What SF Music Biz BAMM.tv Learned at SXSW


Loads of exhilarated and red-eyed folks have just touched down at SFO after a whirlwind of tech, film, and music in Austin, TX. Phil Lang of local music company BAMM.tv is one of them. Phil was on the panel "Silicon Valley isn't the Enemy Anymore" and was scouting out bands while down south. So, what did he find?

What is BAMM.tv? Give us the elevator pitch.

In a single (long) sentence, BAMM.tv is a team of musicians, filmmakers, audio engineers, MBA guys, motion graphic artists, Ph.D.’s, and writers working to generate new revenue streams for the indie artists we love by curating and creating video content we think is both cool and important. 

Tell me about your role there.  

I'm the Vice President of Programming. I oversee a small team that identifies the next band we want to collaborate with, and I oversee our non-performance programming (we have some really cool programs in production at the moment, and we can hardly wait to share with everyone). 

What were you guys doing down at SXSW?

For the first time in four years, we didn’t put on a showcase or a day party. In previous years, we’ve gone on some serious production binges. We’d shoot 15-20 bands in three days, which is insane. Only a few of us went down there this year. Quite simply, we went to Austin to find new bands. Imagine that.

What was your panel "Silicon Valley isn't the Enemy Anymore" all about?

It was a discussion about the current state of the marriage between technology and the music industry. My biggest take away was that, despite many valid concerns, the music industry is in a phase of exciting adolescence. We don't know where or how it will turn out, but the path there is filled with brilliant minds and innovative ideas. It's a defining time.

What bands really blew you away?

Sinkane– About to blow up. Do yourself a favor and checkout the 2012 release Mars

They’re really no secret, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the L.A. punk band, Fidlar, makes some marks on a more mainstream audience this year. They put on a great live show.

It’s always a good sign when you can read the lips of a handful of people who are mouthing, “Who is this?” That's what happened at Kitten.

I can’t believe I saw Bhi Bhiman play in a hotel bar to a crowd of 30 people. What? One of the coolest voices I’ve heard in a long, long time. 

Canada is really putting some great bands out there these days, and Bend Sinister is another. Their set was one of the more versatile I saw in Austin, which is especially challenging considering most of the sets are only 30-35 minutes at SXSW.

I agree with your call on Sinkane (who played at Noise Pop two weeks ago). You were really excited by local boy Bhi Bhiman, what's he all about?

I know he has a singular voice and more people in the Bay Area need to know about him, despite him being a St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

Any other Bay Area bands that struck a chord?

You know, although I checked in on bands like The Stone Foxes, Papa Bear and the Easy Leaves (solo set), and The Soft White Sixties, I really tried to focus my time on bands that don’t play very often in the Bay Area. 

What's next for BAMM.tv in 2013?

Well, we’re shooting some new programs at the moment that we’re really excited about. We’ve taken a little break from shooting performances and focused some time and energy on some pretty innovative, episodic content. We’re not quite at the point where we can talk too much about it, but I think people are going to love these shows…at least I love them. Stay tuned. 

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