Converse Rubber Tracks Continues Legacy of Artist Support at SXSW 2016

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Summer Salt sport Converse outside of 12th St. Studios; photo by Bryan C. Parker

When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, only the freaks and losers wore Converse, me among them. Now, it seems like every ad targeting an under-25 market features at least one pair of Chuck Taylors. And recent articles suggest that’s not my imagination. Converse has become practically synonymous with cool. Although, it helps that it’s cooler than ever to be a freak and/or loser. But what’s even more amazing is that the company is using some of its powers for good. Each year, leading up to SXSW, Converse Rubber Tracks asks Texas bands to send in their music, and the organization selects a handful of artists to receive a full day of completely free studio time. Just like last year, we had the privilege of talking with one of the bands who participated in Converse Rubber Tracks’ pop up studio program this year at SXSW.

Summer Salt outside of 12th St. Studios; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Summer Salt outside of 12th St. Studios; photo by Bryan C. Parker

If Summer Salt seems lucky for landing a considerable chunk of studio time, maybe it’s just that fate is on their side. After all, the band consists of three besties for life. The group starting playing music as Summer Salt in high school, but after graduation all three went their separate ways. However, time and distance couldn’t prevent Summer Salt from landing back in the same city a little over two years ago, paving the way for a reunion of musicians Matt Terry, Eugene Chung, and Phil Baier. Baier describes the band as “in their comfort zone” and “really natural,” and Chung adds the group has “chemistry together” since they’ve known each other so long.

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Producer Aaron Bastinelli at 12th St. Studios; photo by Bryan C. Parker

Baier explains that Nathan Lankford, of Summer Salt’s label Austin Town Hall, told the band they should apply for Converse Rubber Tracks’ pop-up studio time. Once the band was selected and notified, CRT worked with Summer Salt to plan a day that worked for the band members. Summer Salt is using the time to track a new song and member Matt Terry says the opportunity has confronted the group in a way that forces them to think about new material. Chung says, “I’m really thankful for Converse. Recording time in a big studio like this isn’t cheap.” Baier jokes, “As a not-paid actor for this, Converse is great!”

DFW band Cleanup records at a Converse Rubber Tracks session; photo by Bryan C. Parker

DFW band Cleanup records at a Converse Rubber Tracks session; photo by Bryan C. Parker

This year, Converse Rubber Tracks moved from two separate studio locations on E 4th to the luxurious 12th St. Studios located in a renovated church on E 12th. The program also selected one band to be mentored through their session by Austin indie rock royalty Britt Daniel of Spoon. Six artists in total were granted free studio time. Converse Rubber Tracks continues to be a rare example of a program that truly gives back to the music community. No strings attached. We continue to be impressed with Converse’s commitment to working with talented artists. By bolstering the Converse brand while supporting music, the program offers evidence that companies don’t have to market garishly to make their point.

 

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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