SXSW Preview: Keegan DeWitt

Keegan DeWitt, a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and film composer, will play The Billy Reid and K-Swiss SXSW Shinding (presented by American Songwriter) on March 16 at the Swan Dive in Austin. Click here to RSVP to the event.

A lot of labels get tossed around when trying to describe your music. How would you describe it?

If there is anything that all of us in the band share, it’s a huge love for music. We are all constantly digging. Everything from old soul, watusi, french house, new wave, brand new releases… We all are big listeners before anything else. We’re constantly sucking up new music. That being said, when we sit down we try and create something as new and unique and modern to our own identities as possible.

For this upcoming record, we are doing a lot of “scrapbook” writing, where we compile pieces and pieces and pieces and slowly puzzle them back together. This helps to really make the stuff as dynamic as possible.

That being said… we’d like to think we are for fans of Phoenix, The XX, Fleetwood Mac, Cut Copy.

What are you most looking forward to about SXSW? What will you do down there when you’re not playing?

It’s always especially busy for me because I have to do both weeks. I have two films (No Matter What and Remigration) premiering during film week, and then three to four shows during the music week. The best part for me honestly is listening to other acts. We lucked out this year and most of our music commitments are one one day, so we can spend the rest of the weekend soaking up as much music as possible. I try and pick four to five mid-level bands that I’ve read a ton about, and only heard a little of. Those ones are fun to see because if you’re disappointed, it’s not a big deal, and if they are incredible, you’ve discovered something special. Also helps to avoid the crowds.

Lastly, eating amazing food, biking around (Austin is an incredible bike city) and hitting up the natural springs outside of town.

How did your SXSW experience go last year? How will you top it?

Last year was great for me in that Cold Weather was on of the marquee narrative premiers, so film week was wild for me. Lots of big crowds and amazing people. A highlight would be catching The XX (my personal favorite) and Warpaint. This year, our group has doubled (Madi Diaz, Tallest Trees, The Bridges) and that’s not counting the friends we’ve recruited to just ride along and add to the fun.

If you could jam with anyone at SXSW, who would it be and why?

That’s tough. I might say James Blake right now… although I bet a lot of the band would say The Strokes I’m sure. James Blake is doing something really really interesting in my mind. That being said, I’m also a big Twin Shadow fan and would love to share a bill, let alone a “jam” with them.

Why should people pick up your latest ep, Nothing Shows?

Is there a tasteful answer for this one? Lets try… Both on “Nothing Shows” and the new “Two Hearts / Reluctance” 7″, we’ve started to expand how we approach constructing songs in general. Throughout we’re trying to draw from as diverse and inspired palate as possible, whether it be using kalimbas/hand claps/ukeleles (Say La La) or recreating a classic Disney ballad with a full string section (Michel Bizot). The 7″ signals a stronger move into using the band as a collective force in the delivery and that’s especially exciting. This is where we have been headed for a while and really starts to give some idea as to what it’ll be like to see us live over the next 6 months.

If you could write a song with the words South By Southwest in it, how would it go?

It’d probably have something to do with a dance move that involved streaking your hand from “high up top, reaching for the sky, then all the way down to your opposite toe” in some sort of swooshing fashion. Boom. “South By Southwest.” Cash that check.