DIIV: “Fuck SXSW”
Brooklyn dream-poppers DIIV are among the many, many buzzed-about bands playing about 52 shows apiece in Austin this week for SXSW. And they’re probably not the only ones who aren’t happy about this experience. They are, however, probably the most prominent band to come out publicly this year and say how much they hate it, while it’s still going on. Here’s what frontman Zachary Cole Smith posted on Tumblr:
Hi Austin. Fuck SXSW. There… I said it.
Here, the music comes last. 5 minute set-up, no sound check, 15 minute set. The “music” element is all a front, it’s the first thing to be compromised. Corporate money everywhere but in the hands of the artists, at what is really just a glorified corporate networking party. Drunk corporate goons and other industry vampires and cocaine. Everyone is drunk, being cool. “Official” bureaucracy and all their mindless rules. Branding, branding, branding. It’s bullshit… sorry.
A couple of things here. First: This is an absolutely defensible case to make. Bands don’t magically find huge new audiences from playing SXSW, and the madcap grind of playing all those shows has to be tough on them. There’s a very real chance that Smith is just writing what tons of other bands are thinking. Second: DIIV didn’t necessarily have to play SXSW, and Smith, who doesn’t live in a vacuum, presumably had a pretty good idea what he was getting himself into. That doesn’t invalidate his point, but it might complicate it. I hope he starts having a better time down here, anyway. I’m having fun, but I don’t have to haul equipment anywhere. If Smith gets a moment, I suggest he locate the Korean taco truck; it has a way of improving your day.