An Interview with a Patriot
(Well, two Patriots really, but who's counting?)
It's amazing that with over 1,100 bands playing various shows all over Austin during South by Southwest, the Albuquerque crew always seemed to find each other. On my must-see list was the New Mexico Music Showcase and performances by the three Burque bands playing sanctioned showcases: Beirut, A Hawk and a Hacksaw and The Gingerbread Patriots.
After the sleep deprivation started to wear off, I caught up with Megan Mcgaughy and John Brophy of The Gingerbread Patriots at a Sunday afternoon house party—complete with cardboard floors, a keg in the corner and a performance by New Zealand's Ryan McPhun and the Ruby Suns. I cornered John and Megan in the back room to ask them a few questions about SXSW, only to discover their plans for relocation.
How's your South By Southwest experience been? Did you see a lot of music?
JB: Yeah. It was harder than last year. We didn't get in to every band we wanted to see because there were long lines. We did end up seeing a lot of great bands, like Ariel Pink, Elf Power and Six Nick Noltes, but we didn't plan on seeing them. We just happened upon them and they were great. Earlimart was pretty cool. We never got a chance to see the Flaming Lips ... well, Jeshua [Brophy] did. I envy him. I wanted to see them, but we had one badge and he got it that night.
How did that work with the badge?
MM: It didn't work very well. I think next year we should plan it where each day one person gets the badge.
JB: When they invited us to play, we could either pick getting paid or get wristbands and a badge—one wrist band for each band member and a badge. Of course, we took the wristbands. We realized, it's kind of a joke, a cruel joke to only have one badge, cause everyone is fighting over it, who gets to use it. Next year we'll know how to do it.
Do you guy check out at anything in the conference center?
JB: No, we didn't go to any of the talks or any of the workshops or stuff. We did go to Flatstock. It's really bad, because you want to spend so much money. There's so many awesome posters and artists. We walked out with a good pile of stuff. That was fun. I wanted to go to some of the talks, but it was hard enough to fit music into our schedule let alone talks.
You came last year?
Were you playing an actual showcase?
JB: No, we just came and played some day parties and day show. One on Sixth [Street] at the Co-op bar, and then one at a house party type thing.
How was it different playing an actually showcase?
JB: Free wristbands, number one. That was the coolest. Being on the South by Southwest Web site got us a lot of attention, a lot of people on our web site and Myspace profile finding us through the South by Southwest page, listening to our mp3 on there. Sending us messages saying, "Hey, saw you on there—liked your song." The exposure, basically, being on the listings and people seeing our name, hearing our name. Just being recognized, having people come up to us from different parts of the media, different bands. It's kind of cool.
Any bands you would tell people to avoid at all costs?
JB: I had some pretty big let-downs. I was really excited about the Animal Collective show, and apparently the first half was all improv. It didn't quite sit well with me. It was impressive for them to be doing it, and I admire them for it, but it just didn't work for me. I left and the second half was actually decent from what I heard. That was kind of a let-down for me, cause I was really looking forward to that. Also, they kind of screwed up Ariel Pink's sound, which was a bummer, too.
Anything you can take back to Albuquerque?
JB: You know, we did see quite the Albuquerque presence while we were out here. Friday night there was a big gaggle of musicians and friends at the Animal Collective show all hanging out, as if they didn't know what else to do but hang out with each other.
Would you recommend other bands from Albuquerque to apply for South by Southwest?
JB: Yeah, definitely, of course. It's definitely worthwhile. I think, pretty much anyone who's in a band knows that, but for some reason when the time rolls around we aren't quite as aware of the deadlines as we should be in this community. Next year we're going to be in Portland and we're going to still try to come out, that's going to be quite the distant to come.
Are you guys moving?
JB: Yeah, we're moving to Portland to May. We're all relocating, except for Nate [Santamaria]. Nate is staying with Oktober People and my other brother, Joel, is going to start playing drums. It's going to be us three brothers and Megan--mostly all Brophys. I can't wait to hear what comes out [of the change]. We have almost the exact same voice, me and my younger brother, so whenever we start building three part harmonies it's going to be really weird.
The Gingerbread Patriots will play Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Tuesday, April 4, with The Octopus Project and The Giranimals. For more information, visit www.gingerbreadpatriots.com.