peel back a layer of these artists and show who they really are,” Boukadakis says. “No glitz or glamour, no producers or managers. We allow the bands to come in and, for that hour, be who they set out to be.” This approach has turned On-Airstreaming into not only a trusted filter for indie music lovers, but also a destination for artists. “That inner glimpse fans are getting touches a core with a lot of bands out there,” says Sam Shah, OAS’ partner and artist relations liaison. “We’ve had bands say after a session, ‘why didn’t we record the song that way?’” Shah joined the team in December 2010 and was instrumental in helping OAS book twenty-five different groups last SXSW. Artists need good, high-quality exposure to separate themselves, says Hager. “Whenever you’re interested in a new band and search for them online, you’re always stuck with the person holding up an iPhone in a basement in New York. Our goal is to be the opposite of that.” This year for SXSW, On-Airstreaming will set up on the grounds of the Hotel St. Cecilia, where a couple dozen carefully selected upand-comers will record high-quality sessions. Music, film and technology — isn’t that what this city is about?
Backstage with the Uh Her Huh and Matt Nathanson.
Transistor Six The evocative dreaminess of amateur point-and-shoot photography, with its lens flares, washed-out hues and inviting ease, has enjoyed a popular resurgence lately. If the Hipstamatic and Instagram apps for the iPhone are any indication, the vintage look reminds us of the impermanent physicality of objects no longer present in today’s age of infinitely reproducible art. The guys who founded Transistor Six attempt to capture that instantly nostalgic feeling by mixing traditional live music sessions with a Gizmodoesque appreciation of analog gadgetry — but set in, say, 1978. As a result, their sessions look and feel immediately warm and beautifully flawed. Cofounder Daniel Northcutt says, “a lot of companies out there produce outstanding high-definition sessions. We wanted to do something different.” Inspired by a love of analog sound and film, Northcutt started Transistor Six in November with co-founders Cory Llewellyn, marketing director, and David Peris, the company’s webmaster and social media guru. All three come from music industry backgrounds: Llewellyn and Peris worked together at Sony Music, while Northcutt worked for Transmission Entertainment before taking over production and event booking of live acts at Frank, which he co-owns. Each Transistor Six
session consists of six songs played to a live audience at the eatery, followed by an interview with a local music personality. One song per set is filmed on Super 8mm, and each band has a lomography photo session with cameras provided by the Lomography Gallery Store on 9th and Congress. “Someone asked me why we don’t go digital,” Llewellyn says. “My thought was, ‘you’re just not a romantic.’ There’s a magic in capturing a moment, in not taking a hundred photos to get that one perfect shot.” Keeping operations small, flexible and analog means that it takes a lot of “last minute passion” to make Transistor Six what it is, says Northcutt. The sessions themselves are laid-back affairs, with an open bar for the bands and tons of energy. “The bands have been pretty gung-ho about it,” he says. “They get to play with cameras and interact with fans.” In the future, Transistor Six hopes to branch out to other locales — “we’re romantically tied to London,” says Llewellyn — but for now, they’ll be content with super-cool analog sessions at their home base. There are “big surprises” lined up for SXSW, but they won’t spill the beans. Instead, Llewellyn asks if I remember last year’s unannounced Jack White/Third Man Records show outside Frank with a wink. “It’ll be something like that.”