I am sitting in the airport in Austin, TX. reflecting on the adventures at SXSW over the last five days. The weekend was filled with Oddish Leaf, great music, lots of walking, shitty weather, and a long ass drive from Chicago to Austin.
The Road 03/15/2016 – 03/16/2016
The Road trip began Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. We definitely chose the wrong time to leave Chicago. About 3 hours into the trip Be.Water (Chicago Emcee), Vagabond Maurice (Chicago Emcee), and we ran into tornado sirens as we were driving on 57 South near Kankakee. The sky was as dark as it could get. I freaked out bad because there was nowhere to go if a tornado touched down we were sitting ducks in a pond. With great concentration Vagabond Maurice and Be.Water got us out harm’s way. Our journey continued with great weather all through Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas. We were driving past Dallas around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday when we decided to stop at a WhataBurger. WhataBurger is a great fast food spot in Texas. We arrived at our destination Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. After a 17 hour drive we were beat. Overall, I could have not asked for a better drive in.
The day had arrived to hit SXSW. We had some homies in town out of Private Stock Studios at Bat Bar on 6th St. L.A. VanGogh (Chicago Emcee) hit the stage at 2:30 p.m. for the AEMMP Chicago showcase. AEMMP is a Chicago record label run by students at Columbia College. L.A. VanGogh represented Chicago to the fullest. After the set we walked around 6th St. to catch the vibe of the people.
The street was packed with like minded individuals ready to get fucked up, battle, network, and get high on music. We walked off the beaten path with an appetite for destruction. We stopped at Sputniks a local burger spot. Before we walked in Be.Water was approached to battle. The beats were whack and the rhymes were whack by this cat so we continued our way inside. We sat down at the bar ordered some drinks and burgers. There was a dive bar feel to the place. It seemed like a spot locals would go to. The food was delicious and the service was great. Our appetite for destruction was gone.
We walked around 6th st. a little bit longer and we made our way back to home base around 9:00 p.m.
SXSW Friday was beautiful. It was a great day of record stores, shows, and photography.
I went to Exploded Records at Juice Land at noon. DUBLAB (a non-profit online radio station out of Los Angeles, CA.) were broadcasting live out of the record store. I bought a 45 off of the Exploded Drawing Label. The record features music from Sound Founder, Kinder, LO PHI, and Sampler & Son. I spoke with the owner of Exploded Drawing Record Store Andrew Brown (Sound Founder). He told me about the Label, store, and the overall operations. I highly recommend anyone who likes Vinyl Records to stop in there. They have an awesome shop.
The next stop was Hope Outdoor Gallery after the record store. This park is like nothing I had ever seen. It is a giant hill with a castle at the top. Anyone could tag (spraypaint) anywhere in the park. There were beautiful Murals everywhere. It was probably the highlight of my trip. This is a spot that was revisited more than once.
We went to WaterLoo Records where they were having a festival in the record store parking lot. Mass Gothic (Sub Pop Records) performed a set of heavy garage Rock. It was a great spot for music and records. I read a lot of reviews of the place and I was not disappointed.
As my journey continued I walked back down 6th st. towards the Lit Lounge where there was a hip hop showcase that featured Micky Mundays and Jusalldrae. Micky Mundays recently released a video for his hit song “Bye Felicia”.
It was about 5:00 p.m. and I was waiting on the homies to find a parking spot so I randomly walk into a bar on 6th st. called the Trophy Club. There was a band performing there first gig. It was nice to hear something different from all the Hip Hop I had been listening to the majority of the trip so far.
Finally, Be.Water and Vagabond Maurice found parking. We met up and went back to The Hope Arts Gallery for a photo shoot.
Saturday we split up Vagabond and Be.Water went to see Talib Kweli. Me and my cousin Marcel walked down 6th street caught a couple of bands. We were going to go back to The Hopes Art Gallery to create some art.
On our walk down 6th st. we stopped in Lit Lounge to see this Blues band jam. They were jamming like no other. We stuck around for 2 songs and continued our journey. Our walk led us to Little Woodrows where The Dead Ships (LA Rock trio) were performing. The Dead Ships are performing at Coachella 2016. They were a tight dynamic unit of sound. We caught the end of their set. I wish we could’ve heard more from them.
I was starting to get a little hungry. Marcel suggested Amys Ice Cream. It was definitely worth the stop.
After the ice cream we headed toward the park. Once we got there we went straight to the top of the hill to start painting. The day was looking like a waste because our spray paint cans were not working. Fortunately Marcel figured it out and we got straight to work. We headed back down the hill after an hour of painting. We ran into Be.Water and Vagabond Maurice at the bottom of the hill.
There was a couple of guys selling hats so we went to go check out there product. The clothing brand is called God Son. They were some cool cats out of Texas. They were super friendly guys just looking to connect with other musicians, artists, and people.
We eventually made our way back to the car. We were a little tired from the day thus far. So we wanted to rest our feet. We started talking about Skee Lo and Vagabond Maurice said, “Skee Lo has bars.” He defended his point by referencing the rest of the album.
After the showcase we headed to the Dweeb Squad House Party Vol. 3 where You Are Here (Chicago Band) were performing at. The party was off the hook with badass DJs. The party eventually came to an end for us and reality began to set in. SXSW was over physically but mentally we will continue connecting with like minded individuals looking to leave the world a better place than we left it.
I arrived at the air port at 4:00 p.m. I was feeling kind of hungry. So I stopped at the sports bar in the Airport. These two gentlemen asked if they could sit at the table. I said yes that’s fine. I started talking to one of the gentlemen and it was Lane Murchison of Bird Records (San Francisco). This was all very random so I decided to do a quick interview with him about his studio.
Me: What is the name of your Record Label?
LM: Bird Records
Me: How long have you wanted to start a Label?
LM: About two years ago. I have a music school called Bird School of Music. A lot of young artists start out taking music lessons. We want to support that by offering recording services to support our young students if they choose to continue with a career in music.
Me: What kind of business model do you run?
LM: I started it out as a charitable model. When a person records a record you’re going to sell what you’re to sell unless you’re a touring artist. A family member is the first one to buy the record especially if it’s tied to a charitable organization. We record these bands help brand them and these bands help a charitable cause.
For example, one of our young musicians recorded an EP and raised $2,000.00 that was donated to Childhood cancer research.
Me: What are the benefits of being a teacher at your school/ studio?
LM: The teachers who work at the school all have bands. Long term would be in exchange for teaching we would help promote that persons career. If that teacher went on tour they would be an ambassador for the Label.
Me: What is your overall goal?
LM: In a perfect world help young musicians but also earn a living. I make money when I produce records. I basically want to do our part to help musicians.
Lane Murchison of Bird Records is a man trying to make a difference by providing a studio where students/ clients can raise money for a good cause and cut a quality record.
As my time ended with Lane Murchison I headed back to my terminal and I started to transcribe my notes from my SXSW experience. I had a ton of fun but I was ready to get home. After a couple of hours we started to board the plane. I sat in my seat and I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me. He had a British Accent. I asked him if he performed at SXSW. It turns out he did. I did not realize I was speaking to Tim Malkin (Guitar Player) of Fizzy Blood (UK Rock Band). He told me how they partied a little to hard the first night and the drummer puked in a cab. He was forced to pay for the damage done.
As my story began at the airport this is where it ends. It was an unbelievable experience! What truly made this trip special was the people I met and saw perform.