GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW With The Strange Familiar And Crocodiles

Backstage with the Strange Familiar and Crocodiles at the conference's 26th annual installment
  • Photo: Chris Owyoung
    The Strange Familiar
  • Photo: David Wolff-Patrick/Getty Images
    Crocodiles' Brandon Welchez
April 05, 2012 -- 2:13 pm PDT

The Recording Academy Texas Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At South by Southwest during the conference's 26th annual installment from March 9–18 in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists participating during the music portion of the conference, including indie rock duo Crocodiles and indie pop/rock band the Strange Familiar.

The Strange Familiar discussed their forthcoming new album, Chasing Shadows, the inspiration behind their song "Echoes," musical influences, and social media, among other topics.  

"Social media is so important for bands nowadays," said the Strange Familiar guitarist Jeff Andrea. "I probably spend as much time playing guitar as I do on Facebook … it really helps us connect to our fans. The instant feedback [is] really great."

Hailing from Akron, Ohio, the Strange Familiar originated as the songwriting project of husband/wife duo Andrea and Kira Leyden (piano/vocals). One of the duo's first musical breaks came in 2006 when their song "Invisible" was covered by Ashlee Simpson and reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Andrea and Leyden subsequently moved to Los Angeles where they met fellow Ohio natives Frank Freeman (bass) and Nicholas Sainato (drums), and began performing locally as the Strange Familiar. In 2008 the group released their first EP, You Can't Go Back, featuring the song "Courage Is…," which landed placement in the TV show "The Secret Life Of The American Teenager." The group followed up with This Is Gravity in 2009. Set for release on April 10, Chasing Shadows is a "lyrical declaration of renewed hope," according to the band's website. The Strange Familiar are set to embark on their first national tour in support of Chasing Shadows later this year

Crocodiles discussed musical influences, favorite GRAMMY moments, attending South by Southwest, and advice for aspiring artists, among other topics.

"Don't be a coward," said Crocodiles vocalist Brandon Welchez. "Everyone's gonna laugh at you and everyone's going to tell you that you're a fake or you're a failure. And you're gonna be poor and it's gonna be an uphill battle for years and years and years and years and years, and there's no guarantee that anything good is gonna come of it. … So just try and enjoy yourself and be brave."

Formed in 2008 in San Diego, Crocodiles is an indie pop/rock duo comprised of childhood friends Charles Rowell (guitar) and Welchez. After performing together under several different monikers, including the Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower, the duo formed Crocodiles and released the single "Neon Jesus" in 2008. The following year they released their debut album, Summer Of Hate, featuring nine tracks that draw on neo-psychedelia influences. In 2010 the duo released their sophomore set, Sleep Forever, which was produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, the Klaxons, Peaches). Their forthcoming album, Endless Flowers, is set for release later this year.

Come back to tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At SXSW.

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