For over 20 years this music festival has brought big names to Denver while also showcasing the local scene. This year over 170 artists will appear on 15 stages over 3 days. Last year the festival was a virtual 3 hour event. This year’s showcase includes Pinegrove, Remi Wolf, Shannon & The Clams, Sofia Valdes among its 13 headliners. Local acts include returning artists of Bellhoss, Slow Caves, Wildermiss, Izcalli and more. There are also new faces including Lnlygirl, The Grand Alliance, Deadluv and more.
“After 20 years of Underground Music Showcase, we were thrilled to be able to carry-on our tradition virtually last year by raising $75,000 for independent musicians” shares Casey Berry, owner of the festival. “With that said, we couldn’t be happier to be in-person for 2021 to not only support live music and local bands, but to support more than a dozen independent bars and restaurants on Broadway!”
UMS is working closely with city and state officials to make sure we rage safely in 2021. This might include reduced capacity (especially at indoor venues), and potentially limiting ticket sales to ensure proper distancing as required. UMS has every intent to become a good example of how to return to in-person, live music festivals in a safe and celebratory manner, and will be monitoring health directives in real time as the big weekend approaches.
There are few local artists like bellhoss. bellhoss is Becky Hostetler, as well as her band. If you’ve haven’t been paying attention, she has slowly been getting on bigger and bigger bills. There was also her sold out EP release for Geraniums. bellhoss is gaining momentum for all the right reasons.
bellhoss’ music stands out. As a band it is filled with arrangements that fill the void between bedroom and rock. As a solo artist the songs have a vulnerability and raw emotion to them. The stagechat at a live show is honest, heartfelt with self-deprecation. All parts of the music hide nothing and invite the listener to share in the emotions.
bellhoss has 2 completed projects. Her demos, and her recently released EP Geraniums. Geraniums features songs including “naked”, “lunch”, “weight”, “chasing”, “heart apart”, and “geraniums #1”, and “geraniums #2”
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Geraniums album?
BH: Time was the biggest challenge! I have been incredibly lucky to have an amazing band full of talented people who were also very busy when we recorded, so the biggest challenge was working around everyone’s schedules.
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest difference making Geraniums vs Meek Demos 17?
BH: Having a band was the biggest difference. The demos were my first foray into recording music at all, for posterity’s sake and to see what happens when I put any of my music out in the open for people to hear. The Geraniums EP is a more intentional process of releasing an album, with a band contributing to a much bigger sound.
FEMMUSIC: I noticed the album was mixed and mastered by your band members. Was there any discussion of an outside producer? How was that process with the band? Were there any conflicts?
BH: For this first album, I really wanted to work with friends. Malena and Payden are both well-versed in audio engineering and are kind souls, so I knew it would go well with them. The songs are very personal for me so I did not feel ready to have a stranger’s opinion on how they should go, especially this time around. Overall, it was a very gentle process working with these friends, which is just what I needed to ease into the whole idea of recording.
FEMMUSIC: Are you interested in being signed to a label. Why or why not?
BH: At this point, I am seeing where the wind blows and starting to brainstorm about what I want to do with the next album, but yes, I would love if a label was interested in signing bellhoss. Recording an album is a big investment, and having the financial and PR support from a label would be incredibly helpful. Also, I’ve been a music fan for much longer than I’ve been a musician in public, and being signed to a label is a dream I had before I ever thought I could do the music thing in reality.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
BH: For most of my life I have used songwriting as a way to journal my thoughts and process my emotions, so the process takes different shapes for different songs. Sometimes it starts with a collection of words that I wrote processing something, often it starts with a series of chords and a melody and then adding words a bit at a time. I’m trying to come up with a more cohesive process now that this project is a thing, but that itself is a work in progress.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
BH: Probably “Roman Candle” by Elliott Smith- it’s grungy-crunchy and so so sad, and it informed me on the ability to be quiet and angry and loud and sad all at the same time. Elliott Smith really made it okay in my mind to write through hard feelings, when in most other parts of my life I had to keep a smile on.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
BH: Overall, I haven’t encountered any huge challenges. In fact, I’ve received more support than I ever expected, from all genders. I’m at a point where I think my gender is irrelevant to my experience as a musician.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
BH: I love Pinegrove and their whole crowd, they have a friend who started a project called Jodi and I’d love to work and/or tour with Jodi or Pinegrove. They all seem to be very organic in their songwriting approach, with a mix of punky emotions and folky earthiness, which is exactly where I like to exist with my music.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
BH: Denver has been incredibly friendly as a scene and community, and I’d love to see that in more places. I’ve been planning a tour, and have definitely found a lot of awesome people around the country who are incredibly friendly, especially in DIY scenes, but I definitely start to see competition in some places that I wish would heal a bit. In the last couple years when I finally had the guts to get on stage consistently, I realized there’s room for everyone; everyone wants to hear new music at some point and there’s a niche that anyone can fit into. I hope more people who feel competitive can see the space that is carved for them, without feeling threatened by other artists.