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We took a few minutes on the Friday of SXSW to grab a beer (actually, an Austin Eastciders) with Alyse of Pronoun. We chatted about her history with the festival, starting a record label, and standing on longboards.
What’s your history and experience with SXSW?
I came last year and I played. The year before that I came with my day job, The Orchard. A lot of artist we work with come down here. I came like eight years ago with my dad, so for my dad he was like, ‘You’re coming to South By with me!’ Which was great, but I was 22, so I just wanted to see all my friends play. I always have such a good time. You get to see live music in the nice weather.
Any fond South By memories of years past?
It’s mostly just seeing people you haven’t seen in a while. The Orchard has a mixer that I always have a fun time at. I had a really great time eight years ago. There were a lot of bands that I can’t remember the names of, but it was my first time and I was like, ‘Woah there’s so much music out there!’ I came from Boston and I went to a music school, but I’d never seen that many bands in one place.
How have your showcases been going this week?
It feels like boot camp. I started a record label a little over a year ago and so I brought two of those artists down with me. If you can survive that and kill it, you’ll be able to do it anywhere. Last night was my label’s first official showcase, and we joined up with the label that I’m on, Rhyme and Reason Records. I’m super uncomfortable on stage because I’m not great at playing instruments.
Why did you start a record label?
It was a little over a year ago and I’d just started recording as pronoun; we’d just put the EP out. I’m always thinking about the future. It’s like, what’s next? I never even thought I’d be making music and playing shows, and now it’s like what’s the next step? Why don’t you start building something that when you’re 60 you can still have? You can grow with it and help break new bands, which is what I really love doing. I started it for Charles Fauna. Found it on Spotify, he happened to live in Brooklyn also, we met up for a drink, and he’s now my best friend. He was going to put out a new single, and I felt like it could really easily get lost with everything being released, so I wanted to help.
What inspires the music that you write?
Pretty much my ex, I guess at this point. After that break up, my whole life changed very quickly. Music is what made me feel better. I’d never done it before, so it felt so cool. Like, ‘I just made a song! This didn’t exist an hour ago!’ I have a new album coming out later this year with a lot of songs that I wrote at the same time, and it kind of feels like the angrier side of it. The EP was more the hopeful and hopeless side. The new album is more of the anger and the aftermath of that. And now I’m working on another album that’s like the third tier, like ‘Oh I hate her, but I also hate me.’ In the aftermath of that break up it was like, I’m over it, but when I look in the mirror I see all of the issues I still have with me. Like I was so focused on that distraction before.
Which artists have you been most excited to see this week?
I keep saying it and it’s so lame, but I really am obsessed with all the artists on my label. Like when Spotify did my year end ‘Top Artists,’ it was all my artists. So Cape Francis and Charles Fauna are here. I want to catch Soccer Mommy and Shamir if I can. There’s a lot of bouncing around.
Have you been skateboarding a lot this week?
I just stand on it. I don’t know any tricks. I just use it to get places.
Is this considered a longboard or a skateboard?
I think it’s called a Cruiser. It’s got a skateboard deck but longboard wheels on it. You can’t do tricks on it, it’s just to travel. Longboards have bigger wheels so you can go over bumps easily. On a regular skateboard you’re lower to the ground so you can do tricks and things. I’m making this up, I have no idea.