South By Southwest is full of new groups looking to gain some momentum in Austin. But the stakes are even higher for a band doing their inaugural live shows under the SXSW microscope. Which is exactly what K.I.D.S. are doing. While some acts fade back into the ether after their week at the festival, this electro-pop duo is looking to be one of the buzz bands of the year. The UK-meets-Sweden project has taken ’80s pop to the dark side, and that’s pretty much our sweet spot, so we had to chat with them.
In between a slew of gigs, Charles and Rosanna sat down with us to talk about how it felt to play their very first live set, what crazy things they’ve been up to in this notably weird city (like, say, nightswimming) and their favorite free SXSW swag.
How’s SXSW for you two?
Rosanna: Not too bad. We’ve been surviving.
Have you been able to see any shows?
Rosanna: Yes, we just sort of settled in. And we performed for the first time [on March 13] at SXSW ever, together as a band. So that was quite an experience, and we got to see Icona Pop. We’ve just had a lot of tacos and chilled.
How many shows are you playing at SXSW this year?
Charles: Five in total.
So how’s that schedule been? Have you been running from one venue to the next?
Rosanna: I think we have quite a good schedule.
Charles: It’s been fast walking, not quite running.
Are there any bands you’re hoping to see while you’re here?
We’ve heard a lot of rumors about some big bands coming down. So it would be cool to see Prince or something – but HAIM maybe.
So far have you had any weird experiences while moving through Austin?
Charles: I ended up in a pretty weird college campus last night in west Austin or something. So it was quite far away. We went swimming in the pool at like two in the morning.
Rosanna: No you didn’t! I didn’t even know this.
Charles: Yeah. It was a lot of whiskey, and there was a band from London playing in one of the areas. It was pretty weird but pretty great.
So let’s talk about the first show together as a band. How was that experience?
Rosanna; Actually it went rather smoothly. It’s just about wanting to do it again and wanting to refine everything. I think it went well. I want to do it again now. So I’m looking forward to doing more shows.
How are your sleeping patterns so far?
Rosanna: Not very well. I’m sort of living on excitement for the moment. So I wake up in the middle of the night with just too much energy.
Charles: In a way it’s good because I don’t really get to bed till four-ish but woke up quite naturally at 10. So you know, even though I didn’t get much sleep., I’m OK. But I will need to have breakfast at some point. I feel good though.
Austin is known for its great food. Have you guys tried any of the city’s fare?
Rosanna: I feel like that’s the only thing we’ve been eating – lots of tacos and lots of meats and pulled pork and stuff.
Charles: I’ve always liked Lambert’s. So I insisted that we go to Lambert’s on the night we arrived, and they do a really good three-cheese mac and cheese.
With all the sponsorships and brands here at SXSW, what’s the most creative thing you’ve seen so far?
Charles: The big Doritos stage is quite something. I’ve never seen anything like that before. And so far, our freebies have been conventional and pretty pleasant. But we’re open to things we could use for the house at home. So if there are any cooking brands who want throw a spatula in a bag, we’d greatly appreciate it.
Rosanna: We did get a stereo yesterday, Charles.
Charles: Yes, I saw it, but did anyone actually make it work?
Rosanna: I’m not sure, but it’s in my room. Don’t worry I’ll give it back to you.
Charles: So we’ve potentially got a small stereo system that may or may not work.
How has the SXSW audience reacted to your shows?
Rosanna: I just feel like SXSW is such a good vibe so people are very open to new artists and new music in general. I just feel like everyone was really welcoming when you get onstage so you feel very relaxed. Everyone’s here because they love music and have that in common. There’s no bad vibes involved.
Any interesting fan experiences yet? Anyone profess their love for you?
Rosanna: Charles is waiting for the American dream woman to show up.
Charles: Yes, exactly.
And what is this dream woman supposed to be like?
Charles: I think I’ll know when I see her.
So what is up next for K.I.D.S. after SXSW?
Rosanna: I think we’re just really stoked to be here. We’ve been writing our album for the past year, and we’ve been working really hard, the two of us, in the studio and rehearsal room. It’s so nice to share what we’ve done with people. When we get back, we’re going to finish the album, and hopefully it’ll see the light very soon.