A lot of people ask us what Music Director Jason Bentley is looking for in a band at SXSW so I decided to ask the man himself!
Here’s a snapshot of how Jason handles the overwhelming amount of music at the fest and some good advice for bands hoping to get his attention.
I want to see bands I haven’t seen before. I try to avoid the sensational branding and look for new music.
Looks DO Matter
I’m looking for a strong aesthetic, which can be conveyed in many ways. I’m unlikely to see a band I’ve NEVER heard of. I’m already interested in the music so I’m there to see how they represent it visually – their presentation, energy, demeanor, projections, band dynamic.
I cut them some slack on the sound quality. I don’t expect it to be pristine at SXSW.
Plan Your Set
Pacing is important – a well-sequenced set. I’m looking for bands that are thoughtful about process. I also recommend playing your best song first. The migration of the masses is really remarkable and people move on quickly.
It’s the little details that stand out to me, like how a band interacts with the sound guy gives me a sense of whether they have integrity.
And one piece of advice for music fans:
Have a Go-To Spot
My go to spot is Cedar Street. Filter Magazine puts on day showcases there Thursday-Saturday. It’s just chock full o’ music and you can always catch something good.