PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman sat down with Bob Nanna (Braid) and Mark Rose (Spitalfield) at SXSW a few weeks ago. We chatted with Bob and Mark about their SXSW experiences, growing Downwrite, podcasting, future music, and a ton more. Check out the interview below!
by Jesse Richman
POZ: So how are you guys doing?
Both: Doin’ great!
POZ: So let’s start with Bob. You just got offstage at the BrooklynVegan day party [at SXSW]. How do you feel like your set went?
BN: I feel like it went really well. It’s always weird, you know, when it’s just one person. In this case, I had Lauren, my fiancee, come up and sing a few songs with me. Either way, it’s quiet, it’s a fest, there’s music everywhere, but I think it went well. There were enough people up front where everyone could hear if they wanted to hear.
POZ: Cool. You have been playing quite the South By schedule this year. You’ve been doing a lot of shows! What was the decision behind that?
BN: There really is no decision. When we decided to come to SXSW — and this is the same as when Braid came, I actually played some solo shows and with Lauren as well (as Jack And Ace) — you just try and play as much as possible. Because that’s what you’re here for, to play music in front of people. At least for folks like Mark and myself. So when we decided to come down I just started getting on the phone with people, I was like “can I play your showcase? Can I get on your show?” So I played the Topshelf one and the Count Your Lucky Stars one and the BrooklynVegan one. I try and play as much as possible. And then we did our own showcase as well.
POZ: One thing I was going to say is, you had a decent crowd in there at the BrooklynVegan showcase but it was definitely smaller than the crowd up at the Topshelf showcase I was at. That was the one you didn’t end up getting to play at [the show was shut down by police before his set]. I guess I’m just wondering, you know, “emo revival” is all the talk right now, and yet for all the talk that Pitchfork and these other sites are covering it, and how it’s now “cool” again, it seems like maybe there’s still a divide here.
BN: Well, a little bit, but it’s not… there aren’t even playing fields. The line to get in here is stupid. I had friends texting me beforehand like “can you get me in” and no, I tried, but it’s at capacity, they won’t let anybody in. I actually had to sneak someone in the side. So the playing fields aren’t level. Tonight, at Count Your Lucky Stars, it will be like anyone who wants to come should be able to get in. But here, if you’re not waiting in line to see the Hold Steady or something, or if you just want to catch my set and leave, it’s impossible.
POZ: So one of the sets you played while you were down here was the Downwrite showcase that you and Mark put together. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about the decision to put that together and to bring it down to South By?
MR: It was fairly last-minute. We knew that we wanted to be down here — we were going to come down no matter what, just to meet up with friends and guys in bands and songwriters that we know, talk to management, PR people, about Downwrite. But kind of last minute, a buddy from Chicago who’s in on the [Blind Pig] Rooftop on 6th let us know that they had a slot available. So we talked to Josh Berwanger from The Anniversary, who’s on the site, and Steve Soboslai from Punchline, and we were like, “you know what, lets do a two hour block, the four of us will play, and we’ll have something official to at least advertise.” It was cool, it was fun. It was early afternoon Thursday, beautiful weather, open rooftop show, and it felt good because while we’re up there playing — I played, Bob played, Steve and Josh — it really wasn’t competing with a lot of the noise on 6th St. I feel like a couple hours later and it would have been impossible to hear us. It was cool. I’m happy to be down here repping what we’re doing in general, but the showcase in particular was cool because people were coming in specifically to hear what we’re talking about and what we’re trying to do.
BN: And for the free beer!
MR: That’s a big bonus.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of Braid's first ever show, and the band just happens to be in the studio recording a new album that's set to come out on Topshelf Records in spring of 2014. Just in case you didn't know, PropertyOfZack is happy to confirm that the band is recording the new album with producer Will Yip (Circa Survive, Title Fight, Balance & Composure) and tracking is going great so far.
On top of that, Braid are also offering a 20% off on their merch store to celebrate 20 years since their first show. Check out the store details below, a flyer from the band’s first show 20 years ago, and studio pictures below after the jump.
Record Store Day arrives on this Saturday, April 20th. And though our wallets may not be ready, our hearts certainly are. There are a great amount of releases coming out this year for the music holiday (around 400), and we wanted to start a Discussion/Preview on the records that PropertyOfZack members are looking forward to most. Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with some of your most anticipated Record Store Day releases!
Manchester Orchestra | Frightened Rabbit / Manchester Orchestra | Grouplove - Split
To say we were excited when Andy Hull tipped us off about this release a few months back would be an understatement. A split featuring Manchester Orchestra, Frightened Rabbit, and Grouplove? Well that’d be some serious shit right there. Wait. A split that features collaborative songs from MO/Frightened Rabbit and MO/Grouplove? Now that’s something else all together. This is going to be a true collector’s piece for Manchester, Frabbit, and Grouplove fans alike. Plus, we’ve heard the songs. They’re great. - Zack Zarrillo
New Found Glory - Mania 12”
When the pop-punk mainstays recorded a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” as a bonus track for 2011’s Radiosurgery, most fans wrote it off as a fun one-off of a classic punk anthem. We were wrong. Jordan Pundik and crew went throwback for this year’s Record Store Day, releasing a limited edition 12” Ramones cover EP called Mania. If you ever wanted to jam to a more poppy, less punk-y “The KKK Took My Baby Away” or “Rockaway Beach,” now’s your chance. The EP quashes all worry of a rumored NFG hiatus, and will be a fun little stopgap between Radiosurgery and whatever new tunes come next. - Erik van Rheenen
Their/They’re/There - Their/They’re/There 12”
Grammar nerds and fans of twinkly guitars, pensive lyrics, and prog-rockish melodies, rejoice. Evan Weiss, Matthew Frank, and Mike Kinsella’s super-group is finally releasing its self-titled debut EP for Record Store Day. Coming out on Polyvinyl Records, if the two songs we’ve had the chance to hear (poppy-progressive hybrid “Concession Speech Writer” and riff-heavy, tongue-in-cheek named “Their/They’re/Therapy”) are any indication, this is a true-blue Kinsella sort of record. This might be the most talented trio to form a super-group be all the tunes we get from these guys. - Erik van Rheenen
Now, Now - Neighbors Deluxe LP
Now, Now (then Every Children) stirred up initial interest with its debut release, Cars. Fans waited and waited for their follow-up, which came in the form of a shortened moniker and a digital partnership with No Sleep Records. It was an EP called Neighbors. The EP will finally be seeing physical treatment on Record Store Day this year with special die-cut artwork and the Neighbors remixes as an added perk — not that fans needed one. This was an excellent release that showed the band’s full potential, and it’s a RSD exclusive that every Now, Now fan needs to try to hunt down. - Zack Zarrillo
Albums Out This Month
The Weekly Tour Round-Up
Winter - Spring
No Good News Album Details
Cute Is What We Aim For
Balance & Composure - 02/21/13
Will Yip And The Power Of The Neve
March Sadness Scouting Report
Second To Last on MxPx
Farewell Fighter - “Grow”
Behind The Booths
Forever Came Calling, Heart To Heart, Last Call [03/20-04/21]