Casual Sex on Playing SXSW, Their Texas Expectations, and Their Debut Album
Playing Under the Radar’s SXSW Party Today at 3:15 PM
Scottish post-punk quartet Casual Sex will play the first of Under the Radar's three SXSW 2014 parties today (Wednesday, March 12th) at 3:15 PM. Guitarist and lead vocalist Sam Smith took some time to answer a few questions for us ahead of the event.
The four members of Casual Sex met through the The Green Door Studio in Glasgow, where Smith has worked as an engineer for the past five years. (Prior to that, Smith was the lead vocalist and guitarist for Mother and the Addicts.) Their first single, "Stroh 80," is now available, along with their debut The Bastard Beat EP.
Can't catch Casual Sex on Wednesday at the first of Under the Radar's three day parties? (Or just planning ahead for an encore performance?) The band will also be playing the AIM/British Embassy Party at 3:15 PM on Thursday, and at 10 PM on Friday at the Creative Scotland Showcase.
Austin Trunick (Under the Radar): Your single, "Stroh 80," is named after a brand of rum, huh?
Sam Smith: Mm-hmm.
I've never tried it myself, but I can see it's quite strong stuff. Is the song title a loving tribute to that liquor, or maybe something less so?
No, it's about me getting caught having an affair. [Laughs] I took refuge at my parents' and I brought some of that back from skiing, and it was incredibly strong. I had a nip of that to kind of calm my nerves, as it were, also to drown my sorrows. It's 80-percent proof rum. It just became the title of the song. It was more from the rum being used to ease the experience. It's stuff that kind of makes your whole body flush.
The flipside of that single-"Soft School"-is about your father's experiences teaching school in the '70s?
I've kind of used that jokingly. My dad used to be a teacher, and I remember he was more kind of at the left wing of teaching at the time. The actual song itself is more about a learning experience through adult trial and tribulation.
You have an EP and a single out so far. How far off on the horizon might an album be?
We're aiming for completion in April. I did really want to get it finished in March, but with touring it wasn't possible to have the studio time. But I really want it done by April. That's my personal deadline.
Are you going to be showing off any of these new songs at SXSW?
Well, I think for the moment we're kind of new to people's minds in America. We've got songs from The Bastard Beat we've not played there, so all those tracks will be played. But as for new songs from the album? A lot of them are brand new and have just been tracked, so I think we're going to play out the established catalog of work first before we start playing the new ones. I think that'll be safer for the next few months.
What are you looking forward to most about visiting the city of Austin?
For me, personally, I love visiting America, I find it an interesting place. I've been through Texas but Austin's a city I've never been to. I really do enjoy visiting new cities and I'm really looking forward to getting some of that proper, Texan culture. It's funny, I've been to New York a lot, but it's really when you get to the South that you really feel you're in a different country. I'm also looking forward to eating some ribs.
Casual Sex play at 3:15 PM today (Wednesday, March 12), at Under the Radar's SXSW day party (the first of three this year), which goes down at the Flamingo Cantina from 12-6 PM. Click here for the full lineup and details for each day.
Check out the next print issue of Under the Radar for a more detailed article on Casual Sex.