SXSW: A Prelude

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FOUND are packing our bags for the most exciting gigs of our career and I’ve been invited to blog about it for The Skinny. We’re off to play at the world renowned music industry festival, South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. We leave in a matter of days, at 5 am from Edinburgh airport, but it’s taken us a long time to get to this stage.

I’m used to doing a fair amount of admin in my role as co-manager of the band, but preparing for this trip has been epic. Since October when we found out that we’d been selected to play at the festival there’s been so much to do: accommodation to organise, flights to book, gigs to arrange, money to raise and visa applications to fill out. But I’m forgetting the pain now we have our performers visas in hand and are good to go.

As a small Scottish band on a small Scottish indie label, we’re doing this trip on a small Scottish budget. The moment we heard we’d been accepted by SXSW, I sent off an email to their International Housing Program. It seems there’s a lot of brave, friendly or misguided people in Austin willing to allow entire bands into their homes to stay, for free, for the duration of the festival (which runs from Wednesday 18 March to Sunday 22 March). We have been paired up with two such people, Rachel and Chris, who sound like they’re going to be a great deal of fun. They’re veterans of the music festival. In one email Rachel describes it as ‘the Olympics of Rock N Rock’ – that makes sense to me and not just because our visas were granted in the same category as athletes.

As I see it we’re in training for the Rock Olympics just as if we were athletes but with rehearsals replacing sessions in the gym, Innis & Gunn ales replacing scientific sports drinks and Scottish Arts Council funding instead of Adidas sponsorship.

There’s real camaraderie between Team Scotland bands. We already knew some of the other acts, particularly our good friend and label boss, The Pictish Trail, but we’ve also got to know bands such as Come On Gang! and Nacional and we’re really looking forward to hanging out with them in Texas.

Support from the local scene has been incredible. We’ve had tons of good advice from bands and managers who’ve been to the festival before, plus loads of radio play, great press and the response to our fundraising album has been phenomenal.

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Last Saturday we played a Fence Records bash at Old Saint Paul’s in Edinburgh – it was a warm up for the Fence Homegame (17 – 19 April) and our final gig before departing for America. It had been a day of solo acoustic sets with a few full bands playing towards the end and FOUND headlining. I wasn’t sure how the crowd we’re going to react to our more electronic songs but when we played ‘When You Fall’ followed by brand new song ‘Let Fidelities Break’ the space directly in front of the stage erupted into a mass of feverish dancing that kept on growing until the end of the set. We left that night with smiles on our faces and cheers echoing in our ears.

Now for Austin Texas  –  we’ll be letting you know how it goes…

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