Hello Asia editor Johnny Au chats with Indonesian band lightcraft who are embarking on their first visit to SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Hailing from Jakarta, lightcraft have been making music together since 2004 and their atmospheric, anthemic indie rock/dream pop has been featured in the Indonesian and Malaysian editions of high-profile media outlets such as CNN, Rolling Stone, Nylon, Seventeen, and Time Out. The band have graced stages at a number of high-profile festivals including Liverpool Sound City, Canadian Music Week (Toronto), Music Matters (Singapore), and Zandari Festa (Seoul). This will be their first time performing at SXSW.

Tell us a little about lightcraft?

We’re an indie rock/dream pop quartet hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia. We first got together as a band in 2004, when we were still studying at university in Malaysia. We produce sounds that we think are anthemic yet laced with melancholia; songs to hug you and give you a sense of comfort. We love performing and have gigged in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada, the US, and England and made festival appearances at events like Liverpool Sound City, Canadian Music Week, Seoul’s Zandari Festa, and more. Our most recent release is an EP we put out last November called “Another Life.” Please give it a listen when you have the chance. It’s really good!

Why do you want to play at SXSW?

If you’re in a band, SXSW is the place where you definitely want to be. It’s a festival that has broken so many great acts in the past and one where you can expect to meet so many illustrious names from the music industry and see amazing bands from all over the world. It’s a chance for us to share our music with these folks and to a new audience, and it’s an opportunity for us to show what lightcraft and contemporary Indonesian music are all about.

What do you want to get out of SXSW?

We hope that we can put on a good show and put a smile on the face of everyone who comes to see us. We basically just want to spread our music to everybody while we’re there. We also hope to bring home a lot of happy memories, a truckload of new friends, and if we’re really lucky, maybe a record deal, an international booking agent, and a scheduled tour of the US. We tend to never get that lucky though!

What should the audience at SXSW expect from lightcraft?

Expect the unexpected. We’re an unknown quantity coming from a country that has yet to make waves in the global music scene apart from Joey Alexander’s recent meteoric rise. We hope we can blow some people’s minds. Fingers crossed!

Have you planned anything special for your showcase?

We might make some adjustments to our usual gig wardrobe to represent Indonesia. We’ll also be playing a few new songs – some of which we haven’t played elsewhere yet. It could backfire, but we’re pretty confident that they’re good enough to at least elicit a few smiles and nods of approval from the audience.

Are there any bands you want to check out at SXSW?

We were so excited to see Feeder included in the line-up but then their name disappeared from the list. We’re gutted, but still hopeful. Besides Feeder, we hope to be able to catch GoGo Penguin, SOHN, My Education, Hello Nico, Silences, Linying, The fin., Crywolf, and a few others. Oh, and we’ll be sharing a stage with one of our most favourite bands, Satellite Stories, so lucky us!

The famous Texas BBQ – will you be trying it out in Austin?

You bet we will! We’re going to pig out while we’re there, that’s for sure!

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’re hoping to schedule a tour or two after SXSW, and perhaps a few festival slots across the globe and at home as well. We’re also in the midst of preparing material for our third album, which we hope to be able to finish before the end of the year. We plan to release it at the end of 2017 or early in 2018. We’ve been trying out the new songs at shows for a while now, and the response has been generally good, so we’re very excited about the new album. Wish us luck!

lightcraft is showcasing at SXSW on Friday 17th March at Palm Door on Sabine from 9pm to 9:40pm. For more information see SXSW and lightcraft website and Facebook.

Keep your eye out on Hello Asia for our exclusive coverage of SXSW 2017  from Austin, Texas!