SXSW 2014 Interview: Happy Diving

happySanFrancisco’s Happy Diving dwell in the realms of catchy guitar pop.  At times it’s completely noisy, but other times it’s filled with well crafted melodies that allow for maximum emotional involvment from listeners.  Their s/t EP for Father Daughter Records was a short blast of fun, and I expect their shows during SXSW to be filled with that same sense of revelry.  We caught up with Matt Berry from the group to grab a quick interview.

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?

Matt: The idea of playing SXSW wasn’t even considered until our label asked us to play their showcase. At first we said no because we didn’t think we would have the means to get there but once we started talking about it as a band, we realized that is was completely doable. The thing that drew us to playing SXSW was not only getting to play with our favorite bands but getting to see a lot of bands we wouldn’t normally be able to see. We knew it would be completely worth it not only to experience such a cool event, but be a part of it as well.

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?

Matt: Well, our set rarely goes over twenty minutes so we probably won’t even utilize all of our time anyways,but given that the people going to these showcases are being exposed to so many great bands all at once, making an impression can be hard. The important thing isn’t to worry about playing to make the crowd happy. A band should just be up there playing what they want to play exactly how they like to play it and if people like it, cool, if not, that’s fine too.

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?

Matt: Well a couple of us are vegetarians so pretty much anything that caters to that is awesome. Other than that we all like Taco Bell and other crappy fast food. As far as drinks go, we are all underage so whatever you can sneak us we’d probably be fine with.

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.

Matt: There are too many to count. Luckily we are playing with a lot of our favorite bands but if I had to make my own line-up it would definitely include Diarrhea Planet. You can’t go wrong with four guitar players, those guys rule really hard. Potty Mouth would definitely be on there as well. Tony Molina, Two Inch Astronaut, Pile, Windhand, Roomrunner, Speedy Ortiz, I could probably do this forever but we’ll leave it at that.

ATH: We are partial to SXSW obviously, but what festival do you feel is the best around?

Matt: The line-up for Damaged City Fest in DC is pretty incredible and if I could pick one fest to go to this year aside from SXSW that would probably be it. I went to Coachella once and that was pretty cool. SXSW is just extra cool because of the options you have. Almost every band will be there, so just pick the ones you want to see and it will be the perfect festival.

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?

Matt: We’d probably just play our set, hope for the best and vow never to return. Maybe we’ll do a Mercyful Fate cover to ease the anger.

ATH: What’s your favorite album to come out in the last year? What’s playing in the tour bus?

Matt: Ovlovs most recent record was easily my favorite record to come out in 2013 and we all really like thatband so we’d probably play them a lot if we were on a tour bus. Milk Music and Roomrunner also had awesome records come out in the last year .They would get played a lot as well.

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?

Matt: We don’t really care at all.

ATH: Day parties have replaced showcases for music discovery? Is the conference really completely upside-down?

Matt: I don’t really know, we are playing mostly day parties so I guess we are bunch of rebels?

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?

Matt: None of us have even been to SXSW let alone Flatstock but it seems pretty cool so we might check it out.


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