North Texas Daily

Preview: Denton bands head down south (by Southwest)

Preview: Denton bands head down south (by Southwest)

Preview: Denton bands head down south (by Southwest)
March 08
12:13 2018

With performers and attendees from Germany to Japan, Austin’s annual music, film, comedy and gaming festival has something for everyone, including Denton artists.

Hosted by Discover Denton, seven Denton-based artists will perform as part of the weeklong 2018 SXSW collective. The North Texas Daily caught up with two of the bands featured in Discover Denton’s showcase as they prepare to take the stage in front of a worldwide audience.

Pearl Earl

Arguably one of Denton’s fastest rising local bands, Pearl Earl seems to have been almost inescapable in Denton’s music scene throughout the past couple years. The band has been busy hitting the road from Arkansas to Illinois, a far cry from their days playing for small crowds at now-defunct Denton venues Rubber Gloves and Jagoe House.

However, the band’s success hasn’t clouded its members’ collective musical approach. For Pearl Earl, South by Southwest is all about being surrounded by music and having fun while doing it.

The all-female band is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Ariel Hartley, backing vocalist and bassist Stefanie Lazcano, drummer Bailey Chapman and keyboardist Chelsey Danielle.

North Texas Daily: Is this your first time playing SXSW?

Pearl Earl: We have played South By before, but this is our first time playing an official show. We’ve played unofficial shows before.

What are you most excited for this time?

PE: The first time we played South By, we didn’t know a whole bunch of people. Now every showcase we’re playing [this time], we know several of the other bands, so that’s cool. [SXSW] is just a party — it’s fun. We like that about touring [in general].

How does being introduced to a worldwide audience affect your performance at the Festival? Do you feel more pressure?

PE: It’s so much more fun to meet new people. NEW MEAT! And hopefully we’ll get to surprise new people with certain songs in our set and keep them engaged. It’s fun for us to see their reaction.

What is working in the band’s favor that you’ve been able to book SXSW?

PE: [We think] it’s directly related to the fact that we spend so much time meeting people and genuinely getting to know them. If it’s a band or venue or promoter that we really respect and love, we try to spend as much time getting to know them and be a part of their community if possible. We’re all pretty much social butterflies in our band. We’re all kind of genuinely interested in making connections with people. We definitely don’t have a shy member of the group.

What is one thing you hope Pearl Earl can take away from its time at SXSW?

PE: [Definitely] connecting with people from other countries — the next place we’re trying to get out to is outside of the country. [We think] this time we’re playing a show with a band from Mexico so meeting other international bands is a goal of ours.

What can people expect from the band’s show at SXSW?

PE: We will be playing a couple of new songs that have not been released before, so we’re pretty excited about that.


Comprised entirely of UNT College of Music alumni, TOMKAT hopes to build its resume in the music industry and gain new fans at South by Southwest along the way. After forming in 2015, the indie-electro rock band has since found considerable success in North Texas but are far from strangers to Austin’s music scene.

Though the band has previously played unaffiliated shows at the festival, 2018 officially marks their inaugural appearance through Discover Denton’s Showcase.

TOMKAT’s band members include singer and frontwoman Katrina Cain, synthesizer Trenton Hull, guitarist Andrew McMillan, drummer Jonny Harmon and bassist Mike Luzecky.

North Texas Daily: How did you land your spot on the SXSW lineup?

TOMKAT: We applied to the festival, and that was kind of the first step. We played Oaktopia, and there was actually a promoter for [SXSW] backstage there. He approached us after our set and was like, ‘I really hope you guys applied [for SXSW].’ We think because he liked what he saw during our set at Oaktopia, he was able to put in a good word for us. We’re glad we decided to apply — we weren’t going to [because] we applied so many times in the past. We tend to draw [bigger crowds] in Austin than we do in Dallas, so we recognize that [at shows.]

What does being introduced to a worldwide audience do to affect your performance at the Festival? Do you feel more pressure?

TK: We definitely think there’s more pressure to impress people we could potentially work with, and there’s so many people from so many different aspects of the industry and from all over the world. We aren’t nervous, but we have definitely been nailing down on tiny things about our set, so there’s been a little bit more pressure during rehearsals lately.

What is the one thing you hope TOMKAT can take away from its time at SXSW?

TK: We’re really hoping SXSW can introduce us to a larger, worldwide platform. We definitely hope to see more people listening from all over the world.

What’s your favorite part about traveling for shows? 

TK: The best part is probably strengthening the camaraderie between us — we get a lot closer. Finding time to tour is really difficult [for us] because all of the members of this band are full-time musicians outside of [TOMKAT]. So if we’re like, ‘Hey can we book this [new] show?’ everyone is like, ‘Let me cancel this gig that was supposed to pay my rent,’ so everyone is really putting their all into this band.

So what’s next for TOMKAT after SXSW?

TK: We have a super awesome show coming up soon that we aren’t allowed to announce yet. The last time someone asked us this was right before we were allowed to announce SXSW, so we do have a lot of cool shows coming up. We’ve also been writing a lot. This has been a very creative year for us so far.

Featured Image: Courtesy Discover Denton

Pearl Earl photo: Courtesy Ellie Alonzo

TOMKAT photo: Courtesy Mike Ferreira

About Author

Alec Spicer

Alec Spicer

Alec is the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily.

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