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by Rick Schwartz and Tom Perry
Over the past decade, we’ve seen consumers opt for digital downloads over the almost-extinct CD. In 2010, CD sales suffered a 20 percent decline for the fourth year in a row, with digital downloads garnering a 13 percent increase. With the proliferation of new cloud storage services and music streaming solutions (e.g., iCloud, Amazon, Pandora, etc.), we are now seeing another shift in the way music is consumed. With these new services that offer anytime, anywhere access to music content, will the once-revered digital download be the 8-track of the future?
This “Core Conversation,” led by PacketVideo’s content manager, Tom Perry, will offer a platform for attendees to discuss the future of music consumption. Participants will be prompted to offer opinions and insight into how this shift away from digital downloads will impact the music industry as a whole, and how new music services will foster the consumer need for anytime, anywhere access to music.
by Nive Nielsen
If you got a team of the greatest children’s book writers in the world together, they couldn’t invent Greenlandic folk pop singer Nive Nielsen. In her case at least, band bios are simply stranger than fiction.
A few facts about her: The first concert she ever played was for the queen of Denmark on national television; she acted in the Hollywood movie The New World starring Colin Farrell; and she actually is Inuit — well, Inuk — an indigenous Greenlander. Also, it’s daylight all summer where she lives.
A few more facts: She plays a little red ukulele in a band called the Deer Children with her boyfriend, multi-instrumentalist “Cowboy Jan.” She writes songs about love and reindeer and forgetting to make coffee. She won an IMA independent music award in the US, and was nominated for the Nordic Music Price, worked with Howe Gelb, Tchad Blake & John Parish and friends from such indie royalty outfits as The Black Keys and Wolf Parade. Really, I ´m not making it up.
What’s even more surprising is that her fanciful back story is matched by her own ability to tell stories or sometimes just hint at them with her warm, reedy voice. Sometimes she sings out with and old-timey quaver; sometimes she sings in a soft, childlike murmur. The songs themselves are straight out of a storybook that never was. They could be from anywhere, and they are hard to place in time. They are hummable folk melodies with a streak of vocal jazz, or cowboy ballads with an elfin side. They have a way of sticking in your mind — and not just because they were written by the only Greenlandic Inuit indie ukulele player that you can think of off hand. Snow Songs? Inuit Indie? Do check them out!
The Safe Harbor Room is a place for people in recovery to meet during SXSW. The sessions are informal and supportive. SXSW is a challenging atmosphere for those who choose sobriety. All are welcome to come to the Safe Harbor Room to meet with like-minded attendees.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is proud to present Hank Shocklee, Dan Friel, and special surprise DJs for a night of remixed, recreated, and downright DIY grooves where music, tech, and policy makers converge. Live streaming by BitTorrent. EFF is the leading civil liberties organization defending freedom in the digital world, and we are pleased to bring this party to Austin.
Join famed Indie-Film Director Robert Rodriquez and friends for a special night of Latin-fused rock and roll by Chingon & Tito and Tarantula. Chingon & Tito and Tarantula have been featured on the soundtracks of Rodriquez’s films Desperado, Dusk Til Dawn and Machete.
Check them out here:
E.S.P., Love Inks’ first album, was conceived and recoded with strict, direct motives. No frills, tears through extravagant side roads, solos, certainly no jamming, and no extra instrumentation. That being said, the album features a Dr. Rhythm 660, an electric guitar, an electric bass guitar, at special moments a Moog Satellite, and, most importantly, the vocals.
Our heroes are masters of simplicity and tact. The poet Frank O’Hara is one of them: “I don’t even like rhythm, assonance, all that stuff. You just go on your nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run.” This sometimes leads to uncomfortable situations, but we never get caught by the blade.
The idea was to get the purest signals from all instruments and feed them through a Tascam 8 track reel-to-reel, which would immediately warm the sounds and weave it all together. This process was drawn out on a piece of paper, in schematics form, before recording: the less digitized, the better. In March of 2010, we started the process with fifteen or more songs, and by June we were down to a solid ten.
The songs featured on E.S.P. were written to showcase the essence of emotion behind each instrument. It started as an exercise and became the only way to do it, forever. With the guitar and bass, we found there is a way to drop it perfectly into the song, in between everything, so that the vocal can exist in its own world, independently, above the song.
For the lyrics, Sherry channels the intensity and love between Yoko Ono and John Lennon. The art of Ono, inherently Japanese, is concise, and inspired John Lennon to follow suite: “Try shaving it all off and getting down to the nitty gritty—that’s what I always try to write. I’m not interested in describing a fucking tree. I’m interested in climbing it or being under it.” Give it to them straight, with honesty.
Sherry is also a firm believer in positivity. Her lyrics are never abusive or cynical. We are a family, and in some ways stronger because we are always supportive. The album reflects a time and place for everyone in the band. A time to pear down to what is necessary, essential. Cut out complexity, and you’ll find a deeper layer that is thicker and stronger. Like the human body, you’ll eventually end up at a nerve; once it’s hit, that’s when we know we’re there, and that’s when we press the record button.
The future for artist revenue streams is in old standards and emerging media. New ways to earn from publishing and new platforms for licensing mean new avenues to thrive as an artist and to creatively integrate music into your media. Marketers, advertisers, and brands can network with publishers and licensing companies to discover collaborative opportunities. Artists are invited to learn how to leverage art into a career.
Improviser, composer, arranger, producer, musical conceptualist, comedy writer, vocal stylist, filmmaker, sketchpad artist, drama example, self-taught instrumentalist and bon vivant, R. Stevie Moore was born 1952 in Nashville TN to famed Elvis bass player Bob. Since '66 RSM has recorded nearly 2,000 songs on over 400 very original homemade albums of alarmingly idiosyncratic variety and styles, often considered a seminal pioneer in the DIY ethic. Remaining virtually unknown, he quietly resided in New Jersey as curator of his own museum. Until now... Based back in Tennessee and touring the planet. LOUDLY SHOUTING!
The Cowboys, the Grassy Knoll, J.R. Ewing, the Stanky Leg... Dallas, Texas, is known for lots of things. Progressive, forward-thinking hip-hop has, until now, not been one of them. That’s all starting to change, thanks to A.Dd+ (spoken aye-dee-dee). The quirky yet streetwise, fun-loving yet dead serious duo of Paris Pershun (a.k.a. 24-year-old Arrias Walls) and Slim Gravy (Dionte Rembert, 24), moves easily between slang anthems (“Likeamug”), light-hearted stories about drug addiction (“Can’t Come Down”/”Erica & Jamie”), and weighty raps about father figures and Black male incarceration (“Momma’s Brother”). Their 2011 LP When Pigs Fly has earned them praise from national media outlets including XXL and Pitchfork, which described the duo as “the rapper and the poet, the spawn of UGK and OutKast, combining street and cerebral.”
The A.Dd+ story began in 2000 when Memphis-born Paris moved into the same North Dallas apartment complex as Slim. After years of rhyming together, the pair made their partnership official in 2007, dubbing themselves A.Dd+, a play on their first names, as well as attention deficit disorder, the most ubiquitous of youth behavioral problems. “A.Dd+ is whatever you want it to be,” explains Slim, who is also known as “D.D.” “It has many meanings like A Dynamic Duo, Analog and Digital, Always Doing Dirt. The plus sign symbolizes us being beyond what others are on, always adding to the craft, never subtracting. It’s all about imagination and creativity.”
In 2009, Paris and Slim dropped their debut mixtape, Power of the Tongue. The release earned them local acclaim and a “Best Rap Act” nomination from the Dallas Observer. Just as crucially, it led to their partnership with producer Picnictyme (of Erykah Badu’s Cannabinoids crew), the group’s sonic sensei and unofficial third member.
Produced entirely by Picnictyme, their debut LP, When Pigs Fly, took listeners on a ride through the streets of Dallas and a journey through Paris and Slim’s own offbeat imagination. Upon its release in March of 2011, the Dallas Observer boldly proclaimed it as possibly “the best hip-hop album Dallas has ever released.” The project earned the crew three nods from the Dallas Observer Music Awards, including nominations for “Best Album,” “Best Rap Act,” and “Best Producer.” Renowned hip-hop journalist Jefferson Mao also featured the LP in his XXL“Chairman’s Choice” column, while Pitchfork Media included it in its list of Underrated Rap Releases of 2011.
“It’s overwhelming at times to be held in such high regard,” Paris says of the response to When Pigs Fly. “We approached the project as more of a mixtape with original production by Picnic, and it really took on a life of its own once it hit the public. Having it described as possibly the best rap album ever released in a city that has so much talent, is a great honor.”
Backed by their DJ Sober, (named Dallas’ Best DJ in the Dallas Observer’s “Best Of 2011′′), A.Dd+ delivered “blazing opening sets” for sold-out audiences to see Wu-Tang, Erykah Badu, Big K.R.I.T. and Devin the Dude in 2011. The duo kicked off 2012 touring Texas on Red Bull’s Skooled tour with Bun B, Mannie Fresh and Paul Wall, among others. Up next, the group will embark on its first North American tour, opening for Black Milk, with whom they collaborated on the track “Insomniac Dreaming” (No. 17 on rap blog Passionweiss.com’s 50 Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2011).
Perhaps most encouragingly, A.Dd+’s success has come by pushing forward a sound that is thoroughly representative of Dallas, while at the same time completely different from anything that has previously been heard from the city.
“We are not ‘backpack rappers’; we are not hipsters,” Paris says, of misconceptions about the group. “Some folks take our sense of expression the wrong way ’cause we dress a certain way, or ‘cause our artwork and videos have a certain aesthetic, or ‘cause we express our thoughts over all types of canvases. Once people give our music a full listen or see us perform, that perception usually changes. We don’t make ‘fad’ music. We make music from the soul, and we kill shit.”
Sometimes, preconceived notions can be good; the comfort of expectations met is often a welcomed feeling. For the more adventurous among us, though, the best part of defined expectations and preconceived notions is having them broken, shattered even, in a good way. Enter: The Niceguys, a four-member Houston-based group with Southern roots and musical sensibilities that stretch far beyond the city’s limits. A self-contained unit, The Niceguys comprises MC (Yves ‘Easy Yves Saint’ Ozoude), DJ (Lucien ‘DJ Candlestick’ Barton) and producers (Todd ‘Christolph’ Louis and Winfrey ‘Free’ Oribhabor).
“I’m originally from Queens, New York, but I relocated to Houston when I was 18,” says Yves Saint. “I began attending the University of Houston in 2003, and spent the next two years moving back and forth between Texas and New York before I finally stayed in Houston for good.” Similarly, while Free, Candlestick, and Christolph now call Houston home -- the four met at the University of Houston -- each hails from different towns within the state, and each bring their own musical flair to the group.
“The first song that I memorized top to bottom was Nas’ ‘The Message,’” says Yves, who, along with the rest of The Niceguys, cite influence from such artists as J Dilla and MF DOOM in the same sentence as Houston legend Scarface and their hometown Screw music. “After hearing the way J Dilla and Pimp C flipped soul samples,” says Free, “it made me want to do it.”
Despite garnering their first national attention in late 2009, the origins of the group actually date two years prior, when Yves, DJ Candlestick, Christolph, and Free came together in 2007, releasing their inaugural project, a mixtape titled Niceguys Finish Last Vol 1, taking a little over two years to perfect their chemistry before releasing 2009’s The Green Room, a highly lauded seven-song free EP backed by 2DopeBoyz.com and Fatlace. An eclectic combination of soulful, boom bap-era beats backing Yves’ nimble rhymes, the EP -- with tracks including the playful street wear giant-ode “Supreme Team” and “Not At All”, with its the horny bravado supporting Yves’ witty lyrics and bouncing flow -- served as rock-solid precursor to the group’s forthcoming debut LP, The Show.
“Its a double entendre,” Yves says of the album’s title. “The Show as in we are entertainers and that's what people expect and pay for, but also, it’s a metaphor for life; regardless of all the crap that goes on within the music and outside of the music, the show must go on.” With tracks like the organ-heavy “Mr. Perfect,” Yves Saint’s nimble, double-time flow on “It’s Like That,” and the vintage sound and feel of “On This Road,” The Show is both a logical extension of the sound heard on The Green Room but also a step up and clear progression for the young group. “The sound of the album is big,” says Christolph, smiling. “A large percentage of the songs are high-energy and fast paced, like you’re at a live show. It’s like being at a concert right next to those 10-foot speakers: loud and in your face. But in a good way, of course.”
Humble yet full of bravado and confidence -- the group, also heavily into fashion with their own burgeoning Nice Look line, released their own line of panties for female fans -- The Niceguys know they have a sound that defies what listeners might expect, and they also know that sound is going to pay dividends in the long run. “In five years I want to have at least three successful albums, tour as much as possible all over the world, and be an established and well respected hip-hop group,” says Free. Now that sounds nice.
Mother Falcon is an orchestral band born in Austin, Texas who play a combination of classical and folk with the aesthetics and mentality associated with indie music. Led by Nick Gregg, the 22-member band is known for their layered, yet not overly-complex sound.
Their first release, Still Life, is a 5-song EP recorded in 2010. It introduced their unique blend of classical instrumentation with modern concepts. Alhambra, the follow up 12-song album, was recorded in the acoustic setting of a church and released in 2011.
In the cold and dreary winter of 2009, alone in his bedroom and hidden
from the darkness of the world outside Justin Paul Vallesteros had begun
working on something that would change his life forever. What began as a
couple notes played in experimentation soon transformed into vibrant
melodies that soon shook Vallesteros’ musical foundation to the core.
Guitar chords laced over pulse sating synth melodies and drum rhythms
was a departure from Justin’s previous work; he began to create the
dreamy nostalgic pop music that is Craft Spells. Justin is a California native
who now finds residence in the mid-size town of Stockton, the heart of
California. Craft Spells is the epitome of the recent uprising of the DIY
music scene. Coming from a place not known for its musical history or
impact on music culture it seemed destined for Craft Spells to stay as a
bedroom pop project with no final destination in sight. But soon the shear
amount of blog volume his work began to generate was unimaginable.
Sites like Weekly Tape Deck, Pasta Primavera, No Modest Bear and
Pitchfork’s Forkcast took notice and thus began the never ending
worldwide posting and re-posting on blog after blog of Craft Spells. The
sound is led by Justin’s blissful voice, backed behind beautiful guitar
melodies over heavenly synths, pop basslines and looped rhythms.
Captured Tracks has released 7” single for the song “Party Talk” and
the debut LP in Spring 2011 called Idle Labor. 2011 is
going to be a busy year now that Justin has set up a live band for future
touring. Keep a look out for tour dates in Europe and US come the new
year. In no time at all, Justin has been able to move out of Dave Brubeck
and Pavement’s shadow to create something his own which he shares
with the ever continuing admiration of the world.”
Arists, labels, press, and brands can come together and network and discuss new opportunities during the Indie Label Meet Up. The Meet Up Pavilion provides a casual space for indie labels to operate at their own pace and for artists, press, and creatives to meet and discover potential new projects. You are invited to meet indie labels Thursday, March 15 from 1:30pm-2:30pm.
From the basement t-shirt line to the rapper-owned brands, fashion is intertwined with music from design to marketing to obsession. Tastemakers from many industries are present at SXSW, and fashion is no different. Bands’ style prevails in Austin this week, and brands reach across the city. This meet up is for artists, designers, stylists, tastemakers, bands, brands, marketers, and fashionistas to network in the hub of the conference before the weekend.
9th–13th March 2012