I was pleasantly surprised to one day receive an email from Brandon Tucker, bassist for Austin rockers Magnet School. The band had just played SXSW and had made available a free digital single to their fans to download as a precursor to their upcoming album. After listening to Fur & Velvet countless times I sent Brandon some questions about where the band has been, where they’re going and how the new album is shaping up.
How was SXSW? where did you play, what was the lineup and how were you received?
Hi Bret – SXSW was a blast this year. We always have fun but this year was extra special as our new Digi 7″ came out 3/11 & it was our first fest with our new drummer Erik Conn. We were invited to play the McGarrah Jessee Rooftop Party Mon 3/11 with Thee Oh Sees & Riverboat Gamblers – that was an awesome moment in time. We played in front of hundreds of people on this 6th floor rooftop – felt like we were in a U2 video. We also played the 3rd annual Grackle Rock III showcase @ The Grackle on East 6th on Friday 3/15 – sponsored by Shifting Sounds, Exploding in Sound, and The Austin Facial Hair Club. It was a hoot – 30 bands in 12 hours. On our stage the lineup included Ume, Ultimate Fakebook, and Spiritual Wives which is Jason Reece (from Trail of Dead) and his new band.
We were received very well – played almost all new tunes from the forthcoming album. We had extra time for one more song and busted our Rave Down by Swervedriver – the crowd went nuts. It was cool. Even though we played less shows than we usually do – we played in front of a way larger crowds.
What other bands did you get to see? Who was a favorite?
Went to the Trasher Magazine party on Sat 3/16 and saw BAPTISTS from Canada (my wife’s pick) – they were awesome. The singer was so rowdy & unpredictable – He would just lunge in the crowd and knock peeps over. I haven’t seen a mosh pit like that in years. But my fave was getting to see Ultimate Fakebook from Manhattan, KS – it had been 10 years since they played Austin at Emo’s – that was a real treat.
You’re currently working on a new album. The Fur & Velvet digital single is a sample. What feedback have you got?
Yes – we have 5 songs recorded so far & plan to go back in the studio in mid-June time frame to record another 5/6. Then start the mixing process. We decided to soft release the Fur & Velvet (Digi 7″) during SXSW to let peeps get a taster of the forthcoming album. The feedback has been great! It’s all been very positive and several labels have approached us about possibly releasing.
How has Magnet School changed/grown since your debut full length? And how has your growth applied to making music?
We have grown a lot as a band over the last 5 years. And the recent edition of Erik on drums has been amazing. It has changed the structure in a cool way w/o changing our style. We have way more balls but it’s still very alt rock & sonic pop. The song writing process and collective approach to working on new tunes is electrifying. We record all of our new ideas at rehearsals – it’s a great way to keep track and re-work ideas. If we capture a magical moment – it’s always there to reference. Plus we work on stuff at home and bring those ideas back to the practice space.
Magnet School is a band independent of the music business establishment. What do you have to be especially aware of as an indie navigating the music community?
Yeah, we have released our music ourselves or with indie labels as they take care of business but let the band make their own decisions. That’s the key. We are talking about branching out to another label for this release but will be mindful of what’s best for Magnet School. Owning our own master reels & publishing is also very important to us.
Speaking of community, now is your chance to give respect to all your peers and supporters of the scene in Austin and abroad. What would you do without them?
The music community in Austin is great – it’s infectious! I’m always amazed at how the scene & musicians support each other. We also have a lot of fans/friends overseas who spread the word and keep in touch. It’s a nice feeling. We are proud to get to be a part of the music community & really enjoy meeting new people & playing with new bands.
When can we hope to see Magnet School in our hometown? In my case, the Los Angeles area.
We plan to tour after the album is released in the Fall/Winter. I’d love for us to hit the West Coast at some point. I’m hoping we can hook up with a certain booking co. that can make that happen? Plus our new drummer Erik can take off at any time. We were limited on our touring possibilities with our previous drummer. I hope we can hang out with you and rock LA soon!
Tonight We Drink….Tomorrow We Battle The Evil At Hand and the Fur & Velvet Digital 7′ single are out now and can be bought at the band’s bandcamp page (link below).
Current Magnet School line up:
Erik Conn – Drums
Brandon Tucker – Bass
Mark Ford – Guitar & Vocals
Michael J Wane – Guitar & Vocals