By Staff; Photo by Anton Corbijn on October 11, 2013
For this special Culture Collide issue of the Guide, we asked some of the artists playing our festival to share some of their American tales with us.
Making the trek from Eastern Europe, Latvia's Prata Vetra talk about friendly SXSW rendevous, a shiny pair of under garments, and American fast food.
What was your first experience onstage in front of an American audience like? Was it comparable to playing at home?
We played SXSW in Austin two years ago and it felt like we’d returned some 20 years ago to Latvia when we had our first gigs in Riga’s pubs or clubs. A tiny place and around 30 people in the audience, mostly our friends. But it was OK, we enjoyed our performance. The other show was in Chicago around five years ago and it was for a Latvian audience, so it actually felt like playing at home.
What are some things you bought in America on tour here? Have you ever bought anything here that you can’t buy at home?
I can’t remember anything particular, some clothes and shoes probably. Some percussions. Oh, yes! We bought a golden underpants in Chicago for our drummer Kaspars, as he had a birthday. I haven’t seen him wearing them, but who knows, maybe returning to USA will remind him about this beautiful gift.
When you were in America, did you find anything that surprised you pleasantly?
Our previous trip to LA was great as it was the first time we drove with a car into the desert. And we saw the Grand Canyon and Death Valley and Las Vegas. Really impressive—the mighty mountains and ocean during the night. But then again, New York, Chicago and Dallas—everywhere, you feel this “something” that you can’t experience at home.
What American stereotypes did you find to be true or false?
Driving from Austin to Dallas, at all the places we stopped we found really unhealthy food—mostly fast food, chips. I didn’t notice everybody smiling as they say, but when I did see it, I found it very attractive and sincere.
What bands from America do you like most? Were you able to see many American bands in the States while you were here?
The Killers are one of my favorite bands! And The Raconteurs. We haven’t seen a lot, no. But we did see many artists and bands which participated every Tuesday night in Club Helsinki Hudson’s free microphone party in beautiful Hudson, New York, some 200 kilometers from NYC, as we were recording our latest album Another Still Life there at our friends Steve’s house.
What are you looking forward to most about Culture Collide?
We definitely will be there when our friends Instrumenti from Latvia and Mumiy Troll from Russia will perform. Otherwise, I will just let myself flow and see where it takes me.
Make sure to catch Prata Vetra in the Taix Front Room at the 4:00pm Latvia Happy Hour on Thursday October 10th, Lot 1 Cafe at 7:00pm Friday October 11th, and the World Stage at 4:40pm Saturday October 12th.