Indigo De Souza Wants ‘Evil’ Audiences To Stay Away From Her Shows

Indie rock sensation Indigo De Souza is on the phone, getting ready for a busy debut show at South By Southwest, where she is scheduled to perform five times in two days, along with a full lineup of photoshoots and interviews. But in the days leading up to the madness, she and her band have dedicated their trip to Texas to recreation.

“This morning we were at this Airbnb sitting in a hot tub,” she says, talking about her new experiences with Texas’ wide open blue skies and roads that go forever. “We were talking about how some people feel claustrophobic when there’s a lot of trees around and some people don’t. It depends on who you are and where you grew up.”

Being from Asheville, North Carolina, De Souza says that a thick, practically temperate rainforest environment is the only one she’s ever known.

“Green everywhere, you can’t really see through it, but it makes me feel really safe because I can hide in the forest and I can just go on a journey and no one will see me,” she says with a pause. “I also like the wide-open spaces, but it’s more alien to me.”

De Souza is scheduled to return to North Texas for a show at Fort Worth’s Tulips on Saturday, March 18, as part of the Southside Spillover music series. This follows her Dallas debut last August as part of Courtney Barnett’s traveling Here and There festival.

De Souza has received acclaim from the indie sphere for her colorful, intense, personal brand of indie rock. She made a splash in 2021 with her sophomore album Any Shape You Take, and is presently scheduled to release her follow-up record All of This Will End on April 28. This fast-moving musical process is integral to De Souza’s own musical process, which is relentlessly kinetic.

“I think everyone probably does it differently, but the way that I write records is not linear,” she says. “I don’t write a record while I’m recording it or right before I record it. All of the records I had just kind of written over a period of time, while I’m touring [or] when I’m home, in between moments. Eventually there’s an open window where we record the songs, but it’s more like I’ve sat with the songs for a year or so before I actually record them, and then once I record them, it takes another year for that album to come out, so I kind of move past them and start writing more songs.”

De Souza says that her process creates a strange kind of gap between the songs she’s performing and the songs emerging from her psyche.

“Once I’m touring an album, I’ve already kind of got a new record that I want to record,” she says. “It’s a really funny cycle. Like right now I have a handful of songs that are new, songs that are secret, songs that I want to record for the next album. But I’m not playing them live because they’re not relevant at this moment.”

While most artists have a propensity to workshop new material live, De Souza says the songs she has written do not get performed until they are workshopped behind closed doors, with good reason.

“It would bother me,” she says. “People take videos and post stuff online and I will be like, ‘Oh, I got like a recording of this new song I’m gonna put on YouTube.’ And I think that it feels more comfortable to keep really new songs private because of the way that people can latch onto them prematurely. It feels more appropriate to play the album I’m about to release. Which is really fun because I haven’t been touring for, like, months, and I now have new people in my band and new instrumentation, and it’s really fun to play.”

“One crowd that can often feel not good is a college crowd … We got paid to go play a college, but it’s not really like everyone there knows who we are. It’s more like they’re just college students [and] their school paid for us to come be their entertainment for the night.” – Indigo De Souza

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The protectiveness with which Indigo De Souza treats her songs is extraordinary. Much like her adventures in her native forest areas, listening to De Souza’s songs feels at the same time scorchingly personal and just barely out of reach, like a dream. Her emotional intelligence and intuition are on display in both her music and ability to converse.

Her fairly new status as a touring artist has lead to a variety of surprises on the road that have led to some insightful wisdom. At one point she warns against audiences that radiate an “evil energy.”

“One crowd that can often feel not good is a college crowd,” she says. “We got paid to go play a college, but it’s not really like everyone there knows who we are. It’s more like they’re just college students [and] their school paid for us to come be their entertainment for the night. So, then we’re on stage and we’re performing these songs that are hyper personal, but there’s a crowd of just rowdy, drunk college students who don’t really care.

“Maybe there’s like 10 of them who care, and those are the ones that kind of carry me through. But outside of that, they could be drunk. We’ve had people like scream sexual things at us and we just have to keep playing because we’ve been booked to play. That can be like a really evil energy.”

Thankfully, De Souza says that as the touring life has picked up steam, she and her band have been playing more and more headlining shows where the audience is specifically there for her personal brand of songwriting.

“If it’s people that are there to see me specifically and then it causes some kind of joyous feeling,” she says, “because those people, my fans, are really, really kind to me.” 


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