The Rocks Off 200

The Rocks Off 200: Rachel Bays, Filming Them Softly

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Music Scene Pet Peeve: At the end of the day, Bays is someone who does what she does because she fell in love with Houston's local bands. What makes her the saddest is watching these acts break up. She tends to get very attached to her subjects, and it's always a shame when that focus suddenly shatters.

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Led Zeppelin, IV
  • Gustav Holst, The Planets
  • Bill Conti, The Right Stuff/North and South
  • Stevie Wonder, The Definitive Collection
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumors

Why Do You Stay In Houston? "There is a lot going on here," Bays says. "Even the filmmakers seem are coming out of the woodwork now, it's very exciting! In the beginning I thought I was the only one focusing on live performances, until I met Jon Conner and Jennifer Harley."

Jon and I officially incorporated Cymatic Pictures this year; [it's] a video-production company, and hope to see it grow. I am also in the middle of a degree so I will be here for a while. I prefer to travel, but I'll always consider this home.

In the beginning we had grandiose dreams of filming all of the shows for free or dirt-cheap and making super inexpensive videos -- just throwing everything we had at this scene. We just wanted to help, because we love these people and their music. But after about a year of data management, gear purchases, expenses, time spent away from work shooting and editing, it all became unsustainable.

I simply didn't have the personal cash to fund everything, and slowly had to sell out to corporate gigs. But I want to bring it back very soon, I want to investigate the history more and tell the story of this place. Ultimately, these musicians brought my love of film back to life. That's something you can never fully repay, and I can never thank them enough.

Best Show Ever: "That's a tie between Daniel Johnston at Fitz in 2012 and Plants and Animals in Dallas the same year," she says. "Daniel Johnston had this one line like, 'I love all of you people but I hate myself.' His lyrics are so endearing, yet brutally honest.

"Plants and Animals I drove to see with a friend, and they were so bummed when they came all the way down to Texas to play to 12 people," she continues. "But they played their hearts out anyway and it was just this intimate, intense, house-party vibe. Super-nice guys, too."

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner