Each passing year at SXSW, the once small, indie-oriented fest seems to increasingly draw big name artists, corporate sponsors and hordes of marketers. While the debate rages on, questioning if big necessarily means bad, there is still plenty of underground music to discover and celebrate.
This year, we are hooked on the raw, retro, garage-rock sound of Nashville-based Majestico. The eccentric artist is playing around Austin this week gearing up to release, When Kingdom Come, a full-length album out later this month on ATO Records (until then you can stream it here).
Produced by Andrija Tokic (who also worked with Alabama Shakes), the album is filled with gritty guitars, psychedelic organs and proto-punk vocals. One minute you feel as if you’re on a Vespa in the ‘60s navigating the Italian coast, another you could be at CBGB in the ‘70s hearing a band open up for the Ramones.
Between shows, Graham Fitzpenn gave us some snapshots of Majestico.
On Majestico’s origins:
“I recorded the first Majestico record, Boundary Conditions, by myself at home with no intention of playing shows. But a lot of my friends liked it, so we started playing. Most of my friends in Nashville play music, so there’ve been many incarnations of the Majestico band. We’ve been in this one for a while and made this record.
On musical inspiration:
“There’s a bunch. Mostly we draw from the ‘60s and ‘70s.”
On creating music:
“To me, creating a song or recording is like there’s a stone wall and you want to see what’s on the other side. So you walk along the wall and pick at it to see where it’s loose. When you find a loose spot, you make a little hole and look through. If you like what you see and you want to see more, you make it bigger. A lot of times I make a little hole and move on; sometimes I make a big hole and those are my songs.”
On the new album:
“We had been playing most of the songs live for a while, so for the most part, I just wanted to document what we had been doing. We wanted to get the excitement of the live show through speakers to the viewer. Really, I just want the record to play full and clear.”
On live shows:
“I would like for people to smile and lose track of the time. I want to make it curious and hopeful.”