Mail call! I just opened a package to find a copy of the recently-released Apostle of Hustle album smiling up at me. So while I sit here listening to National Anthem of Nowhere (love those horns on the title track!), I figured I’d post some of the conversation I had with AoH frontman Andrew Whiteman at SXSW, where I cornered the very sweaty Canadian outside Stubb’s after he’d played an emergency set. After the jump, a quick chat about subbing for the one band you wanted to see at SXSW, and Andy — who also happens to be a central figure in Toronto mega-group Broken Social Scene — weighs in on the PopWatch Cage Match for Indie Supremacy….
EW: So you just filled in for Rodrigo y Gabriela, who I guess got detained at the border because they shared a name with someone on the watch list… when did you find out you would have to play?
Andrew Whiteman: This morning. Which is ironic, because the one band that I wanted to go see was them. Mexican-Irish flamenco shredders! The guitar geek in me really wanted to go see them. We were driving down and like, Whoa, we gotta go see their show… and then we played their show.
EW: Did you feel like the crowd was into it?
AW: Yes and no. I don’t think we lost anyone because we weren’t Rodrigo y Gabriela. But you know, the crowd was there to see Bloc Party.
EW: Some of your stage banter, especially the Lone Ranger bits, seemed to really, um, go over like gangbusters.
AW: Yeah, nice to see no one remembers Lenny Bruce.
EW: Still, in the grand scheme of things, what does it mean for you guys to get another set to play?
AW: What do you call that marketing where you throw a whole lot of crap on the wall and see if it sticks? That’s a cynical view, but yeah.
EW: How come you can get in from Canada and they can’t get in from Mexico?
AW: Oh, don’t even talk to me about that. I’m sorry, but the people at your border, I’m convinced they’re especially selected for their aptitude at being inefficient. I spent four hours at the border. It was totally stupid.
EW: Okay. Here’s the important question. In a cage match between Broken Social Scene, Sufjan Stevens, and Arcade Fire, who walks out alive?
AW: Come on. Social Scene! We’re mad! We’ve got tension and intermarrying and flammable emotional stuff going on — we’re barely holding everything together! It’s coming apart! Put us in a cage match with Swoof-jan Stevens? He’s toast. Him and his whole wing-wearing crew are toast. As for Arcade Fire, sorry, but sheer madness tops moodiness any day. In a cage match? Yeah.