Are some of the most interesting audio interviews ever recorded just not visual enough for you? No sweat, Blank on Blank takes famous interviews with iconic figures and slathers them in beautiful animation.
It’s sad but true – our online selves are easily distracted, excellent at scan-reading and in constant need of visual stimulus. Luckily for us, the visual stimulus comes in the form of gorgeous digitally inked animations, set to what is normally an audio-only interview, recorded on cassettes, reels and dictaphones in an age before smartphones.
Each is accompanied with a transcript as well as the location, date and capture medium; along with a short bio of each interviewee and (where possible) the full, unedited interview.
The interview above was recorded on July 22 1993, less than a year before the Nirvana front-man was found dead in his Seattle home. Writer, broadcaster and journalist Jon Savage gleans a revealing and introspective look at Kurt Cobain’s thoughts on identity, his parents divorce and generally not fitting in with the world around him. The topic switches to family life, parental divorce and the physical pain that Kobain “thanks” for its part in Nirvana’s angry sound.
Considering its age, this interview with the Princess of Monaco and American actress the late Grace Kennedy is remarkably high quality – probably because it was recorded on reel-to-reel audio tape. Recorded in June 1965 at Monaco’s Palace of the Principality, Grace speaks of encounters with the late John F. Kennedy, how his youth somehow awoke renewed vigor with younger generations and how she keeps “everything” – including a 1961 White House lunch menu.
“Tupac lives!” – no he doesn’t, but while we’re on the subject here is a March 1994 interview recorded on microcassette (remember those?) in which he shares his thoughts on the topic of mortality. Recorded in a Hollywood restaurant, the audio quality is fairly poor, but that doesn’t detract from the interestingness of the interview, in which Tupac shares some deep down frustrations about the press, growing up and his personal definition of “Thug Life”.
The once prime minister and then president of the Republic of Cuba is sure to divide opinion, but what if your grandfather had personally interviewed him? Laura Galloway’s grandfather just so happened to do just that, in his roll as intro-American Affairs Editor for U.S. News & World Report. Recorded in Havana on reel-to-reel in 1959, Castro went on to serve as prime minister and then president, before passing all major roles to his successor 2008. There’s so much going on here – background noises, typewriters and the interview itself, which is amazing.
Also known as Satchmo (and Pops), Louis Armstrong was one of America’s most celebrated and inventive trumpeteers and vocalists, hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana. This particular interview, recorded on reel-to-reel at Highland Park, Illinois after a show in June 1964 is rather special. The interview was conducted by two students for their student radio station, for which they had to fight off major press outlets – only to be given a whole twenty minutes with the man himself.
Adrock, MCA and Mike D – also known as Beastie Boys – share their thoughts in a 1985 cassette tape interview for ABC News Radio in Washington DC. At the time the band were opening for Madonna, avoiding arrest for swearing on-stage and outrunning crowds who either hated them or were obsessed with them. The band rebut claims they are rap for the suburbs, and talk about the many pre-conceived notions the press had about rap music at the time that didn’t fit with what they were doing.
At the time of publishing, there are a total of 27 Blank on Blank animated interviews, featuring musical icons like Jim Morrison, James Brown and Janis Joplin as well as the likes of author and illustrator Maurice Sendak and broadcaster Larry King.