It was the most sleep I have gotten in a long time. Day 4 wore me out, but I had to get up. We had another busy day scheduled with back to back interviews and showcases. We got our gear together and slowly made our way out of our hotel room, starting our SXSW 2016 Chronicle Day 5. First thing’s first, I needed some eats. We went into a cafe nearby, grabbed some scones and coffee as we looked over our itinerary. We headed over to the Convention Center shortly after and I noticed a bunch of artwork hanging in an exhibit area. It was the Flatstock exhibit which showcased artists that specialize in creating concert posters. This is a showcase put together by the American Poster Institute and a really awesome site called Gig Posters. I own a Gig Poster book so I was happy to have come across it. We had featured Tara McPherson on Highlark, so it would have been great to meet her in person but she was away from her booth at the time. I was having fun finding great artists which will be a feature on Highlark soon, but Mitch got a call from the band for our first interview so we rushed over to meet them.
SATURDAY 03/19/16 – AUSTIN, TEXAS
The band was Death By Unga Bunga, a rock band who was in town all the way from Norway. We met just outside of the Flatstock exhibit, so we decided we should do the interview there with some nice art in the background. It’s funny when the interview video comes out you’ll see that the band and I look like we just got out of bed. Their English was really good, and I was surprised to hear that SXSW is well known even in Norway.
As I’ve mentioned, today was much more of a back to back situation. We made our way to the second interview which was with Pure Bathing Culture. When we got there, lead singer Sara was waiting for us. Dan, the other half of the group was on the way, but since they had a gig coming up soon we got the interview started with Sara. Dan came right after we wrapped up, so I took a quick photo with the both of them. I kind of felt bad this one became short, but we had to run to the next interview and they needed to start getting ready for their set. It’s all part of the SXSW craziness!
A Giant Dog was a rock band that we heard right before we headed to Austin, but they make good music so we were happy to get a chance to meet them. They were a local band, so I asked about how the residents of Austin feel about this event, which takes over their entire town. I made sure I got the inside scoop on the best BBQ spot in Austin, but you’ll have to wait till their interview is published to find out!
One band I was really looking forward to interviewing was NOFX. They were one of my favorite bands growing up, so it was pretty surreal to have this opportunity. They were supposed to be next but the time didn’t end up working out. I was hopeful we can make it happen, but in the meantime we went to meet up with the boys from Public Access TV. I had interviewed John and Xan from the band for Highlark back in NYC, so I was thinking on focusing my questions to bass player Max and drummer Pete. Pete wasn’t able to make it so the spotlight was on Max.
Still no word from NOFX, but that gave us a little time before the next interview. We were able to catch A Giant Dog perform and then we reached out to rapper Marco Pavé to see if he was in the area. He was still on his way here, so we linked up with Brooklyn group Shinobi Ninja. When you hear that a band is from Brooklyn, you think indie rock or hipster music, but the Ninjas were their own beast. They are undoubtedly a rock band but they mix a lot of influences and create really fun music. Shinobi Ninja is probably one of the most positive groups out there and that attitude alone has taken them a long way. We have mad love for the Ninjas!
By the time we finished, Marco was posted up right by where we were. It took a while spotting him amongst a sea of SXSWers even though we were in the same area. Marco is one of my favorite rappers right now, and is a really intelligent person who cares about developing art in his hometown Memphis as well as getting rid of illiteracy among the youth. Make sure you check out his interview once it goes live, he is doing a lot of great things for his community.
We made it back to the venue to catch Shinobi Ninja perform, and as advertised they put on a great show. It was cool to see the crowd get bigger and bigger as patrons walking by stopped their feet to watch the show, captivated by the band’s energy. We were still trying to make the NOFX interview work, but most of the hard work was done for Day 5. We were wandering around looking to eat and we ran into some fashionable ladies. We were slacking on our “Styles Of SXSW” big time, so we snapped a quick photo with the girls. They were Courtney, Emily, Whitney and somehow we are missing the name of the 4th girl, so hopefully they’ll tag her when we get it up on Instagram! Sorry!
The moment finally came, and we were able to figure out a time to interview NOFX! Their tell-all autobiography was due out April 12th, and you can read about the bulk of my experience in our ‘Reads‘ section if you haven’t already done so. It was not what I had imagined at all, but certainly something I will never forget.
Our SXSW journey was nearing to an end and still so much to see. We got there late but was able to catch Alexx Mack perform. There were no backup dancers, lavish outfits or backup singers, just Alexx and a small backing band. This is the type of setting where you really get to see how good a pop singer is. Alexx sounded amazing, belting out every lyric. Sorry to disappoint the haters but you won’t find any lip-syncing here, she’s the real deal!
One band we really wanted to catch live was Public Access TV. We kept missing their previous showcases but finally we were able to make it. We made our way towards the stage, and Cipha Sounds was spinning in between sets. We interviewed him during Day 4, so it was cool to see him do his thing. I have to admit, it was a little funny to see PATV go on after a Hip-Hop set. They played a great show, and I was excited to hear some new songs which I assume will be on their upcoming album. It’s going to be a good one from what I heard there!
SXSW was really a great experience, and the talk of it becoming too corporate and commercial in my opinion doesn’t hold water. The energy and excitement are still there, with tons of authentic bands working hard and playing their hearts out. The festival still had plenty of grassroots spirit and it still is the right of passage for the buzz bands that are about to break out. If you never have gone before, you definitely should make your way to Austin next year and experience the insanity for yourself!