sometimes awkward, but a good interviewer would have known enough about his subject to know what to expect and prepare for that," Inga wrote.
"Maybe the problem here was the idiot interviewing them," Kamran commented.
Amid the chorus of umlauts, Burbank did have his defenders. Carolyn said she thought the Sigur Ros players hadn't wanted to do the interview. "I hope you gave them all a good verbal smacking afterwards for being rude," she said.
On Tuesday, Burbank called the doctor, veteran music journalist Jancee Dunn. Author of But Enough About Me, Dunn picked the interview apart (video evidence here). Not unsympathetic, Dunn gave Burbank credit for pronouncing the Icelandic names correctly and for opening well, but tagged him for answering his own question. The trick, she said, is to address a band's drummer. "Look at his yearning expression," she said, pointing to the skinny guy in the white shirt. "It says, 'Ask me a question. I'm friendly. Over here! Over here!'"
"He didn't say one thing the entire interview," Burbank said. "That's how bad it was. That's how bad I did."