According to Che Guevara, “The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” For Bradley Muñoz, the sole savant behind HTX electronic-hardcore act P.L.X.T.X (pronounced Pluto), he is ready to chop down the entire tree without mercy or recompense. The 24-year-old Chilean-American is baby-faced with a featherweight’s physique, yet he contains wisdom and insight beyond his years. Moreover, don’t let his small frame fool you. As Mark Twain once put it, “It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of fight in the dog.”
“What really drove me to music was my stutter,” Muñoz reflected while drinking coffee at a Waffle House one evening. “When I was a young kid, I couldn’t speak at all. The drive of my speech impediment really pushed me forward. Within the 20 or 30-minute time frame of performing, I don’t stutter. I am flooring. After [the performance], I am back to normal.”
In an enormously short time, Muñoz’s one-man riot of P.L.X.T.X, has recorded an EP and a full-length album, conceived and constructed his own light show during his performance, toured Japan, and began his own cassette-based Meiousei Records. Releases on the label include the seminal punk band Pink Eye, experimental performance artist Black Magic Marker, and a split feature with Canadian noise maker, Spathic.
“That handicap of mine pushed me harder to be aggressive,” Muñoz remarks. “All of the emotions of being able to express myself fluently rolled up into this spite ball that at any moment might explode.”
However, his frenetic, digital hardcore-influenced music coupled with visceral live performances make P.L.X.T.X the stunning surefire act in Houston. Imagine Atari Teenage Riot’s digital version of Minor Threat’s straightedge amalgamated with Aphex Twin circa “Come to Daddy,” emboldened by the drum n’ bass breakbeats, set to the most gruesome and frenzied action scene of a typical post-apocalyptic film. P.L.X.T.X’s is the evolution of industrial music and drum n’ bass’s primacy.
His chef-d’oeuvre, Selective Mutism, possesses tracks like “Casket,” and “War,” the latter speaking of liberation from the modern-day Sisyphian existence many people are trapped within, pushing the boulder to the top of the hill only to repeat the same excruciatingly painstaking task ad infinitum. “Clock in, clock out/ 9-to-5/ I will not be your conformist…/ Watch me break the chains/ Watch me spread my wings.”
“War” forges ahead at the speed of 21st-century life. Digital white noise seethes and crawls into the brain like a slowly metastasizing tumor. “Day I Die” is unrelenting, interwoven with the ominous chant, “The day I die/I am coming for you!” The rhythms are hearts on the verge of halting forever, pumping either to victory or death. “A Murder of Slaves” comments on our hyper-consumeristic culture. It is the sound of Naloxone reviving a heroin addict from a near-fatal overdose. Question: What are you going to do with your life now that you got it back?
The antithesis of an homage band, Muñoz prides himself on forging ahead and leaving behind a legacy of his own. “Having a label, like EDM or punk, makes it easier for your customers or your consumers to categorize [your music]," he says. "They are not on the same wavelength as other artists or I am.”
To see P.L.X.T.X perform live is to experience it with the entirety of your senses — mind, body, and soul. The microphone becomes an ice pick. The light show performs like an unnamed member of his army. Throwing himself into the crowd, he engages his audience, forcing them to be part of the show.
“I just get really close to people, and if they are feeling it, then I will get on top of them. I weigh 128 lbs., so you could just pick me up and throw me.”
Muñoz learned quickly that not everyone enjoys being provoked. “I had a few incidents where I get real close to people, and this one guy just, like, totally bucked up. I was like, ‘No, no, no!’” he pauses, laughing, “When I finished my first song, I told him that I was sorry, that this was just a show. You have to enjoy yourself. That’s when I started to really pay attention to people’s body language and facial reactions.”
When asked what inspires his feverishly mad shows, one of Houston’s own escaped his lips. “My biggest influence is B_L_A_C_K_I_E," Muñoz says. "He gets the fuck out there. He doesn’t care. He goes out there and will scream in front of you. His mentality influenced me to replicate his energy in my own way.”
Muñoz pauses, then let his hands go. “People are afraid to be intimidated," he says. "I have seen a lot of bands out there that are so timid. You have to get the people’s attention. I have been doing this shit for so long, and I am so hungry that I am willing to do anything. With all the bands that I see, [many of them] are just too timid. They’re pussies.”
When asked why more bands are afraid to take risks, Muñoz theorizes further. “There are so many bands from Houston — and I won’t name any names — who have potential, but are afraid to take risks," he says.
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“They are afraid of failure," Muñoz offers. "They are afraid that they are not going to make it, and they would rather take the easy way out, meaning have friends, party, have girlfriends, have boyfriends, have sex, take drugs — you know, that young-adult, immature life. I have never lived that life.”
Crediting his father’s work ethic for his success, Muñoz and P.L.X.T.X’s path is paved in optimism. His ultimate aim is to move to Japan once he graduates from the Art Institute. In twenty-four short years, Muñoz has accomplished more artistically than many accomplish in a lifetime. Like his father, Muñoz’s work ethic equals that of the father whom he admires.
“My father is a fucking immigrant," Muñoz says. "I am an offspring of an immigrant. I am a first generation Chilean-American. I look at my father, and he gets up to go to work no matter if he has kidney stones. And that is where I get my work ethic from. With my father always working, his work ethic influenced me to be the person who I am today.”
P.L.X.T.X performs tonight at Fitzgerald’s opening for the legendary Japanese noise band, Melt Banana. Doors open at 8 p.m.