SXSW Music Spotlight: Claire Rousay

San Antonio-based experimental artist swears she's making the most accessible music ever

Photo by Felix Walworth

Ringing Claire Rousay in late January, I was greeted by the liquidy sound of synth melodies. When her voice eventually appeared, I asked if she had custom hold music. No, she explained, “I’m listening to a record, and was looking it up on my phone and fucked everything up.”

Anything else going on with the San Antonio-based experimental artist that morning? She relayed: “I just did some yoga on the Zoom call with my partner who’s out of town, and I’m about to make coffee and slam some pineapple.”

Sonic entry into Rousay’s environment feels familiar, as she’s known for collaging field recordings, like swishing water or half-heard conversations. Last month, these elements cohered on an album with Austin-based close collaborator Mari Maurice, aka More Eaze. The two created Never Stop Texting Me from their separate Texas cities.

“So, I was sending her Third Eye Blind covers on YouTube, or something ridiculous like that, and she said, ‘Never stop texting me stuff like this,’” Rousay said of the title. “It’s a duet record, but neither of us are really great about giving each other lyrics. We’ll listen like, ‘Hmm, I wonder what this song’s about.’ Sometimes the verses don’t even match, but it works, musically.”

The record mishmashes pop punk and emo rap influences with both artists’ meditative ambient foundations. Since, Rousay has already announced upcoming album Everything Perfect Is Already Here, out April 22 on Shelter Press. It’s comprised of two 15-minute compositional pieces – quite the contrast to pop singles.

“[Never Stop Texting Me] is legitimately the closest thing to a pop record Mari or I have ever made,” added Rousay. “I know it sounds weirder than we think, but to us, it legitimately sounds like Charli XCX or Young Thug. In our minds, this is the most accessible music ever.”

Claire Rousay

Tuesday, March 15, 1am, the Green Jay

Thursday, March 17, 8:15pm, Central Presbyterian Church

Extra Experimental, Buzzy

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SXSW 2022, SXSW Music 2022, Claire Rousay, Never Stop Texting Me, Mari Maurice, More Eaze, Everything Perfect Is Already Here

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