Interview: Luke from I Know Leopard talks heading to SXSW for the first time

Ahead of their appearance at our first ever SXSW night showcase, we caught up with Luke from Sydney’s I Know Leopard. This will be the band’s first trip to Austin for the iconic music festival and conference, so we thought we’d sit down with the band and get the low down on their expectations, anticipations and thoughts ahead of their showcases.

Who are you, what is your act and how would you best describe your act to someone who has never heard or seen you before?

We are I Know Leopard. We’re a pop group from Sydney. Some would say we’re all about 70’s glam or soft rock. We like to think we endeavour to take the best bits from those moments in time and find a place for them to exist in the modern world.

Will this be your first time playing SXSW?


What are your anticipations for your first ever SXSW?

We anticipate meeting a lot of interesting people and see some of the most exotic musical acts we’ve ever seen before. We also anticipate a party time or two.

What advice have people given you leading into the event?

Expect nothing and accept everything.

What have been the highlights of the last 12 months? (Tell us a little bit about what’s been happening in the year prior… paint us a picture of what’s led to you to play SXSW 2019….)

Most of 2018 was spent with our bums up and heads down, working feverishly on finishing our album. After three years worth of writing and demoing, we finally decided we’d found the right songs so recorded the damn thing for real. The result is a culmination of some of the most intense years of our lives musically and emotionally and we’re pretty proud of it.

We released the first single, “Landmine”, at the end of last year and it seemed to prick up a few ears both domestically and overseas so we applied for SXSW. Miraculously we got in. So here we are. It has definitely always been a dream of ours to travel far away from home together and show people what we do.

What are your plans for the year ahead, post SXSW?

A week after we return, our album – Love is a Landmine – will drop. Then we will embark on our biggest Australian tour to date in May and June.

What do you hope to get out of SXSW 2019?

Mainly a really fun time. A celebration of the culture of music making and performing. But, I suppose it would also be nice to make some friends with some folks who might be able to help us get our butts back overseas as soon as possible.

There are thousands of performances at SXSW – what makes your act unique amongst the pack? OR Tell us why we should come see you at SXSW?

We like a good on stage outfit that’s for sure. A couple of sparkles here and there never go astray. Our music can be a little weird too. It’s very pop but perhaps not in ways you would expect amidst the current climate.

And of those thousands of other performances, are there any that you’d recommend we all catch (other than your own of course).

We will definitely be heading straight out to see Deerhunter perform when we get in on the Tuesday. They have been one of our favourite, most inspiring acts of the last decade really. The new album is wonderful too so can’t wait to hear those majestic songs live.

Of the Australian acts heading over, you should definitely check out Denise Le Menice. She just writes melodically perfect songs. Just beaming with talent, she is.

We’ll feature one song of yours in the article. Please choose the song you’d like us to feature and tell us a little bit about it. 

Our new single out right now is called “Heather!” I wanted to write a classic ‘tormented in love’ song. There are songs from the 70’s and 80’s with this kind of theme which I was drawing upon and although it isn’t based on a specific personal experience I think a lot of people can relate to a relationship or even brief encounter in which they have felt chewed up and spat out. Lyrically the song has an exasperated feeling to it so I wanted the vocal performance and the production to reflect this. Heather is also the moment on the record that allowed us to spread the sass on thick.

What other shows are you playing at SXSW? Plug them all here!

Tuesday March 12th
Balcony TV | The Catherine Luxury High Rise Apartments, 19th Floor Rooftop Sky Lounge, 214 Barton Springs Rd

Friday March 15th
1300-1340pm | International Day Stage, Convention Centre | Event Information

Saturday March 16th
2300-2340pm | Las Perlas, 405 E 7th Street | Event Information

I Know Leopard will be appearing at the AU review & Hello Asia!‘s official showcase at Australia House (Lucille, 77 Rainey St) on 14th March as part of SXSW 2019. Details about that event are HERE.

SXSW 2019 runs from March 8th to March 17th in Austin, Texas.

You can find I Know Leopard on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also find their Official Site HERE.

Header Image: Lisa Businovski

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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