Culture, Events — March 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm

SXSW scours for more Asian acts


For a while, Japanese acts have been a key Asian flavour at South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, TX. More recently, however, SXSW has been scouring other parts of Asia for talent.

SXSW began its operations with a humble music conference at the Austin Convention Centre in Austin, Texas in 1987 with 700 registrants. The 2012 edition took place on March 9-18 and featured Music, Interactive & Film components, 10 days of talks & showcases and around 50,000 registrants.

The goal of SXSW has always been clear: to bring different creative groups and associated companies from all over the world to share ideas in one place, and hopefully spark a revolutionary progress. And progress it did – SXSW now has offices in Ireland, Germany, Australia and Japan which help bring serious SXSW registrants to Austin. And as for the musicians, it’s at SXSW where the future of their careers is decided.

This year featured a slew of Chinese bands, as well as acts from Korea (Yellow Monsters, 3rd Line Butterfly, Crying Nut, Galaxy Express), Taiwan (The White Eyes), Philippines (Taken by Cars), and Singapore (Inch Chua).

The SXSW China Showcase, though boringly titled, was anything but. Deadly Cradle Death (Beijing) opened the show, which was held at a Bar 512, located on Austin’s main nightlife strip. Their explosive, avant-garde electronica set was sometimes accessorized with drawly vocals. It was then followed by Nova Heart (Beijing), who, as most would have recognized, is fronted by the renowned Helen Feng, voted 11thcoolest rock star by Timeout Beijing. Her signature hypnotic delivery of witty lyrics over programmed electro beats got the band a warm response from the crowd of both Asians and Westerners. Fellow acts Rustic (Beijing), Dick Fight Goose (Shanghai), Snapline (Beijing) and Carsick Cars (Beijing) completed the showcase.

Singapore, on the other hand, was represented by none other than Inch Chua, who first played at SXSW in 2010. Apart from her own showcase, this year, she toured with a fellow female singer songwriter Ainjel Emme. Inch’s showcase at Beale Street Tavern, also on the main strip, was expectedly emotive, slick and moved the crowd.

With more and more quality Asian acts being invited to showcase at SXSW, one seems to wonder if the age of Asian music is about to dawn.


With reports from Audrey Pereira.