The 2014 SXSW festival came to a close on Sunday (March 16), and while it was another successful week, it’s changed drastically over time. In recent years, indie artists have complained that the annual music, film and interactive festival has put more of a focus on established artists and corporate interests, rather than up-and-comers as it did in the past.
One artist that agrees is rising Detroit rapper Danny Brown. He spoke with Complex while in Austin, explaining how SXSW has changed over time.
“The best thing for me was, I remember coming out here years, years, years ago, before it was like all the major label guys and all the guys were coming out here,” Danny said. “It was pretty much an up-and-coming artists — it was really more so about bands at that time, it wasn’t even that much rap going on. In those days, it was just more about you got put up on something. More so than now when people coming here, they just going to see the Kanye show or they going to see — now you don’t really get put up on nothing. It kind of lost a little something with that. My thing is, when I come out here, I try to go see all the people that I don’t know.”
Brown also offered his least favorite part of the Austin festival, citing the traffic and remembered himself as a relatively unknown rapper performing up to nine shows a day.
“Worst thing, just the traffic,” he said. “Before I could walk around all day, just kicking it, hanging out. Now I can’t even stop at a taco truck right, but it’s cool. Especially like I was saying, back in those days, remember all those bands and stuff, had to carry they amps down the street. Stuff like that, going to show after show carrying your equipment. I been there too, I mean I’m not carrying guitars and stuff, but at one point in time, we came here just carrying our deejay set around from show to show and I probably had like nine shows in one day. It’s pretty much like no parking, if you do rent a car, you park probably two miles from where you gotta play at. You had to walk a lot. That’s the worst thing I would say, the traffic and the walking. Other than that it’s cool. You gotta find the people with the bikes though, that’s what I use. I use the little bike transport, we can get it like that.”
Also during this year’s festivals, Brown showed up with a new, green hair-do, which he explained was a tradition of trying new things around the time of his birthday. “Yeah man. I was just trying to make a change, it’s my birthday this weekend, turning 33,” he said. “I always try to do something new when my birthday come around. So, I’m the Grinch right now, saving hip-hop though.”