Written and photo by Nathaniel Torres
Broadening the scope internationally I spoke with Bad Pony, a five-piece from Down Under. Bad Pony has now traveled to North America twice and is the recipients of Australian Music Week’s prize of 2017. The band is the result of Jarred and Sam’s need to break out of their previous band’s bluesy genre. Searching for their own sound, they poached a few other front men from different bands, divided the percussion responsibilities, and now showcase their individual talents as Bad Pony. They brilliantly stitch together an array of genre sounds and tempos within their music, dropping bass and transitioning to a bluesy upbeat one song and then exposing their Aussie roots and relating it to a funky soulful chorus the next. I had the privilege to speak with the entire band which along with Jarred on vocals/percussion and Sam playing guitar/percussion also include Mark on bass, Cron on guitar and Isaac on synths/percussion. This was the band’s first SXSW appearance.
Had you heard or known about SXSW before coming out?
Mark: Of course!
Jarred: It’s been a dream of mine just to come and see music here. When I was growing up I used to see bands who were quite low-level, then they’d come here and they’d blow up. It seems like a whole world of promise and potential.
Sam: The idea of SXSW in my head is I get to see all these bands that I’ve dreamt about seeing for so long and then walk into a random pub and stumble upon something brilliant I’ve never heard before.
How was your travel out here?
Isaac: We flew into LA. That was killer.
Mark: It’s about 24 hours, in transit, to get from home to Austin so that was two days of our lives spent super excited and anxious.
Jarred: If we could have come straight here that would have been amazing. LAX is like my idea of hell. It’s my least favorite place in the world.
What are your feelings on the atmosphere? Were you well received?
Isaac: The crowds here are just so welcoming. Just really, really up for a good time.
Jarred: Everyone has been so nice to us and looked after us. Even the accommodation we stayed at, the dude gave us a great deal.
Sam: He just wanted Australian beer.
Jarred: He gave us three extra units in his house for a six pack of beer!
Badges are quite expensive and the word is that artists don’t really make a profit. What are your feelings on this?
Isaac: We are just artists man. We just play. We don’t know the business side of it.
Jarred: We’re happy to be here – we didn’t have to pay a $1,000, so we’re happy.
Sam: I did.
Jarred: No, we did. We did.
Mark: Much more actually.
Does the festival open doors? What are the benefits of getting out here?
Sam: We had people see us two days ago who were just walk-ins and that’s one of the biggest benefits. They have no idea that you’re about to play and catch your set. Then, 15-minutes later they’re organizing an interview with you.
What were some other things you got into while you were here?
Sam: Everyone I worked with was like, ‘Man you’re going to Texas. It’s all about the barbecue sauce and the meat. And it was absolutely about the barbecue sauce and the meat. It was everything I hoped it would be and I fell in love
Will you be doing SXSW again or coming back our way sometime soon?
Isaac: In a heartbeat.
Jarred: No brainer.
Isaac: As soon as possible.
Sam: All it takes is an email.
Bad Pony, who easily spent the most time and money (out of the bands interviewed) to get out here, expressed extreme gratitude for the opportunity not just to play but to see other bands performing. They were recently picked up by Arow Agency and say they never take too much time off from touring stating that they easily become bored when not on the road. The band is high spirited on and off stage expressing there’s nothing better than getting to tour around the world with their best mates. Bad Pony’s music can be found on Spotify but make sure to check out the acoustic videos on YouTube made during their stay here in Austin. For a more in-depth interview including Mark’s SXSW reaction story and Isaac’s PSA keep a lookout for the full video interview.