This year’s South By Southwest has now come to a close and we wanted to catch up with one band that performed throughout the festival. The Canvas Waiting is particularly familiar with Austin, as that is the city from which the indie rock band hails. Read on to hear how the vibe of the city changed during the festival week, and learn how they promoted their newest album “Chasing Color” and took advantage of the SXSW opportunities.
Was this your first time performing at SXSW?
No, this was our third year to perform at SXSW and definitely our busiest.
Did you collaborate with any other bands at the festival?
Yes! Our showcase on Friday was at Antones and we collaborated with other great Austin bands we are friends with, a few national acts and tons of sponsors. It was called the Matchbox Showcase and it was huge success.
Did you attend panels or workshops?
We didn’t have badges or wristbands this year so we did not attend any panels, but kept busy with our five daytime showcases throughout the week.
Did you play day parties? Did you feel these unofficial events were just as important as your SXSW showcase?
We didn’t play an official showcase this year so all of our shows were unofficial day parties. My experience with SXSW is that these shows can be as beneficial, if not more so than official showcases. All of the shows we played were well attended and we had great responses overall.
How did you promote your band there?
A lot of the promotion for these events was done prior to the actual week of SXSW. Our showcases were advertised heavily via Facebook, a local promotional outlet Do512.com and local print. We also do a lot of street marketing with physical sampler CDs of our album Chasing Color. We have found this is the best way to actually convert strangers into fans and it leaves them with something tangible to remember you by.
Is there a noticeable camaraderie among musicians?
I would say that there is. If nothing else, all the musicians are in the same boat that week when it comes to looking for parking, promoting your shows, getting your gear in and out of venues etc. It’s an exhausting week for all the bands but it is also tons of fun.
Your band is based in Austin. How does the vibe in the city change when the SXSW is going on?
Austin comes alive during SXSW. The city is electric and there is a palpable energy in the air that only happens once a year. It is our favorite time of the year. There are tens of thousands of people in the city that are jealous they don’t live in Austin, so we are proud to be a hometown act.
Who are the most important people a band wants to meet at SXSW? Managers, Labels, Booking agents, brands, etc…
All of the aforementioned contacts are very important and they are all centralized into one city for one week. It is one of the best times to gain visibility from people that normally reside in NY or LA the rest of the year.
What did you try to do in order to stand out from the crowd?
“Standing out” is a difficult task when 2000 other bands are in the city and Kanye West is throwing a party at a power plant. Every time we get on stage we try and do what we do the best we can, have fun doing it, and pour our hearts into the performance. A genuine solid performance will always transcend bells and whistles.
Did you pick up anything from the other bands in regards to promotion tips? Recording techniques?
Definitely. You can always learn something from watching other bands play. Whether they are incredible or mediocre, it is possible to learn what you can personally do better when playing live. Our goal is to make every performance better than the last.