Crystal Fighters – what SXSW did for us

Crystal Fighters create electronica from traditional Basque instruments, guitars and synthesizers. The East London-based band formed in 2007, released some tracks and remixes through Parisian label Kitsune, and visited SXSW for the first time in 2010. The band’s Graham and Gilbert share their experiences with M…

What was the highlight of your trip to SXSW last year?
There were many awesome moments at SXSW for us last year, but the first show we played for Hype Machine at Vice Bar was definitely a highlight. Also, seeing so many bands in such a small time, from big names like Tom Morello to complete unknowns, is definitely something unique at SXSW. We actually put together a small video from our time there (see below).

What did you get out of going to SXSW?
Besides the obvious points like meeting people, exposure and hearing tons of new bands, it was really great just to be able to participate in an event that we had heard so much about. We now know what SXSW is all about.

What difference did it make to your profile at home and overseas?
I think it ended up helping us more in Europe than in America, only because we had already established a fanbase over there. We got a few bookings from the shows and started conversing with a few labels that were not necessarily interested in our album beforehand. I think it served as a great introduction to our band for a lot of people. It gave people the chance to see us perform in an intimate environment and see what we are really all about.

What support did you receive to get there, and while you were there?
We received funding from the PRS for Music Foundation, which pretty much allowed us to make it there in the first place. When we got there we were helped by the British Council in meeting people and getting those dreaded voltage converters. We also got to meet other UK-based bands through the British Council, and have made some good friends of it since.

How does SXSW differ from other industry showcases?

We have yet to experience another industry festival that seems to have an endless number of venues for bands. You are literally surrounded by new music, whether you want to be or not, which we found to be exhilarating to say the least. Also the atmosphere is also pretty relaxed and open. I think the mix of industry and music fans makes it very unique.

Crystal Fighters’ debut album Star of Love was released in October 2010 via the band’s own label Zirkulo.

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