Northside at McCarren: Get To Know Your Openers 

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This year, the Northside Festival partnered with Converse Rubber Tracks to select some of the openers for our two biggest shows—The Walkmen on Saturday, the 15th, and Solange on Sunday, the 16th—both of them taking place at McCarren Park. We spoke to three of the chosen bands about Brooklyn, about music festivals in general, and about their parents.


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My Midnight Heart


Performing in support of Solange, at 4pm

What are the best and worst things about being an artist in Brooklyn?
You’re standing in the middle of this giant collision between culture, fashion, and music. There’s inspiration everywhere; there’s constant motion and progression. The hardest part of that is being good enough to stand out in a city where there’s literally everything--and a lot of it is really, really good. You have to be true to your art, but at the same time you need to have your hands in everything--writing and arranging music, music production, shooting videos, designing artwork, stage design for live shows, all the administrative work like booking shows, organizing rehearsals, staying current with social media--the list really goes on and on, and you can’t just be good; you have to be great at all of it. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it. Living in Brooklyn makes you a better artist. It’s a reward in itself.

How do you describe your music to your parents or other older relatives?
I don’t. It’s pointless. My father is still convinced I want, and am going, to be the next Alicia Keys, which is something I’m completely disinterested in. And my mom is still waiting for me to do something with my college degree and enter the “real job” world. I don’t actively seek their approval, but it would be amazing to have them come to a really big show (like this one) and think “Aha! This is why she’s doing this. This is what it’s about!” I wouldn’t mind that.

How did you get involved with Converse Rubber Tracks?
I got involved with Converse Rubber Tracks last August. We had just formed as an official band, and I wanted to record what we were coming up with in rehearsals. I applied online to record, got accepted, and the next month we came in and recorded five songs in one day. It was amazing.

What other events at Northside 2013 are you most excited for?
I’m definitely excited to see the first day of the Converse Rubber Tracks Live. It’ll be pretty rad to see The Walkmen, Phosphorescent, Friend Roulette, and Abadabad. Also pretty pumped to see Kendra Morris. I just got into her music and fell in love.

What’s your most noteworthy experience at a music festival, either as a performer or as part of the crowd?
I think regardless of which side of the stage you’re on, the energy at music festivals completely changes your perspective. There’s so much talent in such a concentrated area. As a member of the crowd you deeply appreciate that, and as a band you sense that appreciation so tangibly. Every music festival I’ve played at, that crazy amount of energy has really taken my performances to this higher level. I can’t wait to feel that again June 16.


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Friend Roulette


Performing in support of The Walkmen, at 4:45pm

What are the best and worst things about being an artist in Brooklyn?
The best thing is the energy from all the great people around us doing amazing projects. The worst is that everyone and their dog has a band. And paying rent. And not being able to have a dog. But I shouldn’t complain… we’re very lucky to live here.

How do you describe your music to your parents or other older relatives?
Just like I explain it to other humanoids. Sometimes I compare it to Magical Mystery Tour-era of the Beatles but with two drummers and my buddy Julia’s lovely voice.

How did you get involved with Converse Rubber Tracks?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I remember applying about a year before we got called to do the recording session, but also remember my computer dying before I submitted the application.

What other events at Northside 2013 are you most excited for?
Drinking at the Jameson sponsored bar! [Laughs] But also, after the Walkmen show, we’re DJ-ing the Heineken-sponsored after-party, which will be hilarious because none of us are real DJs and we like to play things like Baja Marimba Band and Dire Straits slowed down. We’re also playing another show that night on the outdoor stage at Brooklyn Fire Proof.

What’s your most noteworthy experience at a music festival?
We’ve played a few festivals like Savannah Stopover and SXSW, and I always have a great time hanging with friends in bands. SXSW was like a big sleepover with Heliotropes & Celestial Shore at my mom’s house in Austin, but honestly I think our most noteworthy experience will be June 15 at Northside.

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ABADABAD


Performing in support of The Walkmen, at 4pm

How do you describe your music to your parents or other older relatives?
My parents are always supportive of ABADABAD, and I feel like our sound isn’t that far away from the bands they grew up listening to. A lot of bands that I love were ones that they raised me on and that definitely translates into my inspirations when it comes to writing.

How did you get involved with Converse Rubber Tracks?
I had visited the studio as it was being built and was eager to apply once they got it up and running. Converse is such an iconic brand and we were more than happy to come to New York to create music in their own space.

What other events at Northside 2013 are you most excited for?
I’m probably the most excited for the bands that are playing immediately after us at McCarren Park. We had the pleasure of playing with The Walkmen in Boston, and they are such an amazing band and bring incredible energy to the stage. Friend Roulette just released an unbelievable debut LP and Phosphorescent is a band I’ve always wanted to see live but have never gotten the chance. We’re in good company.

What’s your most noteworthy experience at a music festival?
ABADABAD played CMJ in 2011 and I feel like that really tested the integrity of the band. Each place we played was drastically different and we didn’t have anywhere to stay, but our ability to roll with the situation and adapt ourselves was a turning point for us.


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