Set 24 | Skirts
In a day and age where the Internet reins king, it comes as no surprise that musicians have developed underground DIY networks online. “I definitely feel like I’m more submerged in the online music community than I am with the Texas music scene,“ says Alex Montenegro of Skirts. Falling down the rabbit hole through Bandcamp and Twitter, Alex has met community of artists from all over the world. “It actually all started with a small label called Z Tapes [a cassette label based in Slovakia] that’s still around, I was going to release with them and that’s how I met this whole group of people.“ In the end, Alex decided to self-release her first album Almost Touching on Bandcamp and cassette in February of this year. “I kind of wanted to self-release just because I can do whatever I want,” Alex explains. Skirts began as a solo acoustic project and slowly developed into the bedroom pop sound it now exemplifies. Now Skirts consists of Alex and drummer Zach Ceniceros. For a long time, her music remained under wraps, and it wasn’t until October of last year that she played what she considers her first real gig opening up for SALES in a sold out show at Club Dada. Which is no small feat for a band that had previously only played a few house shows scattered about here and there. For Skirts to make that immediate transition from bedroom to opening up for a touring act at a major venue is a great example of the power and reach that platforms such as Bandcamp can have for bands of smaller niche genres like bedroom pop.
“I love Bandcamp I think it’s so important. I think it’s the best thing for music in a long time.” Bandcamp was founded in 2008 functioning as an online music company allowing artists and labels to upload their music and monitor pricing. It offers fans the ability to stream music online, view lyrics, and purchase merchandise from artists they’re interested in. The way in which Bandcamp has been designed gives artists direct control over the release and sale of their music, and many artists, working in tandem with Instagram and Twitter, are able to promote their music at little to no cost. Over time more and more artists, as well as big name labels and musicians, have become more in involved with Bandcamp, “…like Sufjan Stevens was involved with Bandcamp before Bandcamp was even a thing... so there are even bigger artists and labels trying to jump on the Bandcamp train, and I think that’s great.” This rapid growth has helped legitimize Bandcamp bringing fans into the fold and into direct contact with artists they love making it a viable platform for local and regional musicians to gain national exposure. Using the platform for all that it has to offer enables musicians to connect and network with people in other states and overseas. Though building an online community can be a great tool and asset for musicians, Alex stresses the importance of networking face-to-face, “Now that I am playing shows, I am getting more involved and meeting more artists. Networking is so important in person.” Alex is very aware that networking in person within your city of residence is the networking that lands you gigs, and her approach seems to be working out great for Skirts. After playing at Club Dada and a slew of house shows around North Dallas, Skirts has landed another major gig at Three Links opening up for one of her favorite bands, Snail Mail. Bands like Snail Mail and Alex G have had a huge influence on Skirts and the shift of their style over the past year. Using a looping pedal and her guitar paired with Zach on the drums, Skirts creates a huge sound mixing soft intimate lyrics with indie pop melodies making them stand out in a city where the indie rock/pop scene is relatively undeveloped.
You can catch Skirts opening up for Snail Mail at their upcoming show in Dallas on July 6th at Three Links.