I’m surprised by how often folks ask us why our band hasn’t moved to a bigger city. I hesitate to say it’s never crossed our minds, but it’s never been a realistic option for a number of reasons. The first—and I know it’s not sexy to say—is that the cost of living is great here, compared to New York or L.A. or Austin. That’s a really cool thing for us bums, that we can afford houses and our own studio.

There’s also a great, tight-knit artist community here. You see a lot of the same folks around town—they could be musicians, photographers, videographers, artists—and you collaborate with them and support their ventures. I think a lot of people came here to go to college and then decided to put a flag in the ground and say, “I’m gonna stay here for a while, maybe get married, buy a house, start a business, run for city council.” That’s helped curate what we’re seeing in the downtown area, where a lot of artist-friendly things are starting up.

Socially, culturally, everything is really saturated downtown, and that’s another thing I love about Denton: it’s small. Everything is within arm’s reach—even geographically, we’re tight-knit. In the Dallas–Fort Worth area there are towns that just get created and buildings pop up and neighborhoods pop up, and they’re not as authentic or as old as Denton is—they’re inherently inauthentic. They lack what we have here, where there’s real history.
—As told to Jeff Salamon

Eric Pulido plays in the Denton band Midlake and the indie-rock supergroup BNQT, whose debut album, Volume 1, is out April 28.