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SXSW 2017 Interview: Picture This

 
By on Friday, 24th March 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

The Tuesday afternoon of SXSW 2017 was a busy one for interviews. The second of my scheduled appointments for the day was a true roving-reporter style interview on the bustling streets of downtown Austin with rising Irish pop/rock duo Picture This. Our own Adam had already featured Picture This, comprising singer/songwriter Ryan Hennessy and drummer/xylophonist Jimmy Rainsford, in his preview of Irish bands at SXSW 2017.  But I was up to that point unfamiliar with their work, and as I wasn’t able to see them live until the following Thursday, I had plenty of questions to ask in the interview. (Keep an eye on TGTF for our coverage of Picture This at the Full Irish Breakfast on the Thursday morning of SXSW.)

Fortunately for me, Hennessy and Rainsford were more than willing to chat about their recent activities and rather dazzling list of accomplishments. It became clear in very short order that this is a band with a singularly determined ambition and a sharp-sighted focus on their rapidly unfolding career path. In the course of our conversation, it came out that Hennessy and Rainsford had only just arrived in Austin from Nashville, where they recorded their debut album (in “record” time, so to speak) at Jacquire King’s Blackbird Studios. They talked with me about their experience working with King, as well as their decision to record in Nashville rather than their home base of Dublin, where they’ve already had incredible success on the live music scene.

Picture This are scheduled to tour the UK and Ireland in May and June; you can find a complete list of live dates on their official Facebook. Their shiny new LP is due out later this summer on Republic Records. In the meantime, you can listen to ‘Let’s Be Young’, from their self-titled and self-released debut EP, just below the interview stream.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/hTUypvKS4Nw[/youtube]

Many thanks to Taylor for coordinating this interview.

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Oscar Pollock and Haydn Evans of Sundara Karma

 
By on Friday, 24th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

On the 13-hour drive from Tucson to Austin for SXSW 2017, satellite radio was my natural companion, keeping me both entertained and awake through the long stretches of desert in the American southwest. Several times along my journey, I heard the new single from Reading band Sundara Karma, who were, not coincidentally, also one of the most hotly tipped bands at SXSW.  I had, myself, tipped the infectious single ‘She Said’ in my January review of Sundara Karma’s debut album ‘Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect’, so I was excited to hear it getting radio play and even more excited to chat with the band about it on the Tuesday afternoon of SXSW 2017.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/aRORIKvOR4Y[/youtube]

My interview with Sundara Karma took place on the patio of the Radisson Hotel in downtown Austin, where I talked with frontman Oscar “Lulu” Pollock and drummer Haydn Evans. (Guitarist Ally Baty and bassist Dom Cordell were present as well, though they might have taken the opportunity to sip a drink by the side of the pool while they waited.) Having only arrived in town a few hours earlier, the band had yet to take in the full SXSW experience, but they claimed to be up for anything, including performances on some of the largest stages in Austin.

Aside from Sundara Karma’s new album and their lengthy list of gigs at SXSW, our conversation also touched on the band members’ sartorial choices, some of which were perhaps a bit unusual even for Austin, and the antics they had planned for their downtime. With eight live shows and a high-demand press schedule, I suspect that downtime quickly became a precious commodity, but I do hope the lads enjoyed their time in Austin as much as I enjoyed their performances later in the week. Stay tuned to TGTF in the coming days for coverage and photos of Sundara Karma’s shows at Stubb’s and the British Music Embassy.

Sundara Karma at SXSW 2017

Our thanks to Chloe and Roxy for organising this interview.

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: FRENSHIP

 
By on Friday, 24th March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

Electropop duo FRENSHIP first came across my radar very recently as part of TGTF’s SXSW 2017 preview of showcasing artists from Los Angeles. But the pair, comprising James Sunderland and Brett Hite, have been collaborating as FRENSHIP for over 4 years now, and their combination of electronic dance music and pop songwriting is beginning to pick up momentum with listeners here in America and around the world. Their 2016 single ‘Capsize’, featuring singer Emily Warren, has garnered over 300 million Spotify streams to date, and their January 2017 single ‘1000 Nights’ has already racked up over 10 million streams. Both ‘Capsize’ and ‘1000 Nights’ appear on FRENSHIP’s debut EP ‘Truce’, released in September 2016 on Columbia Records.

FRENSHIP at Pandora, Gatsby, Monday 13 March 2017

FRENSHIP kicked off their SXSW 2017 with an opening slot on the Monday night lineup at The Gatsby, which was hosted by Internet radio service Pandora. Their set on the Pandora stage was a lively, high energy affair that set the tone for the evening’s later acts, !!! (chk, chk, chk) and Lo Moon. They played both singles mentioned above as well as a brand new, as yet unreleased song titled ‘Keep You Close’. I was fortunate enough to catch James and Brett fresh off the stage for the interview below, where we talked about their synthesis of discrete sonic influences and the events leading to FRENSHIP’s signing with Columbia.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/kOyBhtPF5aw[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Aquilo

 
By on Thursday, 23rd March 2017 at 3:00 pm
 

Lancashire lads Tom Higman and Ben Fletcher are Aquilo (pronounced ah-KWILL-oh), a London-based soulful, electronic and piano-led duo. Aquilo made their Austin debut at SXSW 2017, performing at several shows including the KCRW showcase at Elysium on Wednesday night, the Get Buzzzed showcase Friday afternoon at the Brew Exchange, and the BBC and Department of International Trade showcase Saturday night at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. (Stay tuned for our reviews of those live performances to post soon here on TGTF.)

After their Get Buzzzed performance on Friday, Tom and Ben (far right in picture at top) kindly chatted with me about their brand new baby, their debut album ‘Silhouettes’ (reviewed by me here), which is now available from Island Records in the UK and Harvest Records in America. I reckon you’ll be surprised by the musical influences they reveal to me (seriously, would you really have guessed that one of them is a massive Mastodon fan?), along with the work ethic and their creativity that’s always ‘on’ that suggests a follow-up won’t be too far behind. Good news indeed! Have a listen to my interview with them below. To catch our continuing coverage of Aquilo including the forthcoming reviews of their live performances at SXSW 2017, use this link.


Ben Fletcher and Tom Higman of Aquilo at Get Buzzzed showcase, Brew Exchange, Friday 17 March 2017

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Mantra

 
By on Thursday, 23rd March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

I go through these phases in my musical tastes every so often and this year, it was clear that coming out to Austin for SXSW 2017, I would be needing a heavy dose of headbangingly good music. One of the bands I was most looking forward to in providing me this musical goodness was Ealing rockers Mantra (stylised Måntra, left to right at top: drummer Rob Emms, lead singer/guitarist Simon Stark and bassist Rich Leeds), who I was pleased to see Tuesday night at Scratchouse as part of the Killing Moon / ReverbNation showcase. They released their most recent EP ‘I Want’ in January, so it was perfect timing for them to come out for their premiere visit to and performance in Austin.

After a bit of a scheduling mess and the loss of a tape recorder, the band helpfully met up with me and Carrie outside a burger joint in 6th Street to have a conversation about their music. I was gobsmacked to find out they thought their style of music wasn’t hard rock (?!?) and it was great being able to chat with the guys about the hard rock obsession with Led Zeppelin I’ve had since I was a kid. While looks can be deceiving, a band with the name Mantra has nothing to do with yoga, or at least yet. They also filled me in on their individual influences, as well as their excitement having played on the same bill in Austin at Bungalow with American greats Jimmy Eat World. Listen to the interview below. Our ongoing coverage on Mantra will be available through this link.

Mantra at Killing Moon / ReverbNation showcase at Scratchouse, Tuesday 14 March 2017

 

SXSW 2017 Interview: Mez Green and Mick Sanders of LIFE

 
By on Thursday, 23rd March 2017 at 11:00 am
 

From all appearances, coming out to Austin for SXSW 2017 was pretty much a dream come true – not to mention an unmatchable, priceless professional opportunity – for punk band LIFE. The group from Hull were already well known for their punishing, unrelenting, high octane live shows even before they made it to our shores, had Lady Luck smiling on them, having the benefits of two prominent performances at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 during their week at the festival. They were given the honour of closing out the festivities at the Embassy Saturday night at the showcase sponsored by the BBC in cooperation with the UK’s Department of International Trade (formerly known as UK Trade and Investment). However, they began their onslaught on the largely unsuspecting American public on Thursday afternoon at Latitude 30, performing alongside four other acts from Northern England and Wales specialising in rock of varying degrees of heaviness.

As should probably be expected from a pair of brothers from the North, Mez Green (lead vocals / third from left on the photo at top) and Mick Sanders (vocals, guitar / far left) are two Yorkshire lads who really don’t give a monkey’s about offending anyone with their personal views. I should qualify this statement. While I have been a pretty much diehard hard rock fan since I was a kid (blame my having an older brother who reared me on Led Zeppelin and Megadeth), I have never related well to punk. I never felt a personal connection to it. That is, until I came across LIFE in my previewing of the UK bands coming out to SXSW this year. They care about the music they make and the messages they are projecting through their music, including standing up for the disenfranchised, the marginalised in a world that is becoming more looney tunes and unbelievable as time goes on.

Thanks to a Momentum grant from PRS for Music Foundation, they were able to record their debut album ‘Popular Music’, which is set for release in May. In this interview that took place late Thursday afternoon last week, Mez and Mick tell me about their hometown of Hull (UK City of Culture in 2017, no less), where their name came from and why all the capital letters (let’s face it, you wanted to know, didn’t you?) and yes, why they feel it’s necessary to inject politics into their music. Listen to the interview below. For more coverage of LIFE on TGTF, which will be added to as we add on our live reviews from Austin, go here.

Mez Green and Mick Sanders of LIFE, British Music Embassy, Latitude 30, Thursday 16 March 2017

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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