Rising band wilt stuns at Women That Rock showcase.


By Bella Larralde. Photos by Bella Larralde

As charismatic lead singer Chelsea Rifkin interacts with the crowd, encouraging the audience to sing the lyrics of an unreleased song back to her, the energy is electric. People clap, and the lights bare down on guitarists Aaron Liebman and Andrew Perrea as they begin their riffs. Bassist Jake Shpiner accompanies them, holding the heavy tone, and drummer Dan Bermudez immerses himself in the beat. This is the makings of a band that rocks.

On March 13, Austin Monthly co-hosted Women that Rock’s fourth unofficial SXSW showcase at Austin Garden & Studio. A night overflowing with literal “women that rock” to capture true SXSW spirit. Starting at 2 p.m., with Neptunes Core, Sycco, Pronoun and others in the lineup, the night ends with the rising indie rock band wilt.

Upon getting recognized on social media platforms, wilt started as lowkey bedroom pop, Rifkin and Liebman recording music. After a year of feeling her way around music, and a college experience ending with the pandemic, at only 20 years old, Rifkin decided she wanted to take her love of music and build a band. Once again partnering with Liebman, the pair decided to take the music thing up a notch. They added Bermudez, Perrea and later Shpiner, which led to the birth of wilt.

“I told Aaron we had to start a band,” Rifkin explains. “He likes to say this a lot, but he said, ‘Do bands still exist in 2022?’ And I was like, ‘Fuck yeah they do!”

Debuting with the single “gwen,” a heartbreaking song that combines angst with sadness, wilt now has a total of six songs and an upcoming EP on the way.


“The songs ‘gwen’ and ‘moved along’ are two of our biggest songs I wrote when I was in Chicago,” Rifikin expresses. “I was trying to learn how to play guitar and could only play chords from whole songs such as ‘Doll Parts’ and ‘Violet. I rearranged them, and I brought them to Aaron, which made them much better.”

With the release of their new single, “you’re the one to blame,” from their upcoming EP, Rifkin explains how their songs are both written and produced by her bandmates.

“Me and Andrew actually wrote it in his bedroom,” she explains. “While we were writing, I started playing [Radiohead’s] ‘Creep’ by accident and was like, ‘Fuck! Another song that sounds just like “Creep.” So, we changed it around. However, it is still inspired by Radiohead, Weezer-esque, our two biggest influences.”

After almost two years as a band, their following includes more than 60 million views on Instagram and TikTok. The band members have social media to thank for some of their success. Gaining more than 500,000 listeners on Spotify, spanning more than 150 countries, would not have been a possibility without portraying their personalities to connect with fans.

“I embrace the cringe,” says Rifkin. “We found a lot of success through social media when we first started. I was so embarrassed by it, not wanting my friends to see. [But] we would be nowhere without it, to be honest. We would not be at SXSW or on either of these tours that found us through Instagram.”

In 2023, they embarked on their first tour , with headliner Lovejoy. The band played for a week, something they described as an “amazing opportunity with insane fans.” Now they are on a 23-date tour as the opener for Remo Drive, which kicked off the week after SXSW in Arizona. 

“We are so fortunate because we have absolutely no team. My mom is basically our momager, who does merch and bookkeeping. Other than that, we have no team behind us. We are fortunate to get these two tours just by people reaching out. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Become a wilter


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