Road to SXSW: An Interview with Her's
As we begin our journey to Austin for SXSW 2019, we’re highlighting some of the best talent this year’s festival has to offer. We hope you’re ready to hit the road with us!
On our first stop to SXSW, we sat down with Liverpool’s dream pop duo, Her’s, ahead of their sold out show at Songbyrd. Pounding the pavement for the first time since they released not one, but two, debut albums, Her’s can’t wait to share their joyful sounds with U.S. on their tour.
Between Stephen Fitzpatrick’s sweet crooning and Audun Laading’s energetic bass lines, Her’s is sure to be energetic breath of fresh air amidst the SXSW mania. Their two records, “Songs of Her’s” and “Invitation to Her’s” display an array of styles and playful musicality, as the duo experiment together to refine their signature sound. Their live performances are playful, heartwarming and most importantly, ruthlessly fun.
Her’s is not an act to miss during this year’s festival — check out our chat about making new music, growing as a band and SXSW highlights with Stephen and Audun below.
What did you guys get up to in D.C. today?
Stephen Fitzpatrick: We saw Lincoln, the big guy!
SF: We also lurked around the Pentagon parking lot for a little bit.
We are SO excited for your set tonight! Last time I discovered you, it was at SXSW 2017. We were in that room absolutely bugging, because y'all we SO good. I am super excited to see y'all now.
Audun Laading: Oh! That's so good.
When I saw y'all last, you didn't have your first record out yet, and now you have two full-length albums out in the world! I remember coming home and being so sad that I didn't have more to listen to -- How have things changed since I saw you in 2017?
AL: I mean, it's all been a bit of a snowball -- going to SX was a really big deal for us back then, obviously. It was the biggest trip we had done for music, just starting out touring at that point. Being able to tour here and selling out shows is a bit surreal, yeah. It's been rather gradual though, hasn't it?
SF: Yeah, I think we've become gradually road worn since then. I feel like we were touring babies at that point.
If you were touring babies then, what are you now?
SF: I'd say preteens.
Babies to preteens? That's a pretty significant jump!
SF: It's like puberty touring! Musical puberty!
What is going to be different tonight from when we saw you last in 2017?
AL: For one, [our set] is four times as long. We barely can keep it up! Pouring down with sweat for the show, which we did at SX '17, as well, since that was like the hottest time of my life. But yeah, this will be a sweaty cellar situation with everybody in there. We'll try to get the sweat down on stage.
That's how you know it's a good show at Songbyrd, based on how sweaty everyone gets during sold out shows down there.
SF: It makes me feel less sweaty if everybody else is sweaty.
We were watching an interview y'all did right after your first record, "Songs of Her's," and you were talking about how that was like a time capsule of your first time making music together. What was it like producing your first record, and how did that differ the second time, with "Invitation to Her's?"
SF: I think that capsule really capsulated our first record. It was the first 12 months of the band, we had them songs we were smashing for a long time. We approached it from the fact that it was a drum machine that we were using at that time.
AL: And the limitations that came with that, as well. We were really conscious of not wanting to overproduce it the first time around, which we threw out the window for the next release as you hit puberty musically. Sounds you don't expect you don't expect come out, like synths and stuff. I think while the first one was like a time capsule, it wasn't an album in that sense. This new one might be more of an album. Roaring into the future, it will be like a time capsule, I'll say.
SF: The first one was like a playlist that we were just playing at gigs, but now we know what this band is. It was just testing the waters, but we released it.
AL: It's kind of like the modern format as well though, you know? We didn't know what sound we were going for, so it was a bit of a tapas situation with different little tasters. Then, we got a good feel for what worked.
Time capsule or album, I still think the album is full of bops. With the full discography, what's your favorite song to play live?
SF: Right now, we're really into "Mannie's Smile."
AL: It's second on the set list, and we get to ease into it with the first song, and then it kicks off a little bit after that. I quite like playing "She Needs Him" because it's such a simple bass line that I can just enjoy. I'm not there hanging onto my bass for dear life trying to get through.
What's it like making music in a city like Liverpool that has such a famous musical legacy, and what’s the scene like there?
SF: We don't really identify with the overall scene, but we like to think we have our own little collective.
AL: We do have a lot of musician friends around and we've played in each other's bands. Like Brad Stank, Trudy and the Romance and The Orielles. The city itself has become a bit of a party haven, it's very party driven. Being slow ass musician people, you definitely have your own little thing. It seems to attract creative people.
SF: I think a lot of creatives from small towns go to Liverpool.
AL: There's a lot of different universities with a lot of different music courses. It's pretty thriving, low key.
What are we excited about for SXSW this year? Is there a venue you're most excited to play?
SF: First time we went, we saw a show at Cheer Up Charlie's, and ever since we knew we wanted to play there. We managed to get a set there this year, so that's definitely going to be sick.
AL: There's also a party at The Parish we're playing a little bit earlier. We're playing with Paul Cherry, who we're good friends with and can't wait to see.
We love Paul Cherry, wow!
SF: We know Paul, and he is the nicest guy in the world.
AL: He's become like our life mentor -- I need to exude myself the way Paul Cherry exudes himself.
SF: It's insane.
Other than Paul Cherry, who else are y'all excited to see?
AL: We've got our labelmates, Baywaves playing, and they're always a big crew.
SF: Our friends, Trudy and the Romance, can't wait to see them.
It's very overwhelming! So much is built off of FOMO, but there's always so many people to see at any time.
SF: Hustling and bustling!
AL: We've not even attempted to look over the list, but we probably will on the way in.
If Her's was a movie, what would it be?
SF: I'd love to say Blue Velvet...
AL: It's more like a cross between Superbad and Blue Velvet.
SF: Bad Velvet?
AL: Super Velvet? Blue Bad?
SF: That sounds like an awful film!
What about Bad Velvet for the name of your next side project?
AL: The Bad Blues, maybe? Yeah.
SF: The Bad Blues? Nice.
You can catch Her’s SXSW sets at the locations and times below. Don’t miss your chance to see this incredibly talented, endlessly goofy duo in Austin!
Mar 15, 2019 | 2:00pm — 2:40pm
Mar 15, 2019 | 1:00am — 1:40am
Mar 16, 2019 | 12:00am — 12:40am
Interview by Meredith Wohl and Jenny Ryan. Photos by Meredith Wohl.