Last month, NYC musician Steele FC – aka Steele Kratt – set off across the country to Austin, Texas, for this year’s SXSW, performing a belting set guided by his recently-released debut EP, Here Comes Steele FC.
Keeping himself extra busy, Steele exclusively documented the trip for us in mixed-media style; via a SXSW video diary, on-the-road images (spot the Julia Cummings cameo) and a written piece detailing the experience.
“The footage and photos I’m sharing capture one of the best weeks of my life,” Steele tells us. Having forced himself to leave New York after four years holed up in the city, the trip became of high significance as Steele reconnected with friends, fans and most of all, his love for music.
Scroll down for a 360 tour through Steele FC’s SXSW adventure.
GALLERYSteele FC tour diary
Text by Steele:
“In the weeks leading up to SXSW, I was very anxious about leaving New York. I have always struggled leaving the city for more than a few days and, in more recent years, at times even for a few hours (lol). It’s something that I have needed to work on, not only as a reliable adult, but also as a musician who aspires to tour frequently. Having an extreme attachment to a city doesn’t really correlate with the musician lifestyle.
Having lived my entire life in New York City, I’ve grown accustomed to all the lovely things it has to offer: a trip to the deli at any hour, any food you could ever want, whenever you want it, an activity to do at all times, my social life, my family, my dog, sports, home! The amount of pride, and identity I attribute to New York borders on nationalism (without all of the rampant xenophobia and ignorance of course) (arrogance in spades though).
To say I was concerned about SXSW would be an understatement.
However, after much anticipation and worry, the day had finally come. I’d be leaving my dog for the first time ever, and I’d be on a plane for the first time in nearly five years. I met up with Alexis, Mauricio, and Alden at JFK, where I was surprised by the efficiency of the self-service baggage drop and boarding pass kiosks. The boys stopped for a beer and burger pre-flight, and I walked up and down the terminal in search of something that fit within my self-imposed dietary restrictions. I saw signs for a place called ‘mezze cafe’, and got excited at the prospect of having some middle eastern food before my flight. I was disappointed to learn that mezze cafe was not the vegan-friendly oasis I had so deeply yearned for, but actually was just a deli counter serving some lonely premade paninis. I ordered a veggie burger, the only meatless item on the menu, and was reminded how silly it feels to choose to be vegan and travel. I paid for my artisanal delights and booked it back to my gate in time for boarding. As the line to preboard bottlenecked and congested, I demolished my artisan sandwich and made a beeline to Hudson News for a pack of gum and two bananas in preparation for the flight.
We arrived in Austin later that evening and were greeted warmly by my cousin Emily, who we were staying with, and an old family friend Phillip, who had driven from Boulder, CO, just to help out and keep us entertained for the week. The amount of time elapsed since we’d last seen each other even surpassed the time between my last two plane rides. We arrived at camp to a welcome committee of my manager, Jocelyn, my cousin’s husband, Jason, Emily and Jason’s three dogs, plus a giant fucking shipping pallet with 150 cases of liquid death that were mistakenly delivered to my cousin’s home (we had originally asked for 100 CANS to keep us crisp and refreshed for the week). They were delivered late one morning the week before the festival via semi-truck. It was a lot of water. There were 1,800 cans.
The week that ensued was full of fun, new friendships, hard work, and feelings of support and excitement. Our group was somewhat a gang of merry misfits – a bunch of my close friends from different times in my life. Despite them all being near-strangers to each other, they all got along as if they’d been friends for years.
Every morning Phill brought us smoothies, Mauricio and I went on runs, Alden serenaded us with guitar, Alexis napped, Jocelyn laughed, and the dogs barked. We spent most of our free time sitting outside by the pool.
The footage and photos I’m sharing capture one of the best weeks of my life. After staying in one place for four years, not being able to tour my music, plus trying to develop a new project at the mercy of an unpredictable pandemic, I had really struggled to feel connected to my childhood dreams. So much of my context for being a musician had been absent, and it almost felt as if I’d forgotten so much of why I loved making music. Throughout the week I felt myself reconnecting to that side of myself, and although life hasn’t fully returned to normal, spending a week in a new place just to do the thing I love most, developing bonds with friends old and new, and being back to the grind has completely renewed my faith in my dreams and the long path that lies ahead.
Thank you to everyone who helped us over that week, and a “very nice to meet you” to all the new friends we made along the way!
PS, special shout out to my cousin’s ten-pound dog, Martini, who accidentally ate a bag of one of our crews’ edibles. He broke through into another dimension and melted into the furniture for a little while. You’re a fucking tank. I definitely couldn’t handle that if I ate all of them.”
Follow Steele FC on Instagram.