By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated March 19, 2010 at 05:15 PM EDT
Amanda Schwab/

Image Credit: Amanda Schwab/Startraksphoto.comEveryone in Austin is talking about Zooey Deschanel’s She & Him (more on them soon!), but they’re not the only band playing SXSW this year that counts a movie star as a member. Case in point: Last night I ran into Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine), who was kind enough to stop and chat for a few minutes on the sidewalk. Turns out Dano was in town with Mook, the band he sings and plays guitar with.

Dano, 25, told me he was having a blast at SXSW so far. Mook performed their only scheduled gig on Wednesday night, so now he’s just enjoying the festival. “I have to say, this is not the music I normally go to see, but I saw Dillinger Escape Plan earlier today, and that was really sick to see live,” Dano said. “Everybody comes through New York, where I live, so I go see the bands that I know about [there], but here I’m trying to see the stuff I probably wouldn’t make it out to see. That was my favorite show so far.” Later on he hoped to catch sets by the Kinks’ Ray Davies and the Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA.

Mook, made up of Dano and three of his best friends from high school, recently finished recording their debut album. They haven’t titled it yet, but they hope to shop the set to labels soon. “I would rather probably [self-release the album], but, you know, I’m an actor as well,” Dano said. “If I could dedicate all my time to this, I might try that. We’ll see.” Asked to describe Mook’s sound, he said, “It’s some kind of rock music, but it’s a little left-of-center. Some people have referred to it as ‘carny rock.’ Some people say [we sound] like the Doors, some people say Primus. But Neil Young is my favorite, so I don’t know what it is.” You can check out Mook’s music for yourself on their MySpace.

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