Category Archives: sxsw 2011

Lessons in Not Wetting Yourself: Interviewing rockstars.

Hello, it’s me Tolly.  Would you like to know four hard things I can do without getting nervous?

1.  Taxes
2.  Thumb wars
3.  Reverse the car out of our driveway*
4.  Make a duck call with my hand**

*Meaning: I don’t get nervous.  Everyone watching does.
**This probably doesn’t make anyone nervous.  Also it’s not hard.

Would you like to know what does make me nervous?

1.  Cooking
2.  Long division
3.  Dogs that look like wolves
4.  Interviewing rockstars

SO.  When I was asked to do #4 last week at SXSW for Express Clothing, I was simultaneously thrilled / teensy bit terrified.

But I think it went ok.

The interviews were spread over three days at Cedar Door here in Austin, where Express and BMF Media Group cohosted the Express Rocks! Music Lounge.  There were over 50 bands, with Neon Trees as the headliner, and folks like Chromeo, Ellie Goulding, and The Sounds stopping by for interviews.  Express dressed me (thank God) and I got to hold a super-huge microphone!

Here are videos of my three favorite interviews: Diplo, Atomic Tom, and Asher Roth.  They are all viewable on the Express website, or more accurately, the Express Rocks portion of their website. 

I was super excited to talk to Diplo.  A long time ago, I wrote a column for The Deli called “DJ Education,” and it’s sort of like my weird closeted music secret: My brief but intense obsession with DJs.   In the DJ world, Diplo is like Michael Jackson.  Or at least Elton John.  What I’m saying is, he’s a big deal. 

Atomic Tom’s Tobias is Canadian.  Why is that pertinent?   I don’t know.  Except that every single Canadian I’ve ever met is shockingly nice.  Including Tobias.  Here’s his 60 Seconds with Tobias blog.

Asher Roth shook every crew members’ hand before the interview, and is just straight-up charming.  Can you see it here?  I ran after him post-interview and made him take an iPhone picture with me.

 Here are some more photos from Express Rocks.

Me with Miss Holly Huddleston, contributor to one of my favorite local blogs: ATX Gossip

HOW EXCITING IS THIS.  I got to meet my beloved Peelander Z!  And boy did I gush.  I told them how I went on a date once with this guy to see them, and then I thought he was basically the coolest guy ever, and then I married him, and omigod would they mind terribly signing an autograph for my then date, now husband?

Now taped to the refrigerator!

Daniel Cavazos shot these pictures of my boys: GARY! and Happy.

Chris Apollo Lynn and I making swift use of the photo booth.  I don’t know what we are trying to do here.

After this Express gig was all said and done, I can honestly say I had a blast!  Like, a ridiculously good time, and I don’t think I scared too many bands.  Wonder if I’ll get to do it again?  Express Rocks! does lounges at places like Coachella and Sundance, and while the chances of being shipped out to spots like that are probably slim … a girl can dream. 

All of my band interviews can now be found on the homepage of the Express Rocks site.  Enjoy!

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A sexily aloof reporter I never will be. (Also, Saturday’s Free SXSW Party Rec.)

I gotta say, I’m having fun with these Express Rocks interviews.
I’ve also come to the realization that, while some reporters can be cool and detached during interviews, I will never be that reporter.  I’ll ALWAYS be all up in yo’ face.  I’ll ALWAYS shove an enormous, toothy smile at you.  I don’t know how not to grin like an idiot when there’s a camera right there, y’all.  Whenever I attempt Sexy Face, it is a disaster. 
Fortunately, the bands we’ve been interviewing like to play along.  Kaskade, above, was probably my favorite one yesterday.  How cute is it that he’s a dad, too?  After he walked away I wanted to holler, “wait come back!   Let’s be friends!  I love San Francisco!!”  But, his handler whisked him away and that was that.  Sigh.
So!  I’ll be doing the Express Lounge stuff again today at Cedar Door as we wrap up SXSW, but if I weren’t committed to that, I would march across the river to this day party.  It starts at noon.

I think this line-up pretty much speaks for itself:
The Black Angels
Dennis Coffey
Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears w/special guests The Relatives
Menomena
White Denim
Bombay Bicycle Club
Young Buffalo
Dan Dyer
 
Did I ever tell you guys that Ross used to be Black Joe Lewis’ drummer? Right after he left, Black Joe completely blew up and got famous. We cry laugh about it all time.
White Denim and Dan Dyer are probably my favorite acts on that list, but here is a delightful music video from Dennis Coffey.  The Bob Dylan Subterranean Homesick Blues card-holding trick never gets old.

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Friday’s Free SXSW Party Rec: Pitchfork Presents: #Offline.

Man.   I kinda fell down on the job yesterday and Wednesday, huh?   Didn’t post my SXSW free party recommendations!

But I had an excuse, I swear.  And that excuse was laundry.

I’m just kidding: Daddy turned 63 on Wednesday, and Ross and I drove down to San Antonio for it.  In our quest to become actual grown-ups, Ross and I also made an offer on a house this week (WHOA).    And finally, I was interviewing bands for Express Rocks yesterday.  I’m doing it again today and Saturday, and I gotta say, it’s a pretty sweet gig!  They got in touch with me before SXSW, hired me to do some band interviews, and told me I could wear/have their clothes.  I said: “You’ve got yourself a deal.”   

 

This is Cisco Adler and moi.  Of then 10 or so bands/musicians we interviewed yesterday, he was one of my favorites.  Articulate, passionate, a good talker: I know I say this all the time, but it goes a LONG WAY when a musician or band has a great personality.  The free booze didn’t hurt either, which may or may not have boosted our conversation.

I know Ellie Goulding only looks mildly excited here, but SHE REALLY ENJOYED TALKING TO ME YOU GUYS.  I SWEAR.
Ahem.  Anyway, in all seriousness, Ellie was a delight to talk to.  I tend to get a little giddy over British accents, and she was also very down-to-earth.  You can see what I mean in this video.  Darling, right?

So.  More interviews today, and whenever the videos go up on Express’s site I’ll show them to you! 
Onto today’s free party recommendation.  I’m going with Pitchfork Presents: #Offline!  It’s a day party.

Why Pitchfork Presents: #Offline?  Partly because it’s at a cool location — the East Side Drive-In — and partly because of this guy, the headliner tonight at 6:15pm.  Are you digging Toro & Moi as much as I am?

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Tuesday’s Free SXSW Party Rec: Art Disaster.

Going to keep today’s SXSW party recommendation short and sweet.   Judging by the looks of things, this girl’s got a head of hair to wash.  And we’ll just not discuss the unshaven legs situation … I’m about to take a machete with me into the shower.

Why Art Disaster?   It’s a biannual Austin party, so SXSW out-of-towners, this is where the “townies” will be.  Also, Peelander-Z, a Japanese punk band clad in superhero costumes, will be opening the outside stage.  Friends, have you ever seen a Peelander-Z show?   Dare I say it’s a bucket list experience. 

I’m being serious. You absolutely need to see this band live at least once in your life. The very first time I saw them, like six years ago at Beerland, they set up huge bowling pins on the stage, and mid-song, removed their drummer from his seat, picked him up and BOWLED HIM into the pins.

Which may be why a key component of their costume is a helmet.
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Monday’s Free SXSW Party Rec: Chroma.

If there’s one word that keeps getting repeated over and over during SXSW 2011, it is “energy.” 

“The energy this year is unbelievable.”

“There’s so much energy in the air.”

That and “huge,” as Roger Ebert aptly put it.

Both are true.  I have never, ever experienced a SXSW quite like this.  Kelly Krause, SXSW Interactive’s press and publicity coordinator, and I were talking about it earlier, and I searched for proper descriptors. “Woodstock-meets-Animal-House?” I ventured, although that doesn’t quite hit the mark.  Perhaps: Woodstock-meets-Sundance-meets-TED-talks (meets Animal House.  The streets are positively flowing with free booze).

Anyway, as per my promise on Friday, I’m going to post one free SXSW party a day here all week, through Saturday.  I recommend Do512, RepublicOfAustin, Ultra8201, and my magical new discovery, Austin2011.Sched.Org for comprehensive lists; the one party I post daily is simply my personal Top Pick. 



Why Chroma?  Because it’s different.  And a little bit nuts.  And I want you to come see me covered in the color orange.  I am serious; I will be clothed and painted completely in orange doing I don’t know what for this show.

Ok … that’s the real reason I want you to come tonight.   The other reason is, Moldover will be there, and if you are music geeky enough to know what ‘controllerism” is then you know he’s a big deal!   (PS, I’m not nerdy at all.)

Moldover, bands, babes, multimedia displays, trippy on-site art.  Me in orange.  I’ll see you there.

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