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Treasure Island

Behind the Scenes

I got there on no merit of my own. My friend writes for a music blog and asked me if I wanted his other press pass. I said yes, and wound up with a cool green wristband.

The press tent at TIMF sucks. It is literally a tent with some tacky tables, five chairs, power strips, and evidence of a last-minute attempt to make it festive. It is nothing glamorous and oddly lonely, everyone tapping away at their laptops. At one point three people standing around me were all facing each other but each looking down at their SLRs deleting photos in silence. Talk about introverts.

But backstage, that is where all the glory is: romantic lighting, couches, free beer and candy everywhere. Itís actually not that great; itís just backstage. But at least there were refreshments, things to lounge on, and people interacting.

I didnít plan on doing any interviews, I just wanted to sit back and watch. Isnít it better to be backstage just to be backstage than to be backstage working, be it as a reporter, musician, festival volunteer, etc.? Being in a band must sometimes suck. Three hours of sleep just off the flight from Tokyo, back-to-back interviews with news conglomerates that will write the same thing anyhow, video blogs, and all you want to do is have a cigarette and chill out on the futons.

So I had some cigarettes and chilled out. First person I didnít interview was Nic Offer. I had no idea who he was, but I thought it was cool that he sat down on the grass with us. He said he wasnít into technology, so I asked him to whom he wrote his last letter. He couldnít remember; not one letter! I thought, well you must be using some kind of technology. (Nic, if you want to be my penpal, I am all for it).

Later when I actually saw !!! perform I understood all of the questions and wondered how he could contain his energy for a whole ten minutes and not start thrusting his body around. A true entertainer, he is.

The next person I didnít interview was Four Tet. He didnít show up. Instead we saw him eating some kind of junk food before his set on stage. He missed out. I had a really good question to slide in: Do you practice yoga?

Later, I sat in silence while watching Kruder & Dorfmeister, who I kept referring to as Krufer and Dorkmesiter, talk rather intelligently about making electronic music. They really impressed me, or maybe it was just their Austrian accent. I lit a cigarette, Peter lit a cigarette, Richard lit a cigarette. Deep non-frivolous talk about downtempo. It was rather European.

I was looking forward to sitting around and watching the Broken Social Scene interview, but they canceled all their interviews last minute.

Then came Surfer Blood. We stood by the stage waiting for their PR person to contact my friend. I watched as some drunk girls easily got past the security guard so they could woo the band, which is cool as I am convinced none of them went to prom. I watched the band gather their gear and track over to the other backstage, and then we got the call that we were supposed to do the same. Itís weird to follow people that donít yet know you, especially when you are going to interview them in the next five minutes.

Finally the interview happened. I was busy drinking a beer with another band member, I think. I canít remember which one, even after some Google image searches, once you are band you are labeled as that band, not as an individual. Later, I jealously watched them up on stage dancing with Belle and Sebastian. Some bands have all the fun, and not just backstage.