PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman sat down with all of A Lot Like Birds SXSW a few weeks ago. We chatted with the band about SXSW, their new album No Place, Warped Tour this summer, pushing past the older drama of the “Risecore” scene, and much more. Read it all below!
by Jesse Richman
First of all, can I get your names and what you do in the band?
KT: I’m Kurt [Travis], I sing.
JA: I’m Joe [Arrington], I play the drums.
BW: I’m Ben [Wiacek], I play guitar.
CL: Cory [Lockwood]. Sing/scream.
So when did you guys get down here to South By?
BW: Just about an hour ago.
POZ: Oh, you just rolled in!
JA: We rolled in this morning,
BW: Rolled in, there was a confrontation right from the get-go. Things are looking up from there.
POZ: What went down?
KT: Some homeless… Well, I don’t know. He was younger. Bigger than me too. But, he insulted my wife, and so I almost had to hit him with my skateboard. I kinda did one of these things, like that [fakes motion], and he flinched and he went away.
BW: You have to type “shakes skateboard”!
CL: Kurt did a “menacing skateboard pose”!
BW: He looked “very scary”!
KT: And I said a lot of f-words and said I was gonna effin kill him…
POZ: Well at least you made it through unscathed.
So you guys are playing a showcase this afternoon at the Equal Vision / Pure Noise party, and then what else do you have on tap for South By? Is that it, are you off to South By So What after this?
BW: We have one more showcase for Artery Foundation, our management company. I think it’s at the same place. It’s tomorrow.
JA: It is, same spot.
BW: We have the day off on Saturday, and then we do South By So What.
POZ: Are you guys gonna spend the day here on Saturday?
BW: I would like to, I hope so.
POZ: Any bands you want to check out while you’re down here?
CL: We’ve been looking up shows. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for, but we found a free Childish Gambino show we want to go to. I really wanted to see St. Vincent.
JA: Yeah, we’re really mad we missed St. Vincent.
POZ: Yeah, I heard she was awesome, that’s too bad.
KT: I wanted to see Danny Brown. I think he’s doing something, but I just feel like he’s too big now.
POZ: That’s gonna be a tough one to get in to.
KT: It’ll be hard to get in. There’s a lot of fucking bands that are here, man!
JA: Sometimes it’s not even about scoping specific groups out, but just finding random stuff to see, finding something new, you know?
BW: You never know who you’re going to run into or what you’re going to see. You just kind of take in the atmosphere. Accept what’s happening to you.
One thing I have noticed this year — you guys just rolled in so you probably haven’t seen this much — but it feels like a lot of the bands in your scene, other than the bands playing your showcase today and the Artery one tomorrow, chose not to come to South By this year. A lot of them are just doing South By So What. It seems like it’s overtaken that part of the scene.
BW: I think a lot of that has to do with, the showcases are determined by the industry typically, or whoever’s in charge of the showcases. So I don’t know if they didn’t choose to come, because I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to.
CL: For instance, our friends in I The Mighty wanted to come hitch a ride in our van. They were like “come take us to South By! We want to be there even if we’re not playing it.”
JA: They’re recording a single, though, you know? Everyone’s got something going on. It’s also got to make sense with your schedule. Some bands… I dunno, the direction of music is changing a little bit too.