SXSW Interviews: Carroll

CARROLL_011_PG (1)We hope with our interviews you guys are getting some exposure to a few acts you may not have known about coming in for SXSW. That’s the goal with these things anyway… It’s hard to believe that we are now under a week to go, but I’m finally feeling ready. Today let’s look at another band’s perspective on the festival from Minneapolis based group Carroll. Follow the jump for more.

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?

Carroll: We don’t follow too much of that hubbub as you say, we just live and die by the gig. Having only been to SX once before, I hardly feel that we have a complete enough data set to comment on the changing nature of the festival, or the encroaching influence of corporate sponsors. We come to Austin to play music to throngs of people who have come to Austin to listen to music. We hope to play well, eat well, make new fans, and enjoy some time in the sun.

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?

Carroll: We never have a set list mapped out before the gig. There are a handful of songs that make their way into every set because they’re too damn good not to play, but our general approach is to play the songs we’re most excited to play at that moment because that will be the most fun for us. 30 minutes or an hour and a half; our approach is the same: crush the riffs, ride the grooves, summon the vibes and slay the gig.

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?

Carroll: Whatever the nearest dankass food truck is slinging is what I want to eat. Whatever crisp brew is the coldest is what I want to drink.

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.

Carroll: That ruins my favorite part of SX, which is showing up at some random spot 15 minutes before our set to hear the tail end of some truly stunning music played by a band I have absolutely never heard of. So I guess my ideal set would be: some freaky aussie dudes playing some heavy shit, followed by a norwegian folk balladeer, followed by us, followed by a spoken word shaman playing over some John Cale drone shit. I don’t even want to know their names.

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?

Carroll: This is not really a hypothetical situation for us, unfortunately. A lot of time on the road you have no idea what you’re getting into and show up to a show at a pet store with no microphones or something. I think in these instances we might try to play for each other, like use it as a public band practice. That actually makes it fun because we end up playing songs we don’t usually play or jamming longer on sections or something. OR we stoke the flame of the crowd’s drunken anger by playing Raffi’s “Banana Phone” 9 times in a row.

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

Carroll: Like most of humanity, To Pimp A Butterfly struck us as miles above anything that came out last year. However, our van has really weird speakers so we tend to listen to records that compliment the “van filter.” The warmth of Grizzly Bear or Curtis Mayfield records seem to come through well. Our next record is just going to be mixed to sound great in our busted van speakers and sound awful anywhere else.

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

Carroll: I don’t have enough of a history with the festival to really know if it’s changing in negative or positive ways. The first time we played, we only played free day parties and I thought it was great. You can discover music in a Wendy’s parking lot! We’re curious to see how different it is to play for the badge-holding crowd, though it will be atmidnightso they may be some crunk badge-droppers or badge-misplacers.

8) Band catch phrase in 5 words or less.

Carroll: The gig is nigh.

Thanks again gentlemen for making some time for us. Here’s the latest single and video from the group, “Bad Water”.

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