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Thumbnail & Header photo by Mia Mala McDonald
In a quaint Starbucks on 4th street, as teenage girls performed a synchronized dance outside the window, Totally Mild’s Liz, Zac, Lehmann, and Dylan enjoyed a few minutes in the air conditioning and caught us up on their Austin experience.
How’s your SXSW week been so far?
Liz: It’s been busy and fun. We’re staying in a house with another band from Melbourne, so we’ve just been cutely bonding with them in a not cute way.
This is your second time at SXSW. How does being around the music scene in Austin this week compare culturally to being around the music scene in Melbourne?
Liz: It’s hard to gauge when you go somewhere and a festival’s on, because you’re getting this very strange version of the city. But from what I can tell from the DIY shows we’ve been to, there’s a similar sense of community happening, which is definitely our vibe. That’s the kind of community that we’ve come up through, so it feels very similar.
Zac: It feels a bit more like home. As much fun as it is just playing any shows, the rat race of the industry side of things here can be a little overwhelming at time. It’s nice to see that there’s kind of burbling undergorund.
What are some of your favorite places you’ve been in Austin?
Liz: Last year we went to this barbecue place called Ruby’s, but Zac said it’s been shut down.
Zac: I heard the news today. Oh boy, it was bad news.
Lehmann: Last year I stumbled across Graffiti Park accidentally. I followed the funkiness and kind of found myself there. It was like a dream world, like if the 80s was inside an apocalyptic dream world. I think I liked it.
Liz: You raved about it.
Lehmann: Because I was trying to impress everyone about my adventures.
Zac: I jumped the fence at Barton Springs a couple nights ago. It was about 5 o’clock in the morning, and there were people swimming laps in the freezing cold water and pitch black. It was kind of surreal. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was invading their space, because they were having a sacred kind of ritual. But then I realized they had to break in to be there, as well. My friend was just perched on the diving board watching the swimmers go by his face.
Liz: I would be too scared to do that.
Zac: Sorry to the good people at Barton Springs. But eight dollars is a little much.
Has there been a band you’ve seen or a music discovery moment?
Liz: They’re like a surf rock band from Japan.
Zac: We’re here with our friends from Melbourne, RVG. We’ve been really trying to bring our country to this country.
Liz: Which is a distinctly Melbourne thing to do. I do it every time I leave. I’m like, ‘Oh! A band from Melbourne’s playing? That’s who I’ll go and see.’ But, undeniably, bands from Melbourne are good.
Is there anything you want to say about your music that interviewers never ask you about?
Zac: Well, we’re pretty strung out. Like, I don’t know if you know how little sleep we’ve had. But it’s like…fucking zero. But let me tell you a little story about when Liz and me met Lehmann on MySpace.
Liz: We always talk about that in interviews! It’s boring, and old. Dylan wasn’t even born when MySpace existed.
Zac: I think we should close it out with the ‘strung out comment.’
Liz: Close out? You don’t want to open a tab?
Zac: Well sure we could open a tab. Maybe we could be pen pals.
Liz: Yeah, I never get letters. I had a penpal in America when I was in Grade 3. I’m really bad at correspondence, and I never replied to them. They shared heaps of intimate detail about their life. And I just read it, and I didn’t reply.