interview: illuminati hotties
words: lauren rearick
photos: ansley lee
The Grey Estates gets a lot of emails, and every so often, one comes along that totally surprises you. Such was the case when Sarah Tudzin of illuminati hotties emailed us (in 2017!!) about her first single. Since then, the sky has become the limit for her, with Tiny Engines singing the band and releasing their incredible album, Kiss Yr Frenemies. In between a packed SXSW schedule — which also included an appearance at Willie Nelson’s SXSW event — Sarah spent some time with TGE and joined us for our first ever interview in a hot tub (an idea generated by Ansley Lee, senior photographer/occasional nighttime producer). Enjoy the conversation below!
Since it was real windy in Austin that day, both a transcribed version + a video version are posted.
The Grey Estates: How’s your first SXSW?
Sarah of illuminati hotties: It’s really good. For us, the first day was today and we did a show at 1 and a 4:30 and we had another one at 11 p.m. And I’m here now, so it’s great.
TGE: Ok, what’s the weirdest interview you’ve ever done? Besides this one.
IH: I don’t know that there’s one that sticks out as being particularly weird, but I just feel like a lot of people ask the same questions over and over again. Like, how did you think of your band name or what’s it’s like being in the studio? I always feel a little weird repeating myself.
TGE: What’s one thing you think is a fun fact about you that you haven’t shared?
IH: A fun fact that I haven’t told…So a secret?
I love to talk about skateboarding and I love cruising in the street. I love skating to get places, but I’m not actually a great skateboarder in the sense that you’d go to Venice Beach and see me skating in the park. I can’t do any tricks, I can’t do any fancy stuff. I just go forward. Sometimes I feel like a poser and it makes me sad.
If anybody can teach me how to ollie, that’d be great.
TGE: You signed to Tiny Engines, but before that you just sent us the video. So what happened that you went from hitting up blogs to playing shows with Willie Nelson?
IH: This has come full circle because I did send you the video, and you put it up, which was amazing. A lot of people have heard of this band through your blog, which is awesome. It’s great. Basically, I had finished the single and was still finishing the record. I wasn’t quite showing it to anybody yet. I wanted to put the single out and I had no idea how record releasing goes. Then I got TGE love and a bunch of other random love on the Internet. In between that, and when the record came out in May, I started talking to Tiny Engines.
TGE: What are you working on now?
IH: I am working on maybe record 2. I’ve been slowly piecing it together and seeing what becomes of the new songs. I just put out a song though that I finished awhile ago. There’s a couple other LA bands that I’m working with and producing stuff with.
TGE: If you were gonna put together your own SXSW show, who would be on it? And who would be your celebrity sponsor, your Willie Nelson?
IH: Beyoncé. If she’s listening, we’re gonna have the Lemonade Showcase of 2020. Cheekface, Rosie Tucker, Iris, Leggy, Ratboys, The Beths, there are other people that I’d love to put on there that I’m forgetting. Goon, Jake Tittle, Runner.
TGE: What advice would you give our readers?
IH: Readers, if you’re listening, skate hard, eat tacos, play board games with your family, hug your friends, and hang out in hot tubs more, because I’m doing this and I’m having so much fun. I need to find more hot tub friends in LA.