In hopes of making interviews into friendly conversations, I'm always searching for icebreakers. Be it the town they're from, mutual friends we have, or when I saw them play live, I like to have things a little loose and fun. I definitely don't want to sound like a robot feeding questions into a mainframe computer.
Lately, I've talked with many a folk who are from the Houston area and it's always a fun topic. Earlier today, I conducted an interview for an upcoming My First Show piece and Houston was brought up quite a bit. Given how pop-punk was brought up as well, the conversation went deeper than the surface. It's about searching for reference points and finding spots to explore more, even if it's about a past life.
These days, I visit my hometown only a couple of times a year. I try to strike a balance between having my own life in Dallas and having Houston as my home away from home. I'm always welcome to make the four-hour drive, yet I prefer to be busy with my ongoing life in big D.
When I meet new people in person (or simply have a brief phone conversation for an interview), I never shy away from where I come from. Be it talking about my time living in New Orleans, Austin, or Fort Worth, these are parts of life's path and there's no reason to pretend like my times there never happened.
As I've said before, all I need is a few days back in the old neighborhood to remind myself why I moved in the first place. It's not the people per se; it's the lifestyle and environment. If I need reminders of landlocked, liberal-free thinking, there's the suburbs I grew up in. It's not like a chose a hippie lifestyle living off the land and recycling my urine. It's deciding to stay where I want to be.