The ninth annual Chaos in Tejas fest begins in Austin, TX tonight. I have barely recovered from last weekend and Maryland Deathfest, but ever since attending CIT for the first time last year, I made the promise to myself that sleep, work and all that other crap can be worried about later when there’s more live extremity to be experienced.
As you can see, there’s a fair amount of crossover with MDF what with Bolt Thrower, Manilla Road, Abigail, Terveet Kadet, Infest, Tragedy, Kromosom and Ice Age. But CIT has its share of highlights (Los Crudos, Final Conflict and Left For Dead) anddoes quite a bit in bringing bands from overseas, especially a shit ton of European and Japanese hardcore bands, though this year appears to be the lightest in terms of content from the Land of the Rising Sun. Oh well. I recently tracked down CIT’s head booker, Timmy “the Texas turd” Hefner for a Gmail chat about the baby he’s been nurturing for nine years with all the short forms and punctuation lapses you’ve come to expect from internet conversations left in for shits and giggles.
Deciblog: OK…so, let’s start from the start. What was the impetus behind starting Chaos in Tejas?
Timmy: Well, I did a fest together with Ken at Prank Records about 10 years ago. The following year me and him started working on another one, but he realized he was just too busy and it didn’t make sense for another one just yet with releases and such not coming out around then for new bands and since we had already started i just decided to do my own
Deciblog: Tell me about the humble beginnings of the first CIT fest.
Timmy: Started with just like 22 bands over like 3 days and only one venue. Now it’s 150 bands and like 10 venues so it’s def grown. Also it was mostly punk when it first started and def has branched out since then as well.
Deciblog: Aside from being mostly punk, would you say there was a common theme or philosophy about the bands you were booking or what you were trying to accomplish with the fest?
Timmy: I guess punk in mindset was more important then punk sounding and it still is. I mean Dead Moon played one of the early ones and I find them more punk then most things people consider punk. They have been doing their own thing for like 30 years and self-releasing records and recording their own music.
Deciblog: In branching the fest out, have you ever had difficulty when approaching non-extreme music bands when trying to book them?
Timmy: A bit but not so much at this point.
Deciblog: When the fest was small and still featuring mostly punk/HC bands, did the first wave of metal bands you booked have any reservations?
Timmy: Yeah, a bit. The politics, or lack thereof, in metal is hard with the punk community which is built on politics for the most part and i def get it and understand.
Deciblog: Is the number of bands you bring from overseas something that’s always a goal for you?
Timmy: Yeah for sure. The fest has made me able to fly over small bands from Japan and Europe that otherwise couldn’t tour here, which is great. I def grew up on Japanese HC as well as HC from all over.
Deciblog: How long did it take before you had the know-how and $$ to do it “properly” in terms of getting bands visas and all that jazz?
Timmy: I’m still learning! Haha… The visa process is always a learning process and you never know when they will ask for more flyers or more contracts etc, etc.
Deciblog: With regards to the Japanese bands, what’s the process like dealing with them, especially when language is a barrier?
Timmy: Always tricky for sure. I have a lot of really good friends over there, been there like 7 times. So usually I have a friend help me out if they can’t speak English.
Deciblog: Do you speak any Japanese?
Timmy: Nah, I wish. Took classes for a minute but got busy and didn’t go back.
Deciblog: Is CIT something you do full time, year round? If not, what do you do otherwise?
Timmy: I’m a booking agent at Ground Control Touring. That’s my real job so to speak.
Deciblog: How long does it take to put together the line up each year, generally speaking?
Timmy: Kind of the whole year off and on. Like a lot of the bands playing this year I was working on for last year and they didn’t happen, so they just got pushed up to this year.
Deciblog: How difficult was it to coordinate the fest once it moved to using multiple venues around downtown?
Timmy: I mean of course more work but since i deal with all of those venues year around it’s not so bad
they are all great and know how to run their own shows which helps a lot and all are super close to each other.
Deciblog: What bands are still on your “bucket list” that you’d like to bring to CIT?
Timmy: Not a ton honestly: Motorhead, Gauze, the Feelies…hmmmmm i’m sure more
Deciblog: What’s been your most memorable or interesting CIT moment?
Timmy: Memorable is hard with so many. I mean it’s fun to put together my dream line ups, but i think maybe Cock Sparrer and Bastard. They are 2 of my all time favorite bands. Bastard had never played the US ever and Cock Sparrer had never played Texas ever and had been like 15 years since they played the US even. I had never seen either and both were dreams come true.
Deciblog: How much are you able to balance out having to work all weekend with taking the time to see the bands you want to see?
Timmy: Def running around all weekend, but I make time to see the stuff I have never seen or really love
Deciblog: What do you feel CIT does differently than other fests?
Timmy: I guess one way it’s mostly different is it’s a bunch of stuff you can’t normally see, one offs and reunions. I try and make it special. Also, I love that it’s all in clubs with no big outside stage. Music like stuff on Chaos doesn’t need to be outside at 2pm.