The iconic SXSW is being held in Austin, Texas, this week, and Australia and New Zealand is well-represented. Pickle Darling, Hans Pucket, ASHY, Hope D, and more have headed to the famous festival to showcase the music this side of the world has to offer.
Kiwi singer-songwriter Georgia Lines is also there, ready to bring her R&B-inflected pop to industry professionals and music fans. After her 2022 EP, Human, a vulnerable exploration of love and loss, debuted atop the New Zealand Albums Chart last year, she’s now writing and recording her long-awaited full-length debut, which should take this proudly independent artist’s career to the next level.
Rolling Stone AU/NZ asked Georgia to take us through her SXSW 2023 experience, and you can read all about her third day at the festival below.
More information about SXSW 2023 is available here.
Day 3 At SXSW
Day three started with a weirdly early continuous knock on the door, but one that was not quite loud enough to know if it was your own door or the room across the corridor. Housekeeping. 8:30am? Why? Clever me had forgotten to pop the “dreaming big dreams” sign on the door, like literally everyone else on my floor had done the night before.
I’m guessing she saw everyone had popped their signs out, and went straight to us, the only ones supposedly not “dreaming big dreams” on the 10th floor. Between my English and her Spanish, I managed to communicate the need for more toilet paper, changing towels, and some more paper cups for the very American coffee machine of some kind in my room that I have been using to boil hot water for my cups of bone broth.
Now that I was up, it’s been three days with very little routine, and the body is starting to resent me for it so I figured that I should (aside from the huge amount of walking we have been doing) do some exercise. Running has never been a huge thing for me, aside from the school cross country and the three runs I did during lockdown, but today I decided was going to be the day to run again.
So I went downstairs to find the gym, totally looking the part of a full-time runner… until I couldn’t get the first treadmill to start working.
After my run, the rest of the band were en route for the day to my room, so I snuck into the snack drawer (keeping in mind that they are possibly still unaware of where my snacks are hidden) to pack my bag, choose my outfits for the day, and got myself sorted.
Last night we realised that our set length for our first show today was actually 20 mins, not the 40min set that we had prepared. So we had to make quite a few adjustments to the set overnight before talking through the change of plans with the rest of the crew this morning. Here’s your friendly reminder to double check your emails that people send you with important information…
Our first show for the day was the Official NZ SXSW showcase. Once again, we dragged our gear down the streets of Austin along with the 32kg keyboard that everyone is starting to resent me for. We are 100% taking shifts carrying that thing – it is not for the faint of heart and is one to really keep the team building momentum going for the whole trip.
With a 10 min changeover (which if you are a musician or a band, you will know how close to impossible this changeover time is if you include the pack down from the previous band), we had our team meeting outside the venue, creating a plan of attack with setting up. Unpacking instruments and pedals ready for the changeover. It felt like we were Guido and Luigi from Cars 2, ready to change tyres as fast as we could. That is possibly the worst reference I could use and is bordering on super lame, but at this stage of the week and basing it on my energy levels of how I’m feeling as I write this, that is as good as it gets for today.
We managed to set up as fast as we could, possibly the fastest we will ever be able to execute a changeover and started the show. My options for hiding in the wings as the band played the intro were either climb onto the stage with a short woollen tartan dress on with knee high boots (which I found at Savemart a few years back in the dress up section and it has been such a trusty little outfit the last few years) or wrap myself in the green velvet curtain and hope it looks like I’m hiding as the boys play the intro to the set. I chose the latter.
20 mins, four songs, a full house, and an open bar. The Official NZ SXSW showcase was off to such a wonderful start, with our friends Foley playing straight after us. Who by the way if you haven’t discovered them yet… you’re welcome! Not only are they wonderful in every way and their energy on stage is next level… they are wonderful humans off stage too! I’ve said wonderful three times in the last sentence and I’m okay with that.
Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for Jess B who played after Foley as I had another show to play at, at a venue 300m down the road, but I heard wonderful (there I go again) things about her set!
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With a 300m walk adding steps to my pedometer (just want to clarify, I don’t carry an actual pedometer around with me measuring my steps, I just use my phone. I think the last time I had an actual pedometer was for the Weet-Bix triathlon I did as a kid) we arrived at Hotel Indigo which was where I was about to play my solo showcase.
Of course I had to have an outfit change, and wore my Resumè patchwork dress with the greatest yellow puff sleeves you’ve ever seen in your life, paired with my yellow Marge Simpson beads and my knee high boots. To be fair, you couldn’t see that I was wearing knee high boots as my dress was floor length, but I didn’t have any room in my backpack to carry a change of shoes as my snacks and spare outfit took up all the space available.
The lobby show was a highlight from today. A completely different feel to the show earlier in the day being solo, and in a hotel lobby, but there was something really special and intimate about the show. People came in from the street as they were walking to or from other shows, they wandered in as they were coming or leaving their hotel, and were so engaged with the set.
At one point I talked about my only three cooking tips: cover Brussels sprouts in miso paste and bake them in the oven, it’s the best; don’t overcook your cakes; when you open a packet of crackers, put them in a container straight away because no one likes soggy crackers. Let’s be honest, none of these are cooking tips and I would have a terrible cooking show if I ever did one. The content would be the greatest thing on TV, but the food wouldn’t be awesome. My husband is the cook in our house and he is actually amazing. I love to bake, that’s my realm of talent in the kitchen and I’m happy to be the sous chef in our house and the one to do the dishes if it means I don’t have to cook.
I also managed to get the entire lobby singing along with my signature “Made for Loving” singalong. Every time this happens I am genuinely shocked that somehow I can politely boss people into singing a song. I was so impressed with their engagement and how loudly they sang, I decided to run around the room and individually give a high-five to everyone. I know. Why? Not sure. It just came to me in the moment, and whether it was tiredness or creativity in that moment that took the reins, we will never know. This is also a moment that will most likely never happen again. One for the books and made for a really great video.
As the day is coming to a close, I ended the night at the C3 management party held at Antone’s and discovered a new favourite band – Michigander. They are wonderful (there she goes again). His voice is absolutely insane and their melodies are wildly catchy.
One thing I am learning whilst being here in Austin is that when you are in America, you are literally one degree of separation away from huge names, managers, labels, writers, producers, PR companies… literally. Someone said yesterday and I thought they summed it up so well – you are close to the fire here!
The amount of people I have met today and connected with at a showcase or in the hotel lobby has been absolutely crazy and I can see how crucial being close to the fire is when you can meet someone face to face, instead of trying to hustle your way into their emails with a cold call. Relationship is everything.
For those of you wondering, my salad is still living in the fridge, keeping me company at night while I sleep. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I actually eat my Whole Foods salad? I should check if it’s still alive.
Day four tomorrow. 2 shows. Another big day… but man, I am pumped.