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SXSW 2016 Interview: Violet Skies

By on Tuesday, 22nd March 2016 at 11:00 am

Young Welsh singer/songwriter Violet Skies made her American live debut at SXSW 2016 in Austin last week. I thought perhaps she would be daunted by this prospect, but no. Like a consummate professional belying her tender age, she showed no sign of anxiety when I had the opportunity to chat with her before her first performance of the week, at the Monday night showcase by Trackd that took place at Latitude 30, the home of the British Music Embassy for the week.

In this interview, we talk about how her love for legendary singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell came about among many other topics, and you can sense quickly just how driven this lovely young lady is. She is definitely one to watch. Have a listen to my chat with Violet Skies below. For our current and continued coverage on Violet on TGTF, go here.


(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2044: Declan McKenna

By on Monday, 21st March 2016 at 7:00 pm

One of our favourite live finds at SXSW 2016 – indeed, I liked him so much, I saw him twice! – was the uber talented Declan McKenna. This kid is definitely going places. The Hertfordshire teen who performed as a one-man band appeared at a laundry list of day and night shows in Austin, including Huw Stephens’ curated night at Latitude 30 at the British Music Embassy on Tuesday night and Friday night at Neon Gold Records’ showcase at Empire Garage Control Room.

Declan’s newest video, which landed last week on St. Patrick’s Day while we all were at SXSW, is for his most recent single ‘Paracetamol’. The short film about a transitioning transgender teen and her supportive mate and ultimately, the video is about showing that she’s like everyone else and as Morrissey immortally sang, “I am human and need to be loved.” Love conquers all, yeah?

Read my Bands to Watch on Declan McKenna from back in February here. Stay tuned for our coverage and photos of McKenna from SXSW 2016 on TGTF very soon.



TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: a further roundup of our conference and festival coverage to date

By on Monday, 14th March 2016 at 12:00 pm

Whilst being stuck on a plane (not moving, then moving) for way too many hours on Saturday, I had a lot of time to think. And I thought, hmm, maybe some of you out there might be true procrastinators, not having paid attention to any of the programming on top for SXSW 2016, whether it be the conference panels, the music showcases, or both. For those of you waiting until the last possible minute to firm up your schedules or maybe you’re the type who likes to fly by the seat of your pants (trousers?), this post summarises everything SXSW 2016 we’ve posted since my last roundup of articles on the 22nd of February, which you can view here.

Follow us on Twitter at @tgtf and individually on @theprintedword (me, Mary) and @VocalicPage (Carrie) for more live updates from Austin as they happen. Use this link to access all of our SXSW 2016 content, including post-event coverage.

longhorn in our back garden, SXSW 2016

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016 overview posts on the conference (an additional 5):

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: how-tos for the artists, and how to deal with brands and data (Music Conference panel overview, part 1 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: music discovery and delivery, genres and eras, and international issues (Music Conference panel overview, part 2 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Feminism at this year’s festival’s forefront

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: syncing and publishing, experiencing music live, and fan engagement (Music Conference panel overview, part 3 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: new tech and the war on format, journalism and PR, and royalties and copyright (Music Conference panel overview, part 4 of 4)

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016 overview posts on the British Music Embassy showcases and a focus on regional acts (an additional 5):

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Huw Stephens with PRS for Music and British Music @ SXSW at the British Music Embassy – 15th-16th March 2016

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Output Belfast, and PIAS in association with AIM at the British Music Embassy – 17th March 2016

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Welsh artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Scottish artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

Bands to Watch previews of SXSW 2016 showcasing artists (an additional 5 acts profiled):

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #382: The Sherlocks

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #383: Autobahn

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #384 and #385: Jane Weaver and Holly Macve

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #386: Frances

Album Reviews Featuring SXSW 2016 Artists (an additional 4):

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Brian Fallon – Painkillers

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Lissie – My Wild West

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: The Dunwells – Light Up the Sky (Update: The Dunwells have since announced they won’t be showcasing at this year’s SXSW.)

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Album Review: Roo Panes – Paperweights

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions (10)

Quickfire Questions #97: Pat Hynes of Holy Esque

Quickfire Questions #98: Tommy O’Dell of DMA’s

Quickfire Questions #99: Banners

Quickfire Questions #100: Noemi of Abjects

Quickfire Questions #101: Violet Skies

Quickfire Questions #102: Tyla Campbell of The People The Poet

Quickfire Questions #103: Gwenno

Quickfire Questions #104: Avec Sans

Quickfire Questions #105: Oscar

Quickfire Questions #106: Oli Burslem of YAK

Miscellaneous Features Starring SXSW 2016 Artists (an additional 3):

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2024: Oscar

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2025: Holy Esque

(Charity and SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2032: Lissie


(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #386: Frances

By on Monday, 14th March 2016 at 11:00 am

Editor’s note: we’re making some exciting changes in the way we cover SXSW 2016 this year, especially in the way we preview all the bands that we want to introduce you to before the big event in Austin in March. Read all about our big plans here.

At just 22 years of age, Frances already has two heady honours under her belt, having been shortlisted for both the 2016 BRITs’ Critics Choice Award and the BBC Sound of 2016 (both of which ultimately went to Jack Garratt). In 2015, the Oxford singer/songwriter released three singles in 2015: ‘Grow’, ‘Let It Out’ and ‘Borrowed Time’. This past week, she followed these with the release of ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ on Capitol Records.

‘Grow’, Frances’ debut single, is a confidently understated track. It’s just Frances and her piano, accompanied by a symphony of vocals at times, before returning to the gentle lull of piano and voice. Despite her relatively short career, she’s also been cowriting with some fairly big names already. Most recently, Frances has been working with Greg Kurstin, who collaborated with Adele on her mammoth comeback hit ‘Hello’. ‘Borrowed Time’ was cowritten with Howard Lawrence of Disclosure and is thus a synthpop number . However, the song still puts focus on her incredible vocal range.


Newest Frances single ‘Don’t Worry About Me’ starts gently and softly, with emphasis placed on the strength of Frances’ crystal-clear vocals, before the piano and layered vocals join in, allowing the track to swell with a choral intensity. Frances’ vocals sound like a blend between Birdy and Lorde: her voice has the power and gravity of Lorde’s tones, paired with the stripped-back nature of Birdy, also matching Birdy’s purity and clarity of tone. Judging by the successes that she has achieved so far less than 2 years after the release of her debut single, she seems set to follow in both Birdy and Lorde’s footsteps and we can expect to hear a lot more from her over the coming year.


Frances has a number of upcoming festival dates set for the coming year, including SXSW this week (her appearances in Austin includes a slot at the BBC Introducing and PRS for Music Foundation showcase Wednesday night at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30), Coachella, Blissfields and Frequency. She is also scheduled to join James Bay on a number of his performances at the Hammersmith Apollo in London this month.


TGTF Guide to SXSW 2016: Artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland showcasing at this year’s SXSW

By on Friday, 11th March 2016 at 12:00 pm

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2016 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

As in past years, SXSW 2016 will feature a wide array of artists from Ireland and Northern Ireland who are keen to bring their music to American listeners. This year’s lineup revisits several artists who have graced Austin’s stages in recent memory, including veterans BP Fallon and the Bandits, who were featured last year in our TGTF Guide to SXSW 2015, and SXSW 2014 showcasing artists Cian Nugent and September Girls, both of whom have new albums due for release later this spring.


We at TGTF have already covered Belfast singer/songwriter David C Clements in an earlier Bands to Watch article right back here. We also recently highlighted many of the Northern Irish artists on the schedule in editor Mary’s Output Belfast preview, including TGTF alums Girls Names, Portadown’s Jealous of the Birds and her fellow County Armagh act Silences.

Also briefly mentioned in Mary’s Output Belfast preview was alt-folk singer/songwriter Ciaran Lavery, who is shaping up to be one of the most sought-after acts in Austin this year. His back catalogue comprises debut album ‘Not Nearly Dark’ and 2014 EP ‘Kosher’. Having already received support from the PRS for Music Foundation for his upcoming second album ‘Let Bad In’, Lavery hopes to gain a fan base in America ahead of its release in May.


The organizers at SXSW have filed Enemies in the Rock category, but the band describe themselves more accurately as “post-rock meets math-pop”. Their upbeat and slightly jazzy new single ‘Play Fire’ was released last August on Topshelf Records.


Dublin rapper Alex Anyaegbunam is known on stage by the moniker Rejjie Snow. The latest track on his official Soundcloud is ‘Keep Your Head Up’; be warned—it’s smooth and soulful, but its lyrics are not entirely safe for sensitive ears.

Precocious teenaged singer/songwriter Rosie Carney is originally from Hampshire, UK, but now makes her home in County Donegal. She collaborated with SXSW 2014 artist Travis Is a Tourist on his track ‘Little Conversations’, and she’ll appear in Austin as a solo artist this year. The video for her haunting track ‘Better Man’ is just below.


The West Ireland trio Rusangano Family comprises “2 MCs and 1 DJ”, according to their Facebook bio. Their politically-charged single ‘Heathrow’ was featured here in America by NPR back in December, and their album ‘Let the Dead Bury the Dead’ is due for release just after SXSW on the 8th of April.

Saint Sister, the duo project of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntyre, combines electro-dream pop and traditional folk sounds. Their debut EP ‘Madrid’ was released last November, and following SXSW, they are scheduled to appear at The Great Escape festival in May.


The aptly named Irish electronic producer Somadrone specialises in straddling the boundary between popular and classical music. His genre-less, minimalist compositional style is evident in the SXSW-featured single ‘Invitation’.


For more information about the Irish and Northern Irish artists at this year’s SXSW, consult the Music from Ireland official Web site, or simply follow TGTF’s ongoing coverage of the festival. We eagerly anticipate seeing most of these showcasing artists live next week!


(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #106: Oli Burslem of YAK

By on Friday, 11th March 2016 at 11:00 am

Ahead of SXSW in Austin next week, just as we have in the past 2 years of our preview coverage of the big dance, we’ll be bringing you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2016 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. To round off the week in style, today’s set of answers are from Oli Burslem, frontman of London-based psych rockers YAK. The band’s debut album ‘Alas Salvation’is scheduled for release on the 13th of May on Octopus Electrical/Kobalt, so bets are the YAK lads are pretty excited to be going out to Austin and showing America what they’ve got.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Playing some shows and having a party.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I haven’t looked who is playing, to be honest. I’m not much of a planner, and I know we are gonna be pretty busy, so I’m all open to a surprise along the way.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
A wedding suit.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
A pint of weak cheap lager or if I think you’re worth a bit, then a double bourbon. Maybe Old Rip Van Winkle Family Reverse, something expensive.

What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’ve played a couple of times before in the U.S. but never Austin. I have no expectations for SXSW. For us it’s just another gig. I have heard some mixed responses about SXSW from bands who have played there, but we’re just happy to be getting out there in front of people. I’ve never been to Texas and I can’t wait to see all the bits in between. I watched a doc about Townes Van Zandt in Austin the other day and it’s got me excited.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My first musical memory is at church singing monotone Anglo hymns. The first music I can clearly remember being obsessed with was anything Elvis….

What was your favourite song as a child?
Bill & Ben – ‘The Flower Pot Men’ (theme song).


What song makes you laugh?
Sleaford Mods’ ’14 Day Court’.

What song makes you cry?
Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Waiting Around to Die’.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Chopin’s ‘Funeral March’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Buying and selling antiques to the well-to-do of London. For exaggerated prices.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
If I ended up in Heaven, I would very surprised as I’m an atheist. So I would ask God to stream ‘God’ by John Lennon, which is on the ‘Plastic Ono Band’ album.


Thanks to Oli of YAK for taking the time to answer our questions!


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.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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