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Life is Beautiful Recap

Life is Beautiful music festival was this past weekend in Las Vegas, back since 2019 and better than ever. Check out the gallery below for a full recap of all the fun. Images by Megan Dirksen and Gaby Deimeke.

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Concert Review: PVRIS

PVRIS put on an electrifying performance at Southside Ballroom in Dallas on Sunday. The band had the crowd buzzing from song #1, kicking off the show with their hit new single, “Monster.” They went on to play tracks from their newest album, Use Me, while mixing in some classics, from “Dead Weight” and “Gimme a Minute” to “St. Patrick” and “What’s Wrong.” Despite the crowd being a bit smaller than other stops on PVRIS’ tour so far (Sundays are tough) their performance was energetic and fans thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

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Concert Review: Betty Who

Pop artist Betty Who opened for Ke$ha last night in Dallas at South Side Ballroom and put on an awesome show. Check out our photo review below. Images by Natalie Perez.

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Artist Interview: Eraste

For our readers that might not know, talk a little bit about how you got started with music.

Yes, hi! My name is Eraste and I’m an alt-pop musician! I didn’t have a huge upbringing in music, and it was mostly me listening to whatever was popular on the radio and (since I’m from texas) country music. I think the great thing about not having a lot of musical influences growing up is that I’ve had the opportunity to create my own tastes, and a lot of them were albums I loved in my teenage years of course lol. I grew up leading worship and connecting with people through music, and I found out I actually really love pop music. From the beginning, I naturally gravitated toward pop hits and so being a pop artist felt really natural. I didn’t really have anyone to teach me how to be a musician or singer, so everything I did was from having a good ear and passion for music and I think that’s what sets my music apart from a lot of other musicians.

Tell us about some of your musical influences and favorite artists you derive inspiration from.

For sure! So like I said it’s a lot of albums I loved in my teenage years, such as Melodrama by Lorde for one, and Badlands by Halsey. One person I have loved longer than anyone else is none other than Taylor Swift! I love her story-telling and the way she can craft an idea, she is easily the best songwriter of our generation. I also grew up watching her bend between genres and make her career match however she was feeling at that time in her life. She won a Grammy in THREE different genres! Like hello? Simply phenomenal. Lorde is someone that really taught me the importance of one-liners and painting a picture with your words, she’s great at using really specific details and weaving them into a broader story to create something meaningful AND relatable. Halsey is the first person that made me completely fall in love with electro-pop music, that album really shaped a generation (shout-out to 2014 Tumblr culture for taking that and RUNNING with it haha) that was the first time I listened to music and thought “WOW I didn’t know music could be THIS GOOD!” I gravitated towards it and their music is still my favorite to this day.

How has your writing and producing style developed over time?

OOoh I love this question, I love talking about songwriting! Yeah, so I think working with more established producers gave me a perspective of approaching my songwriting through a really “professional” lens. It was great to gain those skills of co-writing in a room with other songwriters, and that’s something I definitely want to do in the future! But with the songs I’m writing right now it was really important to me to do it on my own, and prove I could write amazing music without the help (or pressure) of anyone else, and it’s definitely been the best songwriting of my career so far. It’s great to learn from other people and try out their processes, but at the end of the day, it’s best to listen to yourself and what works for you.

Tell us about “Crashing Every Party” and how you crafted that EP.

Right yes! So speaking a little more on that I got fortunate to work with some experienced producers. I had just lost my job due to coronavirus and everything happened by pure chance. They moved back to Texas because of the pandemic and we just decided to make some music! I didn’t go into the experience with any kind of expectations, and I only wanted to make something honest and explore everything I thought I was capable of doing. I really pushed myself to be uncomfortable with the EP and I think that’s what sets it apart as something honest, scary, and adventurous. We got into a room and wrote a lot about a lot of topics and at the end of the day, I’m so happy with what it became. I wanted to make a little pop music and country music and kind of everything in between, and I think when people hear it they realize how much fun we had in those sessions!!

What’s your favorite song you’ve worked on so far?

That’s a hard one! I love all of my songs and it’s so hard to choose one haha! I think I would have to say my debut song “Break My Own Heart” though! I wrote it with my good friend Good Guy Levi and we honestly have so many similar experiences that it was really easy to write with him. He’s someone I trust so much and we frequently give each other advice on music and life! Some people you meet and it’s like you’ve known them for years and that’s definitely how we are. So when I had this idea for a song it didn’t feel like work to get it out, and it was really raw and I loved it! The songs that tumble out and don’t feel like work are always the best. That song will always have the most special place in my heart (pun intended haha)

Your songs have a chill, easy going vibe to them. Do you feel like that represents your actual personality or is that more of a persona?

I think it represents who I am! I try to be as honest and relatable in my music as possible, and that stays true to how I live my life. I try to be welcoming and easy-going with new people I meet to make them as comfortable as possible, and I pride myself on that! The most important thing we can do is make the people who are important to us feel seen and heard and so that’s what I do with my music. I am like… irritatingly honest haha. And so when you hear experiences or stories it’s definitely from my life and perspective!

What are the current projects you’re working on? What’s the plan for this year (after all the corona craziness?)

I am working on some singles for sure! I don’t really have a plan yet besides write and write and WRITE! I feel like with the pressure gone from my debut ep, I have a ton more freedom to do whatever I want to! So lot’s of fun things in store. Hopefully I can play some shows on my EP soon too! I am VERY VERY excited for what the future has in store!

Where can people find you?

I am on ALL social media and streaming platforms under the name Eraste! I am active the most on tiktok and twitter @eraste ! I can’t wait to interact with ya’ll! And special thanks to Gaby for doing the shoot for my upcoming single “favorite secret” !

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Evan Giia, K. Flay, and Louis the Child at Stubbs

A fully impressive lineup of young artists came to Stubbs in Austin this past week, with up-and-coming pop artist Evan Giia opening the show, badass rocker K. Flay getting the crowd hyped, and Louis the Child delivering with their classic beats, vibes and remixes. Check out the photos below, taken by Gaby Deimeke.

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Song Review // Jensen McRae – ”Wolves”

Beautifully crafted. Perfectly worded. Iconic. Show-Stopping…

This song made my jaw drop, put a knot in my stomach, all while simultaneously making me fall in love with music all over again. 

The instrumentation is simple and raw which is exactly how the song is supposed to be portrayed. When you think about what it represents, there’s nothing more you should add to the instrumentation because it’s the honest to God truth and we don’t need to cover it up as the wolves in disguise are. The guitar riff is consistent and stagnant yet haunting. This complements Jensen’s incredibly low vocal tone and gives excellent delivery to the message she has about the wolves.

We’re talking about the people who prey on people as wolves do. 

Let’s take a look at the first verse. 

I was 15, still in the valley

Walking in a parking garage

First time I met a wolf in person

At first I thought it was a dog

I tried to dodge him, he was faster

Than I’d ever had to be

He smiled and howled in the same moment

It knocked the wind right out of me

Let’s point out that when she means – ‘‘At first I thought it was a dog’’ – it simply means what it is if you’re looking at it as a wolf from an animal perspective. But in the perspective of a wolf being (in this case) a man, this hints at the ‘‘nice guy’’ persona that these predators put out and victims mistakenly fall for. 

Verse 2: 

I was 19, still fun at parties

He plied me with shot after shot

He assured me he was harmless

Why did I ever trust a fox?

I ignored all of my teachings

How I survived, I can’t believe

I almost let him get his claws in

Still knocks the wind right out of me

This part stopped me in my tracks. Now if it wasn’t obvious, she clearly nods to the wolf as a human cisgender male. 

‘‘I was 19, still fun at parties’’ – at which now, she longer can be ‘‘fun’’

‘‘I ignored all of my teachings’’ – women are raised differently from men to be wary of them 

The way she sings ‘‘I almost let him get his claws in’’ – truly breaks my heart because the vocal performance sounds as if she’s choked up from this traumatizing incident, even as it was noted an ‘‘almost’’ incident

Chorus: 

Now I bury my smile and show no interest

Now I carry myself a little different

Now I avoid the woods

Now I know the wolves

This! Chorus! 

There’s a reason why we don’t smile or ‘show any interest’ because we’re afraid of what might happen to us. Jensen has done an incredible job writing from the perspective as a predator in the wild and working that into the realities of victims of sexual assault. She’s truly created one of my favorite songs and one of the best lyrically written songs (IMO), but take a listen to Wolves, as well as her newly released EP, ”Who Hurt You?” and tell me what you think!

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Sunsquabi at Empire Garage in ATX

Sunsquabi performed last night at Empire Garage in Austin, and we took some photos of the show. Check them out below! Images by Gaby Deimeke.

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Hinterland Just Dropped Their Lineup And We’re Hyped

It seems like live music might be a real possibility as music festivals around the country started dropping lineups and offering presale tickets this past week.

A folksy music festival based out of St. Charles, Iowa, named Hinterland, has just dropped an impressive Fall 2021 lineup with the likes of Leon Brides, The Avett Brothers, Caamp, Old Crow Medicine Show, Elle King and more.

Check out the lineup below for the full list of acts.

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Photo ID // REMI WOLF ft. DOMINIC FIKE

Woo! Let me just tell you. This is a collaboration I didn’t know I needed. 

If anyone could’ve made this song even better than it already was, it was Dominic Fike. We all know and love him from his 2020 Album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Which is an absolute treasure. Vampire, was stuck in my head for days.

I’ve been a huge fan of Remi Wolf and Dominic Fike, so hearing that they released a new version of one of my favorite songs, I’ve never clicked on a video faster.

Remi’s vocals have been lifted to new heights with the help of Fike’s backing vocals at her already crazy, catchy chorus. They shared the release alongside a new music video showing each artists’ character and personality. Wolf being bold and goofy as expected. Fike, known for his melancholic and focused expression, showed more of himself in the new and playful verse. Put them together, it’s just a fun song that you can’t help but dance along to and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Do yourself a favor and check it out:

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Artist Interview: Cassie Dasilva

This week, we sat down with Cassie Dasilva to chat about her new single, her writing process, and her plans for the future. Check it out below.

Crowdsurfer: Give us a background on how you got started with music.

Cassie Dasilva: I started out as a really shy kid taking piano lessons and performing in recitals from a young age. I got a guitar for Christmas in grade eight, and taught myself a song that same day– literally playing until my fingers bled.  I always loved writing poems and lyrics in my fuzzy pink notebook, but once I had a guitar, I really started to fall in love with songwriting. I played my songs in highschool talent shows, local open mics, and opened for some smaller shows that came to town. 

CD: I moved across the country to study audio engineering and music production in Vancouver. Afterwards, I split my time between multiple part-time jobs, and gigging with my acoustic in any pub, restaurant or wedding that would have me.  I ended up busking downtown Vancouver for a while, eventually making enough in tips to quit all my other jobs, before moving back home to Ontario.

Back home again, I went to Canadian Music Week in 2018 with some friends, and found myself singing at an impromptu Universal Canada jam night. I was signed shortly after (initially as a folk-pop act).  I’d started writing EDM toplines and pop songs for other artists by then, and that led to my eventual love for/ transition into pop music and my first label releases.

CS: What is your songwriting process like and where do you come up with inspiration for your lyrics?

CD: I’m mostly inspired when I’m trying to process or deal with something, but I’m also always listening to everyone around me and writing notes in my phone with certain phrases and circumstances that I find interesting or can relate to.  I usually start with lyrics– I like to write a few lines and then twist them into melodies. I approach writing kind of like making a puzzle– fitting pieces together until suddenly the picture starts making sense and everything just fits and has a place. 

CS: How has TikTok changed the trajectory of your career?

CD: TikTok has been AMAZING. I went from having under 100 followers to 20K  and over 1M views almost overnight– just crazy. I can’t believe the response to “Unsolicited Contact” on there and what it’s done for me.  I’m excited to be reaching more people, and thankful for every single interaction, comment, and message I’ve received. It blows my mind that people are not only leaving the app to go listen, but liking the song enough to add it to their playlists/ follow me/ send me kind messages. I’m doing things completely independently right now (which can be trying, to say the least). I’ve questioned if I’m on the right path so many times over the past few years, so this sort of positive reinforcement from complete strangers all over the world has been life-changing for me as an artist. 

CS: What has the response been to your new single?

CD: I’m blown away by the support this song is getting.  I get so many messages from people thanking me for writing the song, saying how much they can relate, or even that it gave them the courage to block their ex. When we were recording the song, I kept saying that I wanted it to be a song that people screamed in the car with their friends, and now I’m getting messages from people saying that’s exactly what they’re doing. It’s wild!

CS: Tell us about working with an all-female team and why it was important for you to do that.

CD: When I was signed, I found myself working with a team of mostly men. It was difficult at times to explain my point of view, or see my perspective mirrored in those around me.  I’d been one of only five females enrolled when I went to recording school, and afterwards found myself in a network and industry completely dominated by men– which was at times intimidating and confusing as a young woman. I worked entirely with male producers, and attended writing camps where I was the only female. After I was dropped from the label, I just felt like I needed to consciously explore other avenues, including working with other women in the industry, especially on production.

CS: Tell us about creative directing your music video (we love the pink vintage aesthetic!)

CD: I started envisioning this video from the moment I wrote the song, and knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. I was writing and revising outlines for months leading up to shooting, handmade a ton of the props, art-designed, and even styled the entire cast.  Though I almost lost my mind taking it all on, I’m so glad I did because it feels so authentic this way. I was completely comfortable on set because I knew exactly how I wanted everything to look and feel ! I’m so thankful that the director, Kate Harrison, was willing to take on the project and bring all of my ideas to fruition!  It’s my “New Rules” meets “Scream Queens” meets “Euphoria” dreamscape. 

CS: Who are your musical inspirations?

CD: I’m a lyrics person through and through, and I’ve always been drawn to storytellers.  Taylor Swift, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves, John Mayer, and Winnetka Bowling League are a few of my favourites. 

CS: What’s your 2021 look like–what are your plans for this year and beyond?

CD: I’m releasing more singles throughout the year, and an eventual EP that I’m REALLY excited about! In the meantime, I’m writing more music, and I hope that post-global pandemic I can get a tour spot and play my songs for people in REAL LIFE. I am really missing performing and connecting with people that way, so I’m looking forward to getting back out on stage.  

CS: Anything else you’d like to mention?

CD: Just want to say thanks for having me!! Oh, and please go stream/ watch the video for “Unsolicited Contact”, and follow me on socials @cassiedasilva! I’ve put my whole heart into this project and I’m doing it on my own terms, so any support truly means the world!