Gritty Birds at Pickathon: Conversations with Thao & The Get Down Stay Down and GuildWorks

Vortex Music Magazine

Listen to conversations with singer, songwriter and activist Thao Nguyen and Pickathon's Sky Crew from the 18th edition of the fest, and then tune in to XRAY.fm every Wednesday from 1 to 1:30pm for new episodes.

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The shade-providing architecture of Mar Ricketts' GuildWorks and Pickathon's Sky Crew: Photo by Miri StebivkaThe shade-providing architecture of Mar Ricketts' GuildWorks and Pickathon's Sky Crew: Photo by Miri Stebivka"Maintain gratitude. Don’t take any bullshit." Those are solid words of advice from Thao Nguyen, the powerhouse vocalist and lyricist behind Thao & The Get Down Stay Down.

In part two of Gritty Birds' Pickathon series, we talk with Nguyen before heading into the sky with GuildWorks and the Sky Crew who are responsible for the stretch fabrics that provide the festival's shade.

A singer, songwriter and activist, her end-of-the-fest Galaxy Barn set stands as one of the most powerful shows I saw this year at Pickathon. As I watched her performance, I sang with her: "I take my body back." For many women, this is not necessarily an easy statement, myself included.

Take a listen to the interview above to hear us talk about songwriting and Nguyen's process working with Merrill Garbus, from fellow San Francisco band Tune-Yards.

This episode was mastered by Gene Forte of Blue Heron Recording Studio.

Listen to the complete interviews above and then tune in to XRAY.fm every Wednesday from 1 to 1:30pm for new episodes of Gritty Birds (including more specials from Pickathon featuring Protomartyr, Boulevards and Palehound), plus find extended cuts on iTunes and read Darka Dusty's feature story Pickathon: The Rebel Festival.


Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at Pickathon on August 7, 2016—click to see more photos by Sam GehrkeThao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down at Pickathon on August 7, 2016—click to see more photos by Sam Gehrke

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