Hello Unsigned Boys & Girls, it’s that time again! SXSW is the place to be when you’re attempting to quench your music thirst, undiscovered, unsigned and mainstream (recently at least). There are events to catch, people to see and meet, food to eat and liquor to consume. While some are down there for the fuckery and festivities, both good and bad, there are a group of folks down there ready to distribute projects and product they’ve been piecing together for this very week.
Seeing how I’ve frequented the ever so popular music festival for the past three years, I’ve come accustom to the ups, downs, lefts and rights of dealing with Unsigned Artist that would like a chance to reach a bigger platform. For the most part, these hungry and eager artists have been respectful but yet persistent when approaching my blog cohorts and I. But then again, I’m not an asshole so I won’t throw your CD or business card in a pile of horse shit on 6th street; I respect the hustle. However, I’ve seen and heard horror stories of the Unsigned Artist that are not glorious and I damn sure would NOT like to experience for myself.
So without sounding like a snob, I’d like to “OFFER” and not “TELL” you a couple key rules when shifting through the streets of Austin, Texas in hopes of connecting with a writer from 2DopeBoyz, Rolling Stone, Complex, Billboard, NahRight, DJBooth, KarenCivil or any other music website you frequent that you feel could do your music career justice. And I’m sure a majority of those folks affiliated with these sites could agree with these rules. Here goes!
1.) If you are still peddling CD’s? You need to find a staples, buy a shitload of jump drives, sit in that rental and change the approach. By now? CD’s are not meant to be passed out because they will used as frisbees when walking down 6th street. And honestly, some of these writers are BOLD enough to throw them to the ground in front of you. However you react is on you lol. Jump Drive it up ladies and gents. Now unless you’re cruising around town and happen to come across one of these writers? Asking them for a quick listen through the stereo system is fine and dandy. But personally, I’m not carrying around a backpack just to stuff your CD in so I can empty it out in my hotel room and anger the cleaning lady just so I have to tip her MORE. No sir, NOT ME! You still have a couple of days left, GO. GET. A. JUMP. DRIVE!!!!
2.) You BETTER not leave Austin, Texas with more numbers/emails from the opposite sex than industry connects; highly unacceptable. Southern Belle’s are exquisite, yes….THEY ARE. But fam, you are down there to focus and flourish with that potent product you’ve prepared for the masses. Obviously, #Locationships ARE encouraged but only after the day’s business is handled. Regardless if you’re music is on point or SHIT, the women friends will be there. FOCUS
3.) Everyone you meet does not deserve an IG “I Just Linked Up With” picture. Attention whores do not make good artists and we will be quick to dismiss your product all because you wanted to be popular on the ‘Gram. We, and by “We” I mean the bloggers and writers are NOT famous. We do not have Bugatti’s waiting for us outside the venues. We are not being carried out by huge security guards because the crowds are out of control. We do not have groupies. Well wait, that’s not entirely true. Point I’m trying to make is we are regular folks just like you trying to find our place in this crazy world, JUST LIKE YOU. If you treat us as such? Things might go a lot easier than you expected. You see one of us at the bar? Grab a drink with us but leave the product push until the end. Nothing wrong with connecting with a human being who puts on pants the same way you do. It’s not us who can make you famous, THAT IS YOUR JOB!
4. Hold your liquor. SXSW is somewhat of a vacation because we’re escaping our normal environment and meeting and linking with folks we only get to see maybe once or twice a year. There are parties, day parties, mansions with parties and bars that BEG you to come in and spend your hard earned money on some quirky toxic drink they created for this specific week/weekend. There’s no reason why you are SLOSHED on 6th street at 2pm before your show. And PLEASE don’t be sloshed during YOUR show. It just lets us know that you came all the way down to Austin, Texas to be THAT guy/girl who couldn’t hold his liquor simply because you wanted to turn up. However, if by some miraculous way you sign a deal with Lyor Cohen, Hov or some other high powered artist/executive who is down there trying to keep up with the youngins? Then by all mean…CELEBRATE. And by celebrate, I mean give me a glass as well.
5.) Do NOT ask us to get you into events unless invited. I know it sounds pretty bougie but this week, doorman/doorwoman/security guards are on a serious power trip because they control the fate of EVERYONES entrance. Rushing the door or line because we met the previous day or several hours before will not put you as my plus one. Our friends and I have been planning for this shit for weeks so our swindles are properly intact. Adding you to the fray will only dismantle those carefully plotted executions. Nothing personal either. If you caught me on the foul, I know you’d sing me the same song.
6.) I’ve seen rumblings of certain artists not being pleased about certain websites and bloggers ignoring their requests for posting. SXSW is NOT the place for you to approach said blogger and shoot the fair one over a post. Again, I can’t tell you how to act when you see said writer/blogger, so if your’re going to try to rumble with the wordpress publisher, please understand you’re actions are being watched and will be heard about by everyone else which in return will make folks keep a nice distance from you. NOW, if the exchange between you and said blogger/writer has been a “tense” one then I would expect you to be the bigger person and approach them with a leveled head and request a man to man conversation so the respect level can be re-stored. Regardless of who you are, who you write for or how good your songs are? Everything starts with respect- EVERYTHING!
7.) Real recognize real. While you’re waiting to perform or even AFTER you perform, show your other counterparts some GOD DAMN respect. Their craft and how much they love it is on the same level as yours, give or take a couple notches. I’ve been hosting for about 3 years now and I can’t tell you how much it pains me to see other unsigned artists disrespect other unsigned acts during performances. I’m not saying you have to stand in the front row and cheer for every bar and hook but at LEAST clap it up after everything is said and done. After this festival has ejected itself from Texas, some of you may snatch bigger looks others may not. But there are going to be some of you who remembered certain cats who paid respect while the other performed and for that they may reach back and bring you along for THEIR ride (obviously they think you’re dope as well). Again, real recognize real.
Ok, so that’s pretty much all I have to offer for you guys. I hope my points got across and that you take heed to at least SOME of these rules. If you don’t? That’s fine, you may have your own set of rules that may take you further. But in my experience with SXSW, these are pretty essential to having a GREAT week/weekend. See you in Austin! Oh and catch me judging this and hosting here, here and HERE!