Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Untitled Interview #108 – SXSW Edition: Starring Todd Miller (A Lull)

The days are getting longer, the nights are getting shorter and sweeter, and that, my little vixens, can only mean one thing: it's getting close to being almost time for the one and only SXSW. And of course, that means I had to ask some questions of the bands I'd sure want to see if I was heading down to Austin for the 25th annual SXSW-stravaganza.

Darned if I’m even gonna attempt to shoehorn Chicago’s A Lull into a genre, y’all. The closest I’d get is industrial pop, but even that barely scratches the surface. They clatter and clang and hook their way around songs, and the resulting noise is confounding yet kinda awesome. One-man rhythm section Todd Miller puts his SXSW thinking cap on below. I’m betting he hears “Oye Como Va” in his sleep by now...

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Todd Miller: We just bought a new (to us) van before we went out at the end of February. It seems like we've had nothing but van issues since we've been a band. This is our third one in three years, but unlike the past two, which were fifteen years old, this one is a 2007. For the first time, we feel pretty confident that we will get to where we need to be without major problems (as I'm looking for a piece of wood to knock on).

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
TM: Well, since we've already been out for about a week and a half now and are going to head straight to SXSW after this tour, anything we forgot, we have already picked up along the way. I guess we kind of forgot to figure out a stereo situation in the new van, although it was kind of a money-based decision. We decided not to have a stereo installed with an auxiliary input because we thought we would be able to survive on FM radio for three weeks, but we quickly realized that classic rock stations around the country have identical play lists. And it's getting really old. For example, we've heard "Oye Como Va" by Santana enough times already to last us a lifetime.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?

TM: We will be playing four times.

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

TM: We're really looking forward to the Schuba's/Lincoln Hall Roundup. Those are two venues in Chicago that we love, so we're really excited to get down there and hang out for Thursday afternoon.

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?

TM: Last year I had what was, by far, the best BBQ I've ever had. It's was super simple, just brisket, hot links and white bread, no sauce needed. The only problem is that the friend who brought it to us has since moved to New Zealand. So we're on our own for finding it, but I think we're up for the challenge.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?

TM: I went to Lollapalooza for the first time in 2008, but I haven't been back since. A couple of the guys in the band have been down to Bonnaroo a couple of times as well. As a band, we played a showcase at SXSW last year and we played this year in January at Tomorrow Never Knows in Chicago at Lincoln Hall. We will also be playing at Middle of the Map in Kansas City in April. We'd love to play as many as we can moving forward since they are a great way to get a lot of people in the same place and offer them a wide variety of music choices.

LET: Favorite thing about festivals?

TM: Like I said, it's a great way for people to go to one place and see a bunch of different music, and they are great for bands since they are exposed to audiences that they may have not been exposed to otherwise.

mp3: Weapons for War (A Lull from the forthcoming Confetti)

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