SXSW Interviews: Secret Cities
Keeping up with some of our previews for the upcoming crazy SXSW festival, today we’ll focus on up and coming band Secret Cities. We fell in love with these guys last year when they released their debut LP Pink Graffiti and have been following them ever since. Lucky for us, band member Charlie Gokey was kind enough to answer some questions about his band and their upcoming sophomore effort. Follow the jump for his responses.
ATH: We were big fans of your debut LP Pink Graffiti. What can fans of your music expect from your follow up? The first single “Love Crime” is already one of my favorites of the year.
Charlie: Thanks! The process of making this new record was something really different for us. Our debut was the result of trying to keep the best parts of several attempts to make the same record; it ended up tracking the evolution of our changing tastes and recording techniques over a long period of time. Our new album was written and recorded over three really intense months, basically the same amount of work concentrated into a fraction of the time. As a result, the new record is more tight, economical, and focused. We had a much better idea of what we wanted to make, and I think it shows. I’m really pleased with it.
ATH: We feel like we discovered you through our favorite local label Western Vinyl. What’s the transition been like to a bigger “indie” label? Does it make your job easier?
Charlie: I’m not sure there was really ever anything to transition from. When Western Vinyl showed interest in our demo, we hadn’t played a live show in years, nor had we really made an effort to release or promote anything we recorded. Our early recordings came out on a small Baltimore label called Fall, but we never really got into the record/release/promote/tour cycle. It’s been great working with Western Vinyl though.
ATH: For someone new to the band, what adjectives would you use to describe your sound?
Charlie: I guess I would call it happy and sad at the same time, kind of distorted and manipulated, with nods to the Shangri-Las, the Zombies, and K Records among others.
ATH: Have you guys come in to SXSW before? How does a band survive the craziness of the week?
Charlie: This will be our first SXSW, so I have no idea what to expect. We’ve already got a pretty hectic schedule over the week of the festival and it seems to still be growing. I expect to be exhausted by the end, but hopefully it’ll be the good kind of exhaustion rather than the downtrodden kind.
ATH: What do you look forward to when coming into Austin? Favorite eateries, etc.? Any bands you look forward to seeing during the festival?
Charlie: I’ve only been once before when we played at Stubb’s, but the food there was awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages, people in the industry and in bands. Other than that, I’d really like to see Edwyn Collins, plus we’ve collectively resolved to track down this band we’ve seen on Youtube called Complete. I haven’t spent as much time looking at the lineup as I should, it’s overwhelming.
ATH: Last question. Fans have so many events and bands to choose from during SXSW festival. How would you convince someone to come see your show over another?
Charlie: Now you’re making me anxious. It’s hard to think of a good hook, but honestly I’m really proud of how our live show has come together. The songs are amped up with a double drummer set up, strung together with noisy loops, and augmented by a touring guitarist who’s roughly five billion times more talented than me. Beyond that, I’d say come to our show to see how one uses an electrified bow tie to sing and make loops.
Thanks again for the time Charlie. While looking around, I can’t find many dates for the band during SXSW week but stay tuned!