Interview: Humming House Prepare to Play SXSW 2015
Beginning on March 17, thousands of musicians and music lovers will converge on Austin, Texas, for the music portion of SXSW 2015. Among the bands looking to make a splash at the annual film, music and interactive conference and festival this year will be Humming House, a Nashville-based folk-Americana band.
The five-member group -- vocalists Justin Wade Tam and Leslie Rodriguez, fiddler Bobby Chase, mandolin player Josh Wolak and acoustic bassist Ben Jones -- are scheduled to play four shows during SXSW 2015. With a new album, Revelries, set to debut on March 24, Humming House are excited to use the event to promote not only themselves as a band but their third release.
"You have to be strategic about it because you could play all day, every day, if you really wanted to -- and there are people that go down there and do that," Tam tells The Boot of SXSW. "[With the record coming out], it feels like a strategic opportunity to go down."
On Thursday (March 19), Humming House will perform as part of a daytime event hosted by solar-powered radio station KDRP, which Tam says he's looking forward to because he's "definitely a fan of alternative energy, renewable energy, so I think that's a really cool thing." That night, Humming House will play Atomic Music Group's nighttime showcase, and the next day (March 20), they'll stop by an Atomic Music Group day party. Finally, on March 21, the band will play NoiseTrade's day party.
"It's kind of overwhelming because there's just thousands and thousands of bands who come to town for it, and so there's kind of bands coming out of every crevice of the city. Literally, every garage, every alleyway, every bar, restaurant, anywhere, there's a band from all over the world," Tam says of SXSW. "It's pretty overwhelming in that sense, but it's also kind of amazing in that all these people have taken the time to get there."
With musical events happening almost 24/7 throughout SXSW, Tam describes the festival as "overwhelming, but magical and interesting and exhilarating all at the same time" -- and also a little sobering.
"You realize you're one of thousands of people -- hundreds of thousands of people, probably -- trying to do the exact same thing for a living," he says. "So, I think it's sobering in that sense, but it's also exciting that there's this vibrant thing going on in the U.S. right now."
But Humming House are known to put on energetic live shows -- so much so that their second disc, released last year, was a live album -- and Tam hopes the band's "sincere" songwriting and "fun, engaging live show" will help draw a crowd.
"We try to write songs and stories that have substance to them, but at the end of the day, we're also out to entertain people with our live shows. We're out to have a lot of fun, and I think that really characterizes our live set," he says. "People really enjoy seeing us live, I think, because we really try to bring a lot of joy to the stage, but I think people become fans when they dig deeper in our writing."
Catch Humming House at SXSW 2015 on March 19 during KDRP's live broadcast at El Mercado at 1PM or during the Atomic Music Group Showcase at Holy Mountain Backyard around 9PM; on March 20 during the Atomic Music Group Day Party at C Boy's at 2:30PM; or on March 21 during the NoiseTrade Presents SXSW 2015 Day Party at Blackheart at noon.
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