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The 8th Continent. Wisconsin. The Majestic Dwelling of DOOM. Whatever you call that small house off Mingo Road in Denton—the one with the all-too-convenient gravel parking lot right across from it—it's one of the city's most important DIY venues.
The shows all take place in the house's basement—an architectural rarity in general for North Texas to begin with. But add to that two other adjacent houses that share a combined yard area, all of which are rented out by a collective of likeminded and motivated folks, and you have yourself a perfect space for a house show.
One of the leasers in particular, Natalie Davila, does almost all the booking for the venue, whose cumbersome name is often referred to as simply "DOOM." She says she believes the DIY scene in Denton was at its most recent peak about two years ago, but has fallen off since then.
"There would be a lot more DIY venues in Denton if the police allowed for it," says Davila. "We've had friends taken to jail for a noise violation."
"The whole situation's ridiculous when there's a train that passes by every 20 or 30 minutes," says William Nalley, co-leaser of the property and Davila's boyfriend.
Rob Buttrum, who once booked for another now-defunct Denton DIY venue called House of Tinnitus, also puts together shows at DOOM, and they're usually billed as, "House of Tinnitus presents [band name] at Majestic Dwelling of DOOM."
Associated more with the noise and metal scenes, Buttrum's influence on the venue's booking, along with the personal tastes of Davila, Nalley and the others, make it a place that welcomes highly experimental and typically loud, harsh music—and tends to shun the softer, more bluesy and rootsy side of Denton's music community.
"No, your folk band cannot play in our basement," Davila says. "I actually put that up on our Facebook page once. They have plenty of avenues to go down; there's tons of little coffee shops and shit like that that will just eat them right up with a spoon."
In Denton's recent DIY heyday, venues like the Fra House, House of Tinnitus, Strawberry Fields and Wisconsin (now DOOM) brought together a community of local and touring acts that made Denton's music scene thriving and vibrant. Local, state, national and international acts will always be attracted to Denton, though, and as long as there is any space big enough for them to set up and for a few people to listen, there will continue to be a DIY culture in this college town.
"This is a transient town," Nalley says. "And everything is cyclical, so it'll be back to how it was eventually."
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