August 2nd, 2019
Underground Music Showcase
Denver, CO
July 26-28, 2019
Photos by Lisa Dibbern and David A. Barber
 
https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/
 

Posted in Live Photos Tagged with: ,

July 22nd, 2019

Jackie Mendoza

Underground Music Showcase

Jackie Mendoza

Denver, CO

July 26-29, 2019

https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jackiemendozaaa/

Jackie Mendoza is a newcomer with a world of experience. She has lived in California, New York and Mexico and her songs are both is Spanish and English. Her music is hard to classify in a good way. It is indie pop, Latin pop, EDM influenced, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Mendoza played with Mint Field and Gingerslys in the past. She is now out with her debut EP LuvHz which features songs like “De Legos”, “Seahorse” and “mucho Mas”

We look forward to seeing Medoza at the Underground Music Showcase.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making LuvHz?

JM: The biggest challenge I faced when making LuvHz was receiving negative feedback from labels and being turned down. I was told to change my sound and to go in a different musical direction. There were times when I believed this is what I had to do in order to release my EP and it stunted my writing process and made me feel really insecure about my music. I decided to stay true to myself and to my music and I kept writing and producing. I was lucky to be connected with Rusty Santos and he helped me co-produce the EP. A lot of new ideas flowed in the studio and I didn’t have to compromise my sound; he helped make it better.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Rusty Santos. How did you meet? What did he bring to the project?

JM: I met Rusty through my manager, Walter. We were looking for people to help co-produce the EP and we reached out to Rusty and he liked what I was doing and knew we could make something cool together. At first we were working at a distance (he was in LA and I was in New York) and would send stems back and forth which made the progress a little slow. I decided to go to LA and we finished the EP and other songs in 4 days. He’s been working with a lot of Latinx artists, mostly reggaeton, and he brought a lot of that to the project. He brought a nice urban edge to the songs and he encouraged me to express and execute the weird ideas I had in my head.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Luminelle Records. What made you decide to sign with them? How have they been to work with?

JM: Luminelle is a great label to work with. Their enthusiasm for my music is what made me want to work with them. Most labels were expecting straight-forward pop or dance music and Luminelle embraced the experimentality and mash-up of genres in the EP. Their roster of artists was also a big sell for me. They’ve put out music that I love and still listen to every day. It’s exciting to work with a label that cares about an artist’s growth and expression.

Jackie Mendoza EP

FEMMUSIC: How did your work in Mint Field & Gingerlys prepare you to be a solo artist?

JM: I was in Gingerlys for about 4 years and it was extremely formative and it taught me a lot about writing music, working with other musicians, and performing live. We played so many shows I lost count! We released our debut album with Topshelf Records and Babe City Records and I learned about working with labels, release campaigns, and touring. Playing those few festivals with Mint Field was really exciting; I had never played music festivals before that. I loved going to Tijuana to practice and learn the songs and playing with my friends.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

JM: My songwriting technique varies and is always different. If I suddenly have a melody pop into my head, I’ll start from there and work from there. I’ll use my song “Seahorse” as an example. The vocal melody and lyrics for the first verse were the first thing I thought of. At the time, I was taking a few guitar lessons here and there so I decided to give my new skills a shot. I made the beat for the song, recorded guitar and bass, synths, and recorded vocals as soon as I finished writing lyrics. It would take a few days to think about the song and come back to it with new ideas and a fresh ear. Overall, it took about 2 weeks to complete the song.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

JM: I think if I have to choose ONE song, it would be “Space is Only Noise If You Can See” by Nicolas Jaar. When I first heard it I thought it was the greatest song. It was creepy, weird, but made me want to dance at the same time. It’s also dream-like and abstract; which I love.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

JM: I think sometimes women have to speak louder to be heard…both literally and metaphorically. If you’re a woman in music, you’re automatically known as “a woman in music” and people expect you to look and sound a certain way. I think if I released this EP as a man, I would have gotten more praise for the unpredictability instead of being criticized for the “lack of ear-worms” and pop structures. I overcome these challenges by supporting other women in music and staying true to the music I like to make regardless of my gender.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

JM: I would love to tour with Nicolas Jaar because I would get to see him perform several nights in a row and I know I wouldn’t get sick of it. If I could collaborate with anyone right now, it would be Juana Molina because she is so experimental and her music and her musical style is so unique and loopy.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

JM: I would make the industry more inclusive. Groups of people who are underrepresented need to be given equal opportunities 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: ,

July 19th, 2019
CLAVVS
Underground Music Showcase Preview

Clavvs

Amber Renee

Underground Music Showcase Preview

Denver, CO

July 26-28, 2019

https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/

Clavvs has been on our radar for sometime. This NY duo, formerly of Atlanta, has an evocative synth style and lyrics that are woven from gold. Clavvs is Amber Renee & Graham Marsh. Renee comes from a background of musical theater and Marsh has produced Grammy winning albums. They recently released the No Savoirs EP and the track “Devils I Know”
 

They have played SXSW, Canadian Music Week and other festivals that FEMMUSIC covers. We were honored to talk to one half of the band, Amber Renee. For more info visit https://www.clavvs.com/

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the No Saviors EP?

AR: Creating a thing is always inherently challenging. It takes work to pull something out of nothing. It’s kind of weird and wonderful that way. This time around Graham (the other half of CLAVVS) and I were much better about self-editing and abandoning ideas that we didn’t both love. Maybe our biggest challenge was being mindful enough to know when the songs were truly finished. It’s easy to second guess yourself and pick at things too much.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about “Devils I Know.” How did that song develop?

AR: “Devils I Know” was one of the last songs that we finished for this project. It came together all in one moment while we were tracking a different song entirely (one that we ultimately scrapped). I suddenly had the idea to try several new melodies I had been working on over the same track. We tried it out, and it ended up working really well.

FEMMUSIC: As I was prepping this I see your next show is back in Atlanta on July 17. Tell me about the decision to move to Brooklyn. How has it affected you and your music?

AR: Moving to Brooklyn was the best decision we ever made. We love Atlanta, but we hit a ceiling there and couldn’t see a way forward. We landed in Brooklyn after we fell in love with the city when we’d play shows here. It’s a special place with a really creative energy. I think the spaces you inhabit influence your creative decisions in a mysterious sort of way, so in that way, Brooklyn has definitely had an impact on my songwriting.

FEMMUSIC: I noticed you have a background in musical theater. I was curious if you take a persona for live shows and how you incorporate it in the band.

AR: Musical theater was the first way I was really able to perform on stage. It challenged me to get past a lot of my performance anxiety, but I don’t think it really influenced the way I perform now. I don’t put on a persona for live shows, but there is a certain energy I’m always trying to achieve. Our live shows are about dancing and being with friends, (and hopefully!) they’re a place where people can just be themselves and enjoy the music.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

AR: Writing songs is a cool sort of magic that I can’t fully explain. When I stumble onto a song, it’s usually when I’m in the middle of doing something else. A piece of a melody or lyric will just appear in my mind, and if I’m lucky, I’ll record it before it floats away. A lot of my songwriting has become about following the ideas I love and letting go of the ones I don’t. I’ll work on a song for weeks, fine tuning each lyric and melody, making sure I absolutely love it, and then I’ll show it to Graham. From there, we both do our best to get out of the way of the song. I’ve found that I can’t really force my will onto the music without ruining it.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

AR: Ooh that’s so hard! Probably “A Better Son/Daughter” from Rilo Kiley’s The Execution of All Things. It’s such a brutally honest and vulnerable song about getting through the hard moments. It’s so human. Listening to that song in high school was the first time I ever felt truly heard and understood by a songwriter.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

AR: I think it’s more of a constant thing you learn to navigate, because I haven’t overcome it. Our band is regularly overlooked because I have a woman’s voice and point-of-view. A label head once told us he couldn’t sign us because they had already signed three female-fronted acts that year, as if “female-fronted” is a genre that might go out of fashion. Ultimately, women have to fight harder to occupy the same spaces that are given to men and we have a smaller window of time to do it, because ageism is still a thing. It’s wildly frustrating, especially when you think of all of the incredible voices who’ve never been heard as a result. But it doesn’t stop me from making music or from encouraging other young women to pursue it. We need more women (and especially WOC) artists, producers, engineers, music supervisors, managers, etc. That’s the only way anything will change.

FEMMUSIC: Who would you most like to collaborate with or tour with? Why?

AR: Ooh this list is long! I think our top pick for collaboration right now would be Cautious Clay. His music is so incredible and I bet touring with him would be really fun, but the ultimate dream tour would probably be with Santigold.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

AR: I would legislate streaming platform payouts. The percentages need to be raised, and not just once, but regularly, so rates are adjusted for inflation and reflect the growth of each respective service. Call me a radical, but I believe artists deserve fair payment for their work.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with: , ,

July 15th, 2019

Tessa

Denver, CO

July 26-28, 2019

https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/

https://tessa-violet.com/
Tessa Violet was born on the internet. In 2007 she started as Meekakitty and exploded. In 2014 she released her first album Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled. These days she has been touring and releasing a bunch of singles including “Bad Ideas”, “Crush”, and “I like (the idea of you.)” She has a creative songwriting style mixed with a playful side. Look for Tessa Violet at this year’s Underground Music Showcase.

FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?

TV: I’ve always felt that songwriting to me was like digging up dinosaur bones, that is to say the song (or dinosaur) already exists. Your job isn’t to make something from nothing, it’s to tap in to this sometimes head/heart/gut sometimes spiritual experience and be the conduit that brings the song in to the world. It’s already there inside of me, i just need to find and assemble all of it. On a more technical level: I start on guitar or piano and I write lyrics and melody together. Then when they’re finished (or mostly finished), I bring them to Seth and we work together to produce them!

FEMMUSIC: So far you’ve been releasing singles. Are there plans for an EP or album?

TV: Yeah! I’m releasing a few EPs then eventually all of them on one album.

FEMMUSIC: What did you learn making Maybe Trapped Mostly Troubled that you apply when making music today?

TV: It’s a little hard for me to separate the experience of MTMT from just the experience of exploring music for the first time. I’ve been really lucky that the first producer I ever worked with, Seth Earnest, has been the one I’ve stuck with all along. We also started working together almost right when I started exploring writing so it’s a whole mesh of new and good experiences.

FEMMUSIC: It’s been over a decade since you emerged as Meekakitty. How have you changed? How has your music changed?

TV: I wrote my first song in 2013. I think since then I’ve just become a more honed songwriter, I have a better innate sense of what works and why. As for how I’ve changed personally in the last twelve years… I mean?

FEMMUSIC: What goals musically do you have?

TV: At my core I just want to make music that is genuine to my experience and my taste. Writing is still very personal for me and is often an experience of trying to give words and a soundtrack to an experience I want to better understand (when it’s heavy) or relive (when it’s light or beautiful). I guess i want that to continue to be true. Beyond that I want to uplift, encourage and value people, both the people I work with behind the scenes and my fans who come to shows. I’d love for my shows to be a break for people from the heavier parts of life, an opportunity to come together with other like minded people and celebrate live music, both in sadness and in glee.

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making”I Like The Idea Of You?”

TV: Dude the bridge evaded me forever on this song. I think I had like five different bridges for this song in all its iterations, but none of them ever felt right until I finally got to the one you hear on the record! Sometimes writing is a test of perseverance. We actually cut the song from the record in the summer, then added back on the following winter.

 

 

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

TV: Just one?????? Maybe…. “Some Nights” by Fun? I love Jack Antonoff, I’ve followed him from project to project.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

TV: I don’t think I’ve really had to face too much prejudice in my career. Men ask me if I write my songs a lot and I always wonder if male artists get asked that as much as me haha, but that’s pretty much the extent of it.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

TV: Jack Antonoff. He just seems like a very special artist to me, his music feels like he makes choices that please him and it’s refreshing to listen to something so genuine. also just like, flat out excellent haha

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

TV: Maybe a higher split for the songwriters on song sales?

Posted in Interviews, Special Features Tagged with: ,

August 9th, 2018
Underground Music Showcase, Denver, CO
July 27-29, 2018
https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/
Photos by Veronica Lee

Posted in Live Photos Tagged with: ,

July 20th, 2018
UMS 2018 logo

 
10 Local Artists to See at the Underground Music Showcase – Denver, CO – July 27-29, 2018 – https://www.undergroundmusicshowcase.com/
 
With over 20 indoor stages and 4 outdoor stages this year’s UMS is an event. This year it is under new management and includes headliners from Alvvays to Mothers to The Overcoats. It also includes an impressive number of Colorado artists. Here are some to see:
 
American Grandma – https://www.facebook.com/AmericanGrandma/ – This Denver 3 piece is led by Jen, who identifies as non-binary. They are pop punk band that reminds us of Diet Cig. 
 
Bellhoss – https://bellhoss.weebly.com/ – Bellhoss is Becky Hostetler, a singer-songwriter who is quickly rising to prominence. She blends folk and punk. We’re looking forward to seeing her set after hearing so many good things. 
 
The Dead & The Daylilly – https://www.facebook.com/thedeadandthedaylily/ – This  Denver duo released a self-titled EP earlier this year. 
 
Moses – https://thebandmoses.com/index.html – This 3 piece indie pop recently released their EP One Big Circle
 
Mr Atomic – https://www.facebook.com/mratomicmusic/ – This Denver 4 piece is led by Boneth and is quickly becoming a rock act to watch. Pay attention to their song “Made for TV” and look for their album coming soon
 
Plasma Canvas – https://www.facebook.com/plasmacanvas/ – Plasma Canvas recently rocked Vans Warped Tour and have an EP called No Faces. Led by Adrienne’s vicious vocals this band is tearing apart the world. 
 
Pout House – https://www.facebook.com/pouthouse/ – This 4 piece rock band from Colorado Springs is led by Catie Rauhala. Their video “Nancy” came out in January and is a fun ride. 
 
Rotten Reputation –   https://www.rottenreputationband.com/  – This 4 piece heavy rock band has an EP called Castration Station. We recently saw them at Femmes to the Front and were reminded just how good they are. 
 
Seal Eggs – https://www.sealeggsmusic.com/ – This is Gwen Wolfenbarger’s pop project from Colorado Springs. She released Sunday Will Be Snow in 2016. 
 
Shelly Rollison & Pamela Machala – http://www.shellyrollison.com/ & http://www.pamelamachala.com/ – Shelly Rollison is a Denver singer-songwriter who recently released Cardiac Flashback. Pamela Machala is a Boulder singer-songwriter who is working on a new album and has the single “Barista.” They will be having separate sets at UMS. We pair them because they have a show together in August for the release of the “Barista” video. We think it’s a duo we want to see more of. 
 

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July 31st, 2017

Underground Music Showcase – Denver, CO – July 27-30, 2017
Photos by Charles Powell
www.theums.com

Posted in Live Photos Tagged with: ,

August 1st, 2016

at Illegal Pete's, Denver, CO July 28, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Irish Rover Denver, CO July 28, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Irish Rover Denver, CO July 28, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at 3 Kings Denver, CO July 29, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at 3 Kings Denver, CO July 29, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Baer Brewing Denver, CO July 29, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Hi-Dive Denver, CO July 29, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at The Hornet Denver, CO July 29, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at 3 Kings Denver, CO July 29, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Hi-Dive Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Gary Lee's Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Hi-Dive Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at The Hornet Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Hi-Dive Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Irish Rover Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Hi-Dive Denver, CO July 30, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at 3 Kings Denver, CO July 31, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at 3 Kings Denver, CO July 31, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Illegal Pete's Denver, CO July 31, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Main Stage Denver, CO July 31, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Main Stage Denver, CO July 31, 2016 Photos by David Barber

at Main Stage Denver, CO July 31, 2016 Photos by David Barber

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July 1st, 2015

The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase

Posted in Special Features Tagged with: