We’ve got FOUR DAYS of day parties planned during SXSW this year and we’ll be bringing you over 60 bands on both stages at The Blackheart. We’re partnering with CLIF Bars for our first two days (Tuesday, March 14 and Wednesday, March 15) and you can RSVP here: http://do512.com/theclifbarbash
To help get you ready for the musical melee of our CLIF Bar Bash day parties at The Blackheart (3/14-3/15), here’s a group interview with members of Swimming with Bears, Naked Giants, Communist Daughter, Oliver John-Rodgers, Allison Pierce, Linying, The Dig, Blank Range, and White Reaper.
NoiseTrade: If this is your first SXSW, what are you looking most forward to? If you’ve been before, what are you looking forward to experiencing again?
Joe Perry (Swimming with Bears): I think the most exciting thing as a first time artist at SXSW is the fact that we get to check out a lot of great new acts like us and also see many epic bands who have killed it for years in the music industry.
Erick Eiser (The Dig): This is not our first time at SXSW, we’ve been twice in the past. To be completely honest, it was a complete shit show and we really weren’t looking forward to it whatsoever. In the recent days leading up to this year’s SXSW, I think we’ve changed our tune a bit and there are some exciting showcases that we’re psyched to be apart of. We’re especially looking forward to our Roll Call and CLIF Bar Bash showcases. CLIF bars are an essential part of the diet for our band on the road.
Allison Pierce: BBQ!
Oliver John-Rodgers: This is my first SXSW and I’m most looking forward to being in Austin for the first time! I supported Grace Potter on tour last year and we had stops in Texas, but no Austin. So it has been a long time coming. I’m gonna paint the city red (with good salsa).
John Solomon (Communist Daughter): We’ve been to SXSW a couple times, but it’s been a few years so we are looking forward to returning. We make it a point not to try and overdo it, I think it can become a stressful experience if you don’t set aside the time to take it all in. It’s hard to be specific about what we’re looking forward to the most, the food maybe? Also, it’s the chance to see all our favorite bands in the span of 4 days. We also get to see all the fans that come out to see us because we haven’t made it to their town yet. It’s all pretty great if you don’t stress yourself out with the details.
I’ve heard from everyone I’ve spoken to that SXSW mainly involves a lot of running around (which I’m honestly extremely apprehensive about), but I’m mostly just looking forward to the experience. It’s a bit of a rite of passage, which is wonderful.
Tony Esposito (White Reaper): We’re looking forward to playing a bunch of shows with our friends from other cities who we don’t always get to see. Also, tacos from Taco Joint and Tyson’s.
Grant Gustafson (Blank Range): SXSW is always an intense week but it can be a serious good time if you really dive in. We get into the week because it ends up being a reunion of sorts. We get to hang with friends that we don’t get to see much the rest of the year, from Nashville where we’re from, or friends’ bands from across the country. Our fond memories from past SXSW weeks are usually based around one of those hangs.
Gianni Aiello (Naked Giants): This is our second trip to SXSW. I’m most excited to grab all the free stuff they give performers. Hopefully we can score a few more boxes of Take 5.
NT: To those who have been to SXSW before (either playing or just attending), do you have any favorite SXSW memories?
Tony Esposito (White Reaper): I got a tattoo of Scooby Doo on my arm the first time I ever went to SXSW. Also, eating tacos from Taco Joint and Tyson’s.
Erick Eiser (The Dig): One of the members suffered a self-inflicted injury as a result of what is known as “a real bozo move.” Not a favorite memory, but certainly a lasting one. In order to preserve a little dignity, I’m going to have to omit the details. During that same SXSW, we were invited last minute by the dudes of Portugal. The Man to play a show in San Antonio at Sam’s Burger Joint. We hightailed it down to SA, threw our shit on stage, and played one of our funnest shows.
Allison Pierce: I have some really great SXSW memories, but they are those kind of memories that, because of high levels of alcohol consumption, you can’t really remember specifics. You just remember that you had a really fucking great time.
Gianni Aiello (Naked Giants): My favorite memory from last year was playing a few shows in one day. We sure slept great that night, if you know what I mean! By that I mean we were really tired by the end of the day from playing rock shows!
John Solomon (Communist Daughter): In general, it’s always been the new and unexpected stuff that we come across. You end up finding your new favorite bands when you aren’t even trying. We stay outside the city on a little ranch, so it’s pretty dreamy.
NT: Are you altering your normal setlist/show in any way for the SXSW audience?
John Solomon (Communist Daughter): We usually show up to a venue, get a sense of the place/vibe, and then make a new set list every show. So no two shows are alike.
Linying: No, there’s no telling what anything will be like, aside from the fact that it’s my first time playing. So I’ll just have to wait and see.
Grant Gustafson (Blank Range): SXSW sets are usually a little shorter than a normal show so we like to set ours up full of real bangers to keep the people moving.
Joe Perry (Swimming with Bears): I think there will be changes in how we may play our middle 8 or how we intro a song.
Gianni Aiello (Naked Giants): It’s tough to say what the audience will like at any given show. There may be some shows where we need to whip out our Steve Miller cover set. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Tony Esposito (White Reaper): That’s a good question… we’ll be playing a lot of new songs that we’ve never played before!
Oliver John-Rodgers: Aside from working the obligatory SXSW, anti-corporate, anti-industry meltdown in between songs 3 and 4, no.
Allison Pierce: Not sure yet, but I doubt it.
Erick Eiser (The Dig): I think we’re just gonna let it rip!
NT: Are there any bands or panels at SXSW that you are planning to check out yourself?
Linying: Plenty! Francis and the Lights, Banks, Skott, Aminé, and Nick Hakim.
Tony Esposito (White Reaper): Ne-Hi, Daddy Issues, Omni… just to name a few. There are so many great bands! Won’t make it to the panels though, as we’ll be busy eating at Taco Joint and Tyson’s.
Allison Pierce: I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of girl, so I have no idea who is playing. I do, of course, plan on hearing some good music.
Joe Perry (Swimming with Bears): Definitely going to go check out this awesome band from Louisiana called Royal Teeth!
John Solomon (Communist Daughter): Mostly I’m hoping to find something new I’ve never heard of. It’s pretty easy to do. I am looking forward to catching Temples at the Clif Bar Bash.
Gianni Aiello (Naked Giants): We just played some shows with PWR BTTM on the East Coast and it would be lovely to see them play again. Other than that, I think part of the fun is the spontaneity of stumbling upon random shows.
Grant Gustafson (Blank Range): Daniel Romano, if he’s going to be there. Sam Evian, if he’s going to be there. Lots of Nashville friends. It’s hard to follow a plan so we like to just float around and see where we end up. Oh, also The Wild Reeds, who we’re currently touring with.
Oliver John-Rodgers: KHRUANGBIN.
NT: What made you pick the song you did for our NoiseTrade SXSW sampler?
Erick Eiser (The Dig): We thought that it gave us the best chance at acquiring some complimentary boxes of CLIF Bars.
Tony Esposito (White Reaper): “Judy French” is the most Van Halen song we’ve ever written. Hopefully one day they’ll play it at both Taco Joint and Tyson’s at the same time.
Grant Gustafson (Blank Range): We chose “Circumstances” because it’s the single from our EP we released in November.
Oliver John-Rodgers: It’s no secret that there’s an ugly wave of authoritarian bullshit coming out of the woodwork these days – not only in America, but all over the world. As a result, I think some listeners have been interpreting this song, “Under the Hood,” as my biting topical response to all of that. No one can necessarily know whom or what it’s about, but they do know it’s a scathing finger-pointer. I feel like there hasn’t been a ton of genuine finger-pointers in rock & roll lately (hip hop has taken up the torch in that regard). So I, a true-blue rock & roller, feel keen to have a crack at it.
Joe Perry (Swimming with Bears): This song is our most recent single and it means a lot in terms of how we have evolved as a band in our writing style and it shows where we will be going as we release more music! We hope you enjoy it!
John Solomon (Communist Daughter): Our new record came out a few months ago and this was the lead single. It gives a good indication of what the new record sounds like.
Gianni Aiello (Naked Giants): Our managers, haha!