Thao Nguyen and Portia Sabin go way back. In fact, you could say her husband, Slim Moon, got Nguyen her first big break back in 2006 when he asked her to contribute a song to his label's compilation, The Sound the Hare Heard. The founder of Kill Rock Stars, which Sabin now heads up, cultivated a track list that included the likes of Laura Veirs (which was the reason why Nguyen contacted Moon in the first place), Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, Corrina Repp and Sufjan Stevens.
In the early days, Moon guided Thao & The Get Down Stay Down through some rough patches—whether sleeping on kitchen floors or cooking eggs on the sidewalk—reassuring Nguyen that "It'll never be worse than this."
Nguyen went on to release two records on Kill Rock Stars (one of which was produced by Tucker Martine, Veirs' husband) and has since toured the world and played prominent festivals, steadily building a solid, dedicate fanbase over the last decade.
So when Nguyen and her bandmates pulled their van into Pickathon's grassy lot looking for a place to park, it just so happened to be right by where The Future of What (Sabin's music industry podcast) was recording interviews. In no time at all, the two were sitting in front of the camera chatting like old friends.