Big and far-flung and ever-changing as Houston is, sometimes the names who show up in the Houston Press Music Awards nominations every year surprise even us. This is not a bad thing at all: Within the music scene (which continues to amaze us in its ingenuity and diversity), it keeps the circle of life going, and certainly keeps us on our toes.
That's how Rocks Off came to make the electronic acquaintance of the artist who goes by FLCON FCKER, a 2012 nominee for Best Electronic Act. This gentleman, whom we'll leave as FLCON FCKER because his Web site and social-media pages do the same thing, contacted us to let us know we had originally omitted the "O" in FLCON.
Oops. It's since been corrected, of course, but even he admits via email "as you can imagine, it happens a lot -- perhaps it wasn't the best name choice in retrospect lol."
But while we had him on the line, so to speak, we figured we might as well learn a little more about this FLCON FCKER. He says he learned guitar in high school (he's 34), and just recently started playing electronic music.
FLCON FCKER's background is in medical research and virology. He has a Biology/Chemistry degree from UT-Pan Am in Edinburg in the Valley, and spend several years in Vanderbilt University's Pharmacology Ph.D. Program. He moved to Houston and spent five years at a viral oncology lab in the Med Center.
"I took some time off and ended up making synths," says FLCON FCKER. "Not sure how that works, but yeah."
Now he builds vintage synthesizers along the lines of Gary Numan (he's a big fan) and other electronic audio equipment, both for himself and other musicians. Austin's Roger Sellers commissioned one of FCKER's works for a show he's doing with popular techno-rock duo Ghostland Observatory next month.
As far as performing goes, FLCON FCKER says he started as a way to showcase his hardware, and lately he's been doing "random events" around town on a fairly regular basis. The audio and video clips on his Web site feature him performing at places like Notsuoh; his burbling ambient sound collages, with perhaps a trace of trip-hop, would be recognizable to any Aphex Twin fan or even Radiohead circa Kid A/Amnesiac.
"The performance aspect took a long time to get right," says FLCON FCKER, 34. "I was concerned about automating too many things. I wanted it to be clear to the audience that I was doing things in real-time.
"That's not easy to do and I am still working on it," he adds, "but apparently some people somewhere are really digging it."
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Houstonians can next catch FLCON FCKER July 8 at Mango's with Treasure Mammal, whom he describes as "some band I met on the road... their show is the most fun I've had at a small electronic show.
"They use 'shake weights' in their act," he adds. "That's all I'm gonna say."