Fun Fun Fun Fest Spotlight: Interview with The Tontons

SXSW_2013_Day_1-11We really adore The Tontons. The Houston quartet creates vocally centered indie pop that feels a bit like The Cardigans with more edge and a lot more soul. At the forefront of the group is Asli Omar, whose dynamic onstage presence and enthusiasm make the group a delight to see live. We hosted the group during one of our SXSW day parties last year and can’t wait to check out the group’s performance in a much larger setting at Fun Fun Fun Fest in two short weeks. The group corresponded with us via email to answer a few short questions preceding their upcoming appearance at the festival. They play the Orange stage on Friday at 1:05 PM and support Kurt Vile for a Nites show at Mohawk on Thursday evening. Stream their new single at the end of this Q and A.

Pop Press International: In the last year, the band has played both tiny club shows and huge festivals with big headliners. Does it change anything about your performance?

The Tontons: It’s definitely a different vibe playing the bigger shows, but we approach the same as any other show. 

PPI: What has been the most exciting show you’ve played in recent memory?

TT: Hometown shows are usually the most wild.  We have had some crazy shows on tour, but the Houston shows usually are the most exciting. I think the last show we played in Houston was in July and the energy was so crazy.  We brought The Couch in from Austin and Ishi in from Dallas to play with us at Fitzgerald’s.  Both bands cranked the audience up to fever pitch.  Good times.

PPI: What was the best part of making your forthcoming full-length?

TT: Its hard to pin point one part of making this record that was the best.  There was a whole range of emotions making this record.  Being in Austin while recording was cool.  We worked with producer Dave Boyle at his east side recording studio.  A place called Church House Studio.  Its a renovated church.  Lots of new albums being recorded there:  Black Joe Lewis, Okkervil River, Iron & Wine.  

For most of our sessions, we literally lived in the studio.  Its has a couple of apartments.  New studio, new city, new producer.  It definitely made the experience different.

PPI: You’ve been on the road a lot lately. Which city was your favorite to visit? And if you could consider one city a sort of home away from home, which city would that be?

TT: We were recently in Philly and had an amazing time. We met some of the best people there.  New Orleans is probably our home away from.  Its one of favorite cities and we have some of our best friends there. 

PPI: We think the lineup for Fun Fun Fun Fest this year is completely killer, Tontons included. Who are you stoked to see at the festival?

TT: Thanks!  Ready to see Slayer, MIA, Mac Demarco, Television, Johnny Marr……

PPI: What happens next?

TT: We’ve got a few shows left to finish up before our year ends.  Our record is tentatively scheduled for release in Spring 2014, so we’ll likely be back at SXSW this year.  There will be a bunch of touring and we are making a bunch of videos right now. We are kinda of just rolling with it and having fun. 

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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