MAGAZINE

Why You Need to Hop on Fest300 & Interstellar Transmission's SXSW Party Bus

by Laura Mason | @masonlazarus Thu March 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

A group of riff-playing, cosmically-minded nomads is waiting to change your world at SXSW 2015 and beyond. Traveling from city to city (though its home base is in Austin, TX), the Interstellar Transmissions bus is a psychedelic, mobile venue that invites anyone and everyone who's down to experience something completely different through exotic rock fusion melodies and dynamic, primal rhythms provided by the bus's band. Hop on, rock out, then hop off a more enlightened person – that's what Interstellar Transmissions is all about.

We count ourselves lucky that these guys partnered with us and FestEVO to host the Festival Discovery Bus – a rock n' roll party on wheels! – during SXSW, now through March 21. Follow the hashtag #sxfestbus to find the Festival Discovery Bus's location.

Below, you can learn a little more about the history of Interstellar Transmissions (as told by the band's keyboardist, Will Jerome) and why their bus equals the most excellent, spontaneous adventure you'll have at SXSW!

When was the bus born? What are its origins?

The bus was born in 1987. Our drummer's old band bought it from a church in 2005. When that band dissolved, Interstellar inherited it. We then turned it into the psychedelic venue it is now and named her The New Life Mothership (pretty much the churches name for it, which was painted on the side; the only difference was theirs was "fellowship" instead of "mothership"). Our first bus show was in February 2012 and we then embarked on an 11-month-long tour along the Pacific Coast. After completing that tour, we took a year off to renovate it and are about to set off on another extensive "bus life" tour.

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The interior of the bus. Photo courtesy of Interstellar Transmissions

How many times have you done SXSW?

Our first year for SXSW was 2011. Back then we played on the streets busking with a full PA system and light show. 2012 was our first SXSW doing bus shows, during which we also played on the roof of the bus while driving around.

How will the bus enhance one's experience of a festival like SXSW?

Well it's a free show and a ride. That would make anyone's long journey across a city-wide festival a little more enjoyable in my opinion.

What is your idea of the best party ever?

The best party in my opinion would be a Burning Man-type event without law enforcement and more structured around educating people on what's important in life, like true self reliance, spiritual and scientific teachings, the importance of self expression and overall self awareness. Maybe like a Learning Man instead!

When people climb on the bus, what will they experience?

When people get on the bus they can expect music they have never heard in a way they have probably never heard before. There is also a fully interactive light show that is controlled by the instruments we play. Along with that, beautiful people and good times!

How is your music different from all the other music at SXSW?

Well it's hard to say what makes us different from all of the other music at SXSW from my perspective, because we sadly do not get to see enough music at SXSW due to our 12-hour performances every day. If I had to pick something it would be our composition style. We like to take scales and modes from all over the world and create elaborate progressive compositions from them. Our songs change each time we play them based off the crowd's energy. It's also instrumental, which is not considered pop or electronic; SXSW seems a little over saturated with those genres.

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Photo courtesy of Interstellar Transmissions

What do you think will make this one the best ever?

Who's to say this will be the best one ever? All I know is that we are absolutely grateful and blessed to be able to perform for and meet the amazing people who attend this year. Having the bus freshly decked out also makes it a little more fun than previous years!

Join the Festival Discovery Bus at SXSW here . Follow Interstellar Transmissions year-round here . Listen to the band's "Carnivalesque Shamanic Tribal Rock Fusion" here . And don't forget to follow their daily adventures on Instagram and Twitter .

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Mar 2019 (exact date TBD)
Austin, Texas, United States