There's A Reason Why Everyone Keeps Saying Diet Cig Is The Best Act At SXSW 2016
Originally published on Slant.
Walking the streets of Austin, Texas during SXSW can be overwhelming. There's the heat, the brand ambassadors begging you to take their energy supplements or trucker hats, the activists begging you to sign their petition to save the narwhals, the drunk, shirtless men and women who need a bottle of some high-quality H20, like right now.
And of course, there's the persistent buzz that hangs over the festival, the hushed chatter or shouted endorsements of the acts you're missing or the acts you must not miss. Austin may just edge out New York or Nashville as the Live Music Capital of the World, but it definitely is the FOMO Capital of the World during South By.
There's one band that seems to have cultivated more buzz this week than the 1000 or so other acts you can catch at hundreds of venues: Diet Cig.
The reason? Because they're awesome. Duh.
What started as a casual project for Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman has turned into a sensation, thanks in part to energetic live shows, infectious pop tracks like "Harvard" and "Dinner Date," and the irresistible union adorable, twee vibes and punchy, punk rock attitude.
I talked with Diet Cig ahead of their marathon/sprint of (at least) 11 shows at SXSW 2016.
SD: How did the two of you meet and form Diet Cig?
AL: We met at a DIY house show in New Paltz, NY where Noah’s band was playing at the time. I asked him mid-set if I could borrow a lighter (he didn’t have one) and then we hung out the rest of the night. This was February 2014, and in August 2014 we were bored and started fiddling around w instruments on a Sunday, just to try things out. We wrote most of our EP in one afternoon and it was so fun!
SD: What's the hardest part about being a professional musician? What's the best part?
AL: This is a funny question because I only recently started considering myself a "Professional Musician”. As a weird bumbling girl-child, the hardest part about it is that your entire living depends on random people’s opinions about you. It’s not easy to put yourself out there and when you do, your success depends on how other people perceive your art and feelings and energy.
At the same time though, that’s the best part: meeting people who share your feelings and sentiments, and putting yourself out there only to meet people who get what you’re saying and doing. It can be extremely validating but requires a lot of hard work and honesty with yourself and bandmates. Also it’s just really fun having dance parties with our best friends for a job.
SD: Who are some of your favorite artists/records to listen to when you're on the road touring?
AL: We listen to All Dogs, Bully, and Hop Along pretty much daily when on tour, with variety in the form of PWR BTTM, Kississippi, Taylor Swift, Bass Drum of Death, Fifth Harmony, Diarrhea Planet and Sylvan Esso.
SD: What are you most excited about when it comes to playing SXSW?
AL: We’re super excited for the hustle of all of it, we’ve never been before and we’re going to be playing a LOT of shows, so we’re ready for the craziness! Also pumped to reunite with friends in bands from across the country, it’s the perfect reason to all be in the same place! We’re playing a lot of showcases with bands we love and admire so we’re also super pumped to just be a part of the madness with so many incredible bands!
SD: What are your spirit animals and why?
AL: I think mine is a lemur…they’re cute and full of energy and will probably steal your car keys if you don’t pay attention.
NB: My spirit animal is a Honda Element. I spend more time in one than in my own bed. It's a lot like me. You know, all-wheel drive, suicide doors, and can carry a lot of gear.
Cover photo: Andrew Piccone