The Untitled Interview #60 – SXSW Edition: Starring Sam Denniston (Ice Black Birds)

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.

I am unabashedly, totally, completely, terribly in smit with Ice Black Birds, as I think, dearhearts, you've noticed by my lovey-dovey previous posts on them. This is a band that makes good old fashioned scuzzy rock, leaning heavily on the 60s and 70s for influences (think, perhaps, The Yardbirds meets The Faces meets Mott The Hoople [seriously, listen to "22:22" and I promise you'll hear that saucy sleaze of "Sucker"]). They make a beautiful noise indeed, and you lucky people down at SXSW best take advantage of any opportunity to see Ice Black Birds in the flesh. One of these days, they'll humor me and come to the meantime, Sam Denniston (he of the blistering, howling vocals) had the following to say about all things SXSW:

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Sam Denniston: We are all flying from Heathrow airport at nine in the morning, however I don't think we will be sleeping much the night before, one never does before big things like SXSW. I know that a few members of the band are not great flyers, so that might be their reason for lack of sleep!

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
SD: A converter. We have played in quite a few different countries and we never remember to bring a converter, luckily there is always some kind person to lend us one but it makes charging 4 phones very difficult with just the one.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
SD: Well, we are doing one official showcase and then the plan is to play as many times as possible during the festival. I know there are a few parties that we are really keen to play, but we will announce all our dates and times closer to the time.

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
SD: We are big fans of The Strange Boys and so will most definitely be checking them out. White Denim don't seem to be on the line up but as it is their home town, I would imagine they will be there and that's something we wouldn't miss for the world, they are a huge inspiration to us.

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
SD: That's a good question, I am not sure really, I suppose just wander round and take it all in, none of us have ever been there so we don't really know what to expect. Some hot weather would be nice and lots of BBQs.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
SD: The first festival I ever went to was a festival on the Isle of Wight called Bestival. This was about 5 years ago and it was still a very underground festival at the point and so there weren't too many people there. I had one of the best weekends of my adult life! We had all just finished school and decided to go to Bestival to celebrate, it was a group of about 10 of us and we were all really close friends. It was just one amazing weekend. I remember being blown away by The Chemical Brothers and Primal Scream.

LET: Favorite thing about festivals?
SD: Well I suppose the music, if there's a good lineup, but also the atmosphere and surroundings play a key part in whether a festival is good or not. I have heard from so many people that SXSW is amazing and we are all very excited for March to come around!

mp3: 22:22 (Ice Black Birds from 22:22)


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