Believe it or not but there are way more lovely and sweet sounding words in the German language than you might think. ‘Wunderbar‘ is such a word and the representatives of German innovation couldn’t have picked a better one to label their presence at this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. And besides all the technological tricks and economic connections one tend to forget that German music itself can also be an exciting export good. And since NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION has always been a dedicated fighter for new talent and is mainly acting from the heart of Germany, Berlin, it made sense to team up with the country’s music funding, Initiative Musik, for this year’s SXSW attendance. And the centre of those events will be the German Haus which will be located at the ‘Barracuda‘ on 7th Street from March 10 to 15 this year.
That German Haus is the main venue for a variety of networking events, concerts, meet-ups, start-up pitches, interactive presentations, and official showcases that brings the Thousands of international delegates in Austin in direct contact with some of Germany’s finest economic forces. There will be artists, companies from the creative industries, and other institutions who present themselves on two stages and the German Lab exhibition. Each day during that week will be focused around special trend topics and are open to all delegates. And yes, German music plays an important part here. Over twenty acts from various musical fields are about to perform at SXSW, covering up the increased variety within the German scene. From gentle folk, to psychedelic krautrock, pumping Berghain-trained techno DJ’s right to bubblegum shootingstar Kim Petras – there’s a lot to discover right here.
To give you little impression of what awaits you at the SXSW 2018 we picked six personal favourites from the German roster that you should take a closer look at… even if you won’t be attending the event in Texas.
Alice Phoebe Lou
You all know and love Alice Phoebe Lou by now, don’t you? Well, if not then we can still highly recommend our extended interview feature with her from a while ago where she explains her stubborn and self-determined approach towards the music industry and her own career. Not much has changed in terms of her DIY attitude despite the fact that she’s constantly increasing her global fanbase. Her latest success? The haunting live version of She made it to the shortlist of Academy Award nominations for best song for a movie. Somehow I’m pretty confident that she’ll get that Oscar nomination one day since nothing seems impossible for this young lady.
Performing March 12 at Barracuda (12:20 p.m) and March 16 at Bungalow.
Cologne-based psychedelic rockers Blackberries feel like theys’re coming from a different time with their looks and musical approach. Still, the krautrocking gang isn’t just in for the retro vibe, they also add something new and quite thrilling to their sound. The music of Blackberries is driven by a restless groove and an undeniable urgency that carries the tracks to unpredictable heights. That’s especially sensible in their energetic live shows that really showcase the group’s love for peformance. I witnessed them at this year’s Eurosonic festival and I can tell you I’ve never seen a more enthusiastic bongo solo.
Performing March 14 at Barracuda (4:30 p.m), March 15 at Bungalow (11 p.m.) and March 16 at Esther’s Follies.
Berlin-based psychedelic rockers Fenster have become a constant force of the city’s underground, regularly popping out at various other projects and collaborations while also constantly pushing the own artistic vision of their group forward. I mean, they even produced their own low budget sci-fi movie and recorded a soundtrack for it. Fenster‘s forthcoming LP The Room will be more traditional as it was recorded at a magical house in the countryside of Tuscany and will be the first time that the band composed every single song together in a room. They remain restless, that much is for sure.
Performing March 12 at Barracuda (8:50 p.m), March 14 at Friends (1.00 a.m.).
The sound of Jaguwar was undeniably inspired by the iconic shoegaze sounds of My Bloody Valentine and Ride. You immediately sense that in their hypnotic approach towards music and structures. However, these guys have a plan and their sound is also very much interested in shaping familiar song structures. If you listen a bit closer to their freshly released new LP Ringthing you get a better understanding of that. Sun-drenched widescreen dream pop awaits the listener and if you want it, Jaguwar could quite easily become the soundtrack of the upcoming summer season.
Performing March 12 at Barracuda (9:30 p.m), March 16 at The Iron Bear (1.00 a.m.).
It looks like a fresh start for artist Valerie Trebeljahr and her band Lali Puna. And that’s easier said than done after performing live sind 1998. Last year’s Two Windows was the band’s first release in almost seven years and also the first one without founding member Markus Acher of iconic German indietronic institution The Notwist. But that clear cut also allowed Trebeljahr to bring new life and confidence into the project. The sound of her latest album is a tender and soulful approach towards electronic pop that isn’t afraid to address political issues as well. Lovers of adventurous synthetic sounds should join Lali Puna 2.0 on this new chapter.
Performing March 11 at Barracuda, March 14 at Highland Lounge (1.00 a.m.) and March 16 at the International Day Stage, Convention Center (02.00 p.m.)
We still got a way too small amount of women in Berlin’s club music scene. That’s the fact but like within many parts of society the circumstances are about to change sooner or later and Annegret Fiedler could play an important part here. The young lady with the Perel moniker just signed a deal with iconic New York label DFA Records and that’s even more impressive when you consider that her debut release there, the haunting and hypnotic Die Dimension, features German vocals. The atmosphere – a spaced-out, techno-like cosmic rave ride – remains the same and the musical foundation of Perel really helps to lift her tunes to a level beyond the simple dancefloor.
Performing March 12 at Barracuda (12.10 a.m.), March 15 at Barcelone (9.00 p.m.)
Over twenty German artists from a variety of musical genres will perform at in and around the German Haus at SXSW 2018, right next to a huge program of other creative companies.
If you want to take a closer look at the full line-up you can find the entire German program right here.
Full information about the entire SXSW 18 festival can be found right here.