The Rocks Off 200: Frank Ortiz, Synth-Pop Served Perfectly Frank
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? I've said it before and will say it again; Houston has an electronica scene that never gets anywhere near the recognition that it deserves: Bang Bangz, BLSHS and now I hear Asmodeus X is back on the move. Now you can add Frank Ortiz, who goes by the simple frank., to the list.
Ortiz cut his teeth on a Casio MT-500 he got for Christmas. His dad showed him the C, F and G chords, and he taught himself the rest. When technology improved, he teamed with some friends to form Paul Lynde is Dead (PLID) for live performances, but since that act petered out he has dedicated himself to writing solo.
Ortiz released the single "alibi" earlier this year, and hopes to have his first EP ready by September. He's currently working with Thomas Brigman on some collaborative synth-pop, and if his current work is any indication it's going to be good stuff.
Home Base: because his work is so portable these days, Ortiz never confines himself to any single location to craft music. Live, he prefers Warehouse Live as a venue. It can be hard for electronica artists to get the sound setup that allows them the control they want, and Warehouse is excellent in that regard. He also digs the synth-friendly atmospheres at Notsuoh and Super Happy Fun Land.
Good War Story: "Not sure it's a war story, but PLID got to open for My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult in New Orleans, which was an awesome experience that I cherish," relays Ortiz. "Somehow though, we failed to get a picture with the band. Such is life, I suppose.
"They were really great and I kind of regret not hanging out with them after the gig," he continues, "but we hadn't eaten since before the sound check and by the time our set ended we were practically fainting with hunger!"
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Ortiz isn't alone in wishing there was an easier way to promote gigs in Houston. Getting bodies in the door has always been a problem here.
Story continues on the next page.