SXSW 2014 Interview: Solids
If you haven’t listened to the latest album by Montreal’s Solids, then you’re definitely missing out. Anyone looking for a little rock n’ roll in their life should spend a little time with Blame Confusion…it’s only been out for a few weeks. We wanted to reach out to the band before they made their way into town for SXSW, and here’s what they had to say.
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?
Solids: SXSW just seems to be a really good meeting point for all kinds of music (and cinema and technology) enthusiasts. It is true that the sponsors are taking a lot of space though, but I guess it’s what happens to any event that grows as exponentially fast as SXSW; everyone wants a piece. It’s nothing new, especially not in the music biz. But it’s not all “coked up ponytailed impresarios and doritos reps”, a lot of people really are all about enjoying music and finding out about new bands. Those are the ones we come to meet and play for. Oh and we don’t really “pay to play”; we are just not paid (which is a slight but very important difference in my opinion).
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?
Solids: Our sets rarely go on for more than 45 minutes anyway aha, 30-minute ones just allow us to really choose songs depending on the vibe of the showcases, we don’t really have anything mapped out yet…
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?
Solids: Our SXSW 2013 diet was pretty much tacos and Jameson and everything went pretty smoothly, I guess we’ll stick to it this year.
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.
Solids: Haven’t been through the whole list yet, but it would probably include label-mates Cerebral Ballzy and Boogarins, Kurt Vile, Perfect Pussy, Japanther, Maica Mia, OBN III’s, OFF!, Power Trip, Tyvek, No Joy, Potty Mouth, Single Mothers followed by a party featuring Alaclair Ensemble, Kaytranada, Dam-Funk and Madlib. That would be a really good day.
ATH: We are partial to SXSW obviously, but what festival do you feel is the best around?
Solids: In Austin? SXSW is the only one we ever made it to, but Chaos in Tejas seems to be a total blast and so does the Psych Fest.
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?
Solids: We are used to pretty eclectic lineups and really think that they are the best ones. And we usually don’t need that much from the house PA, especially if it’s a small venue, so as long as the sound guy can get the vocals heard through the wall of sound we’re good to go. And angry crowds… Why should we even care about them? It’s just less fun for everyone but there’s really nothing you can do.
ATH: What’s your favorite album to come out in the last year? What’s playing in the tour bus?
Solids: I’d go with Light Up Gold from Parquet Courts (even though it’s more 2012ish, anyway their more recent Ep is also a regular in my rotation) and I guess Louis would go with the latest Power Trip Lp. We just got a new van and it’s got a tape deck AND a cd player so it opens up a whole new world of possibilities compared to our previous cd-only ride (in which we’d play our best picks from record shops’ 1-dollar bins, the most played probably being Autolux – Future Perfect)
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?
Solids: Never really used them so I can’t really tell, I personally think the best way to enjoy music (and support the bands) is to dig/stream/download stuff through the internet and then buy what you really like. I just find it sad that those platforms are pretty much killing the concept of album as a whole… How did we get so ADD about music?
ATH: Day parties have replaced showcases for music discovery? Is the conference really completely upside-down?
Solids: Yeah it’s kinda weird when you pay so much for a festival pass and you prefer to party instead, I mean you can party at home and save a shitload of money if that’s really what you’re into. But honestly I’d rather play for a couple of caring listeners than to an indifferent crowd just looking for the cool place to be seen at.
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 existing?
Solids: Never been yet, hope to go this year even though we may be kind of compulsive when it comes to prints, at this point we are pretty much out of virgin walls to hang them onto.