Southwest

Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Vietnam’s “queen of hip hop,” Suboi, released her second album RUN last September. Suboi, the 25-year-old, bilingual rapper will kick off her first U.S. tour this month. Her South by Southwest performance takes place Thursday at The Trophy Club. Suboi spoke with The Daily Texan for a Q&A.  

The Daily Texan: How did you first become interested in rap? 

Suboi: When I was 14. I listened to Linkin Park and Eminem, but I didn’t think about rapping until I saw Will Smith on TV one day. After that, I started writing my first song. There wasn’t any rap in Vietnam though, so I had to find inspiration in other places. I listened to Eminem to teach myself English. He always uses so many bad words and slang, so back then, my English was really rude. 

DT: Without much rap in Vietnam, how did your career get started?

Suboi: It was hard when I first started out. There wasn’t much stuff on the Internet for me to watch, so it was hard to find inspiration or even an album I liked back then. Vietnam was just about pop music, so when my friends asked me to rap in their metal band, I jumped right in. 

DT: How do you feel about performing in the U.S.?

Suboi: I am very, very excited. I never thought I’d be performing at such a big festival. I’m looking forward to seeing the other artists. In Vietnam, there’s not a lot of diversity. I’m also excited to see the audiences. I’ve seen the crowds on music videos and TV, and I hope they’re the same. I just want them to be excited and hear my music.

DT: What do you think you bring to rap? 

Suboi: I started rapping because I couldn’t express myself in school. In my music, I would say half of it is for me, and half of it is about the message. At SXSW, I really want the audience to see that I have something to say, too. I want them to know that somebody from Vietnam has something to bring to the table. 

DT: Do you ever have to worry about censorship in Vietnam?

Suboi: Well, I have to use a lot of metaphors and wordplay as an artist in Vietnam. You have to balance what you want to say, but you also have to worry about staying out of trouble. I like the challenge of trying to get around those barriers, though. 

DT: What artists have inspired you?

Suboi: First of all, definitely Eminem. He has so much rage, and that really resonated with me. Lauryn Hill is definitely my biggest female inspiration. I get different vibes from different rappers, but I like the way they express themselves in their own crazy ways. I was a shy kid growing up, so I liked how American artists had their own opinions and styles. 

DT: Where do you want to see yourself in ten years?

Suboi: When you look at Lauryn Hill, she has a family, and she still has her career. I want to be doing that. I want to travel the world and have people know my music and take it seriously. I want people to see that I’m just like everybody else. I just want to rap. I don’t want to be just mainstream or just underground. I want people to know what I can do. It’ll be different for them and for me — just to see what I can bring to them. 

Editor’s note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Melbourne, Australia-based Twerps released their second full-length album Range Anxiety in January and will perform at the Panache party at the Hotel Vegas Patio on March 20 for South by Southwest. Here’s what Julia MacFarlane, the band’s guitarist and vocalist, had to say on the band’s influences, writing and SXSW hopes.

The Daily Texan: What were you aiming for with the release of Range Anxiety?

Julia MacFarlane: I think we were aiming to survive the process. But we had a new member, so we were just trying to figure ourselves out as a band again and figure out those dynamics. I think it was more an interior thing that was going on and maybe less spoken about. We had some chats about having an instrumental track or making it very collage-like, but it ends up how it ends up.

DT: How did you originally meet and form a band? Why did you bring on another member?

JM: Rick Milovanovic (former bassist) and Marty Frawley (lead vocalist and guitarist) met because they worked in a video store together. Marty started Twerps with a couple of his friends, who I knew as well. We did some songs together and put them up on Myspace. I really wanted to play in the new band and they let me. Patrick O’Neill (former drummer) left, which was sad, but it was getting to a point where we had different ideas about different things. Our new member Alex Macfarlane (drummer) is a songwriter, so it was cool to have someone else in the band who has a creative voice. It was a decision to step it up creatively.

DT: How would you explain your music to someone who’s listening to you for the first time?

JM: Well the simplified version would be a guitar-pop band, but if the person knew about music or had similar tastes as mine, I would maybe say it’s pop songs with some focus on instrumentation. I might say one of our influences is The Velvet Underground. That might help.

DT: On your most recent album, a lot of the songs were more upbeat and happy. It’s easy to get through. Do you think that, at times, that could take away from your message?

JM: I do think it’s important to communicate to people that something more is there. Reviews often say our music can be easy-breezy, and I think, ‘Is there something that we’re failing to do?’ If people aren’t picking up on that, you’re, in a way, failing. It can’t be just for you. There are a lot of songs about texture, the guitar parts and rhythms, but some are serious. I actually read a review of “Shoulders,” a song I sing in, and the person thought it was a laid-back summer tune. I felt completely opposite about that song; I think it’s so fucking heavy.

DT: You guys have been to SXSW before. What do you think will make this years’ experience unique?

JM: We’re doing a show a day, whereas last time, we did sometimes several a day. You feel so fried afterward, but it’s so fun. I’m looking forward to playing the Panache party. I haven’t looked into who else is going to be there, so that’ll be a surprise.

Wearing a large, white T-shirt, red sneakers and navy slacks, Mac DeMarco looked more like a boarding school runaway than a rockstar on stage at The Mohawk. But that, along with a nondescript baseball hat, is what the newly crowned king of indie rock was wearing when he played to a soldout crowd Sunday night.

One of the last times DeMarco was in Austin, he was cursing the city and its festivals at one of his many South By Southwest shows in 2013. He still has some of his old reckless abandon but has since released his third album, Salad Days, and started to grow from a young, gap-toothed rock ’n roll bad boy into a confident, indie rock hero.

Standing in dirty red shoes before a crowd packed with fans who still aren’t allowed to drink beer, DeMarco played a set with songs taken mostly from Salad Days, along with a few older tracks and an almost mesmerizing cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”

The crowd on the floor of the venue was rowdy. Crowd surfers flipped above the outstretched hands of a hundred teenagers and a steadily growing mosh pit made the ground level of The Mohawk feel more like a water park wave pool than a club. DeMarco’s music and stage presence isn’t necessarily hardcore — misbehavior just follows the Canadian musician wherever he goes. 

DeMarco’s entire performance was solid, entertaining and energetic, but there were two peak moments during his set. 

The first came when DeMarco leapt from the stage with a smug grin on his face, falling confidently into a crowd of people he knows would never let him fall. The crowd passed him all over the venue for over five minutes. In the spirit of fairness, DeMarco even climbed to the top levels of The Mohawk, where fans carried him around.

The second moment came during the band’s encore, which included a cover of “Wicked Game.” Bassist Pierce McGarry started the song off, but DeMarco took over to sing a verse in some sort of indiscernible gibberish. He then demanded that the entire crowd kneel down on the ground — which they did — and “calm the fuck down” while he sang another chorus. 

DeMarco has come a long way since last year’s round of SXSW shows. He’s selling out venues and receiving high praise for Salad Days. The question on his fans’ minds is whether the album title serves as a sentimental goodbye to younger, more reckless days, or a self-realization that these could be DeMarco’s salad days.

DeMarco stayed on stage for a while after the show ended, signing autographs, taking selfies on peoples’ phones and even receiving a kiss from one particularly enthusiastic fan. He spoke with the people who carried him through the venue he filled Sunday night, a newly crowned king receiving his loyal audience.

Austin police have filed 20 charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against 21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens, who is accused of driving his car into a crowd at South by Southwest, an incident which resulted in four deaths.

Though Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the police would charge Owens with aggravated assault immediately following the March 13 crash, those charges were not filed until Tuesday. Owens was charged with capital murder, defined in Texas as the death of two or more people, hours after the crash.

Each of the 20 aggravated assault charges carry a bond of of $100,000, in addition to Owens’ $3 million bond charge for capital murder.

Owens will appear in court on April 9.

 

On Monday, 26-year old Sandy Le died from injuries sustained in Thursday’s South by Southwest car crash.

Le, who is originally from Pass Christian, Miss., had been in critical condition at University Medical Center Brackenridge since Thursday. Her death marks the third fatality resulting from the collision.

Eight hours after the crash, Christopher Ziebell, emergency department director at Brackenridge, said he was not optimistic about the recovery process for Le or for DeAndre Tatum, another patient in critical condition who has not yet been released from the hospital.

“The two most critical patients, I have a great deal of concern and worry about,” Ziebell said at a press conference Thursday. “We’re going to do our best for them, but these are some of the worst injuries that we see, and not everybody with these kind of injuries is going to survive.”

35-year old Steven Craenmehr and 27-year old Jamie Ranae West were pronounced dead shortly after the crash. West’s husband, Evan West, was also injured.

Travis County district judges issued a formal arrest warrant Friday afternoon for 21-year old Rashad Charjuan Owens, who has been accused of driving his car through a crowded area of downtown during SXSW activities, killing two people and injuring 23 others. Owens was charged with one count of capital murder and bond has been set at $3 million.

Photo Credit: Hannah Hadidi | Daily Texan Staff

Poor planning leads to poor performance. South by Southwest can be the magical, start-up, tech-dude schmooz fest you always dreamed it could be. On the other hand, underpreparing for long lines, unpredictable weather and last minute secret shows will leave you susceptible to experience the dreaded south-by-shit-show. 

If you want to avoid utter chaos, make sure to bring these things with you in your slouchy vegan leather SXSW tote bag.

Backpack/Tote bag/Free Swag accumulator

You don’t have to have a SXSW badge or wristband to be graced with tons of free promotional items. Some of this stuff you’ll love (like a pair of breakfast-themed socks, free cans of Red Bull or graphic tees). Other things you’ll wish they hadn’t handed to you. For all of this treasure/junk, and for all your other SXSW essentials, bring a backpack with you. Tote bags are cute and convenient for access, but the uneven distribution of weight will become a strain on your shoulders. If you’re looking to carry your stuff hands-free but avoid all the junk, the fanny pack is a great alternative. 

Cash

Unless you’re a fan of paying $3.25 each time you withdraw cash from an ATM downtown, bring cash with you. Sure, there are a lot of freebies to be discovered during the week, but if you care to catch a real meal, be prepared for vendors who don’t take credit or debit. At the same time, limiting yourself to cash keeps you from overspending. Yes, we all want to take a ride in that LED-lit boom-box-infused pedicab, but why don’t you just walk instead.

A flexible schedule

Have a good idea of a few shows or events to hit up that day, and make sure that you’ll be able to have access if you do end up going. If you don’t have an idea of what’s going on that night, you’ll become frustrated that you can’t find anything free or available to do. Do not go with the expectation that you will get into everything you want that day, and always have backups. Follow a few SXSW-related Twitter accounts for the latest news on pop-up shows and free giveaways. Overall, go with the flow. You can’t be too demanding or too careless with your South by experience.   

Short-length phone charger/extended battery pack

Sure, it’s common sense to bring your phone, but visitors flooding downtown Austin by the thousands will put extra stress on the cell towers, causing your phone to search for signal longer and subsequently drain the battery faster. Recently, select venues have added cell phone recharge stations to their setup, but don’t bet on there being a short wait for a recharge locker. If you don’t have the cash for an extended battery pack, bring a phone charger that’s easy to plug in on the fly. And as a reminder, don’t leave your phone or any other belongings unattended.

Weather preparation

You will be waiting outside in long lines for hours. So check the forecast before you leave for downtown. Texas weather is unpredictable. The current 10-day forecast from weather.com predicts sunny skies starting Tuesday, and while the high barely reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the sun could have you burning in minutes. Bring what you know you’ll need for the sun, sunscreen and sunglasses included. Around 6 p.m. when it starts getting dark, it’s likely to get pretty chilly out, so bring a light jacket or sweater that you can carry around with you to avoid going home to change and missing the action. 

Comfortable attire

Piggybacking off of weather preparation, dress practically. Yes, you want to look good, but don’t risk feeling uncomfortable when you’re battling fast winds and heavy rain in a long tank and board shorts. Don’t plan on event-hunting downtown in a pair of constricting, 8-inch heels either. Wear shoes that you’ve broken in, that you won’t mind getting a little dirty. 

Refreshing toiletries

If you’re going to be out all day, be prepared. The weather will be hot, then rainy, and then hot again. You’ll be sweating a weird amount and your hair will get all mussed up and someone will probably, most definitely end up spilling their drink down your leg. If you want to keep up appearances throughout the day, do not panic. Bring a small brush, some hair ties or bobby pins, a small stick of deodorant or maybe some body spray, lip balm, just anything that will make you feel more comfortable and clean throughout the day. 

Guest pass

If you want to get into any of the official SXSW free events open to the public like the Gaming Expo or the outside shows at Butler Park (formerly at Auditorium Shores), you’ll need to pick up a free “Guest Pass.” This is a new feature for SXSW, and it allows you to register your guest pass online to be entered to win prizes. You can pick up your guest pass at a few participating locations such as Waterloo Records and Whole Foods on 6th and Lamar, or you can pick up a guest pass at the entrances of the SXSW free events. Keep in mind that guest passes don’t guarantee admission to an event — events still have maximum capacity requirements. 

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Andrew Belle returns to South By Southwest this year as part of his tour with Ten out of Tenn, a group of 10
singer-songwriters from Nashville, Tenn. Belle will perform on two separate days, beginning Mar. 14 at The Listening Room at Winflo and Rowdy’s Saloon. Belle said he hopes his presence at SXSW will allow him to reconnect with old friends, listen to some good music and have a great time.

Ever since his move to Nashville, Tenn., in 2009, Belle had secretly always wanted to be a part of Ten out of Tenn. His sister-in-law, a photographer familiar with local Nashville artists, helped him get plugged into the local music scene. He later joined the Ten out of Tenn troupe and was invited to perform with the group on its national tours.

“They really helped me launch my Nashville touring presence,” said Belle, who eventually moved back to Chicago in 2011. “All of a sudden, I went from no tour experience to performing on stage in front of hundreds of people, and playing in cities I’d never even been to before.”

With two albums behind him, The Ladder (2010) and Black Bear (2013), Belle is currently working on a stripped-down version of Black Bear.

“It’s going to have a similar feel,” Belle said. “But it’s going to be less ambitious. We will be reinterpreting the songs so that people who were fans of The Ladder and who weren’t fans of the Black Bear record will be able to listen to music that’s somewhere between the two albums.”

Belle said the Black Bear album title is derived from a personal experience he went through a couple of years ago.

“I had a very real, impactful experience with God and in my relationship with God,” Belle said. “I didn’t want to be confronted by the way I was living my life, and I felt like God was sort of pursuing me, much like an animal pursues its prey. So when I was writing lyrics for the song ‘Black Bear,’ the name just came to me.”

After discovering artists such as Radiohead and Washed Out between 2008 and 2012, Belle began dabbling in electronic musical instruments and found that alternative and electronic music presented him with more opportunities to experiment. During this time, he also continued to play in Chicago bars and restaurants, trying to make a living playing cover songs.

“I had a lot of new inspirations to draw from,” Belle said. “I discovered a singer-songwriter, Greg Laswell, who was a big influence on me and my writing at that time. I would go into work and I would be playing in bars for a couple of hours. I would use that time to work on new material and song ideas. I would strum these ideas, piece together the lyrics and would just play around.”

Belle’s interest in music developed in school when he first heard the band Counting Crows, but it wasn’t until college that he decided to do more songwriting and singing.

“One of my first stage performances was an open mic in college,” Belle said. “I didn’t perform very well because I got very nervous. I do wrestle with a mild case of nerves now and then since I’m not really a natural performer. I love songwriting, and performance is just a consequence of that.”

Most of Belle’s inspiration to write is borrowed from his personal relationships.

“Romantic relationships have been an inspiration,” Belle said. “I got married last year, and my marriage holds endless amounts of inspiration for me. My family and relationships are the most meaningful to me. Those are things that constantly appear in my music.”

Belle said he always approaches songwriting from an emotional standpoint. “That’s kind of what attracts me to music in the first place,” Belle said. “I just love having an autobiographical approach to writing lyrics. I’m a typical guy who is not super dramatic, but when I write, I feel a little more dramatic and emotional than I normally am.”

Belle’s songs have been featured in the television dramas, “One Tree Hill,” “Castle” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“I didn’t really know how to handle that success,” Belle said. “I had decided to keep living the way I was living, but then I realized with success comes responsibility. I’ve learned that I need to find my identity, which can be possible only through my faith in God. I’m learning to not put my identity into what I do for a living, because the minute it starts to go away, you don’t have a self anymore. You don’t know who you are anymore.”

By the Numbers: 

0-5: The Longhorns’ record in Big 12 play. They’ve never had such a poor mark to begin conference play —  not in the Big 12 nor the old Southwest conference. The Longhorns fell to Texas Tech, 66-59, despite shooting 49 percent from the field. 

25: Number of turnovers, leading to 27 Texas Tech points.  

20/11: Freshman Imani McGee-Stafford’s stat line. She recorded yet another double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds despite injuring her knee in the second half.

“I was impressed with our freshman tonight,” head coach Karen Aston said. “But we just had too many turnovers. When we didn’t turn it over, our offense was really good.”

Half-by-Half:

First Half: For the second straight game, Texas started piling the turnovers on early. After committing 26 this past Sunday against Oklahoma State, the Longhorns committed 14 in the first half, resulting in 19 of the Red Raiders’ 35 points. Despite falling behind by 14 points in the early stages, Enemkpali led the Longhorns on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to four with 2:27 remaining. The Longhorns were unable to close the half strong and went to break trailing, 33-27. Enemkpali was perfect from the field, leading the Longhorns with 12 points. Morris of Texas Tech led all scorers with 15.

Second Half: Despite going to the locker room with an apparent knee injury, McGee-Stafford returned stronger than ever and behind her 16 second-half points, the Longhorns cut the deficit to one with just over a minute to go. As the game entered the final minute, Texas Tech’s experience showed as they were able to get stops on defense, force turnovers and hit their free throws down the stretch to secure a 66-59 victory and improve to 3-2 in Big 12 play.

The first UT football game this fall will not only feature a new starting quarterback but will also introduce a new six-figure sponsor to the UT community.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, whose CEO, Gary Kelly, is a UT alumnus, announced July 23 that it will sponsor all 20 official UT sports teams as well as the Texas Exes alumni association for the next five years. The sponsorship will be managed through multimedia marketing company IMG College, which coordinates all sponsorships for UT athletics.

Christine Plonsky, women’s athletics director, said the sponsorship involves a substantial six-figure per-year deal that will give Southwest a great deal of advertising opportunities. Plonsky did not reveal how much Southwest paid in the deal.

“The sponsorship involves cash and some services such as airline vouchers for travel and things like that,” Plonsky said. “The elements within the agreement will give exposure to Southwest through signage, video boards and other things.”

In the athletics department, Plonsky said the money from the sponsorship will support overall operations associated with each sports team.

“The dollars they pay IMG, which then go to the University, inevitably all go to support our operations here, which support our student athlete teams,” Plonsky said.

Tim Taliaferro, a spokesman for Texas Exes, said the sponsorship is smaller for the alumni association than it is for UT athletics, but still important for those who want to stay in touch with what goes on at the University.

“Texas Exes exists to champion the University and to keep people connected,” Taliaferro said.

Scott Willingham, vice president and general manager of Longhorn IMG Sports Marketing, the IMG division in charge of UT athletics marketing, said the sponsorship will be divided between the athletics department and Texas Exes according to the value of each group.

As the official airline sponsor, Southwest takes its place at the top level of sponsorship over any other airline that wishes to sponsor the University, Willingham said. He said other airlines wishing to advertise at UT can buy media time on radio or television.

“No other airline can be official,” he said.

An official sponsorship allows a corporation to use trademarks associated with the University, Willingham said.

“Official sponsors have certain assets,” Willingham said.

“Mainly they have the rights to use marks and logos. They also have the right to say that they’re official.”

Brad Hawkins, Southwest Airlines spokesman, said the decision to partner with the University was business-oriented, as well as positive for employees of the airline.

“There are lots of longhorns at Southwest for whom this was a very special deal,” Hawkins said. “But it was very much a business decision about aligning two brands that have a lot of value.”

It was cursing — not kissing — that got a lesbian actress and her girlfriend escorted off a plane as it sat at a Texas airport, Southwest Airlines said Tuesday.

The airline said the couple became profane after being reprimanded for what actress Leisha Hailey characterized as “one modest kiss.”

Hailey immediately used her Twitter account to accuse the airline of discrimination and call for a boycott.

Hailey is best known for playing Alice Pieszecki in the now defunct Showtime lesbian life drama “The L-Word.”

The incident cast a national media spotlight on the actress, who is now part of the electro-pop duo Uh Huh Her.

Halley’s publicist Libby Coffey said the encounter was real and was “absolutely not” done as a publicity stunt for her band’s upcoming breast cancer awareness tour.

Hailey and partner Camila Grey also denied in a statement Tuesday that the affection they showed toward each other was inappropriate.

“We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves. It was one modest kiss,” the written statement said. “We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple.”

The airline responded that Hailey’s display of affection was excessive and drew customer complaints and that the women cursed after being reprimanded.

“Additional reports from our employees and customers onboard Flight 2274 during a stop in El Paso on Sunday now confirm profane language was being used loudly by two passengers,” the airline said. “Although we have reports of what customers characterize as an excessive public display of affection, ultimately their aggressive reaction led to their removal from the aircraft.”

Hailey and Grey acknowledged that they became upset after the flight attendant reprimanded them and told them Southwest is a family airline.

“We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant,” their statement said. “No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn’t make it any less loud.”

Hailey and Gray said they plan to file a formal complaint with the airline.

Details of how the couple was escorted off the flight were not included in the Southwest statement. Initial reports had the flight going from Baltimore to St. Louis, but a tweet by the band says its members were flying from El Paso to Los Angeles, which the airline confirmed.

Hailey said in a tweet that she has an audio and video recording of the encounter between the couple and the flight attendant. It’s not immediately clear who made it. Coffey did not respond to an email requesting access to the recordings.

Hailey also demanded a public apology and a refund from the airline. The airline said it had reached out to all passengers involved to offer refunds.

Southwest’s website says it is the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s senior director of programs, said companies must train employees to welcome all customers.

“Just like all couples, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey should be able to express affection in public,” Graddick said. “The widespread outrage around Leisha’s report demonstrates that fair-minded Americans will no longer stand for discrimination of gay and lesbian couples.”

Earlier this month, the Dallas-based airline kicked off Green Day’s lead man Billie Joe Armstrong for wearing his pants too low. The Grammy winner was escorted off a plane after failing to follow a flight attendant’s directive to pull up his pants.

Southwest also removed director Kevin Smith from a flight last year because he didn’t fit properly in a single seat. His first tweet read, “Dear (at)SouthwestAir I know I’m fat, but was (the) captain (...) really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”