Things changed here in April 2019. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and show and festival cancellations, no new content has been added here since February 2020.
To connect with us, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.
SXSW 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Live at Leeds 2016 | 2015 | 2014
Sound City 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | Great Escape 2018 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012

SXSW 2018: Mary’s Monday roundup of country houses and the SXSW Conference Trade Show – 12th March 2018

 
By on Monday, 19th March 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo courtesy of Jennifer Sinski / Fox Sports House

Once you’ve attended the SXSW Conference and Festivals once, you get into this mindset that you’re going to try and go to as much as possible, but you also know that the best laid plans often change and may be entirely out of your control. This year, I wanted TGTF to make an even better effort to see more of the conference and visit more of the houses sponsored by our country friends across the oceans.

Arriving earlier than scheduled into Austin on Monday morning, I was able to get badged up quickly and pop my head in for drinks and food in the House of Scandinavia sponsored by airline SAS. Instead of serving those famous Swedish meatballs, they had sat on tortilla chips gluten-free, oat-based meatless treats, reflecting the global trend towards sustainable food sourced ethically. The House, located for the week at Café Blue just steps from the Austin Convention Center, made for an easy pop-in if one was inclined to do so. Monday was Super Finland Day: did you know that Finland ranked #1 as the happiest country to live in 2018? Not so happily, bad timing meant I arrived between musical acts, ultimately missing Tuomo & Markus who we had opened our SXSW 2017 coverage with.

Fox Sports House at SXSW 2018 - courtesy Jennifer Sinski / Fox Sports House

A bit further out on Colorado Street was the Fox Sports House. The focus of their programming was to promote the upcoming World Cup in Russia. On offer were free country-themed tacos made to order and beer, while fantasy football and airbrushed temporary tattoos also were a big draw for mainly orange badge Interactive attendees who had already been in town for a few days. After you’ve done this for a few years, you can easily spot those moving slowly with bags under their eyes who look worse for wear and who are the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed having just landed.

Later in the day, I queued for a good 30 minutes in an attempt to get in as press to the food and wine pairing hosted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone at G’Day USA‘s Australia House at Lucille, only to be turned away after it had reached capacity. After occupying the much more central location of Brush Square Park for years, the Land Down Under hedged their bets for 2018 to move all of their festivities, including the perennially popular Aussie BBQ, down to Rainey Street. Bringing to Austin the ever winsome Stone and actor Hugh Jackman (there to discuss his Laughing Man Foundation that supports coffee growers) meant huge crowds wanted to visit Australia House early on in the week. You have to wonder if this ultimately translated to Australia House being a victim of its own perceived success. Having been turned away once, I can’t have been the only person to consider that given Lucille’s small size, I was unlikely to get into the place all week, so would it be worth the time queueing?

My unexpected early arrival also meant that I could step into the Trade Show for a wander. As in past years, some impressive local startups were showcasing their wares, including Sock Club, who create custom-made socks for companies and events. I wonder how many Subway employees wear their green, company-branded socks proudly. Many booths had a focus on VR and robots. I was surprised to see so many country booths having VR units on hand for anyone to stop by. While I never waited to see what was on those headsets, the fact that nearly everyone had them made for the odd feeling that everyone had them only because it was the thing to do this year. Is it symptomatic of society’s shorter attention spans? Country booths have tended to be less about welcoming conference attendees than in past years, which I found disappointing. A lot of these booths are designed to create business and attract tourism, and countries have spent loads of money sending people out to an international expo. Maybe everyone was tired by Monday and wasn’t in the mood to network? Far better were the actual houses away from the convention center, like the aforementioned House of Scandinavia.

A large crowd watched on wide-eyed as a giant orange robot was being controlled by a much smaller, normal human-sized woman manipulating a pouch-y horizontal arm. A Japanese booth had a robot creating plastic nigiri sushi from teeny tiny pieces of colored plastic, the same kind of precise technology you’d expect used in making things like microprocessors. Nearby, a Korean booth boomed with the sound of techno, as the electronic face of a panda bear alternated between moods as songs progressed. I’m all for the future of technology and advancement making our lives better. Flashy stuff like this without an obvious ground-breaking application doesn’t excite me. I must be getting old!

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: this year’s recommended keynotes and speakers

 
By on Monday, 5th March 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Each year, SXSW brings in an awe-inspiring list of industry speakers to take part in its Conference sessions. 2018 is no exception. In a month and a half, there will be an impressive crop of industry leaders, luminaries and artists you can hear speak in Austin as part of the Music, Interactive, Film and Convergence portions of the conference. Below is just a small selection of what’s on offer.

Daniel Glass (Thursday, 15 March, 5:00 PM, Music Industry; pictured at top) – Daniel Glass might not be a name you recognise, but the international artists whose careers he helped launched here in the States definitely will be. Through his record label Glassnote Records, Two Door Cinema Club, Phoenix, Mumford and Sons and many more acts were able to break America. Started as an independent company after Glass left the corporate world, his insights on how to survive, stay passionate and rise above as a little fish in a big pond will no doubt be enlightening. Joining Glass will be Aryeh Bourkoff of dealmakers Liontree.

Jose Andres and Andrew Zimmern (Monday, 12 March, 3:30 to 4:30 PM, Food) – Okay, so this isn’t conference sessions isn’t music related all. But if you follow me on Instagram, you know how much of a foodie I am, and Jose Andres is a major celebrity in the Washington, DC area. More recently, he has been prominently involved in helping to feed the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the California wildfires and mobilising fellow chefs in the efforts. Andrew Zimmern is known the world over as the host of the tv programme Bizarre Foods, where he’s gone all over and eaten some pretty, er, unusual grub, shall we say. It’s easy to forget that outside his wacky Bizarre Foods persona, he’s a James Beard award winner, chef, educator and all around encyclopedia about food.

Keith Urban (Friday, 16 March, 12:30 PM, Music Culture & Stories) – As big of an industry American country music is here, I have to admit it’s not a genre I rate and we’ve pretty much overlooked it in our coverage on TGTF. If you are curious how “the other half lives”, you can do so by listening to Keith Urban’s talk about his career that has led to a bewildering 22 #1 hits and multiple Grammys, American Country Music Association Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards.

Kim Deal and Steve Albini (Wednesday, 14 March, 5 PM, Music Culture & Stories) – Kim Deal was as the original bassist for The Pixies and singer and guitarist of The Breeders with her sister Kelly. Kim Deal will sure to say plenty to say about breaking the mould of rock and into grunge and alternative rock. Steve Albini appeared as the keynote speaker at Output Belfast 2016. In Austin, Albini will be providing his perspective on alt-rock from the producer’s side of things.

Lyor Cohen (Wednesday, 14 March, 11 AM, Music Industry) – Lyor Cohen is the Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google, overseeing domestic and international music partnerships and artist and label relations for his companies. He is also a founder of 300, a record label with an eclectic roster of up-and-coming artists. Prior to his current positions, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group, having a big part in launching the careers of The Killers, Ed Sheeran, The Black Keys and many more successful artists of today.

Melinda Gates (Sunday, 11 March, 2:00 PM, Interactive) – Bill’s better half will be moderating a panel talk entitled, “The Company We Keep”, which is expected to include innovators of technology, new business models and new social movements. They will discuss how these new developments have led to changes in how companies run their workplaces and have fostered inclusive environments and creativity.

Sadiq Khan (Monday, 12 March, 2:00 PM, Convergence) – Sadiq Khan may be the first Muslim to serve as the mayor of a major Western capital, but he’s become more famous as the strong, stoic leader of London in the face of some of Britain’s most challenging times in recent memory. As a Keynote Speaker, he will no doubt be speaking about London Town’s special position as a hotbed for technological innovation, a launching pad for startups and the home of some of the world’s biggest companies.

Wendy Williams (Saturday, 17 March, 12:30 PM, Music Culture & Stories) – Now known for her popular daytime talk show, Wendy Williams is also an entrepreneur, media mogul, actor, comedian and best-selling author. She also has over 2 decades’ experience in radio. Williams will discuss her rise to success and the importance of female empowerment in the entertainment industry.

As always, the schedule of events at SXSW 2018 is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information about the entire festival, including the music conference and the lineup of showcasing artists, you can consult the official schedule here. TGTF’s ongoing preview coverage of SXSW 2018 is collected here.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: this year’s conference programming in the Music Culture & Stories track

 
By on Friday, 23rd February 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Music is such an important part of the fabric of our lives, and the effects of the stories that music makers tell through their art often go far beyond their original inspiration and intent. In the Music Culture & Stories track of the 2018 SXSW Conference, there’s plenty for the music fan to sink her/her teeth into on the influence of song and in the many directions music can take us our minds and hearts.

Documenting Music and Musicians
Though we may not be actively thinking about it on a regular basis, those who document music, musicians and the legacy of their art and how they have done this documentation have affected the way we consume and ultimately remember the music that has moved us. In an early afternoon session on Tuesday 13 March entitled ‘LONDON ROCK: The Unseen Archive’, Alec Byrne will discuss his decade-long career as a London rock photographer. Attendees will enjoy a slideshow of his rare images of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, and many other artists. These images have been stuck in an archive for almost 40 years, only resurfacing recently as part of Byrne’s book. Photographers have been some of the few in the industry who have crossed and allowed into the emotional inner sanctums of musicians, so Byrne will have some unique stories to share.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 14 March, panel session ‘Preservation & Appreciation of Album Art Today’ will discuss the effect of the size limitation of album covers in digital streaming platforms. With such a small graphic size available, how we can continue the artistic appreciation of the art form that was once so important enjoyed during the original heyday of vinyl in the ‘50s and ‘60s? Albums like The Beatles’ ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ and the banana of ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ are remembered almost as much for their cover art as they are for the music they contain.

Music, Our Minds and Our Emotions
How music makes us feel is an important key to what we like and remember and what resonates with us emotionally. In ‘Ballads: A History of Emotions in Popular Culture’ on the afternoon of Saturday 17 March, University of British Columbia’s David Metzer will discuss his book The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé. Metzer believes when a ballad is written and released to the public and what is going on in the world at the time can influence how that song is experienced by the listener. Taking things on a more philosophical level, Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou of Zent Records in ‘The Task of the Artist in the Time of Monsters’ will provide his personal views on how artists through their songcraft “have a unique role to play as our nation comes to terms with these dark days.” (date TBA).

Two members of London rock band The Fish Police (header photo from their Facebook) have autism, and their conditions have informed the way they write music and unapologetically. Alongside staff from internationally acclaimed creative organization Heart n Soul, they will offer their unique perspective on making art in their own unique musical universe in the session ’Exploring Music Through the Lens of Neurodiversity’ early Wednesday afternoon (14 March). On a slightly different tack, local radio station KUTX will be taping their podcast This Song at SXSW 2018 on Thursday afternoon (15 March). Podcast host Elizabeth McQueen will be interviewing hip-hop artist and writer Dessa, who will describe a life-changing song and how it influenced her new album ‘Chime’. [NB: This taping will be held at the Wisteria Room at the Fairmont Hotel on 101 Red River Street and not at the Austin Convention Center.]

Iconic Venues
Some music clubs live on in memory, even long after they physically no longer exist. In
‘From CBGB to the World: A Downtown Diaspora’ on Friday 16 March, Rolling Stone’s David Fricke, Modern Recording artist Chris Stamey, Talking Heads members Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth, and visual artist Julia Gorton will recall what made the New York City dive bar special and why it’s remembered even today.

Despite the widely reported assault on music venues across Britain by property developers, we thankfully still have venues in North America who have stood the test of time. Session ‘The Horseshoe: the Roots of Canadian Rock n’ Roll’ will explore how this venerated institution in Toronto has survived for decades and been the starting point of a career for many Canadian rock acts who then went on to stardom beyond the Great White North. Closer to home and heart for Texans, ‘The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk’ and its over 5 decades of support for live country music will be discussed on the morning of Tuesday 13 March by none other than its long-time and only proprietor James White.

Musical Legacies
In terms of American musical heroes, who casts a bigger shadow than Elvis? In a featured session on Wednesday afternoon (14 March), there will be an exciting conversation about the upcoming three-hour, two-film HBO presentation on Elvis Presley that will premiere in April and includes “a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions”. The panel will include Presley’s widow Priscilla, legendary Memphis music writer and producer David Porter, director Thom Zimny and producer Jon Landau. Arguably Elvis’ counterpart in rap Tupac Shakur will be fondly remembered in ‘Still Thuggin: Tupac Relevance Over 20 Years Later’ on the afternoon of Friday 16 March.

In more recent, fast-paced times, there’s been the question of whether musical stars made through appearances on reality tv shows will live on or will they be quickly forgotten. In ‘Now What? Life After Reality TV Singing Shows’ on Saturday afternoon (17 March), Cas Haley (2007’s America’s Got Talent), Blake Lewis (6th season of American Idol) and NAKIA (1st season of The Voice) will share their experiences before, during and after appearing on millions of tv screen around America.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 events we cover here at TGTF, music conference programming is subject to change. We suggest you consult the official SXSW 2018 schedule for the latest additions and editions.

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2018: this year’s conference programming in the Music Industry track

 
By on Wednesday, 21st February 2018 at 11:00 am
 

Header photo of Shakey Graves by Greg Giannukos

SXSW Music Conference programming under the umbrella of the Music Industry track is intended to guide artists and other industry professionals through the promises and potential pitfalls of everyday business in the music world. This year’s Music Industry programming includes panel sessions on a variety of current trends and topics of interest, as well as touching base with the basics.

Music Industry Culture
Carrying on from programming at SXSW 2016 and SXSW 2017, this year’s music conference continues its meta-examination of music industry culture, starting with a question that digs down to the very root of the investigation. On Wednesday the 14th of March, a panel session titled ‘Is Culture Change in the Music Industry Possible?’ will consider “whether it is possible for such a complex, fragmented [industry] to develop a common culture, what an ideal music industry culture might look like, and most importantly, how we actually get there.”

A continued emphasis on feminism in the music industry manifests in several conference sessions, including ‘Women in Music: Break the Ceiling + Bridge the Gap’ on the 14th of March and ‘Sexual Misconduct in the Music Industry’ the following day. The former panel promises to “explore the challenges women face in negotiating and share tactics to become a better negotiator” as well as assessing “the current status of the gender and wage gaps and the impact these barriers have had on women in our industry.” The latter panel will specifically address sexual misconduct, with focus on “the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct and how this aggression affects the psyche of women working in music in regards to performance, promotions, equal pay and influence.”

Music Curation and Experience
‘Barriers to Innovation for New Music Experiences’ will begin the week on the 13th of March with a panel set to examine “current hurdles and roadblocks that face those building a new generation of music services and experiences”. In the spirit of an evolving music experience, a historical session titled ‘Curation, Collaboration & Community’ on the 14th of March “will outline the journey of Tileyard Studios and the revolutionary transformation of a dilapidated area of London to one of the most exciting music creators’ hubs in the world.”

Conference programming also reflects a continued interest in the ways modern listeners prefer to consume music, with topics ranging from terrestrial radio to digital playlist collaboration on the table for discussion. On one end of that spectrum, ‘Measuring What Matters in a Playlist-First World’ on the 14th of March will dive into the data on digital playlists with discussion about “how to understand and measure them” as well as what those measurements might reveal about “music consumption, marketing, and music creation”. At the other extreme, a session on the 16th of March called ‘Is This the Golden Age of Alternative Radio?’ finds that medium inexplicably “on the rise” and will examine how best to take advantage of its current popularity.

On the related topic of music curation and discovery, Pitchfork founder and editor-in-chief Ryan Schreiber will lead a panel on the 15th of March titled ‘Why Music Journalism Matters in the Streaming Era’, with discussion on “navigating new challenges, providing crucial context, and how to evolve as [music streaming] services threaten to push into the realm of content creation.” The following afternoon, ‘Stop the Scroll: Creative Strategy in Social Media’ will help online curators “learn how to make a creatively driven social strategy . . . [and] deliver campaigns that keep fans coming back for more.”

Artist Issues
Professional issues facing artists in the current music business atmosphere are, as always, at the center of this year’s Music Industry track. Early in the week on the 14th of March, ‘Beyond the Band: Shakey Graves’ will take a look at the “many different elements that comprise a successful career as a musician” in the context of Do617’s Beyond the Band partnership with Berklee College of Music and LATW Group. The featured artist on the panel is Shakey Graves’ Alejandro Rose-Garcia, pictured at top.

In the same vein of cooperation and collaboration, ‘The Band is With Me: The Art of Team Building’ on the 16th of March will talk about how to assemble a strong team of professionals behind a career artist, in the areas of “artist service platforms, PR, development/management, and marketing/touring.” More specifically, ‘What Does an Artist Manager Do and How to Get One’ on the 17th of March will find artist managers sharing “practical, concrete steps every artist can take to go about obtaining management” and ways for “up and coming managers . . . to help grow their clients’ careers exponentially.”

Financial issues are always at the forefront of an artists’ career, and there are many scheduled conference sessions surrounding the delicate topic of money. On the 15th of March ‘New Ways to Finance a Music Career’ will discuss artists’ “options [and] tools to self-finance their career outside of the traditional label/publisher system.” On the 16th of March, ‘We Will Rock You: Make a Big Noise with the Brands’ promises helpful tips on “how you can win that brand and help the brand tell a story [that will] come alive with your music.” In the same time slot, ‘Paid in Full: Fixing Music Rights for Artists’ covers the difficulties of “connecting billions of global streams to the right parties” and “how smart minds are working to find solutions.”

Mentor Sessions
A large number of Mentor Sessions with music industry professionals are listed under the Music Industry track. These sessions require RSVP, and access will only be available to badge types listed as having Primary Access. Featured mentors include record label executives, public relations professionals, artist development managers, marketing specialists and attorneys.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 events we cover here at TGTF, music conference programming is subject to change. We suggest you consult the official SXSW 2018 schedule for the latest additions and editions.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online for years to come!
Donate here.