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.
Who? Breye "7x" Kiser is best known as the driving force behind Provision, one of Houston's longest-running and most respected electrogoth acts. Kiser, like all great EBM frontmen, hits the stage like a bolt of lightning, holding court over the intense beeps and boops crafted by his wife Jen "Skully" Kiser and Matt "Maddy" Willis.
Provision's latest CD, A New Revolution lives up to their whole, incredible catalog, but reaches deeper into the world of rejection and redemption. It's dance music to celebrate the death of death itself, set to segments of the greatest speech in the history of film.
Provision is just one of the many bands Kiser has been a part of for the last two decades, as well as Underground Netwerk Intelligence, In Blue, Bamboo Crisis, The Mirror System, Prominence, and T3I. He's been a promoter, booking agent and resident DJ for clubs like The Cellar and Atomic Café, and run labels like Section 44 and Kathodik Records.
Home Base: Kiser is known in town for a staunch adherence to being able to provide his own equipment at a moment's notice, which is why Provision practices at his home in Cypress after years of renting space in Francisco's. He also maintains his own recording studio, Red Square Digital.
When it comes to performance, though, Kiser is most at home at Numbers. Not only have some of the best moments of his own career happened at the Grand Old Gothic Lady, most of his biggest influences and favorite bands have graced its stage.
Good War Story: "While touring the U.S. in 1997 with Bamboo Crisis, our tour van broke down," Breye begins. "Luckily we were able to coast into a gas station in Tallahassee, Florida, when it happened.
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At first we thought it was just the belts, and it was nighttime with no auto-parts stores open; so we had to wait until morning to assess everything. The next day the battery was dead, and I used an old trick my dad taught me to figure out it was the alternator that had gone bad.
The band was really freaking out and thought our tour was done. But I was able to fix it myself. I was the only one in our band and crew that knew how to work on cars. I started working on cars with my dad when I was eight years old.
A lot of people don't really know that about me. I got a kick out of watching my bandmates freak out all night, and talk about this was the end for us on that trip.
Why Do You Stay in Houston: "Since the late '90s I've toured the U.S. six times," says Kiser. "I've seen what's out there, and I don't think people realize how great Houston truly is. A lot of my friends have moved away to L.A., NYC, Chicago, etc... Big cities where they think they'll be happy because of some incredible scene they have come up with in their mind.
"Most of them end up moving back because they realize it wasn't truly what they'd imagined."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "Bands who think they are better than everyone else with the whole rock-star mentality and attitude," offers Kiser. "We've been fortunate to open for many of our biggest influences and sadly, you sometimes find out that those you admired and [who] influenced you are nothing but pricks that feel the world owes them something.
"It's been a real eye opener for me personally," he continues. "I just wish that bands would realize they got to where they are because of their fans, and never forget that when it comes to performing and being personable in public. If you think you are too cool to come out and meet fans and sign a CD or take a picture, then maybe you should really ask yourself why you are doing music and performing live in the first place."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Psyche, Unveiling The Secret
- Xymox, Twist of Shadows
- Ministry, Twitch
- Depeche Mode, Some Great Reward
- The Hunger, Leave Me Alone
Best Show Ever: "May 7, 2011 with Clan of Xymox at Numbers in Houston, Texas. Clan of Xymox is my second-favorite band ever, and all of the members of Provision are big fans," Breye says. "I think that translated into an energy that just exploded onstage. We won over a lot of new fans that night who'd never heard of us.
"People still talk about that show to this day and how great our performance was," he says. "And doing it at Numbers here at home, in our favorite venue; was just the icing on the cake."
First Song You Fell in Love With: "Depeche Mode's 'People Are People,'" Kiser answers. "I heard it at the skating rink when I was ten years old. The message in the lyrics was universal, and that was the moment that I knew I wanted to create music with a message that people around the world could identify with.
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"And the sounds were ones that I could not identify, and I was completely intrigued as to how the song was constructed," he adds. "That curiosity led me to purchasing my first synthesizer and drum machine at age 13. The rest is now history."