It's a blast of energy that they’ll be showcasing at this year’s SXSW thanks to Jazz re:freshed. After forming in 2013, with various members playing with the likes of the Cinematic Orchestra, Rosie Lowe and Lianna La Havas, the outfit have taken their time in slowly building a following over the release of two well received EPs and numerous live outings.
So far Native Dancers have taken their music to WOMAD, the A Love Supreme Festival and Afropunk and will be at SXSW this year playing alongside the likes of Gogo Penguin and Sarathy Korwar (yet sadly without United Vibrations or Yussuf Kamaal due to Visa issues). Ahead of their forthcoming debut record and performance, we caught up with them to hear about the adventures they have planned for SXSW…
How are you feeling now there’s less than a month to go to SXSW?
We feel incredibly exited! We can’t wait!
What are you most excited about?
We’re super exited to see what the festival is like. We’ve heard it's a mad place to be. Also, very intrigued to see how our music is going to be received in front of an American audience!
What’s on your SXSW shopping list?
We’re open to anything that comes our way. Certainly a booking agent in the US would be nice.
Why do you think now is a good time for you to go?
We’re working on our debut album at the moment so it feels like a great opportunity to start making good connections in the industry.
How many gigs are you playing?
At the moment only the one. 10 pm, Main II, Wednesday 15 March.
Is SXSW ready for you?! What have you got in store for them?
We’re gonna be playing a mixture of tunes from both of our EPs and maybe one or two from the upcoming album.
What acts are you excited to share the bill with?
All of them. We feel so lucky to be sharing the stage with such incredible UK bands and think it's a great opportunity for all of us to show some of what the UK music scene is like. It sort of feels like we're going on this amazing jazz summer camp trip together. It's gonna be great!
What are you hoping to get out of your trip?
Hoping to meet some people that can help with the album, whether that is agents or promoters, publishers etc. Would be great to come back and tour America at some point!
How do you feel about the health of UK jazz at the moment?
There’s a lot of amazing original music being made over here. It feels less restrained by style than it has in the past. And it feels like an exciting time.
The economic reality of being a musician in London is getting harder and harder but it is vital for us to keep fighting and make the music that we want to make.
What are you planning for the rest of 2017?
We’ve got vinyl coming out this spring of the two EPs we’ve released along with some exiting remixes! We are playing some festivals over the summer and we’re working hard on the album which is our main focus for the year. And hopefully a trip back to the states this summer. Watch this space…
Check out all our interviews and profiles with artists heading to SXSW this year…
Native Dancer play The Main II at SXSW today (15 March).