SXSW 2017


IMG_5211It has officially been one week since I returned from Austin, Texas where South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival ran which through March 14 – 18. So, what the heck did I learn?

When you hear so much about a conference such as SXSW before your first trip, you start to wonder: How much of all the hype is true? Is this going to be worth my time? Is this worth my time? Why in the world do thousands of people around the world keep showing up after 30 years? What should I expect to get out of it? What questions am I not asking?

In 2016, according to SXSW, over 72,000 individuals registered for the 10 day event in Austin. If you include all the people who came for the unaffiliated sideshows and free events, they estimate that about 150,000 attended. That’s a really big number! I’m not even sure what the final count was for 2017 but I’m willing to bet it was close to that number and I was only there for the music parts.

Still, I wondered why do so many people show up? And I was determined to find out.

As KSSU Manager, I had the opportunity to attend SXSW to represent KSSU’s diversity and inclusiveness, I took this opportunity to navigate through Austin for a total of 4 days to understand these questions and learn as much as possible.

Here are some key observations that I want to remember and share from this experience.

Something to be said about meeting random people

Unlike other conferences that attract a selective audience from a particular industry; SXSW attracts everyone from technology, retail, film, music to art and they all come with different motivations.

This is a rare opportunity to see your entire world of networks clashing and connecting. It’s one thing to see mutual friends on Facebook or to introduce someone over email. It’s another to see how they all relate, interact and connect in person. I made a good amount of friends and the all came in ways I never thought was possible based off a general interest.

Austin has this laid-back atmosphere, it was hard for me not think of this as a vacation. But with so many opportunities to connect, it was hard to remember this wasn’t also work. I actually learned, worked and played with amazing people from all around the country and even from around the world. I can see why so many continue to go back and see this as a way to reunite and reconnect with friends and colleagues.

My favorite realization was when I realized that SXSW was the best way to meet bands, artists and professionals alike and find out who they were behind the scenes.

Yes, we tend to know more about certain individuals but when you meet in person; it’s just a great to add a face to the name during an age where we communicate so much digitally. I had great conversations backstage with Benjamin Booker, Judd Apatow during the last minutes of the Avett Brothers closing set at the Moody Theater, has word with Noname on my first day at the festival and finally was given some life lessons by Bardo Martinez of Chicano Batman. Overall, I think I accomplished quite a bit while standing on my feet for odd hours on end.

Best venue lineup?

I won’t say I didn’t enjoy following the Avett Brothers from the beautiful Paramount Theater (a documentary about them was being screened) to the Moody Theater where they hand down played the best show all week. After all, the Moody Theatre is famous for taking over recording duties from PBS Austin City Limits, original Studio 6A on UT’s campus. Moody Theater does not have one bad seat in the house, it is built up to create a 2,750-capacity theatre. The state-of-the-art venue attracts some 100 touring shows a year but for me the award had to go to Banger’s.

This year’s lineup represented a wide range of genres with rock, pop, hip-hop, electro-pop and indie, with artists from a dozen countries. Performances began approximately 2 p.m. each day and continued throughout the evening, allowing attendees to enjoy more than two dozen acts in an intimate venue, along with Banger’s famous homemade sausages, beverages and a relaxed outdoor setting. StudHub Live: Sound Stage was hosted at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. Banger’s had a very dynamic lineup of emerging and established talent includes Sleigh Bells, Hamilton Leithauser, Wild Belle, BANKS, Electric Guest, D.R.A.M., Talib Kweli and Benjamin Booker. I was able to catch the last three acts and they were phenomenal. Everyone was jammed packed Talib Kweli put on a hell of a show, Benjamin Booker continued his music take of social injustice in America and D.R.A.M. closed my Friday night and SXSW experience with a fun and almost innocent show that is his form of hip hop.

I want to thank ASI but especially KSSU for allowing me to do this. Here is to the rest of the year and hopefully more jam packed fun from your one and only Sac State Student Run Radio, KSSU.com

DJ Mappquest’s SXSW Playlist


sxsw-2014-logo_600x300March 11th through March 15, 2014 was the annual gathering of creative minds and hipsters alike – the music portion of SXSW.  Unfortunately, I won’t have time for a few days to give my full write up on everything I experienced or heard, but for the moment, enjoy the playlist of my week.  A few songs are from artists that were nowhere near SXSW, but most are from artists I saw this week. [Read more…]

DJ Mappquest’s SXSW 2014 Preview


South by Southwest 2014 LogoSXSW. Some people love it, while the rest never heard of it.

What is it?
South by Southwest, known in abbreviated text form as SXSW, is the Mecca of movie and music – a festival of almost all festivals. Very few festivals reach the pinnacle that SXSW reaches. Being that I work for a radio station, and an all-around music lover, I am by far more interested in the music side of the festival than the film. The official music portion of SXSW lasts almost a week! [Read more…]

Album Review – Capital Cities’ “In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery”


Album Review – Capital Cities’ “In A Tidal Wave of Mystery”
By: Josue “Josh” Alvarez Mapp (a.k.a. DJ Mappquest)

In February of 2013, I had no idea who or what Capital Cities was. I’m sure I saw their self-titled EP sitting on the hot shelf of KSSU. But I glazed over it on to other things. In late March, however, I would, coincidentally, see Capital Cities perform live at SXSW. Now don’t get it twisted, I did not go to Empire Automotive to see Capital Cities, nor did I go for Dead Sara who followed Capital Cities, but I went early since I couldn’t get in to a few other venues before I ended up seeing Wallpaper. close the lineup at Empire Automotive. Their performance at SXSW got me hooked. I would later play quite a few tracks off their Capital Cities EP during March and April. My issue was, five songs wasn’t enough.

On June 4th, 2013, Capital Cities will release “In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery” – their debut album. “In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery” features their five tracks from the Capital Cities EP plus seven fresh tracks for you to enjoy. [Read more…]

Interview with Neil Fallon of Clutch – Nerdom, Beer, and Children’s Books


Neil Fallon is the vocalist, lyrical genius/madman of Clutch, and a personal musical hero of mine. While the genre of Fallon’s band is up for debate, the passion of Clutch’s fans is not, cementing the band as a “cult band.”

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Before Clutch’s performance with Orange Goblin, Lionize and Scorpion Child at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, I had the honor of sitting down with Neil to discuss his love of Star Wars, beer, lyrical complexity and much more.

[Read more…]

Is Blogging the Curator of Hip Hop?


In attending SXSW ’13, I was able to do many things, including listening to two panels.  One of those two panels was questioning whether blogging is the curator of hip hop today.  People asked questions to the panel which included Nick Huff from Hard Knock TV, Elliott Wilson, CEO of Rap Radar, B Dot from Rap Radar, Ashley Outrageous from Ashleyoutrageous.com, and Steve Raze from AllHipHop.com.

When we ask, is blogging the curator of hip hop, you have to keep in mind a few things.  For example, this panel was assembled to discuss a topic that doesnt get much respect or attention.  In mainstream thought, people dont say that thanks to AllHipHop.com or Ashleyoutrageous.com that Macklemore is getting big or that Wale and Wiz Khalifa got big. (Obviously blogs were not the 100% reason they did get famous but blogs were significant factors for their success, or so the panelists claim.  I’m not the expert on their rise to fame, the bloggers are).  You also must remember how hip hop is curated currently or previously?  The most consistent curator for hip hop has been the radio stations.  As they panelists asserted, radio stations would get records/tracks long before they were available for purchase by the general public.  Thus they held the chips on reviewing artists and their songs, and promoting (or not promoting) said songs/albums. [Read more…]

SXSW with DJ Mappquest


What is SXSW? It is a film, interactive, and musical festival held annually in Austin, Texas – the music capital.

What do you do there? Too much to say. But to name a few, attend lectures, sessions, seminars to learn a few new things, attend panels to hear what the experts in the field have to say, see exhibition halls filled with tons of businesses and artists and what they have to provide, make and/or watch film/products, and, what I did primarily, go to showcases and concerts for MANY artists. You can also network with like-minded individuals and other professionals, make new friends, and much more. [Read more…]