What up, PopWatchers! So happy to be back sitting on my couch in snowy NYC. Sure sign I’m home: I spotted a guy with a SXSW tote bag coming off my flight from Houston and, intending to ask him what he thought of the conference, said, “Hey, do you have a quick second?” He gave me a quick once-over and snapped, “No, I don’t,” before zipping away. Ah, Yankees.
Anyway, I figure instead of unpacking, I’d bring you a couple Q&As from some of the awesome folks I ran into this weekend at SXSW. We’ll start with a man who may as well be the unofficial poster child for the festival, having played in or around it for over a decade: Spoon frontman Britt Daniel. I ran into him while walking down a back street; he was carrying what looked like takeout in a bag and wearing some very fetching khaki pants. Or were they? Read on to find out!
EW: Do you think you’re the longest-standing band at the festival?
Britt Daniel: Longest-standing band. We’re the last band standing. Yes. Hey, somebody just texted me that these were khaki pants. Do you agree?
EW: What color did you think they were?
EW: Maybe they’re a taupe.
BD: Yeah. Well.
EW: They’re not made of khaki, though.
BD: I’m bummed to be wearing khaki pants.
EW: What are they, polyester?
EW: Then you’re fine. Khaki’s a fabric.
BD: Yeah. But they’re way lighter than what you’d think of as khaki.
EW: I agree. Okay. They’re off-white.
BD: Okay. I’m gonna tell my friend that Entertainment Weekly agrees with me.
EW: Anyway. Would you say that the focus here now is more on established bands than up and coming?
BD: I guess so. That’s what I hear. Um. I don’t really know. For me I always just came to see bands and play. It’s definitely bigger and bigger every year. I can’t believe — I mean, just like seven years ago, there weren’t really day parties. Five years ago, it started getting more prevalent, and now it’s just as big as the conference.
EW: And Pete Townshend being here seems kind of antithetical to the point.
BD: To the point of finding new talent? Yeah. They’ve always had big keynote speakers who I guess are supposed to represent some portion of the industry. I don’t know. I think they got in a lot of trouble this year for saying it was an industry event, not a fan’s event. Brent Grulke said that in public and people got pissed off.
EW: The people here in Austin take it pretty seriously?
BD: Yeah. And I think a lot of people are annoyed by it. But a lot of people love it, and I love it. I might be annoyed by it if I was still playing the Anti-SXSW.
EW: You guys are in a position now where you could pull a Pete Townshend and shepherd people along…
BD: We do that as much as we can.
EW: Are there people here with you who you’d love to guest with you?
BD: We’re not very good at that, but we started trying to do that. Who would I like to have come out? Peter Bjorn and John are here. I like them a lot. They’re playing like every five minutes. I just met this guy from Aqualung and was very impressed by his banter at the panel we were on together. I think he sold more records than us, though.
EW: When’s the new record out?
BD: July! Maybe I’ll talk to you then?
EW: Excellent. Sorry about your pants.
BD: It’s okay.