“We started talking about some of the gender bias issues we’ve encountered, and that people we knew encountered, in music,” says Frisby, the band’s lead vocalist. “We thought that we could use the excitement behind what we’re doing to propel us into something a little bit bigger.”
Their conversations led them to start This Could Go Boom!, a nonprofit record label advocating gender-diverse artists.
“We want to promote people who are gender-marginalized, specifically those who identify as female, fem, nonbinary, intersex and trans,” Frisby says.
The OSYX launched an Indie-gogo campaign for This Could Go Boom! last fall and raised over $13,000. The local label, which is the beneficiary of the Womxn F--- S--- Up DC festival at Union Stage on Saturday, plans to put out four or so releases a year from acts that are rarely offered a platform in mainstream music. That output might seem small in comparison with other labels’ schedules, but Frisby says it’s about quality, not quantity.
“We want to be careful that we’re developing the best release plan for each artist — we’re not going to create a cookie-cutter plan for everyone,” she says. “The whole point is to include voices that have been shut out of traditional avenues.”
The OSYX’s debut album will be This Could Go Boom!’s first release (a drop date is still in the works). Aside from the label’s women-focused showcases (which take place on the second Saturday of each month at Dew Drop Inn), there’s another side to its mission that Frisby says is just as important as the performers. The larger conversation of diversifying music rarely includes the movers and shakers behind the scenes — sound engineers, music managers and the like — something Frisby hopes the label can address through its workshops and mentorship program geared toward women in non-performance music roles.
“Performance opportunities are important, and visibility is important, but we want to branch out to other aspects of making music and documenting music,” she says.
The label will make this happen, in part, with proceeds from Saturday’s festival, where over 30 women-led acts from the D.C. area and beyond will take the stage (including The OSYX). The event spotlights a wide swath of music, including the soulful sounds of Black Folks Don’t Swim?, DJ Uni, the rollicking tunes of Honey and funky stylings of Eliza and the Organix.
“There’s never been a time where women and nonbinary voices weren’t relevant,” Frisby says. “It’s just that people might have not been as willing or excited to hear those voices in the past compared to now.”
Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW; Sat., 5 p.m.-2 a.m.,$15-$25.