SXSW to host Woodie Awards, showcases various up-and-coming talent

Elijah Watson

Along with offering an assortment of performances from local, national and international talent, SXSW hosts many great events, including the annual mtvU Woodie Awards. Originally debuting back in 2004, the Woodie Awards have since grown into a memorable experience for not only those who attend, but also for those who are nominated. From Modest Mouse back in 2004 to Wiz Khalifa last year, the awards ceremony prides itself in recognizing and giving attention to the artists that are on the rise.

“It was just a dream a few years ago,” said Eric Conte, executive producer of the 2012 mtvU Woodie Awards. “Our good friend at Sub Pop Records came up with the name [Woodie], and it stuck. We wanted to create an awards ceremony that called out the musicians that deserved to be recognized and appreciated.”

This year marks a change in the Woodie Awards format: where previous years only featured the Woodie Awards, this year features the first-ever Woodie Awards Festival. Open to all badge-holders and music fans, the Woodie Awards Festival will include performances from Childish Gambino, Santigold, Austin’s very own Gary Clark Jr. and Steve Aoki.

Aoki is also nominated for the Woodie Awards’ first-ever EDM Effect Woodie Award, alongside DJs Avicii, Calvin Harris and Benny Benassi.

“The state of EDM [Electronic Dance Music] is rising,” said Aoki of his nomination. “Popular culture is now seeing it [EDM]; I think that’s why this award is now a part of the Woodie Awards. It’s just a really good time for EDM.” Aoki, widely known for his wild shows, has been a part of the EDM scene since his early 20s, founding his own record label Dim Mak Records, home of MSTRKRFT, Infected Mushroom and Datsik.

“We’re [EDM is] in the spotlight where we can make interesting collaborations happen,” said Aoki, of his nominated song, “Turbulence,” which features iconic rapper Lil Jon.

The Woodie Awards features an assortment of up-and-coming artists, including tUnE-yArDs, Lana Del Rey, ASAP Rocky and Walk the Moon. Known for the pop hit single “Anna Sun,” Walk the Moon is excited about their nomination for Breaking Woodie.

“We’re honored to be a part of the group,” said frontman Nicholas Petricca.

Walk the Moon, who recently toured with Young the Giant, learned a lot during their journey with the band. “We want to be doing what they’re doing in a year,” said Petricca. “They’ve been touring forever, and if there is anything I’ve gotten out of touring with them, it’s that hard work pays off.”

Petricca also looks forward to partaking in the SXSW festivities. “It’s like summer camp for adults,” Petricca said. “I know Miike Snow is playing a party, and that’s something I want to go to. He’s one my most absolute favorite artists.”

Garage rock group Best Coast is also up for an award, battling against M83, Major Lazer and Battles for the coveted Best Video Woodie. “We’re excited to be nominated,” said frontwoman Bethany Cosentino. “It’d be great if we won, but if we don’t it’s still great to be getting recognized by MTV, and for all the hard work that everyone put in to make this music video so great.”

Although the band is commonly known for their hit “Boyfriend,” it is their song “Our Deal” that is nominated for the Best Video Woodie. Directed by Drew Barrymore, the music video for “Our Deal” provides the visuals for a somber love story and features cameos from Miranda Cosgrove, Donald Glover and “Kick-Ass” star Chloe Grace Moretz.

The Woodie Awards is doing something great by giving the underdogs of the music world the spotlight they deserve.

“We just want to give attention to the best, newest and freshest artists,” Conte said. “If an artist is making good, kickass music, they need to be appreciated and acknowledged.”

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Woodies showcase rising artist