“Nothing compares to the juggernaut that is SXSW”…

Sheffield’s The Crookes mix kitchen-sink realism with indie-pop guitars and catchy melodies. The band went to SXSW last year, building an international head of steam and winning fans from America to Japan. Guitarist Alex Saunders talks to M about his experiences…

What was the highlight of your trip to SXSW last year?
Aside from the cuisine – both the Texan barbeque and the Mexican we ate at were wonderful – the highlight of our trip had to be the people we met. To go to distant shores and play to groups of people who were able to sing our songs back at us was a real pleasure and surprise in equal measures.

What did you get out of going to SXSW?
We got an insight into the industry, and it allowed both us and our manager to do a lot of networking. To have access to the kind of high-level industry types all in one place is tremendous for a band who had only known how to play their instruments for a year or so.

What difference did it make to your profile at home and overseas?

Overseas it introduced people to The Crookes, and subsequently formed some interest, with a number of people contacting us and trying to get us back across the Atlantic. Home, the real impact was in the fact we had been over to America, when we had not even been over to mainland Europe. The idea we had travelled such a long way to play our music drew attention to us in the UK.

What support did you receive to get there, and while you were there?
We received fantastic support from the PRS for Music Foundation, which helped fund the trip. Without them it wouldn’t have been possible, and subsequently we wouldn’t have tried to watch Muse’s set from a car park rooftop…

How does SXSW differ from other industry showcases?
Since SXSW we’ve been lucky enough to do a few other industry showcases, and although they were worthwhile, nothing compares to the juggernaut that is SXSW. Just the general atmosphere and excitement alone makes it one of the best industry festivals in the world.

The Crookes debut album Chasing After Ghosts is released on 18 April through Fierce Panda. Visit www.myspace.com/thecrookesmusic to hear the current single Godless Girl.

Watch The Crookes perform Backstreet Lovers at SXSW: