Austin is the live music capital of the world and it’s also the capital of the best state in the Union. Yes, I said it. Texas is the best state in the Union. Now before you hang me out to dry, actually experience Texas. I love the big, blue open skies and the wild flowers that come every spring, the intense summers and the endless night skies filled with stars.
What draws me to this state is more than just those descriptions of nature. You can see them in a brochure but it loses some of its charm in the glossy pages of a magazine. You’d have to find a way to make it down here and see it for yourself. Better yet come in March when SXSW happens.
I got to experience SXSW firsthand. The reason I say it this way is because it’s an event for all the senses in my case. I have a condition, or rather a gift according to all the artists I’ve interviewed over the course of 5 days. I have synesthesia but more specifically I have chromethesia and auditory tactile synesthesia. The first of the two is where I see sound as a color and the second is where I feel sound on my skin.
So for me music festivals are something out of this world. Before you bring on accusations of drug use or anything of the like, this is how I was born and let the record show I am straightedge. In fact I thought everyone experienced music the way I do and often asked questions like “what color is this song to you?”
Imagine walking down 6th street and feeling the sensation of being tugged in one direction by the melodies of some band playing from the collection of Coloradoans or seeing colors come out from the rooftop of HandleBar.
I can’t go on explaining exactly how sound looks or feels because it’s difficult. I can go as close as possible and use my skills to best describe seeing music or feeling it. That’s just it, I’m describing a sensation. I was told once, you could read every book about swimming and the techniques but until you actually get into the pool and get wet you’ll never know.
I was able to interview at least 10 different bands and artists over my time there. Each one passionate about the art of music about creating something that has never been heard before. SXSW is a collection of bands from over 60 different countries all here for the purpose of sharing a part of them to make it a part of you.
On the corner of Red River and 8th in front of the world famous Stubb’s Barbecue was a Ray-bans booth. They’re launching their new Instagram/ twitter campaign #campaign4change and they were printing unique shirts where people could put different slogans or confessions. I decided to I should put my confession: I see music… sober. It sparked a couple questions and the people that printed it kept repeating it because it rolled off the tongue easily. I said it, I got it off my chest and admitted it like I am now.
Someone asked me at the SpinParty at Stubb’s what it was like to actually feel music; she had said some people say when they hear music it makes the hair on their neck/arms stand up. Conveniently at that moment the band started playing and it was so loud the sound waves overtook us. I told her it was something similar to that only this particular song was pink like day old cut tulips and it felt like falling onto a squishy bed. I could tell she tried to understand but it’s hard to get something you’ve never felt before.
SXSW is a must visit for music, movie, and interactive lovers of course but my reasoning is different. It’s an experience of more than just new music and crowds of fans.
Bands I definitely recommend to check out are as follows:
The Screaming Females:
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