Project ATX6 began on a whim. Six singer-songwriters and Chris Brecht, an Austin-based documentary filmmaker and Project ATX6 producer, set off from Austin to perform music and share their stories in Toronto at the North by Northeast Music Festival. This experience is the first episode in a series of six episodes that will document the artists’ travels to various festivals across the globe.
The six artists Brecht chose to feature in the documentaries are Dana Falconberry, Mrs. Glass, Aisha Burns, Leo Rondeau, Carson McHone and Jesse Moore. This group of artists, or the “Austin Six,” knew little of each other before the beginning of this project. Some of the artists are members of well-established local bands, such as Burns of Balmorhea and Moore of East Cameron Folkcore, but Brecht showcases each of the artists in solo performances.
“The solo performance is most revealing of their character,” Brecht said. “It has to be a very naked feeling. I know because I performed solo myself for a very long time.”
Project ATX6 is funded partially by the Austin Music Office, a music marketing company, and local music venues. So far, the group has performed in Toronto and Germany, at North by Northeast and Reeperbahn Festival, respectively. Brecht plans to bring them to Denmark, Iceland and other locations in the upcoming year.
Radio-television-film sophomore Lara Ksiazek assists in filming Project ATX6. Ksiazek said, as an aspiring documentary filmmaker, she has learned how to shoot artist footage from Brecht.
“His style is like a documentary style but even more raw than that,” Ksiazek said. “It’s a raw style with shaky and smooth shots.”
Falconberry has lived in Austin for 10 years and has established herself as a well-known local artist, playing at South by Southwest last year.
“It really brings to light the idea that there are many ways to tour and get your music out there.” Falconberry said. “It doesn’t have to be the traditional model, and, in fact, that doesn’t even really exist anymore.”
Falconberry said the behind-the-scenes work of the music scene often goes unrecognized.
“It’s always so different than it looks on the surface,” Falconberry said. “You can’t see the struggle and hardship behind the tour posters and event posts, and I think that shouldn’t be hidden because it is very real.”
Brecht hopes the series shows insight into the lives and struggles of these six artists.
The first episode is on the project’s website, projectatx6.com. The second episode’s release date has not been determined.
“[It offers] transparency into what it means to be an musician in Austin who puts it all on the line,” Brecht said. “I want to create something that benefits these independent artists on a level that is hard for them to reach on their own. As a group performing and traveling together, they bring in a widespread interest into the project.”