KERA news reporters Lauren Silverman and Stephen Becker are on their way home from SXSW’s interactive and film conference, and the crew from KXT 91.7 FM is gearing up now for the music conference. KERA’s Sam Baker asked KXT Program Director Mark Abuzzahab what band was getting the most early buzz leading in to the conference.
- Listen to Mark and Sam on KERA FM:
- Or read a summary:
Mark Abuzzahab: I think Chvches is the band that is the most universally written about in the music press. They’re an electronic band from Scotland, they toured here in the U.S. last year, opening for Passion Pit. Their new record isn’t out yet and there’s a lot of excitement about them because they have this supposedly incredible live show.
Sam Baker: Well, they spell the name CHvrch?
Mark: I think that goes back to the running joke that all the great band names have been taken.
Sam: One of the great things about living in North Texas is so many bands playing at South by Southwest make a pit-stop, playing in this area.
Mark: Yeah, artists have to travel to perform at the festival in Austin. So either on their way there, or the way out, they want to make some money. We really benefit from geography in this case. One of the artists I’m really excited to see this year is Dana Falconberry. She played at 35 Denton this past week.
Dallas band the Relatives played SXSW 2 years ago. They’re playing again. And they’ve got their first new record out in 40 years. It’s such a great story, and the Relatives play here at the Kessler Theater coming up on March 22.
Sam: KXT is part of a unique collaboration at the music conference this year?
Mark: KXT is joining with four other public radio stations in New York, Austin, Philadelphia and Minneapolis, and we’re all sharing a public radio day stage. We’ll all be broadcasting the sets live, starting Friday at noon. Artists like Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Vampire Weekend, Divine Fits, Iron &Wine. It’s a great lineup, seven bands in all. And the whole thing will be live on KXT on Friday.
Sam: How is SXSW different from festivals like Austin City Limits?
Mark: The big difference is SXSW is bigger. Also SXSW is mainly for the music industry. However, SXSW has also evolved into a spring break destination, since its the same week as the spring break for most colleges in the area. There are a lot of day parties that happen and you don’t have to be registered for the conference to attend them. And you get this phenomenon of college students staying with friends in Austin, responding to invites on Facebook for the day parties. So it’s really multiple festivals going on all across the city of Austin. Whereas something like Austin City Limits is really concentrated in Zilker Park during the day, with a few after-shows in the evenings. SXSW is just massive and engulfs the whole city.
Sam: Any advice for anyone headed to Austin this weekend?
Mark: Wear comfortable shoes.