Niche upcoming music artists


Lead singer of My Life As Ali Thomas, Pie Kanyapak, performs “Winter’s Love” at Flatstock stage during SXSW. Kanyapak, who is from Thailand, showcases the cultural diversity of the artists at SXSW. photo by Aaron Booe

Aaron Booe and Sophia Blaha

SXSW is traditionally regarded as being the forefront of the live musical capital of the world’s artistic pentacle. It is an opportunity that musical artists, both domestic and foreign, eagerly anticipate the festival. The unique blending of artistic talent is one that truly allows for the festival to present a wide variety of musical taste ranging from polish rock to local indie pop.

Coming from the land down under with soft vocals and dreamy pop music was Australian pop star Denise Le Menice. Her melodic voice spun an enchanting tale with subtle pop influence and overt dreamy tones.

“I think I would define it as more of a dreamy pop with shoe gazing elements,” le Menice said.

Le Menice’s shoegazing style, characterized by an almost indistinguishable blend of vocals and instruments with heavily distorted guitar riffs, draws influence from Dandy Warhols, Madonna, My Bloody Valentine and Kylie Minogue. The young artist is steadily garnering a reputation for herself as she produces more music.

“I’ve only released three singles but my most proud would be Stars which I just released or a song called Heart which are both on streaming programs,” le Menice said.

Le Menice applied to South by Southwest because of the festival’s international acclaim and sees the event as an opportunity to publicize her music. Le Menice played songs from her upcoming album to gain publicity and hopes to come to South by Southwest with her band in 2020.

“I think it gives us a platform to play to people who wouldn’t usually see you, as well as industry people to come see you, like you’re pitching your product by playing here,” le Menice said.

Many artists come from abroad to take advantage of the unique opportunity SXSW offers, including Polish psychedelic rock group, Trupa Trupa. Trupa Trupa attempts to combine many disparate musical styles and genres, based on each members’ preference and style. The group’s lead vocalist, Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, claims that this blending of styles is part of what makes the band unique.

“Every one of us listens to different stuff” Kwiatkowski explained. “Each of us would like to have the biggest impact on the band. It’s a competition, a friendly one, which gives us a problem with identifying with just one genre.”


Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, lead singer of Polish psychedelic rock group, Trupa Trupa, sings on stage at Flatstock on Friday, March 15. The band’s music represents the negative side of humanity in order to fight against it. photo by Sophia Blaha


While the band’s genre changes throughout their songs and is hard to define, their lyrics consistently focus on what Kwiatkowski characterizes as “dark things.”

“We play rather dark things, like the bad parts of human nature. We are not glorifying evil or violence. We sing about the dark stuff because we like to fight with the dark stuff. We show the dark sides to say watch out and analyze the psychology of evil,” Kwiatkowski said.

Another band which brought a unique voice to SXSW this year was Thai musical group, My Life As Ali Thomas. Offering subdued folk music with deep, powerful roots the group managed to quickly set themselves apart from other bands performing at the festival. The group’s heavy folk music conjured an elaborate tale of nature and love captivating the audience. Lead singer Pie Kanyapak Wuttara said the band tries to combine each member’s favorite genre.

“We’re a mix of everything,” Wuttara said, “I’m the only folk, the rest is everything else. We have completely different backgrounds and different tastes, but if it works it works.”

The immense variety which SXSW offers managed to create a wide reaching musical lineup. Together, each artist added to the rich experience of the festival. The immense reach and talent of these artists reveal the various voices that make SXSW one of the many opportunities to experience fresh new sounds.