The Road to SXSW 2018: Bad Pony

Sydney’s Bad Pony will soon be heading out to the States to explore Austin, Texas as part of SXSW this year – a trip that will be adding to the band’s already growing list of international accomplishments.

Ahead of their trip out, we check in to see what the Bad Pony perspective of the world’s biggest music festival and conference is.

I’ve neither been to SXSW nor Austin at all, so it’s safe to say I’m dangerously excited about our visit this year.”

What are your expectations of the event/Austin in general?

To be honest I’m not entirely sure what to expect. I’ve heard rave reviews about the week and that the town just turns into a huge jambalaya of cool music and entertainment.

I’m expecting, first and foremost, to get my fill of weird and wonderful music from all over the globe. A great thing about music and musicians is also that they’re usually pretty dope people so I’m expecting to make some super cool and interesting friends (I believe the official industry term for doing this is “networking” and “making contacts”). Austin is supposedly renowned also for its incredible food scene, so I’m expecting to come home at least two to three kilos heavier and happier.

How crucial do you think the opportunity to perform at and attend an event like this is for an Australian artist?

There’s this fantastic thing about Aussie music in that the scene is ridiculously supportive and super, super fruitful. There is so much talent and incredible music from our dusty little corner of the world that it makes my head spin. Australians know this… sadly much of the rest of the world does not know this (yet) and although I love each and every one of you koala-kissing freaks there’s relatively few of you, so it’s pretty essential that Aussie acts and their teams look overseas.

The unfortunate thing is that it’s not as simple as just booking a tour and jumping in a plane because it is insanely complicated to get your hands on visas for most other countries (although we have the funnest time in the world.. what we do is still technically work). This is why conferences like SXSW are so crucial to small bands like us. You basically need somebody to vouch for you from the other side of the world that your act is worth granting a bunch of visas for… this is hard to do when nobody from outside Australia has ever seen you play. SXSW and other things like it make it much more feasible that we can visit a myriad other countries and share what we do with untold numbers from untold different worlds.

What are you hoping to get out of the event?

I’m having this internal debate almost daily about what the most exciting prospect is about SXSW. On one hand, it represents an enormous opportunity for us as musicians which is lovely, but on the other hand I’m just a fucking huge music fan. So whilst it’s exciting that SXSW could open up some exciting career opportunities I find it hard to divorce myself from the reality that I’m going to get to see so much sick music from all over the world. Like. So much. Have you checked out the SXSW playlist? It’s bonkers. So I guess mostly, I’m hoping to get a few top notch gig views out of it.

But you know… also business and stuff.

What’s the most important element of SXSW for us to experience or learn from?

Conferences like this are interesting. They have interesting and intelligent people who know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to the music business so being able to attend talks with these people and soak up their wisdom is invaluable for us as a team.

We’ve always had a very “go for it” attitude about our band, so a lot of the time (especially starting out) we’re just trying a bunch of things and seeing what works the best in terms of touring, promo, releasing music and all the other non-music related things you have to think about. Being able to listen to learn from someone who has actually been through the kinds of decisions we make, and who has made them well is just… so incredibly helpful. You know when you first moved out of home and would have to call mum and dad to ask them how to cook a roast chook without killing everyone? It’s the music equivalent of that.

Apart from that side of things, some of the most valuable knowledge we’ve gained from conferences like this are from other acts who are at the same stage as us. sharing with each other what has been working, what has not been working, who we should work with and who is worth avoiding is a learning experience all its own.

Are we performing anywhere else in the US?

The whole SXSW lead up has been pretty overwhelming for us, so we’ve decided to focus on making the most of the conference this time around, but we will most definitely be back in the land of the free this year.

What other artists are you looking forward to catching?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked. I’ll try to keep it brief.

There’s these two Aussie acts I have literally not been able to stop listening to lately and my heart skipped a beat when I saw their names in the list of artists showcasing this year. I’m talking about Mallrat and Hatchie. It’s exciting not only because it will be great to see them play, but also because it’s an indication that they are on their way to bigger things, which both acts thoroughly deserve.

Tristen (USA)
Vibey vibey Fleetwood Mac-esque songwriting and a voice that could melt steel beams.

Sputnik (Mexico)
Mexican punk that sounds like Millencollin joined forces with Biffy Clyro.

Residual Kid (USA)
Super cool grunge. Huge-sounding even though I’m pretty sure these kids are so young they still have braces on their teeth.

Izzie Gibbs (UK)
I’m nowhere near cool enough to listen to this grimey fuck.

1982 (diecinueve ochenta y dos) (Ecuador.. I think)
Think a sadder The 1975 meets Michael Jackson meets Toto meets Client Liaison.

Shitkid (Sweden)
Just some great obnoxious grunge played by an artist with the best band name ever devised.

Fat Tony (USA)
You had me at the line “She might OD like Whitney”. Don’t listen to this with children around because this young man has an awfully foul mouth.

What kind of show can you guarantee an American audience seeing Bad Pony for the first time?

There are a few things you can bet on at a Bad Pony show:

– Jarred will break a drumstick and knock something over as he oafs around the stage like a big oaf,

– Sam will sweat like a big sweaty oaf,

– Isaac will fuck with my microphone stand like a big stupid stand-ruining oaf,

– I will lock myself away in my little bass groove cube and generally grin like a big dumb happy oaf,

– Cron will play flawlessly, sing flawlessly, and look flawless. He will not sweat one drop either… fucking oaf.

SXSW runs from March 9th – 18th this year. Check out Bad Pony’s SXSW profile, here.