This week’s mammoth SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas, is one of the music industry’s biggest events. Several West Michigan bands have made the trip to make their mark and soak it all in. Here are impressions from two of them, in their own words.
THE OUTER VIBE
Nick Hosford, Sean Zee, Lisa Kacos, Andrew Dornoff, Noah Snyder
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You think you know what it’s about, you think you know what to expect. You spend days there and you think you’ve seen it all … and in the end when it’s time to pack up and head to your next tour stop, you realize you barely scratched the surface and only experienced about .5% of what SXSW is all about.
You fight through the crowds down the main street of downtown Austin, and music is blaring out of every door on 6th Street. You wander around the corner and suddenly there’s another whole neighborhood of stages and tens of thousands of more people. You wander past all the touristy food stands and happen to find the best Texas BBQ joint on earth, buried between old houses and dive bars.
You wait in line for two hours to hear a supposed up-and-coming act that everyone is buzzing about, only to be disappointed by the performance. Then as you’re hurrying to catch another show, you see the best act of the conference performing on a street corner.
You push through a crowded club to buy a beer and find yourself standing next to the band Spoon.
You’re trying to get from the noisy outside stage into the bar and you literally run into Elijah Wood, who stepped outside to smoke a cigarette after his DJ set.
You’re standing outside your venue trying to come up with promotional strategies, and suddenly Bob Boilen from NPR walks by.
In a nutshell: it’s overwhelming, you’re not as prepared as you should be, and you’re flying by the seat of your pants. You have to go back next year. (See The Outer Vibe’s video update below.)
Katie Larson, Savannah Buist, Michael Dause
SXSW is a totally new creature for us. On Monday, we pulled in to Austin, Texas. Talk about some crazy traffic. There were bicycles weaving in and out, cars just packing out the streets, bicyclists and drivers yelling at each other. It totally felt like an episode of Portlandia. Our minds are blown.
We did our first podcast ever with Johnny Goudie — somehow we managed to talk about cannibalism, space and Elliot Smith all in one hour-long interview. It was hilarious and a really good way to kick off our SXSW experience.
We got a little taste of home here at SXSW at the Creative Many Michigan House, which featured Michigan-based bands, foods and people. It was good to see some familiar faces there. We recorded a song there and submitted it to ArtPrize. We are excited to see where that leads us.
We did our first showcase at the Embassy Suites. We’re doing a smattering of showcases, but our official ones are at Stephen F’s Bar (Thursday night) and Fleming Artists’ (our booking agency) official showcase at Swan Dive on Friday. Those are the big ones, and we are getting super pumped for those.
We also saw a familiar Michigan face: The Violin Monster. He’s a violinist who plays on the streets of almost every Michigan town wearing this crazy werewolf mask. He recognized us, and we all shared hugs and it was amazing.
Then, on our way back to our car walking through the crowded streets of Austin, we ran into Salt, a fantastic hip-hop artist who took a selfie with us and hooked us up with his album, which we are blasting through the streets. “Keep Austin Weird”? Sounds like our kind of slogan.
Today (Wednesday) we’re off to do some networking alongside of our “Power Rangers” (a group of people who came to SXSW to help connect us to cool opportunities). The Accidental Power Rangers consist of Ellie Wiscomb and Val Haller, who is a music tastemaker with her own mobile app called Valslist. It basically puts together the perfect playlists. With her is a fantastic Boston booking agent named Cindy Lange.
Doing panels this week are Marshall Crenshaw and Stewart Lerman, who are recording and producing our upcoming album in New York.
Molly from MCT Management in New York came out to say hi. Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions (a fantastic man who puts on dozens of Michiganm concerts and events that we are lucky enough to participate in) is power-housing for us this week. Lastly, Amanda Slaybaugh from Fleming Artists, our brand new booking agency from Ann Arbor, is staying in our condo with us and we are bonding over jalepeño chips and music. We feel like these guys are going to be helping us every step of the way.
More showcases await us Jake Burgess, our videographer, is cataloguing everything that happens: the good, the bad and the ugly, so stay tuned to our Facebook page. You can find our YouTube channel link at moreaccidentals.com.
We love and miss you guys up in the great white north. We’ll be home soon!
VIDEO: THE OUTER VIBE IN AUSTIN
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