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mtvU Woodie Awards to highlight best musicians in college scene

Forget the gold, silver and bronze. Only the best acts in alternative and college radio have the privilege of getting a Woodie.

The mtvU Woodie Awards will take over the South by Southwest Music Festival March 15 in Austin, Texas, with the first-ever Woodies Awards Festival . The best moments from the show will air on mtvU at 8 p.m. March 18.

The Lantern participated in a conference call with nominees Walk the Moon, Steve Aoki and Best Coast.

Walk the Moon played at Newport Music Hall Feb. 25 with Young the Giant. Three days later, its hit “Anna Sun” was voted No. 1 on CD101. Nicholas Petricca, lead singer of the Cincinnati-born band, said he was thrilled to hear Ohio fans are voting for its music.

“We couldn’t believe that,” Petricca said. “We only recently started pushing ‘Anna Sun’ at radio and now that it’s on there, to see it rise so quickly in one of our hometowns is really exciting. It’s amazing.”

Petricca said the band, which has only been with its current lineup for a year, is excited to be nominated for a Breaking Woodie, which highlights the hottest new act.

“In some ways, it feels like it was meant to be the way the guys came together at the right time,” Petricca said. “I feel very lucky.”

DJ Steve Aoki is scheduled to perform at the festival. He is nominated for an EDM Effect Woodie for his song “Turbulence” from his debut studio album “Wonderland.” EDM Effect Woodie is a new category that recognizes electronic music.

Aoki said it is “epic” that EDM music is making waves in mainstream.

“I’m really happy to see the doors opening,” Aoki said. “The fact that MTV is giving a Woodie Award for the effect that EDM has on popular culture, it’s pretty exciting.”

“Wonderland” includes cameos by several popular artists, including Travis Barker and Kid Cudi on the track “Cudi the Kid.” Aoki said the song is the first dubstep-influenced track for Cudi and Barker.

“Doing something brand new with those two artists that they haven’t done yet, it’s always a fun thing,” Aoki said. “They were both pretty excited about that.”

Indie surf-pop band Best Coast is nominated for Best Video Woodie for “Our Deal,” which was directed by Drew Barrymore.

Frontwoman Bethany Cosentino jokingly said she is planning her acceptance speech for the awards.

“It’s an interesting feeling to be nominated for an award,” Cosentino said. “You don’t ever want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but you want to win at the same time. It would be great if we won, but if not it was still just awesome to be recognized by MTV for this video.”

Cosentino said Barrymore took control of the video, turning it into something better than she ever imagined for the song. She said in the future she would love to work with other artists she looks up to.

“I am the hugest Fleetwood Mac fan,” Cosentino said. “I would love to work with anybody that was ever a part of Fleetwood Mac. My other dream collaboration is Drake. I love him more than I love most people.”

Executive producer Eric Conte said mtvU created the Woodie Awards because it wanted to recognize that college audiences find the best new artists before everyone else. He said it’s important to encourage new artists to keep making music even if it isn’t recognized on a large scale.

“It was kind of a joke that these artists haven’t gone gold or platinum, but they’ve gone wood,” Conte said. “There are a lot of artists out there making great music, but there is only so much space on mainstream radio. I think it’s important that we recognize them.”

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