Many British artists want to play at SXSW. It's a superb opportunity to play to a huge concentration of decision makers from the US and worldwide music industry. It also sends a message to those that aren't going that your music is worth taking note of. So having applied before and only made it to the reserve list, we are delighted to have been invited to perform in 2011.
Almost certainly, what helped this time was having played a short US tour last September. We were getting plenty of American internet traffic, so decided to take a chance with some gigs there.
However, like most musicians we have no spare money, no inheritance, no pension - no rich uncles! We knew that we would have to fund everything ourselves - that meant good old-fashioned saving up. Every penny we earned for a year that wasn't paying for band essentials like the van's MOT, rehearsals and fuel went into it. Our residency at last year's Edinburgh Festival saw us living in our van for ten days straight, washing in buckets and cooking on a camping stove!
My guess is that in spite of the billions that the world's music industry makes each year a huge proportion of its grassroots functions as a result of the goodwill between artists, fans, small independent labels, managers, publishers and friends who just help each other out. Good examples of this being the American PR company who sent out hundreds of CDs for us solely for the cost of postage and the fans who put up posters, used their airmiles to book us hotel rooms and bombarded radio stations to play our music.
So although our American gigs cost us thousands, we played to publishers, music supervisors, agents and managers and had reviews in music papers and websites across America .This created just enough of a buzz to get us accepted for SXSW. Now we start the whole thing all over again!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the M editorial team or PRS for Music.
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