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sxsw2013 Mon Mar 11 2013
South by Southwest is already underway, but this week will bring thousands and thousands of music fans to Austin for the music arm of the annual conference. Two very different Chicago bands — the soul troubadours JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound and experimental electronica group Gemini Club are both loading up their vans and heading down south, and they'll be sending daily updates back to Chicago by way of the Transmission blog.
Electronica quartet Gemini Club consists of members Dan Brunelle, Tom Gavin, Ryan Luciani and Gordon Bramli. I've been a fan of the band's music for a while now, but I'd never had the pleasure of chatting with them. To get a bit more into the band's head before we hear their personal Austin thoughts, I exchanged a few questions with Tom:
Gapers Block: Is this your first time as an "official" SXSW music act? Have you ever been down to the festival before?
Tom Gavin: This is our third year as official artists at SXSW, and our fourth year in a row playing. We're also celebrating the one-year anniversary of the addition of our drummer Ryan Luciani, who proved himself by killing every show and won our respect by manhandling a drunken moron who was trying to fight. I'll never forget the moment he held the kid's collar and barked, "have you had enough yet?" Gordon, Dan and I nodded at one another and said, "yeah, he's the drummer now."
GB: What are you most looking forward to at SXSW?
TG: We're playing three shows on Friday and I'm looking to see which one of us will collapse due to fatigue, beer intake, heat exhausting or all three. We're also looking forward going HAM on kimchi burgers. Man, we love food trucks. LOVE THEM. Also, pool parties. Austin turns into a bizarrely wonderful carnival with every type of person you'd ever want to meet. Or not...
GB: You've said your music appeals to both rock and electronic music fans. Do you anticipate the eclectic nature of the festival's show-goers to work to your benefit? How do you plan on standing out in the sea of acts next week?
TG: The diversity of SXSW is what makes it so special and fun to play. Hip-hop kids at rock shows. Metal kids at electronic shows. You're forced to process an enormous spectrum of music, and I think we've fused the technological capabilities of digital music with the more raw and bombastic nature of live rock shows in a way that keeps people guessing and interested.
GB: Do you have new songs/experiments you'll be working on in Austin?
TG: We've been writing and recording a new record, and have added three new songs to the set. Stylistically speaking, they all fit together and have blended into the set naturally. "Dirty Street" is one of the best things I've ever written, "Preacher" has some of Dan's coolest guitar lines ever, and "Into My Camera" is slow and sweet, with the main lyric being "I don't want to be the one. I want to let it go. It's easy when I go."
GB:What do you think is the best thing about seeing Gemini Club live?
TG: People respond when they see performers who allow themselves to let go and truly reflect the emotions and nuances of the songs. This could mean climbing a stack of speakers, or simply standing still and making sure the connection to the audience reflects the music and enhances the experience. For me, the key is to go all out. When it's late and sweaty and the crowd is going nuts, we go nuts with them.
GB: Are you driving down to Austin? Does the band have any "road rules"?
TG: We are driving a 15 passenger van who was named "Bob Seager" by the guy who rented it to us. We don't really have any "road rules" per se, although I have been in hot water once or twice for disappearing without saying where I was going. I guess this will sound mushy, but we all get along extremely well and thankfully share the same sense of humor. Humor is key — especially on the road.
If you're also heading down to Austin for SXSW, you can catch Gemini Club at one of their shows. For those of us stuck in Chicago, check back to hear about the band's journey here in Transmission.
Gemini Club in Austin, TX at SXSW 2013:
Virgin Mobile 508 House
508 E. 8th St.
96 Rainey St.
706 W. 6th St.
Ave on Congress
5th Ave and Congress
The Rattle Inn
610 Nueces St.
Doritos Bold Stage
5th Street and Red River
We'll also hear all week long from JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound who are taking their neo-soul stylings one again down south to Texas. They'll be hitting a slew of venues and parties all week, so catch them here if you can:
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound in Austin, TX at SXSW 2013:
Getty Images party
212 E. 6th St.
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago/Epitonic party
615 Red River St.
Pandora/Americana Music Assoc. party
Antone's Porch Stage
213 W. 5th St.
Mighty Deadly/Chicago Mixtape/Wine from the Moon/AudioTree/do312 party
1306 E. 6th St.
Rolling Stone Rock Room party
La Zona Rosa
612 W. 4th St.
Bloodshot Records/Lagunitas Brewing party
Yard Dog Gallery
1510 S. Congress Ave.
JamBase SXSW showcase
Tap Room @ Six
311 Colorado St.
KDHX Twangfest party
3201 S. Lamar Blvd
MillerCoors Third Shift Amber Lager party
617 E. 7th St.