SXSW 2014 Interview: Withered Hand
SXSW coverage continues this week with Scottish band Withered Hand. They’re heading overseas just in time for the release of their album, New Gods, which is coming to us courtesy of Slumberland Records/Fortuna Pop. Both labels are reliable, and the music has already proven to be worthy of high praise. Read on for the band’s answers to our questions, and look forward to dates featuring the band coming soon.
ATH: There was a lot of hubbub last year concerning corporate sponsors and pay to play and what not at SXSW. As a band, what’s your reason for coming to pay at the festival? What do you hope to get out of it?
WH: In 2011 I came over and performed solo so I am looking forward to bringing my band to Austin for 2014. I hope it will help my forthcoming album ‘New Gods’ reach new audiences in the US and beyond. I know they are out there.
ATH: For most SXSW sets, you get 30 minutes to leave a lasting impression. What’s your plan of attack? You have a set list mapped out yet?
WH: Set lists in this band get decided just before we walk onstage. I don’t have a plan of attack, I only ever have a plan of self-defence.
ATH: The festival caters to music fans, but food and booze are an important aspect of the fans and the bands. What’s your band’s food and beverage of choice?
WH: Last time I was over I was astonished by the quality of food and drink in Austin. The beer Michael Zakes gets in for SXSW over at Waterloo Cycles (http://www.hopsandgrain.com/) is something else. I think we are all looking forward to tucking into some real deal Mexican and Texmex food. I recall that fondly.
ATH: There are tons of bands coming into town. Who would you ideally like to play with of the 1000s of bands gracing our city? Make your own optimal line-up.
WH: Impossible question! I wouldn’t put myself on the same stage as my heroes. The few living ones. I wouldn’t presume to. I am just happy to be heading out to the US with a bunch of other Scots-based bands again.
ATH: We are partial to SXSW obviously, but what festival do you feel is the best around?
WH: We have a few good small festivals in Scotland. Aberfeldy Festival I am particularly fond of.
ATH: Let’s say your band has been booked an official showcase at a pop up venue somewhere in the middle of 6th street. The lineup features thrash metal, hip-hop, spoken word, and you. The sound is horrible, the lineup is not your style, and the crowd seems angry at the world. How would your band deal with such a situation?
WH: Get up there and laugh our way through the best songs I guess.
ATH: What’s your favorite album to come out in the last year? What’s playing in the tour bus?
WH: I don’t listen to much new music but I think Mark Kozalek/Sun Kil Moon is at the height of his considerable powers as a songwriter. Any of his three most recent albums. We don’t have a tour bus. I do have a Waxahatchee tee shirt.
ATH: The digital age is upon us, like it or not. What are your band’s thoughts on streaming services like spotify, pandora, etc.? Blow em all up? Or embrace the future?
WH: Resist the future the tech companies are foisting on us but try not to blow anybody up. I can’t speak for the other people in my band.
ATH: Day parties have replaced showcases for music discovery? Is the conference really completely upside-down?
WH: I don’t know about SXSW but some big festivals end up embracing the fringe festivals that grow up around them. I think that is good policy. As long as the locals can still benefit from it, it’s a good thing.
ATH: Flatstock is a crowd favorite. Have you ever been to browse? Find a print to buy? Find a print from one of your shows you didn’t know existed?
WH: I like the art of music posters, can’t wait to take some time out with the guys and see them.