During Austin City Limits Weekend 1, Cooglife was able to sit down with a few of the festival’s performers. Here is what they had to saying during their interview.
A sit-down discussion with Anthony Watkins II, better known as Mobley.
Cooglife: What role did music have in your life when you were traveling (growing up)?
Anthony Watkins II: I’ve always loved music and I think moving around kind of gives you a different perspective on the place that music occupies in society . . . because it’ really different from place to place . . . even within certain places.
Cooglife: When did you realize that music was is what you wanted to do . . . a full-time passion turned career?
Watkins: It kind of just happened over time. I didn’t really realize it was happening. I started writing . . . I have no idea why I started writing. I just wrote a song and then I wrote another and another and then all of a sudden it was all I could think about.
Cooglife: What’s the best and worst piece of advice you got while you were in college?
Watkins: I can’t even think of a single piece, but the worst genre I got was kind of people suggesting to me that I follow a form, you know what I mean, you do A, B, C and D and that will lead to this place. And while I think that works for some people, like you only have one life. There’s no reason that you have to take this bundle of things . . . you can be like I like this part of it and I’m not going to put up with this part . . . Getting to a place where I could put that aside and be like “I don’t have to have X in my life in order to have Y. I can throw away X and keep Y.”
Cooglife: If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice in college what would it be?
Watkins: It would probably be to compromise less. I think there’s this idea and it’s related to the last thing I said. There’s this idea that compromise is necessary but in my life so far anyway all of the biggest leaps that I’ve made have come right after I stopped putting up with something that I thought I had to put up with.
Big Wild Q&A
A sit-down discussion with Jackson Stell, better known as Big Wild.
Cooglife: Today’s set, how do you feel about it?
Jackson Stell: I had a great time. I think I was a little skeptical going into it because I knew like ACL, there aren’t like a lot of electronic or dance oriented acts here, so I was like “I don’t know how the crowd’s going to react;” but it turns out that I was able to draw a pretty sweet crowd. They got down. And it was early in the day and it was hot too, so it’s like hard really to get into it when it’s really hot . . . It was a great time. It was a really good crowd.
Cooglife: Do you have a favorite festival that you’ve played at so far?
Stell: One of the favorite festivals I have has been Lightning in a Bottle which is this festival in California . . . between the bay and L.A. . . it was one of the first super big crowds I’ve ever had that were there for me and just really connected with the music. But I really like this festival [ACL] because I like playing festivals with diverse lineups and there’s just a little bit of everything here . . . I love electronic music, it’s pretty much what I make but at the same time love other things too and I want to hear them. So to be able to go to a festival where you have that much diversity is really cool.
Cooglife: Putting together your setlist, what’s the process look like for you?
Stell: Probably the biggest part of my set is just to get people to dance. But at the same time I like to have times and moments throughout the set where like people can have a second or a few minutes to not necessarily dance but just relax or kind of sit and just spectate and see what’s going on . . . You want people to get really into it but you also want them to leave with some kind of feeling or emotion. So, I try to balance that with my show and have up times, down times, and just have a really big performance aspect as well for me. So when I go into building these sets, it’s like telling an hour long story. How am I going to pace this out and control the energy of the crowd so that overall by the end of the set, people are like “that was f*cking awesome.”
Cooglife: Did you ever consider just DJing? What got you the particular elements [of your live performance] you have now?
Stell: Honestly, I never really considered doing the DJ thing because by the time I was starting to do my own shows, I had seen enough shows where I personally related more to acts that were performing the music live in front of me and that was something like “that’s what I want to do because that’s what I enjoy.” I’m always trying to come up with new ways to express electronic music live, which isn’t always the easiest thing to do because there’s so much that’s involved when you’re at the computer producing – that’s almost next to impossible to produce live. So it’s like how am I still going to have the “umph” and all those little details that I have with my production while still giving people a live performance.
Cooglife: What was the role of music growing up in your life?
Stell: My dad was a guitar player and played in some bands in college. My grandma was a singer in a big band in Chicago. So, I think that’s definitely where my interest came from. What’s funny about Massachusetts and where I grew up is there actually wasn’t anybody except one friend who made beats on the computer, but besides him I didn’t know anybody who was doing it. And I think that’s what drew me to it because I used to play trumpet, I played a little piano growing up, but it wasn’t until I discovered making music on the computer that I was like “oh this is unique, no one is doing it, this is my niche, this is me.” I think the fact that nobody was doing it was what drew me to it. It was like “this is how I can express myself without just sounding like everybody else.” And I just kind of got hooked right away in being able to write my own music, being able to write the drums, melody, harmony, everything. So, it was almost the lack of people making music on the computer in my area that actually drew me to making music on the computer. From there, as websites developed, and when SoundCloud became bigger that started to be the community that I would follow and get inspiration from.
Cooglife: Do you think aspiring artists should continue putting music out on SoundCloud?
Stell: I think ultimately you should put your music out wherever you can and that would definitely include SoundCloud. That being said, the music scene on SoundCloud is not like this open thing. It’s actually very niche. It’s based very much electronic. If you’re a rock band on SoundCloud it’s not going to happen . . . Outside of platforms, to get their music attention, is just to make really original music, that’s where it all starts. Because if you’re music sounds similar to just about everything else out there . . . you’re always going to blend in no matter how creative your marketing or whatever you do.
A conversation with Delwin Campbell and Eric Peana of CAPYAC.
Cooglife (Discussing their set): How did you guys prepare? Did you prepare?
Delwin Campbell: We had one rehearsal on Thursday and we forgot to practice all of the songs.
Eric Peana: There was a butter fiasco in the morning so we had to scramble.
Campbell: We were missing butter for the pancakes.
Peana: The preparation also included our dancers working on the choreo.
Campbell: Day of.
Cooglife: Why pancakes?
Campbell: No reason.
Peana: They’re flat. We’re flat Earthers.
Campbell: I don’t think we need to explain. I think it’s self explanatory.
Peana: Someone got hit in the arm. It was like a ricochet pancake.
Cooglife: Do you guys have a costume closet?
Peana: It’s not a closet per-se. It’s like a swampy shed.
Campbell: It’s a dirty shed like covered in spiders.
Peana: It’s a fluctuating arrangement of items.
Cooglife: Were you guys surprised yesterday by the crowd, the festival, the set, anything like that?
Peana: The stage hand crew. All four of them were tatted like face to toe, which I thought was really nice.
Campbell: Yeah, it was a good touch.
Peana: Yeah, it was cool. Like I felt cool.
Campbell: It felt cool being around those guys.
Peana: I was like “what’s up cool guys” and they were like “what’s up, you need me to move something?” And I was like “yeah move that trunk over there.” And they were like “cool.”
Campbell: And they looked so cool doing it.
Peana: We all looked cool back there. Well I didn’t look cool, but they did.
Cooglife: College came around, it sounded like you guys were playing in co-ops?
Peana: Yeah, we were in a dirty sex-funk band called Vlad and the Village.
Campbell: It was communist themed.
Peana: It was questionably . . . . I don’t know – If you were there you were there.
Cooglife: You guys have been in ATX forever? You guys grew up here, went to high school here correct?
Peana: I was born in Florida and then I moved around and I made my way to the great plains of Texas around the year 2003. Texas is my first love. She’s a big woman. She’s got a lot of sides, but I’ve touched many of them.
Cooglife: Any that you’re wanting to touch that you have yet to touch?
Peana: East. Pine. Pine Forests. Palo Alto? Is that thing?
Campbell: That’s in California.
Peana: Yeah, but I mean, everywhere is in Texas if you’re looking at a map.
Campbell: You can quote us on that. That should be one of the poll quotes. “Everywhere is in Texas if you’re looking at a map.”
Cooglife: Do you guys plan on sticking around Austin?
Peana: The idea of home ownership is weird with like the homeless population. People own trees now. I’m just like “I don’t know what’s going on.”
Cooglife: You guys have a bunch of collaborators . . . How did you meet them? How did you come across them?
Peana: Papa Mongoose was in the sex-funk band with us. And he’s just wonderful jazz-sax player who’s now gone to the dark side.
Campbell: What’s the dark side?
Campbell: It’s sh*tty when you realize you’re the dark side.
Peana: Well don’t you have more power on the dark side?
Campbell: I think you do.
Peana: I mean they always say good prevails but, I don’t know. Stylistically, you know, the dark side is better with the style.
Campbell: Yeah, they are.
Peana: I mean blue? Like really?
Campbell: The Jedi were wearing like hundreds of years old togas and sh*t and…
Peana: They’re like the “Forever XXI” of the Star Wars world.
Campbell: Yeah, exactly, like basic sh*t. Sith was way ahead of their time.
Peana: They’re like . . who are they like? One of those fancy like.
Campbell: I mean Star Wars took place a long time ago in a galaxy far away but the Sith were dressing like todays like fashion icons.
Peana: Yeah, they were forward leading.
Campbell: So we’re just going to go ahead and say “Vader. Fashion Icon. Darth Vader. Fashion Icon.”
Peana: We’re trying to find French singers and Portuguese singers and different languages to.
Campbell: Secret project.
Peana: Yeah, secret project. So if anyone listening knows anyone who can sing well in other languages or if they can’t sing maybe they can tell a cool story
Campbell: Or rap.
Peana: or rap, I mean is rapping singing?
Campbell: I wouldn’t say it’s the opposite of singing but it certainly is different.
Peana: What is the opposite of singing?
Campbell: Not singing?
Peana: Silence? Yeah. There we go. Well I’m glad we worked through that problem together.