Austin presents 30 musical acts for SXSW 2021

Morgan-Taylor Thomas

From hip-hop to psychedelic rock, this year’s online South by Southwest festival will include 30 musical acts hailing from Austin, Texas.

The Daily Texan talked to 12 artists about their sound, inspiration, what it’s like being a musician and more. Nine of the 12 artists below are 2020 returners. Each artist is categorized in chronological order by showcase.


EQ Austin Presents: KUTX The Breaks (Tuesday, March 16 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
J Soulja:  “I started out doing spoken word poetry, which is a very soul driven way of articulating yourself. I always knew I wanted to perform as a rapper, but how I cultivated my sound and created my approach as an artist stemmed from spoken word.” J Soulja, vocals, songwriter, producing

JaRon Marshall: “I feel like I’m a fun guy (in real life), but with my music, it ends up being serious. I like to make (music) that makes people think. Even if it’s instrumental, I want it to feel like you can hear the history of me (and) my ancestors.” JaRon Marshall, music composer

Mama Duke: “I hope people feel the authenticity in it. I’m just having fun, and I just want music to be fun again. I hope people sense that I don’t give a fuck and that they shouldn’t either.” Mama Duke, vocalist, songwriter

Hotel Vegas & Hotel Free TV (Friday, March 19 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

Lord Friday the 13th: “I design clothes and that was my main thing before music, but music always shaped my collections. We started dressing up to go to concerts when we were really young, and I think the music of the times was a driving force.” Sloane Lenz, guitar, co-writer

Chief Cleopatra: “Nobody really knew who I was or that I could do metal, especially as a Black chick growing up in (Corsicana). One show where I played drums, everybody came up to me afterwards like, ‘Holy shit, this is crazy.’ Having that respect from that different genre and those people … was a really cool moment for me.” Chief Cleopatra, vocals, music composer

Van Mary: “I’m really fascinated by relationships. Not only romantic relationships but relationships you have with friends or family. I feel like that’s what most of my songs explore — the complexities of relationships with other humans.” Emily Whetstone, vocals, rhythm guitarist, songwriter

Sasha and the Valentines: “You can’t compare yourself to every band. It’s constantly reminding yourself that there’s room for everybody and you’re doing this because you want to, not because you want to be showered and praised.” Sarah Addi, vocals, synth, songwriter

Nine Mile Records & Touring (Saturday, March 20 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.)


Kevin Galloway: “One of my favorite memories was my first gig overseas in London with my former band, Uncle Lucius. The small capacity room was tightly packed, and most of the crowd sang along with the lyrics. We all expected no one would know who we were. It was surreal to say the least.” Kevin Galloway, vocals, guitar, songwriter

Greyhounds: “We’re not a super famous band or whatever, so we can kind of get away with doing whatever the hell we want. We just write what we write because we dig it. It doesn’t matter if it’s too hip-hop or too jazz or too whatever. It is what it is.” Andrew Trube, vocals, multiple instruments, co-writer, co-producer

The Deer: “There’s no intent on, ‘Should we be this or that?’ It’s just this organic thing that just happens. A lot of the songs start with Grace (Rowland) or I on guitar, and then we keep adding to it and rehearsing.” Jesse Dalton, upright bass, harmony vocals


Heard Presents x We Gon’ Make It (Saturday, March 20 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.)

Golden Dawn Arkestra: “We come from another time and another dimension, so we kind of span all the genres. Our time travel and space travel enable our art. But everything from disco, electro funk, afrofunk, psychedelic rock and jazz … (allow us to) inspire joy and ecstasy.” Zapot Mgawi, vocals, keyboard, produce


Nané: “Music just flows through every part of me. It’s what guides every single bit of my life. So how music impacted my life? It’s made sense of every single range of emotions on the entire spectrum.” Daniel Sahad, vocalist, songwriter