South By Southwest in Austin, Texas is a major festival, showcasing forum and tradeshow for the North American (and to a growing extent also the international) music industry. From March 12 to 16 more than 15 000 participants gather in Texas for conferences, panel discussions, tradeshow marketing, networking and to see bands live at Austin’s club stages.
Norway will be present with seven strong acts: Sondre Lerche, Madrugada, Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band, Cadillac, Span, We and Erlend Øye.
The Scandinavian presence is strong this year with ten Swedish bands, seven Danish, seven Norwegian as well as three Finnish and Icelandic acts. The Norwegian participation is co-ordinated by the Music Export Norway. Three of the Norwegian bands will perform at a joint Scandinavian showcase: Sondre Lerche, Madrugada and Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band. The remaining acts will play selected gigs around Austin during the duration of SXSW.
Past Norwegian bands at SXSW include gold-selling rock trio Big Bang and hot-tipped electronica outfit Xploding Plastix.
Sondre Lerche’s gig at SXSW will be the culmination of his current US tour in support of Nada Surf. Lerche’s 2001 album Faces Down album has been very successful both in Norway and abroad, earning him raving reviews and healthy sales figures. 2002 has seen the album released all over Europe as well as in the US to wide critical acclaim. Lerche has toured extensively in Europe, focussing on France and Germany. US interest has picked up in the last months: Rolling Stone rewarded his album a favourable review and included it in the 50 best albums of 2002.
Madrugada released their third album Grit in October last year, and to date the album has sold more than 100 000 copies. This four-piece has been hugely successful in Norway, reaching platinum levels on all previous albums. Madrugada are also one of Norway’s most successful bands internationally. Their two previous albums have sold well in Germany, France and Greece particularly, thus leading to constant touring over the last three years. The band has build up a very loyal following all over Europe, and is focussing primarily on Germany. Madrugada’s records have yet to be released in the US, and the band is not scheduled for any additional touring activity. However, a successful SXSW gig can soon change the situation and catapult the band into a frenzy of North American activity.
Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band first drew the public’s attention with their sublime Nikita track featured on the now legendary compilation album Tellè samleplate – an album released on hyped Bergen label Tellè Records and featuring one of Röyksopp’s earliest tracks. The word of the Myerz’ crews unique production and live qualities spread all over the world to US label Emperor Norton which promptly signed the Bergen electronica outfit for a world-wide deal. The band has spent autumn 2002 in the studio and their debut album is scheduled for release in March.
Veteran stoners We have released a slew of acclaimed albums, toured Europe for years and slowly built up a loyal fan-base in Norway and around the world. As of writing the band is on a 22-date European tour which is set to expand on the band’s following on the European market. Their latest album Dinosauric Futurophobic, released on Norwegian indie label Black Balloon Records, has garnered rave reviews all over Europe. A new EP titled Lightyears Ahead is scheduled for release in May. We have supported and collaborated with several of the genre’s biggest names including Masters of Reality and Queens of the Stone Age. The SXSW gig marks the first We concert in the US but probably not the last. Concrete plans are laid for a US tour as well as more gigs in Europe and South America.
“Watch out for them!” was NME’s verdict after one of Span’s London shows last year. This vital four-piece is signed to Universal/Island Records UK and are surrounded by lots of hype and expectation. The outfit’s chosen genre is testosterone-fuelled rawk, and the band’s live shows are of a legendary calibre. Span’s debut album is expected this year. Given the current vogue status of primitive, all-out retro rock à la Datsuns, The Hives and Libertines, Span’s timing could prove to be perfect.
Cadillac is another hard-rocking outfit. This Trondheim trio has earned its marks through constant touring and two acclaimed albums; Cure and Up for A Lifetime (both on MNW). Over the last year the trio has concentrated more on playing abroad, and coupled with international release of their last album, the interest from abroad is gradually picking up. If their Austin show is up to the current Cadillac live-standard, the band is destined to gain new North American fans.
Erlend Øye is better known as the bespectacled half of highly successful NAM duo Kings of Convenience. Øye has shifted focus from acoustic ballads to quirky electronica on first latest solo-album Unrest (Source/Virgin). With production assistance from underground notabilities such as Schneider TM, Op:L Bastards and Prefuse 73 Øye has managed to fuse classic songwriting with cutting edge electronica production. Last year saw Øye trading his acoustic nylon-stringed guitar for his laptop after which he embarked on a tour to selected cities: New York, Berlin, Rennes, Roma, Barcelona, Tokyo, Turku, Uddevalla and Bergen. In each of the cities Øye had picked out a producer or a band to co-operate with, and the end result of these globe-trotting studio sessions is his Unrest album. The album is set for world-wide release through Source/Virgin in February.
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