SXSW Interview: Swallow The Rat

As if you thought I’d let Nathan have all the fun with this SXSW interview game, you thought wrong! It’s time for me to start sharing some interviews myself and I’m starting today with one from Auckland based band Swallow the Rat. These guys were kind enough to answer or SXSW band questions and you can find their responses after the jump.

Responses come from Stephen Horsely who plays bass and sings in Swallow the Rat.

ATH: SXSW is a pretty crazy event every year with tons of bands in town competing for space and fans. As a band, what’s your reason for coming to play at the festival? What do you hope to get out of it?

Playing SXSW has been on my bucket list for years- many of my friends have played (Kerretta, Meterman, Die! Die! Die!) had have said how awesome it was. We want to take our music further than NZ – its a small place far from everywhere! SXSW is a great chance to do this- we plan to meet with a number of labels while we are here to present our just completed debut album.

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?

We have been working on on getting our set sorted. We want to take people on a bit of a journey- stun them upfront, then provide a respite in the middle and finish with squalls of feedback

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?

I’m a big sour beer fan, so am really looking forward to heading to Blue Owl to try their suds. For food- its a 50:50 split between tacos and bbq. Im keen to check out Franklin BBQ, Micklethwaits, and Tacos Guerrero for a start.

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.

One of the great things about festivals like SXSW is getting to see things that you would never have a chance to in your home town.

To that end, my picks would be:

Stefan Wesolowski –

Gong Gong Gong –

Alexandra Cardenas –

Hans. – my own rule here….)


Moritz Simon Geist –

We are also all really looking forward to seeing acts like Swervedriver and Oh Sees.

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

My favorite festivals have been Primavera in Barcelona, and Le Guess Who in Utrecht, NL. Great diverse line ups in beautiful cities. In New Zealand the Nowhere Festival is great.

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?

Ultimately we are here to entertain our audience- we try to play out of our skins every time we are on stage. Often the ‘worst’ gigs are ones you play best at- you gotta make something good of the situation- that would be our approach.

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

Album of the year so far-Tim Hecker’s Konoyo

On the tour bus it’s all over the show- on our last one Willy Nelson, Sleaford Mods, Neu, Turing Machine and Pusha T all got a play

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?

Streaming is fantastic from a music fans point of view- personally I am able to listen to a much wider range of music than before. On the downside, it can make you a bit of a tourist- been there, taken a photo…

Setting aside the money, it can be great for musicians given how it democratizes distribution.

Unfortunately, the financial model is totally broken- most don’t get paid, a few get some pocket money while those at the top seem to doing fine. Hopefully artists rights are better recognized in the future, given that it is us that make the stuff! Given this, its important that people purchase actual ‘product’- either downloads off services like bandcamp or cds/vinyl off your local record store.

Thanks again guys! Swallow the Rat currently have an official showcase scheduled for March 11th at Barracuda.

And here’s the band’s new EP which came out last October.

[bandcamp width=100% height=42 album=4287040608 size=small bgcol=ffffff linkcol=63b2cc]

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