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Monday, August 19, 2019

City

A look into the DIY music scene that many call home


 

Locals gather at a Houston house show thrown by Derek Rathbun. I Courtesy of Dalton Randall

The DIY music scene is picking at my brain. As many of you know, DIY stands for do-it-yourself, which is just what these musicians and artists are doing. For some reason, there are certain stigmas around the scene. Whether it is based on the type of music you like or how you do or don’t fit in “aesthetically,” the scene appears to be imbued with a haughty air.

It is intriguing and concerning to hear statements such as “I just don’t look like I would belong there,” “they are all so much cooler than me,” or “everyone there is so intimidating.” This is not at all what the scene is about.

“I know what events I can and cannot go to based on my appearance,” said retailing and consumer science junior Hina Hasan. “It sucks because I feel like I have to look a certain way to be taken seriously or feel like a part of the community. That shouldn’t be what music is about.”

DIY has been around for decades within the music scene. The notorious house show has existed for some time now, whether it started off just as a group of friends playing around or because of a lack of funds for venues. While this may seem like a new trend to some, the people involved know this is anything but true.

For a lot of members, the scene is their family. It is a community where they identify themselves through making music and gaining friendships along the way.

My early days in the scene are hazy. I remember I discovered the scene through a guy I was dating at the time. Through this, I dived into the world of underground venues, BYOB, covers and show etiquette.

Bands commonly perform at a member’s house or a friend’s place volunteered for the night. With no venue fee, bands on the set list make as much money as they can. DIY has become so popular for up and coming artists because they are able to manage themselves.

“(There’s) a passion to create and work for what you want, rather than to wait around for someone else to present the opportunities to you” said Dalton Randall, member of local bands Saint Rosa and HAHA!. “Every band was a local band at some point. DIY scenes give a genuine platform for anyone trying to pursue their art, and people attending shows are what truly keep the scene alive.”

Before the time of Facebook events or Instagram stories, word of mouth would function as the main means of promotion. Because of word of mouth, only friends of friends would have access to the show info. Thanks to social media, however, DIY artists now have more outreach.

“Making an effort to support up and coming bands and sharing events/artists with others impacts the musicians and scene more than many people realize,” Randall said.

Even though these shows can vary in audience size, they tend to bring in around 50 to 100 people if the show’s hyped up enough. Even though this sounds like a large amount of people to be fitting into a house or small venue, it is nowhere close to the amount you would find at a traditional venue.

If you have ever been to a DIY show, you know the feeling of sharing sweat with the other attendees. People push through cramped kitchens to break free to the back yard just to get a breath of fresh air. Maybe it sounds gross, but it is exhilarating.

The idea of sharing this space with your friends, friends of friends and even future friends is exciting. After attending a few shows, unfamiliar faces in the crowd become familiar, accompanied by a name. People make friends, laughs and memories at these shows.

While all this is great, there are some things that people need to understand about the scene. Because everything and everyone is self-made, respect of others and spaces is a must. Fliers carry precautionary statements such as “respect the house” or “abusers not welcome” to avoid conflicts.

“At parties people steal, break things, start fights, get too drunk, harass women, the list goes on. House shows aren’t exempt from that. It definitely can be reduced if you’re careful about who you invite and if you have people around to be bodies,” said Victoria Acuña, member of 16 Psyche. “I think that one thing to remember though is that house shows aren’t suppose to be run by one person, you need a group of people with assigned roles.”

The DIY scene is a place where musicians, creatives and other outcasts of society flock to find acceptance and community. The scene “needs support because we need inclusive and safe creative spaces. Women, POC, LGBTQ+, disabled, etc. We need this. DIY gives us the opportunity to create these spaces,” Acuña said.

When bringing groups of people together, there is always the risk of conflict. Spaces are so much more enjoyable without it, so respect the house, support local artists, BYOB and DIY or die!

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