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Sims

Emcee


Restless and passionate but with an unflinching realism at his core, Sims has seen enough of life to know there are no easy answers. His second full-length release, Bad Time Zoo, out February 15th on Doomtree Records, reflects this rapper’s ongoing quest for solid understanding in a society on the brink of dystopia. For Sims, it’s been a long road.

Andrew Sims grew up in the working-class Minneapolis suburb of Hopkins, Minnesota. His parents were both musicians with problems of their own, and Sims often had to look out for himself and his younger brother. “I was super short-fused,” he remembers. “I got in fights almost every day until I was about 13.”

He found solace in rap and R&B music, nurturing a love for mainstream hits as well as then-underground artists such as the Wu-Tang Clan. His parents didn’t approve of his new love, however, so he built a secret stash of cassette mixtapes that he traded to kids at school. He soon found a gift for rhyme and begin channeling his aggression into feisty, kinetic wordplay.

His rap habit quickly grew from playground cyphers to recorded projects. In high school, he met a local producer and rapper named P.O.S. who would sell him beats for $30 a pop and let him record at his house for free. Eventually, their home-recording experiment blossomed into a full-on musical enterprise that would pull in other aspiring artists and help put Minneapolis hip-hop on the map.

Enter Doomtree. Hailing from the same untamed Minneapolis indie music scene that spawned both punk legends the Replacements and, 20 years later, hip-hop powerhouse Rhymesayers, Doomtree has become one of the most trusted and influential names in grassroots hip-hop.

Since its birth in 2002, Doomtree has grown from a CD-R-slinging, fast-food-fueled DIY collective into a tightly knit, business-savvy operation. In addition to Sims and P.O.S., Doomtree’s roster includes some of the most daring artists working in hip-hop today: Lazerbeak, Dessa, Mike Mictlan, Paper Tiger, and Cecil Otter.

In a genre that all too often rewards imitation over innovation, Doomtree’s artists strive for originality without sacrificing mass appeal. As a result, fans of Doomtree have come to expect uncommon hip-hop delivered in clever, club-rocking doses, and Bad Time Zoo will not disappoint.

Setting himself as spokesman for a generation fraught by vapid commercialism, political cynicism, and the paradoxical power of technology to both connect us and drive us apart, Sims seeks a path out of the disappointment that plagues modern life. The time of plenty, inbox full / So why do I feel so goddamn empty? he demands on opening track “Future Shock.”

But while he casts himself as an alienated prophet, make no mistake: Sims’ message is of empowerment, hope, and badass beats. The results are epically infectious.

Over the pulse and sway of Lazerbeak’s urgent, expansive production, Sims raises 50-story verses and swings wrecking-ball choruses. With scenes straight from Darwin’s nightmares – people as animals gorging in the streets (“The Veldt”) – Bad Time Zoo is not so much a hip-hop album as a teeming, beat-driven urban wilderness.

On the horn-sample-driven first single, “Burn It Down,” Sims raps like a red-eyed city planner who just downed his eighth Red Bull and Adderall cocktail and is on the street corner calling for destruction before renewal. Or take the thumping, wickedly funny “One Dimensional Man,” an indictment of complacent liberals: You did your part, you gave your hundred bucks to NPR / You joined a co-op now, bought the hybrid car. (For the record, Sims votes Democrat and drives a hybrid.)

But lest you think you need an advanced degree and a machete to enter Bad Time Zoo, Sims keeps his narratives grounded and real, and Lazerbeak’s musical compositions would sound just as good on a club PA as headphones. Just spin “Love My Girl,” a pop confection that juxtaposes dark observations on the dating life with a surprisingly sweet candy center.

A pop-culture omnivore, Sims cites influences that range from the sci-fi of Ray Bradbury, to the films of David Lynch, to the 1940s graphic novels of Will Eisner. But most of all, Sims listens to the world around him.

“I draw a lot more from human interaction than I do from music,” he says. “I listen and try to understand how people function.”

Like all good writers, Sims has an ear for what makes us human.

“What are your soft spots? When are you at your most defensive, your most unabashedly happy or proud?” he elaborates. “Or when I see someone try to cobble a defense together when they’re hurting. Those moments are noteworthy to me. I try to pay attention to them.”

Pay attention to Sims, and you’ll be better for it.

Releases

False Hopes 4 (out of print)
Lights Out Paris
False Hopes 14
Burn It Down 12″ Single
Bad Time Zoo
Wildlife – EP

Sims's Blog

THE LAST DOOMTREE BLOWOUT EVER!!!!!!!!!

Posted on September 30, 2014

ASTRONOMICALLY HUGE NEWS DAY: Yes, you read the heading correctly. This December will mark the tenth and final Doomtree Blowout. 

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Before the rumors ever have a chance of flying around, let’s make one thing clear: This in no way marks the end of Doomtree. When we all met up earlier this year to start planning the big Blowout X, we got to thinking about how incredibly lame and boring the idea of ever throwing a Blowout 11 sounded (let alone a Blowout 18). We’ve been talking for awhile now about wanting to switch things up a bit and challenge ourselves to create new traditions moving forward. With the retrospective Every Single Day book out this past summer and a brand new crew album on the horizon early next year, this just seemed like the perfect time to put an exclamation point on the last decade of awesomeness and close out an important chapter before gearing up for a truly insane 2015. So that’s pretty much that in a nutshell. Now for the glorious details.

12/6-12/13. Saturday to Saturday. 10 events in 8 days. Every hour on the hour we’ll be announcing the details of each unique day’s schedule. For our first show we’ll be taking it over the river to St. Paul and kicking things off  at the newly renovated Turf Club!

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Keep coming back every hour for new details on all eight days! Huge shouts to our sponsors at The Current, Vita.mn, and Surly. Equally huge shouts to the great organizations that we’ll be donating a portion of all Blowout sales to: Southside Family Nurturing CenterAnimal Humane Society, Hope Community Center, Domestic Abuse Project, and Kicker Project. Sign up for the Doomtree Mailing List HERE to get a shot at ticket pre-sales this Thursday. Otherwise, the public on-sale starts at noon this Friday, and a bunch of us will be at The Depot at 4:30 on Friday selling tickets hand to hand.

10:00am UPDATE: Sunday is Surly Doomtree Day! We’re keeping the details on this one pretty close to the chest for now, but here’s the gist. For those that don’t know, Surly is a local beer company that has been killing the game for quite awhile now. We hung out with these guys a lot over the summer and realized how similar the Doomtree and Surly build-it-from-the-ground-up stories are, so we decided to use one of the Blowout days to showcase and bring together our two different worlds of music and beer. Full details coming soon. Stay tuned!

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11:00am UPDATE:  Monday 12/8 we’ll be rocking a super small and intimate show at Icehouse! This night will be a big showcase of all the different musical endeavors our individual members get into when we’re not working on a new crew record. Side projects, tomfoolery, and tons of friends. Anybody’s guess really. Going to be insane.

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12:00pm UPDATE: Doomtree loves the kids! On Tuesday 12/9 we’re christening it Kids Day. Members of Doomtree will be visiting various schools throughout the Twin Cities in the morning and afternoon; reading books to pre-schoolers, teaching workshops with junior high kids, and writing raps with the big high schoolers. Then at night we take it back to the Triple Rock for a huge all ages show. A show for the (all) ages if you will. Dad jokes!

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1:00pm UPDATE: This is a special one. Wednesday 12/10 marks the exact ten-year anniversary of the very first Doomtree Blowout (to the date!). So it only made sense to take things back to the Varsity Theater where everything began. It’s real sentimental for us right now. Our friends at TPT will also be filming this event for a special episode of their Lowertown Line show. TEN YEARS! Crazed.

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2:00pm UPDATE: Now it’s time to bring it all back home to First Avenue, our favorite venue in the entire world and the prime location of every Blowout since our second one. Thursday 12/11 will be an 18+ show in the First Avenue Mainroom. It will be guaranteed NUTZ.

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3:00pm UPDATE: Day 7 of the #LastBlowoutEver will be an epic doubleheader. We’ll start things off at The Current at noon for a live taping, performance, and interview in the acclaimed UBS Forum (more details on how to score passes to that event coming real soon). Then we take things right back to First Ave for our second 18+ show over there before Saturday’s final event. Maaaaaaan this is gonna a fun week.

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4:00pm UPDATE: THE GRAND FINALE! Our tenth and final event will conclude with the last night in a three-night stand at First Avenue. In my opinion the Doomtree Blowout and First Ave are pretty much synonymous with each other at this point. We basically grew up at this venue. I couldn’t imagine closing out the #LastBlowoutEver anywhere else. This one’s for the grown folks. 21+ and I’m sure plenty rowdy. Going out with one hell of a bang.

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BAM! So there you have it. 10 events in 8 days. The last Doomtree Blowout ever. Thanks for following along all day to the hour by hour announcements. If you’ve already signed up for the Doomtree Mailing List, expect an email shortly with special pre-sale ticket information. Otherwise tickets will officially go on sale to the public at 12:00pm CST on Friday. If you’re in the Twin Cities, come on  down to The Depot at 4:30pm on Friday and buy your tickets directly from us. We’ll have 50 “ALL IN” passes that will grant you access to all of the ticketed events, if you’re looking to make a real week out of it (must be 21+, only available in person at The Depot). So excited to have all this news out into the world. Here’s a quick rundown just in case your head is spinning like mine right now.

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Sims ‘Field Notes’ Pre-Order Announcement

Posted on August 05, 2014

INSANELY HUGE NEWS DAY: Sims has just announced that on September 2nd he’ll be releasing his new brand new album Field Notes on Doomtree Records!!! SO PUMPED. That’s the cool cover art below.

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The seven track project features Sims rapping his ass off over some huuuumongous beats from Cecil Otter, Paper Tiger, ICETEP, and Plain Ole Arson (Ryan Olson x Plain Ole Bill). For real, these are some of the best Sims songs ever written, and that’s saying a lot after the instant classic that was Bad Time Zoo. Check out first single and total heater “Uh Huh” via the Soundcloud player below to see what I mean. Sims on the raps, Cecil on the beat!

To celebrate all of this awesome news, we’re rolling out a couple very special Field Notes pre-order options, and it’s all going down over at the Doomtree Webstore starting RIGHT NOW. Every pre-order will receive a sweet digipak CD, instant MP3 download of first single “Uh Huh,” and access to a special private Livestream with Sims himself where you’ll get to hang out, ask all sorts of questions, and hear new music for the very first time. All that for only $7.99!!! That’s like the price of a single combo meal at Arby’s for crying out loud. And if you’re looking for something extra special, we’ve got the DELUXE PRE-ORDER! Check this out:

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The deluxe pre-order includes the same sweet digipak CD, instant MP3 download of “Uh Huh,” access to the private Livestream with Sims, AAAAAAND a super limited-edition L’AUDACE t-shirt named after the lead track on Field Notes. French for “the audacity,” this shirt is being offered up as a one time only pressing made exclusively for this pre-order. We’ll be printing up exactly however many shirts are ordered, and once the pre-order is finished, we’ll throw away the screens and never offer this as a merch item again. D-E-L-U-X-E. Click HERE to check out all the details over at the webstore.

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And if physical CDs just aren’t your thing, you can always pre-order the record digitally through iTunes right HERE (or Bandcamp right HERE), and still receive “Uh Huh” as the instant grat download track immediately upon purchase.

As always, we can’t thank you enough for all of the support throughout the pre-order process. I’ll save you the full on schpiel of how the Doomtree economy works, but essentially the money contributed towards each pre-order is immediately paid forward to handle the upfront costs of our future releases. So the money from Dessa’s Parts of Speech pre-order helped us print up copies of the Every Single Day photo book, which in turn helped pay for the recording time and manufacturing of Field Notes, which will now help pay for Mike Mictlan’s upcoming HELLA FRREAL album, and so on and so forth.  Circle of life, man. It just works. Anyways, that’s it in a nutshell. So thank you big time for the support, and please help us spread the word about this project if you get a second today. ‘Preciate you!

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I’m officially declaring this the All Sims Everything post, so I wanted to remind you of a few big  shows/tours that the man has coming down the pike. First up is the second annual #AstroSims show taking place in the First Avenue Mainroom on August 23rd. Sims and Astronautalis will be sharing the stage together for a mega collabo set of old classics and brand new material (now you know just exactly how brand new). This will be your first chance to hear a lot of these Field Notes songs live, and with Astro recording his own batch of new material as of late, you know he’ll have some serious gems to debut as well. UPDATE: The openers have just been announced to this show, and Mike Mictlan, Metasota, and Zero will now all be performing as well! Holy lord. Tickets and more details available right HERE. DOOOOOIT.

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Then on August 28th Sims will embark on a massive month-long tour of the US and Canada with Australia’s own Hilltop Hoods. This is not one of those tours to be missed, and these dudes will be covering a ton of ground in that month span. Click HERE for all the individual show details and ticket information, and check out Hilltop Hoods’ “The Art of the Handshake” single below if you’re not up to speed.

I’m sure you can guess by now what the Bonus Jam of the Week is going to be: “Uh Huh,” duh!!! Check it out one more time below, and then pre-order the album so you can download the track immediately and listen to it whenever/wherever you want (I see you Shakira).

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And as a bonus Bonus Jam, don’t forget about “.38 Airweight,” the new Doomtree crew single that we dropped last week. The feedback for this one has been overwhelmingly positive (SPIN even named it one of their top singles of the week). I gotta admit, I was a little nervous dropping a brand new crew song after the long interim between No Kings. Happy that people are liking it. So much more to come.

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OK, I think that’s enough crazy action-packed news for one post. Happy All Sims Everything Day! I hope you all have a truly great week. I’ll be back next Tuesday with tons more news, Bonus Jams, and Baby Bonus Pics (to make up for this week’s lack there of). See you then!

– Beak

Twitter: @_LAZERBEAK

Instagram: @lazerbeak

SUPPORT THIS BLOG LYFE. TUESDAYS WITH LAZERBEAK SHIRTS AND POSTERS AVAILABLE NOW!!!   

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Sims Tour Cancellation

Posted on August 02, 2012

Some important news today: Due to a family emergency, Sims will be cancelling his tour dates with Champagne Champagne. From Sims: “Thank you for your support and understanding. I will see you soon! Please go check out Champagne Champagne’s stuff and support them on their tour.” We’re confident our guy will be back in rotation soon. -Doomtree Fam.

NO KINGS TOUR 2012

Posted on December 01, 2011

WE’RE GOING ON TOUR!

And a big one. The entire Doomtree crew will balance on two axles and make our way around the United States (and a few Canadian cities to boot). More tour dates to be announced soon.

Advance presale tickets for the No Kings tour are on sale right now here. Use the login “doomtree” and password “tickets” to gain access to the presale!

Without further ado….

No shows announced at the moment.

No shows announced at the moment.

Dispatches from the Good Time Zoo pt. 1

Posted on September 21, 2011

Hey everyone, this is Sims. I hope you’re all doing well. I’m writing this note from the front seat of the van on the way to Portland, OR. Cecil is driving, looking as classy as ever. Beak and Paper are hard at work as always and Young Baby is mastering dunking on fools on his iPad basketball game. This is not my first tour but it is my first time being responsible for bringing people to the shows. Instead of feeling pressure about that I am taking the opportunity to appreciate the fact that my friends and I have the ability to get into a van and travel the country meeting new people, and do what we love to do most; play music. That said, come out and say whassuper, we’ll be in a city near you soon. Show listing and ticket info are posted below.

No shows announced at the moment.

It has been an awesome first few days, a lot of driving but a lot of fun. I am reading Game of Thrones and killing it in some van time beat battles. Well…Beak is killing it, but when does he not? I posted one of my terrible battle van beats and a few pictures from the road below. You’ll also find a sweet video that Young Baby put together, a link to our new free EP, Wildlife and our new music video for “LMG” in case you want to check any of that out.

Alright, hope you’re killing it. We’ll see you soon.

Love,

Sims

Good Time Zoo hits Minneapolis October 15th!

Posted on August 11, 2011

No shows announced at the moment.

SIMS Good Time Zoo Tour with Lazerbeak and Cecil Otter

Posted on August 03, 2011

Sims is offering limited advance pre-sale tickets for the Good Time Zoo Tour to his fans right now! You can order the pre-sale tickets here and use the following login information to gain access!

Username: Sims
Password: Tickets

Sims is offering everyone that purchases pre-sale tickets an autographed tour poster and autographed CD of the soon-to-be-released EP Wildlife (produced by Lazerbeak) that will drop right before the tour begins.

These items will be available for pick-up at the venue on the night that the Good Time Zoo Tour rolls into your town. Just come to the merch table and check in to pick-up your goodies.

Tour Dates:

No shows announced at the moment.

GOING BACK TO CALI

Posted on May 03, 2011
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Into The Spin Tour – Sioux Falls

Posted on April 25, 2011

Take a look at these photos of Dessa, Sims and Lazerbeak from the first night of the Into The Spin Tour! Click on any of the three to view the whole set, shot by Kate Monson.

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Make sure you don’t miss the show if we’re playing near you….are we playing near you? Find out at DessaTickets.com!

Also be sure to check out this video of Sims performing “One Dimensional Man” on the first night of the Into The Spin tour in Sioux Falls!
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Tuesdays With Lazerbeak

Posted on March 08, 2011

It is my great honor to present to you the brand new music video for “One Dimensional Man” off of Bad Time Zoo, courtesy of Alternative Press, who are world premiering it at their site right HERE.  The video is directed by the undeniable powerhouse that is Isaac Gale and David Jensen (of “Burn It Down” and “Let It Go” fame), and edited/colored by the one and only JoLynn Garnes (of Winnebago Man and Fearless Freaks fame).  BOOM!  This one is pretty crazy, hope you like it.

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Haha, the Plain Ole Bill cameos steal the show for me.  One of the great actors of our time, a true visionary.  Please help us get the word out about this if you can.  Huge thanks to everyone that helped out with the shoot, and to CO Gallery for letting us use the space.  First time I’ve ever: had huge fake sores applied to my face in makeup; been a part of an infomercial studio audience; drank Black Label at noon (to my knowledge at least); and the list goes on.

Sims has been out on the east coast with Astronautalis for close to a week now, and it sounds like the tour is off to a phenomenal start.  The guys sent over a few pictures from the road to give you an idea of what they’re getting into.  I’ll post a few below, and you can check out the rest of them right HERE (courtesy of Ricardo Zapata).

In other show news, we had quite the insane gathering at First Ave on Sunday night.  It was the huge Gayngs takeover that included us and about 20 some other bands.  Such a beautiful night.  I couldn’t help but feel extreme pride for my friends and for my city.  60 plus musicians sharing stages together throughout the night and not a single ego getting in the way ever.  Can’t begin to tell you how extremely rare that is.  There were a ton of different photographers in the building to document everything.  You can check photos out HERE (by Stacy Schwartz), HERE (by Erik Hess), and HERE (by Ben LaFond).

In other Gayngs/Doomtree news (if you missed the post from Friday), we just dropped this Affiliyated remix EP with seven reworkings of songs off the Relayted album.  I’m so pumped about how this all turned out.  Listened to it all the way through for the first time this weekend, and I gotta say that everyone really brought their A-game to the table (and I don’t even usually like remix albums).  You can download the whole thing for free over at our bandcamp page right HERE or just click the cover above.  We’ll all be heading down to Austin for SXSW next week.  The official Doomtree showcase is on Wednesday (with solo and crew sets all night long) at Flamingo Cantina, and then we’ll be doing another official crew set on Thursday for the Gayngs showcase at Mohawk.  Many more day party shows to be announced in the coming days as well.  I should have a full on SXSW updated schedule up here by Friday.

Now on to the second installment of Bonus Classic Album Jams.  I don’t know if I’m finally starting to feel nostalgic for turn of the millennium semi underground hip hop, but I’ve been revisiting my favorite rap albums from back in highschool over the last couple weeks and am finding it thoroughly enjoyable.  Simpler times or something I guess.  This week I’d like to talk about the album that truly and abruptly got me back into hip hop.  Things Fall Apart by The Legendary Roots Crew.

 

Like I said last week, I grew up listening to R&B and rap mostly via the local radio stations, but around 7th grade wound up getting way into indie rock (blame it on Pavement I guess), something that I basically listened to exclusively up until senior year of highschool (with the exception of It Takes A Nation Of Millions).

Things Fall Apart dropped in the beginning of ’99, and I caught the video for “You Got Me” after school one day.  Totally blew my mind, especially the crazy rapid fire Questlove drum part at the end.  I’m not sure if it was the fact that they were actually playing instruments (this is at the beginning of TPC! really starting to play out in the city and me being a super snobby band dude), or the Badu hook, or just how cool the video was, but I loved it all.  Went out  and got the album and listened to it for at least a year straight.  Instant classic.  I remember even trying to have serious arguments with people back then about how Black Thought was the greatest rapper of all time, haha (he’s nice, but not quite that nice).

It became my gateway into the current rap music of the time, and also gave me the desire to go back over the last decade and re-educate myself on all the albums, artists, and events in hip hop that I had missed out on.  Anybody that had a guest verse on this album, I’d do my research and buy their albums too.  Which got me into Mos Def, Common, and really the whole OkayPlayer circle of artists (I was a serious OkayPlayer dude back then too, had all the gear and everything).  Beanie Sigel had a guest verse, which slowly got me into Jay-Z and the Rocafella roster, and more mainstream stuff in general.  It’s weird, but I can basically trace the start of my entire involvement in and love for hip hop to this one album.  Not The Chronic or Reasonable Doubt or Illmatic or 36 Chambers or Southernplayalistic, all of which I would learn to adore after the fact.  It was Things Fall Apart.  So strange.  A case of the right place at the right time I think more than anything.

I could go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you any more of the sentimental “I love this culture so much” mushiness for the time being.  Suffice it to say that when I fell back in love with hip hop in senior year, I plummeted hard.  And it is because of that falling that I ever decided to pick up an MPC a year later in the hopes of contributing a little something to this artform that I gained so much joy out of.

I can’t really tell how well this thing has aged, since at this point it holds so much more importance to me than just the music, but I still know every word to every song (interludes, hidden tracks and all).  Definitely worth pulling out again if you’ve got it in your collection.  Below are a few of my favorite tracks, beginning with that awesome video for “You Got Me” that started it all for me.

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As a Roots bonus, here’s a link I just got put up on where Questlove breaks down a million different celebrity encounters that he’s had over his years in the industry.  It is both a hilarious and extremely intimate look into celebrity culture, and I definitely wasted  several evenings last week getting caught up to speed on all of these.  Highly recommended, check it out HERE.  There are some serious gems in there.

Well, that about does it.  Hope you all have a great week.  I’ll see you next Tuesday with a special SXSW send off post.  Don’t forget to show everybody that Sims video!

– Beak