Driving from Lincoln, Nebraska to Austin, Texas on a Wednesday night, the members of Carroll got a text saying “If you get here before midnight you can play a show.” They raced to Austin, got dropped on a corner with all their gear, lugged it to the venue, sped through a mic check, and played the show.
This was Carroll’s introduction to South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual music festival in Austin, TX. “It was a weird show.” admits Charlie Rudoy ’12.
The band is made up of Macalester alums Rudoy, Charles McClung ’12, Brian Hurlow ’12 and Max Kulicke ’11. The four formed the band after meeting at Macalester and stuck together after graduation, living in Minneapolis and working day jobs while practicing and playing shows in their off-hours. Airtime on the Local Current, beginning during their time at Mac, helped them secure a spot in Minneapolis’ up-and-coming music scene.
Over the last several months, their success has skyrocketed. Carroll got the chance to play SXSW after winning the “Are you Local?” competition, sponsored by the Twin Cities publication Vita.mn. The prize: $1000 to travel to SXSW and play at Vita.mn’s showcase. The band did not take the money lightly, however. “We felt so privileged, because it was such an unusual opportunity for us to do research,” said Rudoy. “Getting that cash gave us a head start.”
The band members manage themselves, and between booking concerts and recording music, they do not have much time to network. SXSW provided an opportunity for the band to get exposure beyond its Twin Cities niche, which the members gladly took. They reached out to other radio stations and promoters to find more slots.
In Rudoy’s opinion, their best show was sponsored by a San Franciscan radio station. Both the crowd and the other bands in the showcase hailed from the UK, Australia, Portland, OR and many other places. The geographic diversity of the crowd, and their enthusiasm for Carroll’s music, proved that “people outside of Minnesota give a fuck about us!” Considering the medical condition of some of the members, that particular success came as a surprise. Kulicke was suffering from a hernia, while Rudoy had to duck out of mic check several times to vomit (from a combination of heatstroke and the free cider.) Despite the adversity, the band pulled through and put on several great shows.
The band’s travels are just beginning. Members are in the midst of scheduling a tour, which will include shows in 12 cities at the end of May. They will kick off at Minneapolis’ Art-a-Whirl festival, and then hit venues in Madison, New York City and Chicago, to name a few.
Other exciting developments for Carroll include their performance at First Avenue’s Main Stage on March 21st, and their new music video for their song “Billionaire.” But Rudoy emphasizes that their success is not something to brag about. “For more than 50 people to listen to our music… that’s an honor,” he said. “I’m amazed that, of all of the great bands out there, people like us. Why us?”
To watch their music video for “Billionaire” or find out more about Carroll, visit carrollmusic.tumblr.com or visit their Facebook page, facebook.com/carrollmusic1.