It is finally October, and although the summer festival season has finally come to a close, the fall and spring season of music conferences is about to start. The annual kickoff is CMJ - the College Music Journal festival, which takes over New York City every year towards the end of October. A great place to discover new artists poised to break, and full of conferences for those more interested in the business aspect of the music world, CMJ has a little something for everyone. While at SXSW this past March, we got the chance to interview New York locals Lily & The Parlour Tricks, who will be performing at CMJ in the next few weeks. Their newly released track, "Lovesongs" dropped just last month, and the band seems ready to tackle upcoming festivals with their claws out. Read below to hear what Maddie and the band discussed in March, from the musical surroundings of their city all the way to our most highly debated question of #SWSW14: BBQ vs. tacos.
(during this interview, Ultra5280 will be indicated with "MC" before the questions from Maddie, and answers from the band will be indicated by "LATPT")
MC: Hi gang! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for Ultra5280. How was SXSW? How was this year different than past ones?
LATPT: It was a lot of fun. Crazy, though. The amount of people was a little surreal this year. It was like the whole city was a clown car. Very packed. But the shows were great. So much good energy.
MC: Your group is from New York, but write and record often in Nashville now...those are two drastically different musical scenes. How has spending time in these almost opposite environments effected your sound/writing?
LATPT: I think it's less the difference in location as it is who we're working with. We started traveling to Nashville in order to work with our producer, Emery, who is based there. With his guidance we began entering a new musical landscape, one that we find ourselves very comfortable in. It all unfolded very naturally, and I believe it would have no matter where the work was taking place. But we all find our time in Nashville to be incredible in terms of focus. I had always been pretty skeptical about the idea of leaving town to record; I assumed if a studio was good it didn't matter where it was, you'd still get the job done. I still fundamentally think that's true. But for the six of us to really hunker down, live together for a stretch of time, immerse ourselves fully - it makes a difference. Maybe it's not an audible difference, but it's there. But all of my writing is still done at home in New York. If I have ideas while in Nashville or on the road, I'll record them on my phone, but I wait til I'm home to start fleshing things out.
MC: Do you feel like being based out of NYC is still beneficial for artists?
LATPT: I've lived here my whole life, so it's hard to answer that question. I can't imagine being based anywhere else. I think musically the city is tricky; there's an overabundance of artists. On the one hand, that's wonderful. Everyone should be so lucky to have their city overflow with creative people. But on the other hand, of course, it's easy to fall through the cracks. There's so much stimulation, so many things to see. It requires a certain set of muscles, to live and work here, to be receptive to all the stuff the city has to offer and not feel lost in the thick of it. We're doing pretty OK so far. It's home.
MC: Tell us a little bit about your new album.
LATPT: It's funny. We pulled all of our old stuff off the internet and iTunes, so for some people who have been listening for a while we've gone through this massive sonic and visual overhaul, and for others we're just some new indie band. The new recordings exemplify those changes. We recorded much more than an album-worth of music, and we're still in the process of deciding what will go on it and what will get cut. And we still want to record more! We're taking our time. It's the dawn of a new era for us. Everything counts.
MC: What's next for you all? What 'big and exciting' things can we expect to see from you next?
LATPT: We're touring more, which is fun. Playing a handful of festivals. Looking forward particularly to Oaktoberfest in Chicago and CBGB Fest and CMJ in New York in the coming months. Otherwise a new single and music video are on the horizon...
MC: Okay, time for our 3 SXSW questions. you can answer one of them, or all three, but these are the questions we've asked to every band we met at SXSW this year:
1) Describe SXSW in 15 words or less:
LATPT: Sweat. Beer. BBQ. Guacamole. The Driskill. Parking lot misery. Lunatics. Loud. Music.
2) BBQ vs. Tacos. You can only pick one of Austin's top cuisines. Which one do you pick, and why?
LATPT: BBQ. Sometimes you just want a pile of meat on a plate, and Austin will give that to you so, so perfectly. We dream of Ironworks.
3) What band were YOU most excited to see at SXSW this year? Regardless of if it actually happened or not, what was the top act on your own personal list?
LATPT: St. Vincent. and i did.
MC: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! We hope to see you all in Denver soon.
LATPT: Thank you! Cheers.