Part 8 of The Memories of SXSW ’16 – Artist Edition series actually has an underlying moral – even the smallest events and moments that at the time may seem frustrating can be memorable. Enjoy the moment because you may never get another chance, and the five artists featured today are living by this mantra.
The Blancos (USA)
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Since it was our first time at SXSW we didn’t really know what to expect. Overall, we thought it had a great vibe and really focused on the artist. We felt blessed to have the opportunity to play an official showcase [for BMI] considering we only started releasing music to the world a little less than two months ago! (The music comes off our new EP titled Broken Kids.)
We had a great time walking around and checking out the city of Austin, hearing the different styles of music both in and outside of venues and bars along the way. It was an overload of creativity, which was inspiring to us to see just how hungry other people are for their dreams.
Photo courtesy of BMI
The Gills (USA)
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1.) One highlight was definitely playing the Firehouse Lounge for the Music Saves Lives showcase. Our drummer, Matt, had a bad case of mono and still slayed the drums making it a killer set.
2.) It was really cool to see our friend Rayland Baxter and his band put on a really great show at the Spotify’s main stage. It was one of the best sounding shows we heard all week. We are proud to be representing the same city with bands like that.
3.) We saw Wolfmother completely smash while lightning lit up the entire sky in Austin. It looked like a music video. It started storming so hard that they cut the show early. We grabbed some whiskey and waited it out under a bridge. We remembered what it felt like to be really energized by a show and an experience like that.
4.) As if we didn’t run into enough bad luck with our drummer having Mono, our van brokedown on the way home. We went through 5 batteries before we made it back. Took about 16 hours. Not fun then, but great memories now.
JR Nelson (USA)
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I was standing outside the back door of the Brew Exchange. The bar Erin from Beautiful Buzz has been blessing with amazing music for the past 6 years, hyperventilating on Thursday Night. I must have driven the security guard crazy with how much I was pacing back-and-forth. Inside, some of my favorite artists 10 times my size were on stage or about to take the stage, and the crowd was filled with influencers and artists I never dreamed of meeting no-less performing for.
Despite the years of hard work, practice, and growth leading to this point, nothing could have prepared me for the feeling of debuting music in front of my biggest inspirations. From the moment I climbed on stage and hit play, the evening was a blur, and I felt much more comfortable concentrating on my set. I got off stage to a flurry of support and encouragement from the crowd, and my manager was overflowing with compliments I had received while performing. It was the first time I truly felt validated as an artist despite the four years I’ve put in to this point. I felt like a member of the community, and that people saw more in my than I sometimes saw in myself. That moment made all the money, and the flights, and the years of work worth it. I never wanted to fly home, and I’m counting the days until I’m back.
Photo by Tyler Martin
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1. Seeing music. Mike Watt at the Main II. Our friends Riothorse Royale. Homeboy Sandman at the Stones Throw Anniversary Party. Then running into Homeboy Sandman at the airport just 6 hours after the show.
2. Playing music. Especially the This Fiction showcase at Stubbs on Saturday night. It was fun to see a lot of friends who were also playing that night, plus I think we scared some people. In a good way.
3. Getting naked on camera during an interview. After seven interviews back to back, you gotta change it up a bit!
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1) Our first SXSW show this year was a day before the festival “officially” started. It was for a group called do512 and in order to play it we had to drive overnight from St. Louis. Even though we brought a lot of pizza, it was still a very rigorous drive. But then the show itself was so worth it and we felt a really wonderful energy from that audience. It’s always fun when people know the words to your songs come out specifically to see you.
2) Will and I went to the Alamo Drafthouse and saw the movie “Midnight Special”. We drank really delicious milkshakes and took it easy. It was nice to be reminded that even though SXSW is great, it is still possible to take a break and go see a sci-fi movie about a boy with beautiful glowing blue eyes. Go see it! Michael Shannon takes his role seriously as always.
3) One of my best friends, Mal Blum, was also playing the festival, and we kept doing this thing where we would surprise each other by showing up at the same location. They told me they were at a coffee shop one afternoon, and I told them we could catch up later. Then I noticed I was actually in front of the coffee shop, so I went in and watched them text me for a minute before going over. It’s a pretty mild prank, but then I did the same thing in Carborro, North Carolina a couple days later (didn’t realize we were both booked to play the same night), so that one was even more of a ~*surprise*~.
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