SXSW Austin Locals: Tortuga Shades

We last spoke with Austin’s reptilian rockers, Tortuga Shades, in November during their ‘Migrations‘ album release. Since the EP release, the band has been busy diversifying their sound and putting in work on some fresh new tunes. Last week, Tortuga’s leading lady, Nadia Lopez, collaborated with Royal Knaves lead singer Nate Gelabert to create a sweet video cover of BORNS’ “Electric Love”. The video, produced by Coyote Beard Productions, was part of IndiMusic TV’s March rotation and was a perfect lead-in to Tortuga Shade’s SXSW ‘Rock Revival’ Showcase at Come And Take It Live on Thursday night. We had an opportunity to sit down with the band before their showcase to find out more about what they’ve been up to. Read what they had to say below and check out the highlights from their show.


How has SXSW been for Tortuga Shades this year?

Pretty good so far. We haven’t done a whole lot. Nadia played an acoustic Tortuga set at Cherrywood Coffee House. That was poppin.’ This is our big show tonight at Come and Take It Live. We’ve been prepping for this one and that’s taken up a lot of our week. So, we haven’t gotten out to see too much this week. Ironically, we’re playing in San Antonio on Saturday. But, I think we actually booked that show before it was even SX. It’s going to be a cool St. Patrick’s Day show.

So, when SXSW comes into town, how does it affect Tortuga Shades as a local band?
What do you think (with a sly, ‘you already know’ smile)? But, overall, we think it’s really good. It opens up a lot of venues that you may not typically get a chance to play. We’ve also gotten to hear a lot of artist that I think we will try to reach out to and play with in the future.
Have you been able to meet a lot of other bands this week? 
Yeah! But, during the week it’s harder to meet people. Hopefully this weekend will be real good to us. I hope tonight at this set we’ll be able to get out there and move forward with SXSW. The best part of SXSW so far was the ‘All The Friends Ball’ at Spider House. We were able to meet a lot of local acts there. Unfortunately, we were just a little too late to get on that bill when we reached out about it. But, it was a great event to just attend.
You released Migrations in November. Are you currently working on anything new right now?
Oh, we’re always working. We always have the gears turning. It’s been so much madness this week preparing for these shows. But, we have a couple of projects we are preparing to start up next and hopefully get some new music out soon. We really want to drop a new single and possibly some live recordings. We will have some new stuff coming out on Spotify soon.
Will your new music resemble Migrations? Or are you starting to see Tortuga Shades really beginning to evolve? 
I think our new music is going to be a lot stronger. We’ve had a lot more time to get creative and add more dynamics to our music. It’s not as rushed as trying to just get something out in the world. We’ve been playing together for a long enough time now that I think we can really play off of each other very well now and figure each other out a lot easier. We’re more aware of each other’s styles. We’re very excited because it’s gotten easier to build songs. Plus, we’ve also gotten a lot of feedback from people too and that’s really helped. We’ve added new sounds and instruments. Some of our songs sound really cool with an acoustic vibe and other songs sound better with a heavier rock vibe. I think we’ve managed to make all of our new stuff different and we’re really excited about that.
Tortuga Shades at The Rock Revival SXSW Showcase at Come and Take It Live. 


Catch Tortuga Shades Saturday March 17th at South By St. Mary’s at Jandros in San Antonio.
Photos by: Mark Bowers @markbowersphoto


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