DFW Music News

The Post-Pandemic Music Scene Will Have More Latin Acts Thanks to Chasquis

As Chasquis' man of vision, Rimach has been working for more than a decade to bring alternative and indie Latin music to Dallas.
Melissa Cunningham
As Chasquis' man of vision, Rimach has been working for more than a decade to bring alternative and indie Latin music to Dallas.
It's been a long week for Victor Rimach. The founder and owner of Chasquis, a local independent music booking agency, had brought Colombian DJ Ynfynyt Scroll to perform at the Arcade Bar at Bowlski’s Lakewood Theater on Wednesday, June 9, where Rimach also performed as Sudaka.

He then played alongside his fellow band members at Bowlski’s the following Friday as co-founder and lead guitarist of Mayta, a Dallas-based Peruvian rock band. The next night, he produced a three-set, six-hour DJ show at Ruins in Deep Ellum with Ynfynyt Scroll and local DJ Eternos (Rimach himself performed again as Sudaka). To top it all off, he brought Ynfynyt Scroll back to the Arcade Bar the next Wednesday.

And it’s only just the beginning of the post-pandemic journey.

As Chasquis' man of vision, Rimach has been working for more than a decade to bring alternative and indie Latin music to Dallas. He booked well-beloved Y La Bamba for the Wild Detectives and critically acclaimed Combo Chimbita for RBC in 2019. In May of this year, he brought the iconic Vanessa Zamora to Texas for a tour through Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

Rimach also just booked Nemegata — an Austin-based cumbia and psychedelic rock fusion band dubbed one of the best new local acts by the Austin Chronicle — for a show at Ruins on June 25. After hiring Ashtyn King as a booking assistant around three months ago, Rimach is already looking to expand into local talent of different genres.

“I am so connected to the alternative Latin and jazz scene that it’s hard for me to go away from it,” Rimach says. “I can include reggaeton onto it as well, but I think [King] has a lot more potential to go into Brazilian, rap, country, whatever she wants to do.”

“Since I lived in Brazil and since I speak Portuguese and I love music in Portuguese, I’m really interested in Brazilian musicians,” King adds. “That’s a difficult task, though, because it is expensive to get people from Brazil … I want to keep with a priority being musicians that make Latino-based music or Latino musicians themselves.”

It’s been “the year of reorganization of Chasquis,” as Rimach puts it, which makes plenty of sense.

“Everything reopened,” Rimach says. “Everything is rearranging and everything is moving really fast. Everybody is collaborating with everybody.”

Chasquis is solidifying into a three-pronged effort. The first is its event production, which involves booking and producing shows like those for Zamora, Ynfynyt Scroll and Nemegata. The second is its commercial bookings, which might involve finding live music for a boutique hotel, a DJ for a restaurant, or a bolero trio for a tequila tasting. The third is its curated shows and collaborations; for example, Chasquis collaborated with Teatro Dallas earlier this year to curate the DESModernidad series, which showcased local film, dance, live music and performance art.

Rimach and King are also looking to start booking across the border, especially in Mexico and Peru, and are creating playlists of international artists they might like to bring to Texas.

With everything reopening, Rimach explains, it hasn’t been easy finding crowds, but it hasn’t been difficult finding venues. One of Dallas’ premier indie music booking agencies closed during the pandemic, leaving a gaping hole in the local music booking industry. Moreover, local venues are looking for the alternative, indie and rhythmic Latin music that Chasquis has to offer. However, Rimach says, many people are still a bit cagey about going out.

“The crowd is not there yet — I don’t think I can do a festival where I can get 500 people yet,” he says. “At least in the Latino environment, they’re not 100 percent sure to go out. And I don’t know if it’s because Latinos and African Americans were hit harder than most, but I’ve been seeing a lot of people with masks on [at] the outdoors show … So I can totally see that as a pattern of people are still not sure.”

“Everything is rearranging and everything is moving really fast. Everybody is collaborating with everybody.” –Victor Rimach

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In the meantime, Rimach and King are trying to apply the lessons they learned from the pandemic to the rapidly becoming-post-pandemic city. King says it's important to curate shows by matching the music and artist with the venue and its neighborhood: rap, reggaeton, and rock to Deep Ellum, acoustic to Bishop Arts, and so on.

“I will totally compare it to a grassroots political campaign,” Rimach explains. “You create a database with people going to your shows and start organizing them by genre, by neighborhood, which is something that we’ve been working on … If we’re doing something in East Dallas, we’ll try to understand that demographic and neighborhood. So definitely data is important, organize that in a logical way.

"And so whenever you do something similar in terms of the genre of music, then you can go to your MailChimp or direct contact, whatever, and just reach out to people who you think that will really appreciate that style of music.”

Above all, Chasquis will continue to offer niche events that curate a mixture of local talent and international acts, always aiming to personalize the shows and to attract new fans and talent.

“I just know that people want shows to come back,” King says. “When I’ve talked to people about what I’ve started doing with him, they’re just like, ‘Oh my god, that’s so cool, tell me anytime there’s a show going on!’ — even people who don’t really listen to Latin music necessarily at all. There’s just like an interest in general in going to shows, being out there. I think there needs to be some kind of push, like, ‘Yes, come, it’s OK, you will be safe, and we can go back to normal.’”