Mikal Cronin is no newbie to Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. It was a few years ago that the dexterous musician took the city’s downtown Auditorium Shores stage with the heaviest of garage rockers, Ty Segall and his clan of talented musicians.
Now with three albums under his belt, Cronin returns to Austin. This time taking the stage as a solo act, performing songs from his first two albums as well as his most recent, MCIII, that was released earlier this year.
For those expecting swelling songs packed with guitar-fuzz, characteristic of Mikal’s collaborations with Segall, listeners will be pleasantly surprised by Cronin’s seemingly natural ability to work between lush pop song melodies and harmonious arrangements of french horn, saxophone, trumpet and the traditional Greek string instrument, the tzouras. Mikal doesn’t hone in on one solitary sound, but rather explores a gamut of sound and instrumental pairings that offer a more gregarious and compelling style.
Eagerly anticipating his set at Fun Fun Fun Fest, Mikal Cronin took a second to share some secrets about pre-show rituals and who he’s looking forward to seeing next weekend. Cronin performs on the Orange Stage Friday, November 6, from 2:25 PM to 3:10 PM!
What are your expectations for Fun Fun Fun Fest?
I’ve played the festival once before years ago, with Ty Segall’s band. It’s really cool; I remember liking it a lot. It’s in a big park in Austin, and Austin is an amazing city. I remember that besides a killer festival atmosphere, there were always night shows at local clubs and bars, like after-party shows. It’s fun to play a proper club and also a festival stage. It’s two very different experiences. I’m really excited it should be a good time.
What are the biggest differences between playing a small venue stage versus in a large festival setting?
There are a few differences; playing outside or inside it will sound way different. I’ve played enough festivals, outside and on large stages, to feel comfortable with it now, but it’s just very different. It’s kind of more rushed on a stage in a larger festival setting, whereas in a small venue you have a sound check and hang around. Festivals are nice because you get a lot more random people watching that will wander over from different stages. There is that aspect of trying to convince people to stick around for the rest of your set, rather than the club where people have come expecting it. It’s good and bad and fun to play to a lot of random people and try to prove yourself. At the same time I’ll always prefer a small to midsize club than a festival stage. I feel like a lot of musicians are like that.
Does it affect your stage presence?
I don’t know, it’s hard to say. I try to do a similar thing, but a venue a lot more intimate. You feel more connected to the people there, so maybe it’s a little more casual. I’m not really one to produce a giant spectacle of a show. We don’t have any giant pyrotechnics putting on a show to get people to come over. We just try to play well.
What are some of your pre-show rituals?
I don’t have any OCD quirks like that. I usually try to relax and sit down in a quiet place for a couple minutes. Nothing interesting, the band just high fives each other and just gets excited for playing. I don’t do the Dewey Cox look in the mirror thing and consider my whole life or anything.
Are you looking forward to seeing anyone?
My friends Ty Segall and my other friend, their band Fuzz is playing. They are amazing. I’m very much looking forward to Fuzz.