The Rocks Off 200: Chris Gore, Electronica Guru of BLSHS
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, 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 previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? BLSHS (Pronounced "blushes") is easily one of my Top 5 Houston bands. Michelle Miears has a voice on loan from the eerie wailing at the end of the world, and their music is built around a wall of haunting electronic sound. Chris Gore is one of the men who builds that wall.
Photo by Reagan Gore
Strange for a musician of his genre, Gore got started in music through skateboarding. After noticing that one of his friends would never come skate with them on Wednesdays because of a bass guitar lesson, Gore got into the instrument himself. Eventually he was drawn into the scene at Fitzgerald's and began making his own music. His initial efforts were as part of a nu-metal band known as lower, in which he played bass for seven years. The band did well, playing hundreds of shows and opening for the likes of Incubus and Sevendust before ultimately imploding.
During his run with lower, Gore developed an interest in the production side of things. His house filled up with synths, drum machines, recording equipment and demos that never went anywhere. Frustrated and missing the feeling of working with other artists, Gore and Rick Carruth began making instrumental electronica together.
Once Miears came to the mike with her unique voice, one of the best ethereal pop bands in the city was born. BLSHS is now working on a full-length followup to January 2014 EP Abstract Desires, scheduled for July.
Home Base: BLSHS shares a little practice room near UH-Downtown with Recovery Room. Bang Bangz practices next door, meaning it's probably the most awesome-sounding spot in the city at any given moment. Gore's favorite place to play is Fitzgerald's. After becoming up with the old club over the years, the 2010-11 renovation turned it from his least favorite venue to top of the list.
Good War Story: "The first electronic show I ever played, there were only two of us and we tried to bring everything from the studio and route it all through my laptop for processing live," Gore recounts. "Seriously way too much...guitars, bass, a metallophone with contact mikes on it, a monome, several midi controllers for pads, keys and knobs. A mixer and effects too."
During sound check I was in a hurry and plugged the power for the mixer into my USB hub and blew if up in a puff of the worst-smelling smoke ever. Panic mode initiated. Can't plug half of the controllers in without a hub and can't soundcheck anything.
We managed to get a replacement USB hub quickly and go on with our set when doors open. About halfway through our set right when we have an OutKast sample in a breakdown that says 'They say a computer can do my job better than I can damn do it...' my laptop just slowly spirals out of control in a fit of irony, glitches and stutters that would make Aphex Twin proud. For me, though, this was the end of the world.
Next up, dead silence and a sound guy giving me that look that you do not want to get during a show. This was about ten years ago, when laptops took a lot longer to boot up. I knew that we had about 15 minutes left in our set and most of that was going to be spent waiting on the computer and the set to load back up. Worst ten minutes on stage ever.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Gore dislikes it when people ask what time "their" band is going on through social media. He resents the idea that people go to an evening of music and just leave once the band they most want to see has gone off.
Sure, there are legit reasons to do that, such as work and child care, but making a habit of it means that you lose a lot of chances to discover new acts.
Story continues on the next page.