Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, 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 the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? I've got to admit, the only reason I, also known as Jef With One F and No Idea What He's Talking About When It Comes To Rap, got interested in Renazons and their main boy Recon Naissance was because their Facebook was covered in a wonderful set of murky, mysterious live videos that made me think of a good David Lynch musical scene. Aside from that, though, Recon's skills are impressive and you'll be glad you stumbled across him and his group.
Recon started rapping the moment he first heard the genre, having grown up in a household that listened to country and oldies. He started out with a song about a Wookie, and while that sort of thing can conquer a niche market it's not the work of the elite. His mature compositions are almost anti-gangsta in their approach, deploring greed and upholding strong monogamous love. He's looking to be a poet, not a pop star, and to really say something from his soapbox.
Renazons has an interesting approach to music, using pre-recorded beats along with guitar lines by Matt Goetz to achieve that unworldly but organic texture that the songs tend to have. The result is almost beat poetry in a way, and grabs a listener instantly.
Home Base: Anyplace Recon can find a quiet meditative spot to throw on headphones and use a loop pedal, he'll bust out a notebook and get to work on his next song. Disconnect from the world around him is the only thing necessary to jump start the process.
When it comes to performance, he likes Fitzgerald's. He likes how the club is both a sanctuary of Houston music history and at the same time still kind of a dive. "It looks like the place has been ransacked by bands over the decades and I love that," he says.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "Houston has been my home as long as I can remember, although I was born in New Orleans," he says. "I thought about moving to other places that are more 'scene friendly,' but if I can't make it as a musician in the place I'm at, what makes me think I'm ready for the world?
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"I like the challenge of Houston," Recon continues. "Folks say there isn't much of a scene, and I look at that as the perfect excuse to make one that we can be proud of. There are so many talented musicians in this city, and I believe we can be great. So far the best 'scene' I have found has been at the HFT (Houston Free Thinkers) events; diverse array of artists, musicians, and most of them local talent."
Good War Story: "Let's see," he opens. "There was one show, not as Renazons, where we couldn't get the sound working at all. Matt started playing a riff, and a fellow musician Tim Rozek came up and beatboxed through the whole song. I spit out some raps, made a chorus on the spot, and now it's one of our songs.
"So more of a winning the battle kind of war story, which is far from normality!"
Music Scene Pet Peeve: The thing that irks Recon the most is when an artist is inspired by a previous act, but does nothing but sounds just like their hero. He's fed up with a remake-centric world of entertainment. People should take the same risks their heroes did, in his opinion.
Best Show Ever: "The best show I ever played would have to be the first Renazons show," he says. "Things didn't go perfect -- Matt's Guitar got unplugged after we looped it -- but the energy was groovy. The three of us were just jumping and dancing around, passing the mike, and screaming to the gods of sonic intent.
"It felt so tribal," Recon marvels. "I am grateful for every time I get to play with these guys. The vibes are amazing."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Beatles, Let it Be
- Kid Cudi, Man On the Moon
- The Who, Who's Next
- Weezer, Pinkerton
- Tupac, Greatest Hits
What's Next? "We hope to play as many shows as possible in this current lineup, and show Houston and the world something completely different," Recon says. "These songs, and the creation of them is built on organic improv and a wide mix of styles.
"If you come to see us, each show will be a unique music experience," he adds. "We are living in renaissance times, and we want to continue to make the kind of music that will generate some kind of positive conscious growth in society."
Renazons plays HFT & Visionary Noise Presents: For The Community Five on Friday June 7 and Saturday June 8 at at The Compound (2305 Wheeler). Other artists on the bill include Nine Minutes, Jon Black, Colonial Blue, Rampancy, "Downer," Crashing Colors, Elyse, Modern Explorations, Arkitek, Worst Nightmare, Magna Carda, The Early Transcendtals, Decathect, Mephedrone, Days N' Daze, Justice Allah, P.L.X.T.X., Nikkhoo, Josiah Gabriel, FLCON FCKER, Drastik, Lone Star Disciples, Dame, Stephen Farris, Artificial Earth Machine, Elixir Kid, Keno Sims, En Sane and more.
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.
THE ROCKS OFF 100 2013 ALUMNI
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