Bringing the Noise

Chaos In Tejas founder gives his top 5 show picks, reveals plans to scale back next year

Chaos In Tejas founder's top 5 picks; plans to scale back emerge

Fan crowd surfs at a Chaos in Tejas show in 2009
A fan crowd surfs at a Hjertestop Chaos in Tejas show in 2009. Photo courtesy of Matthew Juarez for Chaos in Tejas
lineup for 2013 Chaos in Tejas music fest
The Chaos in Tejas 2013 lineup.
Fan crowd surfs at a Chaos in Tejas show in 2009
lineup for 2013 Chaos in Tejas music fest

“There are only so many underground Japanese hardcore bands that I can bring over here. Eventually that well will run dry.”

That assessment from Timmy Hefner, the main engine behind the wildly obscure and challenging punk and metal festival Chaos In Tejas for many of its nine years, signals that 2013 could mark an end of sorts for the Austin event.

Hefner’s said he’s not planning on packing it in after this weekend’s four days of screaming and distortion, but next year will almost certainly be scaled back, perhaps to two days and a couple dozen bands instead of the hundred-plus that have made Austin a temporary mecca for patch-heavy crusty punks in recent years.

 “There are only so many underground Japanese hardcore bands that I can bring over here. Eventually that well will run dry.”

It’s a reasonable move, given that over the years Hefner has excavated the depths of international punk and metal scenes to book the best and most intense acts for long-overdue reunion shows or, in some cases, their first shows ever in the United States.

“It’s gotten pretty easy to get the bands over here now, and lots of them approach me about playing the festival because all of their friends have played here and had a great time,” said Hefner, who works as a booking agent for Ground Control Booking out of Brooklyn. “I’ve been to Japan six or seven times through the years to see all those hardcore bands. It feels good to be able to bring these bands here for the first time that most people will see them.”

Aside from a handful of “Hefner special” reunions and U.S. debuts, this year’s Chaos In Tejas features an impressive selection of critical indie faves like Iceage, Screaming Females, The Men, Merchandise, Milk Music and Parquet Courts, many of whom Hefner has playing shows all over the country before and after the festival.

But since Chaos is largely Hefner’s labor of love, we asked him to talk about some of his personal highlights this year, some of which are getting their passports stamped for the first time by U.S. officials.

Bolt Thrower (11:30 p.m. Friday at 1100 Warehouse)
In something of a rarity, the British grindcore legends’ first U.S. show since 1995 will also be Hefner’s first time seeing them live.

“I’ve contemplated going to England to see them since I was a teen but never did, so I’m excited to finally have them here. I’ve been working on getting them for a while and even though they still play in Europe they had some bad experiences playing here and never came back.”

Framtid (11:55 p.m. Saturday at 1100 Warehouse)
A textbook example of the kind of international treasures Hefner unearths, he calls this Japanese band, “the best functioning hardcore punk band in the world.

“I loved their records before I saw them but they’re so intense and at the same time catchy. I know tons of people coming here just for this show, some of them from England and Sweden, because Framtid toured Europe once, have never been to America and this is probably the only chance to see them.”

The Bats (12:30 a.m. Friday morning at Red 7)
“I love all those New Zealand pop bands. That’s why we had The Clean last year and now we’ve got The Bats, which are Robert’s (Scott, guitar/vocals) other band.”

Andy Stott (12:45 a.m. Sunday morning at Holy Mountain)
“I’ll admit this is very odd for Chaos because Andy Stott is a sort of techno DJ out of England and that’s not our normal type of thing. But he put out one of my top five favorite records last year and I think he’s really great. But everyone’s really surprised for him to be there. Sort of the same thing as The Field, in that they won’t necessarily have what I think will be crazy, packed shows, but I book the fest according to what I want and in a weird way it fits because we want to be doing interesting underground music at this fest, not just hardcore and metal.”

Eternal Champion (9:30 p.m. Sunday at Red 7)
“The first Austin show for these guys, who are like some old school Judas Priest metal. I’ve never seen them but it’s a bunch of local people whose tastes I trust, and I’m looking forward to seeing them.”