Sunday, March 26, 2006
The annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, offers independent bands like Lawrence's Ad Astra Per Aspera a chance to perform for a concentrated cross-section of industry movers and shakers. With a full-length album nearly completed, the five-piece band journeyed to SXSW to audition for record labels, grab some free sneakers and catch a few of their favorite bands.
lawrence.com: What are some of your first impressions of SXSW?
Lane: You know the feeling the first time you go to New York and you look around and are sort of overwhelmed for a few hours? It's sort of that, but with music and some bad bands and a lot of people who look like your friends in Lawrence.
What are your goals for SXSW?
Tuley: I don't really have any expectations. I'd like to make some solid connections with either an independent record label or someone who can help us book a tour : just anybody who can help us advance our music-playing career. We're starting to take it more seriously now that we're recording a record, and we're pretty proud of our work so far. We're really honored that we got asked to play at SXSW, because it is a big deal - especially for an unsigned band.
Noyce: We've had pretty good local success and people always enjoy us when we're out on the road, but I don't think we've necessarily had a chance to do a good tour the way it could be done because we've been booking our own. It'd be nice to get help booking a major tour and knowing that it's going to be good shows and not just showing up somewhere and playing for whoever might happen to be there.
How are you promoting this show and your band in general?
Hunt: We have a lot of merchandise that we've designed ourselves that I think is really cool. We have these big bumper stickers that are bright yellow with a hamburger riding a motorcycle and it's bold and it says "Ride Wild." Maybe we'll put a few of those up here and there, but I'd never want to be handing anything out to people. Because anytime somebody hands me something - like a flyer or a matchbook - I just kind of ignore it and shove it aside.
How do you decide who gets free CDs?
Lane: Do you hand them out to every single person you see? Or do you try and find the pudgy guy with glasses who is probably the guy who would actually need the CD? It's sort of a tough decision.
Why is the "pudgy guy with glasses" the kind of guy who would need an Ad Astra Per Aspera CD?
Lane: Well, I mean, this isn't universally true - and it certainly isn't true as far as smaller record labels go, which is what we're more interested in. But the pudgy guy with glasses by and large is the one who is making some sort of decision, whereas everyone else is just music fans : We played a couple shows in Wichita last weekend and we sold them up there just because there's a lot of kids up there.
Ad Astra Per Aspera
A lot of pudgy kids?
Lane: No no pudgy kids : I'm going to regret saying "pudgy," I guess.
› Stay tuned for the Turnpike episode featuring Ad Astra at SXSW.