HOUSE OF SCANDINAVIA
Roskilde camps up out in Austin
The Roskilde Festival has long been a similar type of launching pad for bands the world over that SXSW has in the US, so it made sense for the Danish festival organizers to host a day at the House of Scandinavia.
Visitors to the pop-up venue got just a little taste of the eclectic appeal of Roskilde with a vastly differing group of bands in the shape of four acts – Denmark’s Lowly, Death by Unga Bunga from Norway, Sweden’s Shitkid and finally, Black Midi from the UK.
First up on stage were Lowly from Denmark, who used the occasion to meet a new audience and push their soon-to-be-released second album Hifalutin.
“It’s a strange kind of show for us, because of course we’re not playing to our “own” audience” says guitarist and singer Nanna Schannong. “But we realize it’s a showcase and that comes with the territory. At the same time, in a sense there is a freedom with it too, because we have a totally new audience and we can play songs from both our albums and try things out.”
Not that playing unorthodox gigs is something new to them though, say the band who play several nights at SXSW after performing two shows in New York on the way.
“We just want to show people what we can do. We’ve never played at SXSW before, but we are growing slowly step by step and this a chance for us to hopefully become more people’s favorite band,” adds Schannong.
Norway’s Death by Unga Bunga meanwhile offer a deep contrast to the Danes. With their roots very much steeped in garage music, the group hailing from Moss actually started out as a Turbonegro covers band in their earliest guise, before changing name and developing their own distinctive sound from there. Appearing at SXSW may not be a new experience for the band enjoying its 10thyear, but it’s never lost its appeal.
“We have been here at SXSW several times” says vocalist/guitarist Stian Gulbrandsen. “The first time we were determined to do everything, but there’s such a lot here, and you soon realize you have to do it differently. So since then we just do the shows and chill. The great thing for us is that we have always wanted to play a show at (iconic Austin venue) Hotel Vegas, and this year we’ll finally get to do it.”
“The first time we just played one gig,” adds Gulbrandsen, but it’s grown since then, and we’re playing six shows this year. The tie-up with Roskilde Festival was good for us, because anyone in a band wants to play there, so this has been an ideal opportunity for us, and hopefully it’ll be a lot of fun.” They certainly delivered on their promise onstage.