Indie’s Where It’s At in Austin

LiLi Xiong and Katie Busby

For one week, SXSW takes over Austin’s music scene with an endless number of live concerts showcasing bands from around the world. Of course, there are many genres of music featured, but one genre they have a lot of is smaller indie bands who come to play and gain recognition at the big festival. Indie started as more of a word to describe how music was produced, but today has branched out to describe a genre of music that encompasses many styles. 

The SXSW music festival hosts bands from various parts of the world, including various indie bands. Among them is an indie dream pop band called ViVii who came from Sweden to play the show. The band’s members are Emil and Caroline Jonsson and Anders Eckborn. Caroline Jonsson said they were going to play three shows in total, and this was their first time at the festival. 

“This is our first time here and we love it so we want to come back very soon,” Jonsson said. “We missed playing in person so much, it’s been crazy and this is like a dream come true. We’re so happy and it’s been really amazing.” 

Flipturn, a five-piece indie rock band, originated in Florida. The lead singer, Dillon Basse, said they greatly enjoy playing in Austin and SXSW was fun to play for them. 

“This was our first time at SXSW, and even though we were only there for a day, it 100% lived up to its reputation,” Basse said. “We definitely fit the stereotype of an artist at SXSW, rolling amp cases through crowded streets rushing from one show to the next.”

SXSW is a very unique experience, according to Flipturn’s lead guitarist Tristan Duncan. He also said they were very happy to be playing live again. 

“It’s certainly different from any other festival we’ve played,” Duncan said. “At this point, we honestly haven’t played too many of the bigger festivals to provide an accurate take on it, but the whole thing being in downtown Austin with a thousand other bands, and even more industry and concertgoers, is definitely not like the others. The closest I’d say is Treefort in Boise, Idaho—it being spread around a downtown area totally reminded me of SXSW. In regards to the speed of things, other festivals are definitely very fast around the clock, but SXSW was probably the quickest in-and-out succession of shows I’ve been a part of, and it was so fun.”

Both Flipturn and ViVii categorize themselves as indie artists along with their own individual genres. According to ViVii members, they have a bigger following in Europe, but they have toured in the United States before. 

“It’s difficult to describe our music, but people have described it as like indie dream pop, and I think that that is kind of accurate and it sums it up,” Jonsson said. “We love to feel something, and it’s just like dreaming.”

According to Basse, Flipturn’s music style is cinematic indie rock because they draw strong influences from movie soundtracks. They define themselves as indie, but believe that the term is complicated. 

“There’s definitely an overlap of the ‘indie’ genre and the ‘indie’ approach to the music industry,” Duncan said. “We grew up hearing the horror stories of bands under record labels, so we naturally felt inclined to our share of skepticism. In turn, we’ve been slowly building a team of like-minded individuals who share our passion, and frankly have given us so many incredible opportunities with our best interests in mind. It feels as if we are all supporting each other’s aspirations with the platform of the band.”