These represent perhaps the dream trajectory of the indie musician: from bedroom project to prestigious record label (and, incidentally, the dream trajectory for Bandcamp, as both Matador and Domino are now on the site). Domino is the home of Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors. Matador is known for everyone from Interpol to Yo La Tengo. And in an ideal iteration of this career arc, Giannascoli and Toledo were noticed not for stunt antics or flooding the world with press releases, but for carefully honing their craft and building dedicated online fan bases. Each delves into the personal and confessional in a distinct musical style—Alex G leans toward the trippy and soft-spoken, Car Seat Headrest is distorted and visceral—but both represent DIY success stories in an ever-shifting industry.
I spoke with the musicians independently over the phone in recent weeks; both were naturally enthused about their new opportunities and in the midst of newly busy press junkets and tours. How does an artist toil away and find that kind of success? And what lessons might these unlikely cases offer for all of the other musicians in the midst of their own careers?