10 Best Nardwuar Interviews: How Does He Know Everything?

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Who Is Nardwuar?

Have you ever seen a celebrity interview where the reporter steals the spotlight, and even the celebrity being interviewed is in awe of them? If not, then you haven't seen a Nardwuar interview. John Ruskin, aka "Nardwuar," is a Canadian music journalist whose interviews are so detailed and meticulous that he's made a name for himself among the biggest celebrities. Known for his eccentric appearance and intense dedication to research, Nardwuar has become a staple in the music industry since the late 1980s. He takes a high-energy approach to his interviews, usually sporting a distinct tartan wardrobe, and is most notorious for always being able to surprise his subjects with incredibly detailed and obscure facts about their lives.

But there's more to Nardwuar than just research and questions. Most are unaware that he's also the lead singer and keyboardist for the punk rock band The Evaporators. Being a musician himself, he has a natural affinity for music, with a passion for the questions he asks that is evident in every interview he conducts. He brings a contagious enthusiasm that endears him to both his interviewees and his audience, not only as a quirky persona but as a serious journalist whose work has garnered respect across the music industry.

How Did Nardwuar Get Famous?

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Nardwuar speaking at TEDx in Vancouver in 2010

Nardwuar's journey to fame is a testament to his relentless dedication and innovative approach. He started his career at the University of British Columbia's campus radio station, CITR, where his unique style quickly set him apart. However, it was his ability to surprise his interviewees and connect with audiences on a personal level that truly propelled him to fame. For over 30 years, he's conducted interviews that have gone viral due to the surprising facts he uncovered about his subjects, eliciting genuine reactions of awe from them.

One of his early breakthroughs came from an interview with Nirvana's Kurt Cobain in 1994, which we've included in our list of the 10 best Nardwuar interviews below. This was before Nardwuar had made a name for himself, yet his ability to uncover obscure and personal details left Cobain visibly impressed.

With the rise of YouTube and social media, Nardwuar's interviews have become internet sensations, with millions of views and shares. Artists began to recognize the value of a Nardwuar interview, knowing that it would be both entertaining and a mark of their own personal success to have been interviewed by him. Nardwuar's fame wasn't built overnight; it was the result of years of hard work, innovative thinking, and an unwavering commitment to his craft.

How Does Nardwuar Know Everything?

Nardwuar interviewing artists at the Rolling Loud Hip Hop festival in 2019

As music journalists ourselves, we can testify that even with access to the internet, finding details about artists that are accurate, interesting, and not well-known is not an easy task. Nardwuar's ability to seemingly know everything about his interviewees does not come easily. It is rooted in his exhaustive research process, spending countless hours digging into archives, reading old interviews, scouring the internet, and reaching out to people who have connections with his subjects. This dedication to uncovering even the most obscure details sets him apart from other interviewers.

Nardwuar's network of contacts is another key element of his success, and that network has only grown as his fame has increased. He collaborates with friends, fellow researchers, and librarians who assist him in tracking down rare information. This collaborative effort ensures that no stone is left unturned. Nardwuar also leverages his extensive collection of vinyl records, magazines, and other music memorabilia to find unique insights.

His research is not just about finding facts; it's about understanding the context and significance of those facts. Nardwuar's interviews are meticulously planned, with each question designed to surprise and engage his subjects. This level of preparation is why his interviews are so memorable and why artists often react with astonishment at the depth of his knowledge.

The 10 Best Nardwuar Interviews

1. Lil Uzi Vert (2018)

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In 2018, Nardwuar's interview with Lil Uzi Vert quickly became a fan favorite and is often regarded as the best Nardwuar interview. Lil Uzi Vert, known for his eclectic style and energetic trap music, has made a significant impact on the modern rap scene. Throughout the interview, Lil Uzi Vert's reactions ranged from shock to sheer disbelief as Nardwuar revealed deep-cut details about his life and career, leaving the rapper visibly troubled.

At one point, Lil Uzi Vert was so overwhelmed that he ran away from Nardwuar, who, in true form, chased after him to finish the interview. This entertaining pursuit highlighted Nardwuar's relentless dedication to his craft. Fans were left wondering, "how does Nardwuar know everything?" This interview not only showcased Nardwuar's unparalleled research skills but also provided an unforgettable, humorous moment in his extensive catalog of the best Nardwuar interviews.

2. DJ Khaled (2010)

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DJ Khaled, a renowned producer and media personality, is famous for his hit anthems, larger-than-life persona, and catchphrases like "We the Best." His music features collaborations with top artists, delivering high-energy tracks that fans love for their infectious beats and star-studded lineups.

In 2010, Nardwuar's interview with DJ Khaled became an instant classic among the best Nardwuar interviews. Known for his unparalleled research skills, Nardwuar left DJ Khaled astounded with his deep dive into Khaled's past. The interview was a rollercoaster of emotions, with Khaled reacting in amazement as Nardwuar revealed personal anecdotes and rare memorabilia related to his early career. This session showcased Nardwuar's knack for uncovering hidden gems, prompting many to ask, "how does Nardwuar know everything?" The engaging and humorous exchanges, combined with Khaled's animated responses, made this interview a standout moment, highlighting Nardwuar's unique interviewing style and thorough preparation.

3. Kurt Cobain (1994)

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Kurt Cobain, the frontman of Nirvana, was a pivotal figure in the grunge music scene of the early '90s. Nirvana's influence on music and culture was profound, with Cobain's raw lyrics and distinctive sound leaving a lasting legacy. In 1994, Nardwuar the Human Serviette conducted one of his best interviews with Cobain, alongside Courtney Love and other members of Nirvana. This interview stands out not only because of Nardwuar's unique style but also because Cobain was seldom seen in public, offering a rare glimpse into his life before his tragic passing.

At the time, Nardwuar was not widely known, and Nirvana did not treat him with the reverence many do today. Cobain, in an attempt to mock and annoy, even coughed in Nardwuar's face. Despite this, Nardwuar pressed on, showcasing his extraordinary ability to uncover personal details that left Cobain and Love visibly surprised. Nardwuar's research skills were on full display, raising the question many fans still ask: "how does Nardwuar know everything?"

This interview is a testament to Nardwuar's dedication and distinctive approach, making it one of the best Nardwuar interviews. It captures Cobain's complex personality and offers fans a unique and intimate portrait of the enigmatic rock star.

4. Pharrell Williams (2008)

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Nardwuar's 2008 interview with Pharrell Williams and N.E.R.D. stands out as one of the top 10 Nardwuar interviews. Pharrell Williams, an influential figure in music, has achieved remarkable success as a producer, singer, and songwriter, leaving an indelible mark on the industry with hits spanning multiple genres. This interview is not just entertaining but also a testament to Nardwuar's exceptional research skills.

Throughout the interview, Pharrell Williams is visibly amazed by the depth of Nardwuar's knowledge, repeatedly praising him for the meticulous preparation. This genuine admiration from a music icon underscores how Nardwuar knows everything, impressing even the most seasoned artists. Pharrell's astonishment and appreciation highlight the unique charm of Nardwuar's interview style, making this conversation a memorable and significant entry in his catalog of the best Nardwuar interviews. It showcases Nardwuar's dedication to his craft and his ability to connect with artists on a profound level, solidifying his reputation as a legendary interviewer.

5. Ice Cube (2004)

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Nardwuar's 2004 interview with Ice Cube is a classic example of his quirky yet insightful style. At this point, Nardwuar was still an emerging figure, and Ice Cube had no idea who he was. The result is a hilarious and engaging exchange that highlights Nardwuar's unique approach.

Ice Cube, a founding member of N.W.A., played a pivotal role in pioneering gangsta rap, bringing raw and unfiltered narratives of urban life to the forefront of music. During the interview, Nardwuar questions Ice Cube about N.W.A.'s influence and playfully challenges him by suggesting that Spoony G might have actually started gangsta rap. Ice Cube's reaction is a mix of amusement and curiosity as he navigates Nardwuar's unconventional questioning.

The banter takes an entertaining turn when Nardwuar asks if he should be scared of Ice Cube, the "gangsta" rapper. With a quick wit, Nardwuar quips that he doesn't think he needs to be, calling him "Nice Cube." This playful exchange not only showcases Ice Cube's lighter side but also Nardwuar's ability to disarm his interviewees with humor and deep research.

This interview remains a standout for its genuine and unexpected moments, earning its place among the best Nardwuar interviews. It exemplifies how Nardwuar knows everything, surprising even the most legendary figures in music with his extensive knowledge.

6. Whitney Cummings (2014)

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Whitney Cummings, a celebrated comedian, actress, and producer known for her sharp wit and hit shows like "2 Broke Girls," sat down with Nardwuar in 2014 for one of the best Nardwuar interviews. Nardwuar's thorough research and quirky presentation left Cummings both surprised and impressed.

During the interview, Nardwuar unearthed obscure details about Cummings' career and personal life, prompting her to ask, "how does Nardwuar know everything?" His ability to connect with Cummings through unexpected facts and thoughtful gifts created a unique and engaging dynamic.

This interview stands out because of the genuine reactions and chemistry between Nardwuar and Cummings. It highlights Nardwuar's unparalleled research skills and his knack for creating memorable moments, solidifying his reputation as an extraordinary interviewer.

7. Waka Flocka Flame (2014)

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Nardwuar's 2014 interview with Waka Flocka Flame is a standout example of his unique interview style. Known for his energetic performances and hits in the hip-hop scene, Waka Flocka Flame is left astonished as Nardwuar showers him with gifts that hold deep personal significance. From rare vinyl records to memorabilia, Nardwuar's gifts reveal insights into Waka Flocka's past that few know about.

Amazed by Nardwuar's extensive knowledge, Waka Flocka exclaims, "Who are you?" at one point, clearly impressed. The highlight comes when Waka Flocka, in a gesture of appreciation and camaraderie, gives Nardwuar a neck chain, declaring, "You're in the squad now." This interview is celebrated as one of the best Nardwuar interviews, showcasing how Nardwuar knows everything and continues to surprise and engage his guests with his thorough research and genuine interactions.

8. Justin Trudeau (2015)

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Nardwuar's 2015 interview with Justin Trudeau is a fascinating departure from his usual focus on musicians and actors, showing that Nardwuar isn't afraid to delve into the political arena. Trudeau, then the leader of the Liberal Party and soon-to-be Prime Minister of Canada, tries to steer the conversation back to serious issues. However, Nardwuar, with his relentless and quirky style, keeps things light-hearted and entertaining.

One of the most memorable moments is when Nardwuar convinces Trudeau to play "Flip the Hip," a game clearly designed to make the appearance-conscious politician look silly. Despite his initial hesitation, Trudeau agrees after Nardwuar points out all the others who didn't back down. The result is a fun and engaging segment that showcases Trudeau's willingness to participate and Nardwuar's knack for drawing his subjects into unexpected situations. 

This interview demonstrates Nardwuar's notorious ability to blend humor with in-depth knowledge. He can get even some of the most serious adn professional figures to let their guard down, while wondering "does Nardwuar know everything?"

9 Seth Rogan (2017)

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Nardwuar's 2017 interview with Seth Rogen is a standout, showcasing Nardwuar's incredible ability to uncover obscure details. Rogen, known for his comedic genius and roles in hit films, is visibly surprised as Nardwuar delves into his childhood fondness for Wu-Tang Clan and Ol' Dirty Bastard, even revealing how Rogen got kicked out of a Wu-Tang show once. Rogen's reactions, ranging from laughter to amazement, highlight Nardwuar's knack for deeply personal research, making this one of the best Nardwuar interviews.

Seth Rogen, a multifaceted talent, has accomplished a diverse array of things, from acting and writing to producing and directing. His impressive body of work includes iconic comedies, voice acting in animated films, and impactful roles in dramatic projects. This interview not only entertains but also provides a unique glimpse into Rogen's life, underscoring Nardwuar's unmatched interviewing skills.

10. Post Malone (2017)

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Nardwuar's 2017 interview with Post Malone is a memorable highlight among his best interviews. Known for his genre-blending music that mixes hip-hop, pop, and rock, Post Malone has made a huge impact on the music scene with hits like "Rockstar" and "Circles." During the interview, Nardwuar astonishes Malone by recalling obscure details from his past, bringing up names and events that only Malone thought he remembered. This leads to the classic Nardwuar moment where he exclaims, "You're Post Malone, we HAVE to know!"

In a delightful twist, Nardwuar gifts Malone with antique 1981 chewing gum, knowing Malone's love for Elvis Presley. Malone's reactions range from surprise to sheer amusement, showcasing Nardwuar's unique ability to deeply connect with his guests. This interview is a testament to how Nardwuar knows everything, providing fans with a fun and intimate look at their favorite artist. The entertaining dynamic and personal touches make this one of the best Nardwuar interviews.

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