Q&A: TC Superstar discusses UT-Austin roots, growing success in Austin music scene

Mimi Calzada, Life and Arts Reporter

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the July 6, 2022 flipbook.

TC Superstar exploded onto the Austin music scene in 2017, starting with humble roots at UT and taking its sleek and sophisticated sound on tours across the U.S. for the last five years. The bedroom-pop group kicked off its summer tour Friday, July 1 at Cheer Up Charlies and sat down with The Daily Texan to reflect on its last half decade as a band. 

The Daily Texan: What is the biggest highlight of performing at Cheer Up Charlies, and what keeps you coming back year after year?

Aaron Chavez: Playing Cheer Up’s always feels like we’re coming home.

Emily DiFranco: It’s a beautiful sense of community, even when we were playing indoors. It was really small, (but) the energy (is) always fantastic. You feel a lot of love in this space. I remember doing the R & D release show, and that was a big highlight for me.

DT: How did the TC Superstar that we know and love today come to be?

Connor McCampbell: I’d been playing music with most of the musicians in the band, and we were friends with a lot of dancers in the dance program at UT. It was the meeting of those two worlds.

DT: Considering your band likes to commit to a color palette for each project, how do you conceptualize the color components of each album?

CM: For Masc, I had this teal sweater I was really into at the time. It was (our) first record. The stakes were low, so it was teal everything. I had seen some Yves Klein artwork at an exhibition that was this giant monochromatic room, and I was like, “Bet, I’m doing that but with teal.”

DT: In an interview with Orange Magazine a few years ago, you said you were on a mission to make dance mainstream. Do you think you’ve achieved that goal yet?

ED: Our goal was always to, through us dancing, (give) other people permission to move their bodies and own their bodies. When you’re performing, there’s this ownership — trying to be unapologetic and be in the moment. We’re trying to give an audience the ability to be in the moment, let go and enjoy themselves.

DT: In the process of making R & D, you recorded interviews with several people about their perceptions of love and relationships. You’re currently working on a project that’s similar, but about people’s perspective on death and dying. What is that interview process like? How do you decide who you’re going to interview, and what different adventure does it lead you on?

AC: The first time we did that, it was an idea that we had as R & D was coming together. We thought it’d be a nice added layer to get people sharing their actual personal experiences. For that record, everyone that was interviewed was someone who had some part in creating the record.

ED: When I did my interview with Connor (McCampbell) about death, he instructed me to find two people in my life (to be interviewed). It was going beyond our immediate friend group — people who have different life experiences than 20-something-year-olds.

DT: TC Superstar is pretty famous locally. How does it feel to be legendary in Austin?

ED: I don’t think we feel particularly famous. I just go to my day job and then put my clothes on and do this show. It definitely feels very surreal, and I feel super lucky that I get the platform to do this. It’s a lot of fun for me, and I hope it continues to be fun for other people to come see us.