SXSW Interview: Suburban Living
Well we all know at this point SXSW is officially over. We are hearing a lot about many unofficial shows proceeding as planned, with our annual Sunday kick off show still a go. Thought the fest is cancelled, it still seems like a fun thing to talk to bands who were originally on the bill to see what life is like on the road. Today I’ve got one last interview for you from Philadelphia based group Suburban Living. It seems like a fitting way to end this series as these are some of the best, and most thoughtful answers so far. Hit the jump for the interview.
All answers come from leading man Wesley Bunch.
ATH: What’s the name of the band/group? Where are you from?
WB: Hi. Were Suburban Living from Philadelphia, PA
ATH: Describe your groups sound.
WB: 80s pop, shoegaze, dream pop, new romantic
ATH: What was your most recent release? Any planned releases from 2020?
WB: We have a new album coming out this year called How to be Human on May 22nd. Our first single is out now and its called “Main Stree”t, a love song to cities and communities around the world.
ATH: For most SXSW sets, you get 30 minutes to leave a lasting impression. Whats your plan of attack? You have a set list mapped out yet?
WB: In preparation for the fast paced whirlwind of SXSW, we actually rehearse blindfolded, without monitors and very tequila drunk in the weeks leading up to the fest to simulate what its like to be at SXSW. Think of it as conditioning ourselves. Wanna know what it’s like to drink all day and play in the hot sun with a 5 minute line check at every show? This is the best way.
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 is growing ancy. How would your band deal with such a situation?
WB: Funny you’d ask because my day job is actually crisis management for a large PR firm in Philly. I make a lot of money doing this, so you can trust me. The trick is to keep the audience calm and ensure everything is going to be ok. So, Step 1: Scream loudly in the microphone like you’re having a heart attack to gather everyone’s attention. Step 2: to comfort the audience you tell them you’ve been waiting for this moment your entire life and it’s been a lifelong goal to play in front of such a passionate crowd at SXSW. Step 3: You bring the metal band back on stage, and ask them to perform the 1999 Billboard chart topping hit “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega. Trust me, every serious metal band knows this song. At this point the crowd is going nuts and rocking out because everyone loves that song. Step 4: While they’re distracted by this performance, you acquire a large television. Put it on stage and chrome cast Youtube from your iPhone. You now have access to any Karaoke song the audience members want to perform. You’ve converted the gig into a karaoke bar. Everyone loves karaoke. You’re a hero. You sell 20 t shirts and you’ve made friends with a thrash metal band. Celebrate w/ tequila on the spoken word poets tab.
ATH: There are tons of bands coming into town. Of the 1000+ bands coming into town, who would you ideally like to play with. Which band friends will be here?
WB: Wire. Our musical heros. Besides that anyone who is going to co sign us and give us free sneakers.
ATH: What has everyone in the band been listening to, or, what plays in the tour van/car/bus?
WB: I’ve really been into the new Arthur Russel album. Besides that it’s dead silence in the van, as we all have a headache 99% of the time. Sometimes we play road games. We have a game called the Classic Rock game where you choose 4 classic rock artists and scan to the local classic rock radio station. If your artist gets played you get a point. When you lose reception you scan to the next city’s classic rock station. I’m well versed in classic rock radio syndication now. Our new van has Sirius XM though, so well prob just listen to the new wave station on there.
ATH: Describe your perfect festival, real or not? Whos headlining? Wheres it take place? Etc.
ATH: Whats on the bands rider? If were bringing you food and booze, what can we bring you?
WB: Miller high life, tequila, seltzer, hummus platter, pedialyte (any flavor besides the unflavored), and weed. We’re simple humans. Keep it under $30. If you bring us anything well prob be best friends forever and youll have guest list for life.
ATH: The band gets to create their own taco pop-up shop at SXSW? Whats the name, and what sort of tacos will you have? Any sides?
WB: This is our bassist Pete’s dream. He’s got a really good name for a taco joint that I can’t reveal, but if you come to our gig and bring us something on our rider above maybe he’ll tell you. My family are expert taco makers too. They’re all from Texas and Oklahoma and know what’s up. I feel too passionate about this to just type out and not write a novel. Come to a gig and lets talk tex-mex.
Thanks again Wesley!