Adelaide’s The Coconut Kids reflect on their first SXSW, look ahead to BlenheimFest and more

Adelaide outfit The Coconut Kids recently made their American debut at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas. I sat down with Julian and Ash from the group while in Austin to talk about what took them to the iconic event, the experiences they’ve had over there and what’s coming next for the emerging ensemble.

We’re sitting here just off Sixth Street, at South by Southwest 2017 with the Coconut Kids all the way from Adelaide. I don’t think there are two cities which are further apart then Adelaide and Austin, but they are apparently sister cities so take with that what you will.

Julian: They are. No, look Austin is hectic at this time of year. Its been so much fun but we’re exhausted.

Ash: It can’t be that far away, because we just played a gig and there was one person in the audience from Adelaide and it turned out that me and Miranda went to the same high school as him, so …

It’s a small world.

Ash: A small world, but sister cities, it’s cool.

Speaker 3: And how have the shows gone? How have you found this cluster fuck of a festival.

Julian: Well it’s funny, it’s quite a stale environment showcases. And we were a bit nervous because we’re very much a live band and we feed off the audience a lot. So we’re quite fresh and new and we love when the audience get into what we’re doing. So we’ve been really lucky. So the first showcase we did up on the eighteenth floor of the Hilton Garden. There was a band playing after us that had quite a big local following so they brought a lot of people. So it was great for us and people really got into it. And people in Austin too, who had been listening to Spotify and had come along to see us which was kind of a bit humbling.

Ash: Yeah really humbling.

Julian: Yeah, so we just did a showcase at B.D. Riley’s, and it was great. Its been sort of unexpectedly fun.

Ash: Yeah, there’s been really supportive and positive vibes from everyone, we’ve had some great feedback which has been excellent. And the view from up on the eighteenth floor of the Hilton Garden Inn was unreal, you could see so far all the way across Austin. And so that was just, to be able to play in such a beautiful venue is exciting, so yeah.

So what was the catalyst to bring you to South by Southwest? What kind of made you make the decision to go, “Okay I mean we haven’t done big sound yet, but we’re going to do SXSW.” Its quite a leap and a jump to this side of the pond.

Ash: It is. We applied thinking that we’re definitely not going to get in, but you know we may as well throw our hat in the ring. And when we found out that we got in we were like, “No, no we didn’t! What are you talking about?” It was very exciting for us, but it’s such a cool opportunity that …

Julian: Yeah, because our music’s definitely, I think our music is sort of even more well received outside of Australia. Because we mix French and English, and it’s just kind of jangly, roller king, folky, poppy, bluesy bizarre genre. I think it’s a little bit niche. So I think in Australia our market is relatively small compared to the US and I think Europe, which is something we’re going to try to get into, so we’ll see what we can do in Europe and Canada as well. So I think for us too it’s a bit of a way to test out our stuff outside of Australia to see how it goes. Because Australia is quite small and we’re already new to the whole scene of music too. We’re fresh, and so you know lets just go straight to the top.

Let’s just skip, let’s just skip the line, skip the queue. Queues being something we know a lot of being at South by. So there’s a lot going on for you guys at the moment though, there’s a new single that’s come out. What can you tell me about what’s going on for you guys musically at the moment.

Julian: We’ve got another single we’re dropping in April after South by once Ash has finished her travels in Cuba. Because we’ve made this a bit of a holiday too.

You had some other shows didn’t you? You played in Huston?

Julian: Yeah we did, we played in Houston. We played twice in Houston which was actually really fun. It was really fun. We had a local guy, Andrew, so if any bands every do parts in Houston get in touch with Andrew from the Australian Chamber of Commerce. And we just had this great Aussie ex-pat reception it was really fun. And we went to the rodeo there too which …

Ash: It was unbelievable! Everything was just so off tap. And like just completely over the top in all the best ways possible. So it was great. And that was essentially showcasing Australian artists that are coming to South by so that people from Houston like, “Come over to Austin come support these guys.” And we’re really thankful to be so well received in Houston.

Julian: Yeah, so because we spent so much money coming over here, originally we planned yo record a large EP or a small album. But now we’ve gone to South by, we’ve had to dip into the pockets a bit deeper than we’ve thought. So we drop a single in April and we’re playing a few festivals in April through July.

What can you tell us about those events?

Julian: Well if you’re in south Australia we’re playing Blenheim Festival which should be really really fun. If you’re way up in the north of Queensland near Mackay we’re going to play Winter Moon at the very end of April. And probably another one to look out for is probably Winter Bello festival in Bellingen. It should be really fun as well.

Those would be the three main ones to look after or look out for. And then we’re sort of hoping we’ll have a bit of a break over the winter period. And we’ve got so many ideas and so many tunes, but we’ve been so busy. We’ve sort of gone from Ash and myself playing ukulele together and then in the space of 13 months, festivals nationally and SXSW so it’s all gone a little bit too quickly. So we kind of want to sit back and just stop being on the go for at least a few months or so and then write some stuff and get back to it.

Ash: We’ve got a huge backlog of half finished songs and so it’d be great to just have some creative space to be able to finish them off and bring back a whole new set for when we hopefully do some more festivals toward the end of the year.

Julian: And its Europe, we’re going to do a bit of a European tour in 2018 that’s the plan, so the European summer is sort of our mecca.

And maybe The Great Escape which is one of the equivalents over there.

Julian: Yeah, that would be awesome. We’ll see what it brings, we’ll see what it brings.

The Coconut Kids will appear at BlenheimFest in South Australia, happening on the 13th and 14th of April. For tickets and more details head HERE. To find out where else the band are appearing, and to get your hands on some of their music, visit their official website.


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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