Interview with Erin Frisby, Selena Benally, Robzie Trulove, and Maya Renfro | By Janelle Jones | Photo ByFarrah Skeiky
In just over a year, the women of The OSYX have managed to form their band, complete a seven-song self-titled album, due out Oct. 11, replete with incredibly soulful and haunting post-punk, and start a nonprofit record label called This Could Go Boom!
Comprised of women who’ve all had projects prior to The OSYX and have long been an integral part of the D.C. scene, this band started when three of the musicians got together for fun. Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Erin Frisby and guitarists and vocalists Selena Benally and Ara Casey thought it’d be cool to embark on a side project.
“It was three guitarist singer-songwriters getting together, so it didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, this is gonna turn into a band,” Frisby recalls. However, that changed quickly. They started writing and Frisby relays that “there was so much music chemistry,” they couldn’t help but pursue it further.
They then enlisted bassist and violinist Maya Renfro and drummer Robzie Trulove. “It was just jamming and already seeing and supporting each other’s bands,” Benally states simply. “[It was] seeing what happens when you put all of us in a room together.”
In addition to the undeniable musical chemistry that led to some powerful songwriting—including cello from Hannah Sternberg—there was an even greater personal bond forming. Frisby explains, “I never before had been in a band where I felt super-comfortable jamming with other people.” The members have a tight-knit friendship, with more than one bandmate expressing this notion. “I think a lot of that just togetherness tends to bleed into how we write together,” Frisby concludes. The whole project is immensely collaborative, with some improvisation going on and anyone being able to bring ideas to the table for any song.
Trulove encapsulates it nicely, noting, “It’s such a beautiful story, actually, how it all came together: just women wanting to create freely together.”
What ensued from The OSYX’s collaboration and openness was a great amalgam of sounds. As Renfro says, “It is fascinating that each member has gone through different phases musically, [and] now, they all culminate together.”
However, it must be reinforced: The OSYX aren’t only focused on themselves. The collective created the aforementioned This Could Go Boom! after the band considered crowdfunding their album. They then thought better of it and, according to Frisby, decided “to do something that would be more engaging and would give back to this community that has just given us so much love right from the get-go.”
So, they started the label, which acts as a way to disseminate the “unheard narratives and artistic voices of womxn and nonbinary people.” Frisby expounds, “We really wanted to make sure that we started the foundation as mission-driven rather than profit-driven,” adding that hopefully, one day, attitudes will change and “we’ll be completely unnecessary and that artistic expression, exploring these different experiences and different backgrounds, different genres of music, is gonna be so normalized that us existing just doesn’t need to happen anymore.”