Bahamas’ Best SXSW Gig

When I talked with Afie Jurvanen for this issue of the prairie dog, he was down in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest, an annual music festival attended by scads of media and industry types and played by hundred of bands.

In fact, I reached Jurvanen at his hotel room in one of the few moments of rest his act, Bahamas, was able to get over the week. He even had to stop the interview to grab room service at one point.

SXSW presents extraordinary circumstances for bands. They can play anywhere from a packed clothing store to an empty music venue. Jurvanen was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his experience at SXSW this year.

How has this year compared to other times you’ve played the festival?

It seems like we’re just a little busier this year, which is great. You know, some bands come down here and they only have one gig, so I guess my attitude is, “As much as possible.” That’s resulted in us playing all day, every day, at all kinds of barbecues and parties and radio things and other little performances here and there. I’d rather play than sit in the van all day, so it works out good for me.

What’s been your best show so far?

Strangely, we did this show at seven a.m. in a hotel room. There were 500 people there and it was a radio thing. It was the opposite of playing in a bar.

I actually really enjoyed it. On paper, it seemed like a real drag, like, ‘We gotta get up so early and do this thing.’ But everyone was so excited. I think that those types of gigs are the special ones at South by that you just can’t get anywhere else.

I think it would be a little hard going to Toronto and pitching a seven a.m. show.

That’s the thing — the people are just genuinely hungry for music. They’re willing to work for it. You have to realize that and get in the mood to do it. That’s when I realized, when we pulled up in front of the venue and there were that many people there, it was like, “If they’re willing to get up this early to go to a show, then we’d better be willing to play as best as we can.”

Bahamas perform tonight at the Exchange along with local band Fly Points.

Author: James Brotheridge

Contributing Editor with Prairie Dog.