SXSW Interview: Melville

IMG_7489Hard to believe that SXSW is drawing ever near as the weeks seem to be flying by in anticipation.  Today we bring you even more coverage with an interview from Portland based indie group Melville.  As I’ve been doing, these are just some questions to build press for upcoming bands, get their feel for SXSW, and see what they think about our great city.  Follow the jump for responses.

All answers coming from Meliville founding member and primary songwriter Ryan T. Jacobs.

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?

I feel like, due to the environment you just described, the days of coming to SXSW to get “discovered” are a ways behind us, though that obviously can and does still happen. So for us, there’s no delusion of coming down to try and find that golden ticket so to speak. It is however a great chance to get your feet wet in the Austin scene, there’s still tons of other great bands to see/link up with, lots of inroads to be made by meeting various industry people and oh so many breakfast tacos, Shiner Blondes and BBQ to be consumed.

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?

This is such a great question because I feel that there’s so many bands that this thought doesn’t occur to until it’s too late and not just in regards to SXSW. To best leave a lasting impression we’re planning on having a couple of boa constrictors, dancing bears and a mime on a unicycle to help with stage presence… I kid, I kid… Realistically though, we feel that we’ve got a strong crop of pop/rock tunes that people will respond well to and our on-stage performance is high-energy with a focus on trying to attain that momentary transcendence/catharsis that only a good rock show can bring to you. We also may or may not have a couple ace-in-the-hole covers of Black Sabbath and Sarah McLachlan up our sleeve…

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?

It’s tough to pin down a group staple. We don’t have a band guacamole recipe like Jack White if that’s what you mean. I’d say bourbon/whiskey would be the band beverage and for food, I’m gonna go ahead and say Mexican food or BBQ, which are both amazing in Austin. Taco Deli, Torchy’s and The Salt Lick are all annual stops when in Austin, though I’m sure there’s many more gems to be discovered and to that we say: challenge accepted. It seems most people in Texas have their own “most authentic” BBQ/taco spot anyways and we’re fine with trying them all, ya know, for science n stuff…

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.

Boy, that’s a tough one. You’d kinda want it to have a good flow to it, like a mix tape almost, start it out slow and work your way up into a big finale. Is Spoon playing SXSW this year? I’d have them somewhere for sure, and we played with Austin band Mother Falcon in Portland so it’d be cool to link back up with those guys on their home turf. RAC would be a good act to get the party going and then I’d have Run the Jewels close out the night because you know those guys bring it.

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 drunk and angry at the world.  How would your band deal with such a situation?

We’d probably just break out our thrash metal/hip hop song with a spoken word breakdown in it reserved for such occasions so we cover all the bases. Maybe a Limp Bizkit Cover?? Obviously we have neither of those in the arsenal so let’s hope we don’t come across that scenario… We feel pretty much like as long as you’re passionate about what you do, that’ll come across to people in the audience, that’s something you can’t fake and we’ve seen it win over less-than-receptive audiences in the past.

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

Top to bottom most on-air time has been Spoon’s new record. It’s just such a solid album. Sturgill Simpson’s record would be a close second. Father John Misty’s new record is great too so far after only a few listens.

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

We’re just happy to have a new audience to play for that want to be exposed to new music really. Honestly, I can’t claim to know enough about the festival’s past to make judgement calls on whether it was better then to where it’s at now comparatively speaking. I’m sure the situation is similar to the usual lament of ” back in the good ol days…” a lot of people tend to have when things change, though there’s usually some merit to those kinds of claims too of course. It seems like the current state of SXSW parallels the current music scene though in the sense that labels aren’t as important as they used to be and it’s a more DIY world, hence, more bands at the festival and it being less exclusive than the earlier versions of SX and the festival/showcases having a less make-or-break mentality for bands than in the past.

ATH: Band catch phrase in 5 words or less.

Melville: big songs, aiming true

Thanks again duder!

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