Meet George West: Bang Bangz Drummer Plays First Solo Show
Photo by Marcelo Quiñones
Vik Montemayor is best known as the solid and smooth drummer for Bang Bangz, Houston's increasingly popular ethereal electronica act. Earlier this year, though, Montemayor began branching out with a solo act called George West, and tomorrow night will be the first chance Houstonians will have to see him in this capacity.
"It's just going to be a cool warehouse party," says Montemayor. "It'll be cold, so the music will be a good match for that. Trip-hoppy and downtempo."
It's quite a feat to take a one-man project and orchestra it all yourself, especially if you're a drummer, an instrument not typically given to solo song performances. Montemayor has spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to accomplish it, though. In October he was approached by a promoter working for the University of Houston, who asked him to try and recreate his atmospheric instrumental music on a live stage.
Unfortunately, conflicts arose and the show did not go on as planned, and Montemayor was left with a fully prepped show that just needed a venue. He got his chance when his fellow Bang Bangz member Mario Rodriguez agreed to host him at Wonky Power Live.
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Montemayor controls his various triggers through an Abelton Push sequencer, which allows him to trigger the wood blooks, chimes,a nd other atmospheric noise that makes up the majority of his George West pieces. He also uses a special Kaos Pad, a kaossilator, to further expand the range of sounds he is capable of producing with percussive elements. All this on top of the more conventional drum fare like snares, toms, and cymbals that he uses to build crescendos live.
"In Bang Bangz I'm more focused on the drum sounds and the drum arrangement," says Montemayor. "Only very now and then will I put in my two cents on a keyboard sound. With this, there's no really set structure, no verse or chorus. You just start dropping whatever you want in."
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George West came about when Montemayor and his wife took a one-year anniversary trip to Cancun. It was the first time he'd ever been there, and though the idea for a more ambient solo project had been bouncing around in his head, it was the rhythm and sounds of the ocean that finally brought all the elements together for him.
He released a short debut EP earlier this year, and plans to visit the studio again in January to begin putting together a nine-song full-length album. Meanwhile, he continues his work with Bang Bangz, but enjoys the freedom of expression that George West allows him. If you'd like to see how exactly a drummer can make himself an entire band with current technology, this is your chance.
"When I started the project it was just me making music," says Montemayor. "Very down tempo. Very chill. I can't believe I'm actually going to get to do it live."
George West plays Saturday, December 6 at Wonky Power Live with FLCON FCKER, GIO Chamba, and android genius.
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