Blood, Sweat, and Chaos in Tejas
Profiling Chaos in Tejas booker/founder Timmy Hefner
By Zoe Cordes Selbin, 2:37PM, Fri. May. 25, 2012
Summer's begun, so that means Chaos in Tejas. Now in its eighth year, next weekend's local commotion is still widely considered a punk/hardcore festival, but don't pigeonhole it that way. “I don’t book bands based on genre,” says Timmy Hefner, founder of Chaos In Tejas. “I book bands because I love them and they’re good at what they do.”
Hefner moved here from Virginia in 1999 and has been an Austin music fixture ever since. Long known for booking the best punk and hardcore shows in town, Hefner quietly began booking equally quality shows in many genres, as well as maintaining Chaos in Tejas every year. The fest takes place in multiple venues downtown, although Emo’s now brings the party to Riverside and will be running vans downtown as the club did during south by Southwest.
Chaos in Tejas remains a deceptively sizable festival, running Thursday through Sunday and featuring well over 100 acts, with Hefner still the sole man behind the curtain. Although he has a little help from his friends, the event is largely a product of Hefner’s blood, sweat, and tears. And he doesn’t often take on sponsors either.
“I’m bad at the sponsor game,” he admits. “I’m bad at explaining why what I do is cool.”
Chaos in Tejas might seem like an Austin thing, but Hefner reports that people fly in from all over the world to come to the shows. Even as the festival grows bigger, Hefner has no plans to push it much further.
“The next logical step would be taking the festival outdoors, but I hate watching music outdoors,” admits Hefner. For now, he's simply having fun with the festival and his label 540 Records. That and keeping the festival varied. “I just don’t like shows where all the bands sound the same.”
Hefner’s been pressing records off and on since he was 18 and likes timing releases around Chaos in Tejas. This year, he’s got four: a Zyanose LP, a 7-inch for Forward (the Japanese punk band), and a double LP for the Clean. Hefner also just started another label, Darkest Heavy, specifically for metal. First release Axeman is also out during the festival.
While Hefner's steady stream of records shows no sign of slowing, nor does his booking tours and keeping his hand in tour management, he lights up when talking about Chaos in Tejas headliners the Clean.
“They’re one of my absolute favorites,” he gushes. “And Chaos will be the first time they’ve ever played Texas. The punk scene is so amazing, because you can book the bands you grew up listening to.”