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SXSW Interview: Nova Rockafeller

‘Problem child’, laser tag enthusiast, self-proclaimed ‘nerdy art kid’ – Nova Rockafeller carries a variety of descriptors. What remains true is her performance talent and ability to write raw lyrics that resonate with fans, (’90s kids’ and ’00s kids’ alike!). With a reputation for the occasional punch-in-the-face and disregard for critics, Nova’s made it clear that it’s her world and we’re all just renting space in it.

Having released one of her early singles, “Problem”, via TuneCore, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have Nova Rockafeller hitting the stage for our TuneCore Live: Austin party this Friday, March 20th at the Vulcan Gas Co. We got the chance to ask her a few questions about getting signed, making the most of SXSW, and staying accessible to fans:

Tell us about your previous SXSW experience. Do you have different goals this time around in terms of networking and linking up with other artists?

Nova Rockafeller: I came down officially for the 27th SXSW and I had a BLAST – despite my car dying, (I had to BORROW a car from strangers), and then my hotel rooms were given away. HA. I saw Wallpaper, Dead Sara and Kitty Pryde, (awesome AF), and then got super wasted and had a super real portapotty moment with a friend where I accidentally peed on a lot of things. I mean, WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR? If I had the exact same trip I’d be stoked.

How do you feel a massive event like SXSW stands to benefit indie hip hop artists?

I’m not really indie or a hip hop artist anymore – but I think in places like SXSW you get what you give. If you come prepared and ready to spread the word I’m sure you can get a lot out of it. But I just go to party, yo.

Similarly, what kind of challenges do indie MCs and producers face given the size and overwhelming number of events happening?

I think you get what you give. I don’t really take any of it too seriously and I believe that if you simply have a good time, a good time will be had. If you wind up at a show with 10 people in the crowd, you’re probably the only one who cares, so I just choose not to.

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What advice would you offer to an independent artist making their first DIY trip down to SXSW?

Don’t try to be professional, just be yourself. I used to bring cards with my phone number and my social URLS to hand out after my performance. I like to be super accessible and I hang with anybody who wants to. Fans are overrated. Friends are where it’s at.

You recently scribed a pretty personal Facebook status sharing the realities of a struggling MC, thanking your fans at the end. How important is social media for you when it comes to growing and staying in touch with you fan base?

I need to be accessible. I like to be able to post when I’m in weird small towns and find people to posse up with. I feel comfortable like that. I don’t like all the division between fans and artists because we are all just f**king people who want to have a good time. I love the internet and I’ve found some of my best friends on my fan pages.

How will you be utilizing social when it comes to promoting yourself at SXSW?

I’ll be pretty non-stop trying to meet up with people and letting the world know exactly where I am when I’m wasted at 4 AM.

Since being signed, have you found that you’ve needed to make any sort of behavioral adjustments?

Not at all. I think the opposite happened. I like to think my team enjoys that I send them live bugs when I’m mad at them. I AM a more balanced person and I don’t really punch people anymore. Maybe they have me under mind control. I wouldn’t put it past the illuminati.

Aside from performing, what events or shows are you looking forward to most (as a fan) during your downtime at SXSW?

I don’t think I’m going to have any downtime, but no matter what I’ll be having a riot wherever I am.