So here is a little run down of what we saw while at SXSW in Austin Texas, it might be useful to get a bit of background info on the festival which began in 1987. The reason for starting the festival came out of a frustration and isolation that was felt by musicians based in Austin, what with them being located in the middle of Texas they wanted to reach out to a global market and bring business to them. To do that successfully, SXSW needed to appeal to people other than local artists whether they were from Austin, Ft. Worth, Chicago, Toronto, Munich or Tokyo. The music event has grown from 700 professional registrants in 1987 to nearly 12,000 registrants, people now come from all over the world in order to network, check out new bands and to showcase labels.
This is our fourth year at SXSW and we have found it invaluable in terms of finding interesting acts for both our year round programme and also for curating Supersonic Festival, it also gives us the opportunity to meet with agents and labels that we work with face to face. Each year we try and approach our time at SXSW slightly differently in order to have new experiences. Of course this is where we had our showcase with Oxbow in 2007 which turned into a full blown bar room brawl (you can read all about that here).
So here is a little run down of what we did at SXSW Music:
Firstly and I guess most importantly was the cupcake van, no festival is complete without some kind of baked delights, this ingenious van was located at convenient places over the course of the week, which meant that I had to try a carrot cake cup cake with cream cheese topping purely as research.
We went and checked out HR from Bad Brains solo project, having been a big fan of Bad Brains we were curious to see what this was going to be like…unfortunately it was a little dull a bit too dub.
This is Flatstock, a huge poster art fair, presented by the American Poster Institute, a truely overwhelming experience when you first enter a huge warehouse type space filled with music related screen prints. Over the years we have purchased many a print, to the point where we no longer have wall space at home. Flatstock features groups such as Burlesque Of North America, Mexican Chocolate Design and Engine House 13.
Teepee records showcase, the highlight was a band called Black Math Horseman these guys are from Los Angeles and have a female vocalist with a similar vibe to OM in that they are pretty heavy & repetitive, Tee Pee describe them as ambient post-doom. Also playing were Earthless (who will be at Supersonic this year and feature proloific drummer and skateboarder Mario Rubalcaba, he’s played with Rocket From The Crypt, went on to bang away for the Hot Snakes, was the drummer for hardcore art-punks Clikatat Ikatowi and previously was in the Black Heart Procession.) We first saw Earthless at a Teepee showcase 3 years ago and have been hassling them to play Supersonic ever since, so we’re really excited that they’ll be over in July.
We were lucky enough to catch the Flower Travellin’ Band and wig out to Endless Boogie at the Knitting Factory showcase, it was a real privilege to witness the antics of the Flower Travellin Band from Japan, they were originally meant to open for the Rolling Stones in 1973 but due to visa issues were not allowed into States, so better late that never, they must have been a really big influence on Acid Mothers Temple.
“Their particular brand of psychedelic rock is delightfully heavy and strange, emphasized by the fact that they have abandoned the electric guitar in favor of the hugely complex, wide-necked sitarla. Vocalist Akira “Joe” Yamanaka’s voice is jarring and alien, but somehow suits the band’s style quite well. I don’t often think of this sound as having thrived across the world in Japan, but FTB’s extensive discography says otherwise.” [JDub Records blog]
More to come…