The South by Southwest Music Festival (SXSW) has announced an initial list of the Showcasing Artists invited to perform at the 2019 event. Each year, the Austin based festival hosts a curated mix of up-and-coming and legendary artists from around the globe to perform in intimate clubs as well as renowned music venues.
Here are the Asian artists to look out for from the first round of artists they’ve announced so far.
Dwagie is a Taiwanese rapper, best known for using Taiwanese in his performances. His lyrics are often focused on social issues and animal rights, and he’s collaborated with greats like Nas and the Dalai Lama. Dwagie is In March 2004, the Asian issue of TIME magazine described him as a writer of “pro-Taiwan rap” and the “poster boy of the DPP’s southern youth vote campaign” during the 2004 Taiwan presidential election.
The fur. is a four-piece band from Taiwan consisting of Savanna (vocal), Zero (guitar), Ren (bass) and Wen (electronic) and came up with the name for their band because they wanted to make “fluffy and comfy music”. Their debut album, Town, combines dream pop with indie pop, and the lyrics are all in English!
This Korean avant-garde rock band are known for combining rock instruments with traditional Korean folk music instruments. Their debut album won Best Crossover album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards and they performed at the Closing Ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Say Sue Me
Hailing from Busan, Korea, Say Sue Me writes songs mainly about indecision, loneliness and drinking the bar dry. They’re a surf-inspired indie rock quartet and are influenced by Quentin Tarantino soundtracks and the fact that Busan is a coastal city. In fact, you’ll most likely to find them hanging out at the beach eating snacks. They also performed at this year’s SXSW festival.
Big Phony, also known as Bobby Choy, is a singer-songwriter born and raised in New York City but lives in Seoul, South Korea. He got his name from J.D Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”. In an interview, he’s said, “For people that give my music a chance I want them to see that although my music at times may seem dark or depressing, the overall message I’m really promoting is hope”.
Drinking Boys and Girls Choir
With a name like Drinking Boys and Girls Choir, it might be hard to believe they’re a skate punk rock band – but that’s exactly what they are! The three-piece band’s debut album, Keep Drinking!!, keep things moving with every song so you’re not going to get bored and their music will no doubt brighten your day.
Formed in 2009, Otoboke Beaver’s fun yet frenetic sound is combined with some raucous live performances. Their songs heavily feature love and relationships as a regular theme, sometimes based on the vocalist (and main lyricist) Accorinrin’s experiences. Pitchfork magazine has described them as “feminist punks”, with their track “Love Is Short” said to be sheer calamity and deliriously fun.
DYGL are a indie rock band founded in 2012 from Tokyo, Japan. Also known as DayGlo, the band performs in English as some members have studied overseas. Three of the members of DYGL are also part of another indie rock band, Ykiki Beat. Their music influences include English bands like Splashh, Childhood and The Smiths.
STEREOGIRL started playing since 2014 and love their punk and alternative sounds. Their influences are Pavement, Joy Division and The Stone Roses to name a few. They’ve recently released a mini album which has been going strong and won an audition to play at Summer Sonic in Japan.
JP the Wavy
JP the Wavy is an up-and-comer from Tokyo, Japan. His rap is influenced by cult Harlem rapper Max B’s philosophy of waviness (hence the name). Last year, he released a not-so-apologetic banger called “Cho Wavy De Gomennne”, which translates into English as “Sorry, I’m super wavy”. He’s said Japan’s hop-hop scene still has a lot of room for growth and hopes it will penetrate the mainstream.
Tokyo electro-pop band, yahyel, consists of Shun Ikegai (vocals), Miru Shinoda (sampler & chorus), Kazuya Oi (drums), Kento Yamada (VJ), and Wataru Sugimoto (synthesizer & chorus). The members have said, in an interview, they oppose the stereotypes of Japanese people/culture as kawaii so their music reiterates their struggles as Asian males imposed by the western world by making their sound more western.
eX-Girl are a psychedelic, space rock, jazz fusion, noise rock trio with jagged three-part harmonies. Mike Patton from alternative band Faith No More has called them a ‘beautiful example of information overload’. Founded in 1997, over the years the group has seen many changes to their lineup but, right now, the group consists of Kirilola, Keikos and Yoko. They claim to hail from the planet Kero Kero.
Also known as ChaCha, YEHAIYAHAN has become one of China’s most prolific, dynamic, and magnetic independent musicians. She’s collaborated with world-renowned underground names like Clive Chin, Kode9 and Jimi Tenor.
Faded Ghost is actually YEHAIYAHAN’s alter ego with the sound distinct from YEHAIYAHAN’s usual discography. As Faded Ghost, YEHAIYAHAN creates collages of sounds using field recordings as well as self-taught production techniques using various analog and digital hardware, blending together her many influences and ideas into abstract compositions that don’t stick to any sort of genre.
David Boring are a band whose name came from a cult graphic novel series from the 2000s and are powered by the political tensions of Hong Kong since 2014. Their music showcases different angles- from total nihilism to active anger. The five-member band doesn’t fit into the most of Hong Kong’s music scene but they’re ok with that.
Started by Adrienne Mack-David and feleciacrauz, New Fame’s blend of reggae, hip-hop, trap, freestyle rapping and soul is unique in Ho Chi Minh City. The idea behind the group name is that you are recognised by others as an indiviudal who stands in their own lane unafraid to differ from societal expectations. Their music hopes to help ease each other from the gross mutation of ego by being a bit more humble to our own imperfections because that is the true human experience.
Are you excited for SXSW 2019? Next year’s SXSW will be held in Austin, Texas from Monday, March 11 to Sunday, March 17. You can read more about other artists attending the festival here.