The Rocks Off 200: Frank Ortiz, Synth-Pop Served Perfectly Frank
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? I've said it before and will say it again; Houston has an electronica scene that never gets anywhere near the recognition that it deserves: Bang Bangz, BLSHS and now I hear Asmodeus X is back on the move. Now you can add Frank Ortiz, who goes by the simple frank., to the list.
Ortiz cut his teeth on a Casio MT-500 he got for Christmas. His dad showed him the C, F and G chords, and he taught himself the rest. When technology improved, he teamed with some friends to form Paul Lynde is Dead (PLID) for live performances, but since that act petered out he has dedicated himself to writing solo.
Ortiz released the single "alibi" earlier this year, and hopes to have his first EP ready by September. He's currently working with Thomas Brigman on some collaborative synth-pop, and if his current work is any indication it's going to be good stuff.
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Home Base: because his work is so portable these days, Ortiz never confines himself to any single location to craft music. Live, he prefers Warehouse Live as a venue. It can be hard for electronica artists to get the sound setup that allows them the control they want, and Warehouse is excellent in that regard. He also digs the synth-friendly atmospheres at Notsuoh and Super Happy Fun Land.
Good War Story: "Not sure it's a war story, but PLID got to open for My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult in New Orleans, which was an awesome experience that I cherish," relays Ortiz. "Somehow though, we failed to get a picture with the band. Such is life, I suppose.
"They were really great and I kind of regret not hanging out with them after the gig," he continues, "but we hadn't eaten since before the sound check and by the time our set ended we were practically fainting with hunger!"
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Ortiz isn't alone in wishing there was an easier way to promote gigs in Houston. Getting bodies in the door has always been a problem here.
Story continues on the next page.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "I don't have anywhere else to go!" he admits. "Seriously, Houston has been so good to me, and I feel it is such an underrated city."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Talk Talk, Laughing Stock
- Radiohead, Kid A
- Erasure, Total Pop
- The Presets, Pacifica
- Pet Shop Boys, PopArt
Best Show You've Ever Seen: "Wow... That's tough... It's a tie between the Erasure and Annie Lennox concerts at Jones Hall. Erasure had WAY more show but Annie is, well, ANNIE."
First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: "'Sweet Dreams,' by the Eurythmics."
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
Optimo Ram, Online Radio Jefe Meagan Chambers, Don't Gag Her Gorgeous Guitar Justin Nava, the Voice of thelastplaceyoulook Donnie Houston, Halftime Entertainment Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker Dave Callier, Grindcore Guitar God Mlee Marie Mains, the Heart of Hearts of Animals DJ Navo, Bombón's Boundless Body-Mover Breelan Angel, Dirty Little Secret Keeper Michael Dauzat, Sr., a Rabbi and a Hate Nick Greer, a G Among G's Chingo Bling, H-Town's Own Versace Mariachi Quenton Rockwell, Melody Man in the Shiny Darks Southerland Nights, An Army of Accolades Stacy Hartoon, Rudz's Punk-Rock Heir Apparent Bowen Lyons, Keeper of the Trimms' Groove Chris Gore, Electronica Guru of BLSHS John Alton, the Madness of Cosmic Bug Loaf Reko Trill, of the Almighty Trill Brothers Jo Bird, Bow-Caster of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom DJ Nando1, Who Fights to Keep the Party Poppin' Randall Hopkins, Featherface Drummer and Brilliant Video Director Roby Deaton, Open-Mike Pocket of Cool Nosaprise, Hurrah! for the Blushing Bridegroom Tony Vega, the Big Easy's Barnburner Leslie Krafka, Onward Through the Fog Michael Anthony Shanks, Houston's Merry Shankster DJ Baby Roo, Vegetarian Hip-Hop Veteran Rachel Bays, Filming Them Softly Punk-Rock "Newcomers" Screech of Death Erin Rodgers, the Keys to Glass the Sky Alex LaRotta, Crate-Digging Fistful of Soul Brother Alycia Miles, Triumphant Soul Singer DJ Piam, Poison Girl's Bacon-Fat Funk Specialist Mister Insane, Host of The Insane Show Jake Rawls -- Kemo For Emo Is Back Santos Pastrana, Sound Engineer and DJ Ninja Heading Upstream with RIVERS' Chris Tamez DJ Dayta, Keeper of That Good Good Matthew Davis Buehrer, Runaway Sun's Globally Thinking Bassist Fat Tony, Third Ward to "BKNY" Noon, Rapper With a Lot on His Mind Matt Cash, Clear Lake's Cassette Tape Wailer Jason Smith, Alkari's Space City Rocker DJ Penetrate, All Lit Up in "Neon Lights" Catch Fever Is Catching On Renée Jonard, Princess of Noise Pollution Junior Gordon, Big Man With a Big Sound Chad Smalley, Blaggards' Barse Player Damien Randle, K-OTIX Man of Action Kevin Anthony, 45 Southbound Man DJ Good Grief Knows How to Have Fun Robert Kuhn, the Well-Traveled Islander Gunnar Cushway, Insko's Feel-Good Utilityman Mario Rodriguez, Tax the Wolf/Bang Bangz's Wonky Power Monger John Smith, Goodtime Continental Club Manager Dwayne Cathey, A Good Man to Scare People With Walter Carlos, Guitar-Punisher of Funeral Horse Ryan James, Putting Up a Good Fight John Cramer, Guitar Apostle of Project Grimm Big Gerb, Houston's Hongree-est MC Steven Higginbotham, Hard-Working Wheel Worker Alisha Pattillo & Her Swaggering, Soulful Sax Brandon Ray, Punk Rocker Turned Filmmaker/Animator The Excitable Boys of Another Run Flash Gordon Parks, DJ as Funky Professor DJ Main Event, Kratez Crew JumpOff Man Odd Hours and Back to Back's Hank Doyle Legendary K-OTIX Producer Russel "The ARE" Gonzalez Dylan Bryson Sings the Blues (Rock) DJ Damon Allen, R.O.C.O. Fellow Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy Joe Ortiz, Clockpole's Master of Nonsense Marzi Montazeri, the Man Dimebag Darrell Called a Bad Motherfucker John Salinas, the Beat Beast of Only Beast Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters Adam Bricks, NYC Expat Metal Journeyman and Blasé Bassist Alan Hilton Kyra Noons, Houston's Reggae Sunsplash DJ AudiTory, the Maestro of LuvItMane The Nephilim Terror's Death-Metal Growler Danny Carroll Tommy Grindle, Guitarist of Square and Compass The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary" DJ Twinkle-Toes, Won a "Dick-Measuring Vinyl Orgy" With Two iPods Beanz N Kornbread, Gmail-Loving Production Duo You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC
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