Monique Ortiz  is creating music, videos, art, photography, glasswork
8

patrons

If you're here you probably already know a bit of my history. Currently I am working on 3 music projects: Alien Knife Fight, A.K.A.C.O.D., and a collaboration with Alain Johannes, Gary Arce and Bill Stinson of Yawning Man, yet to be named. I also continue to work on my visual art with my concentration in painting (I also work extensively in photography, video, and glass).

I've arrived at a place in my life where I've had enough of playing little bars, to only a handful of people who aren't there for the show, then get handed a $20 bill at the end of the night. I've been doing that for 25 years, and very little has changed. We all have to pay our dues, but the standard band model of "get out and play anywhere you can" simply doesn't work for every artist or every genre. I know I have fans out there, but you guys are scattered all over the world and there aren't enough of you in any one place to convince booking agents to have me. It's ok. I've always known my music isn't for everyone. If it was I'd probably hate it. The majority of shows I've played I felt were not appropriate bills or venues, but I just couldn't get through to the venues I thought my music would be best received at. I make music and art because it's what I love to do, and I feel as if it's in my DNA, but the reality is that it does cost money to do it. At 46 years old, with very little following, no record deal or crew, hauling all of my gear around myself, setting it all up, performing for 2-3 hours, then tearing it all down and hauling back (not to mention gas, food, lodging, wear and tear on my van) for $20-$50 a night just isn't realistic for me anymore. So I'm shifting my focus to the content. I'm pouring my energy into increasing my creative output, in a variety of media, here at the home studio. I have a lot of ideas for experimental film, music videos, and video collage to be projected at future shows, in addition to my musical work. I'm thinking until that better tour offer comes around, if it ever does, I can perform right here, and broadcast it to you all, with art direction, sets, props, lighting, more than I'd ever have at my disposal at any of those little bars. 

Progress has been very slow on getting new musical works out due to a litany of equipment problems, and legal and bureaucratic red tape threatening to take our home (which happens to be where our recording studio, painting studio, and glass shop are). I believe we are now turning a corner, and Mike and I can get back on track with mixing the new AKF material. our goal is to drop a new single online every other week. Once we have accumulated 8-12 songs we will take a vote from you all on which 8 or 9 songs should go to vinyl. Vinyl is prohibitively expensive to do, but if enough of you were interested and willing to pre-order we might be able to pull it off. 

Work on new A.K.A.C.O.D. material has been moving at a snail's pace for the reasons listed above, but also because I live in Austin, Texas,  and Larry and Dana are in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. We are attempting to share files and piece songs together long-distance. Most of the responsibility is on me since I'm the primary songwriter. It's been difficult to write music or be creative in any way when the possibility of homelessness has been constantly looming. I'm hoping after we get through this legal battle with our property I will be able to breathe easy and pick up momentum on songwriting. It's too soon to say if we will be reuniting as a band. The only way that can happen is if someone offers us a good touring opportunity that pays well, or we do the occasional fly-in, paid for by a promoter. Basically it has to be proven to venues and promoters that the demand is out there.

The "Desert Sessions": In November of 2018 I was invited out to Joshua Tree to collaborate with a few of my favorite artists: producer/multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens Of The Stone Age, Desert Sessions, etc), guitarist Gary Arce, and drummer Bill Stinson (both of Yawning Man). We got together at Red Barn Recorders for a weekend of jamming. We recorded 4 hours of material. It has been left up to me to do the first edit, which will take some time. I need to go through each piece of music, pick out the best parts, put them into a new session, and begin shaping them into songs. Once that is complete I will send my edits to Alain for further refinement and any overdubs he feels are necessary. At the moment we are approaching this as a one-off project, with no plans to tour or make a band of it. Yawning Man are constantly touring and Alain is also very busy with touring and a variety of other projects. If there's a lot of interest from fans and/or labels however,  we would certainly consider getting it together.

As far as my visual art goes, I am currently working on a new series of paintings, while trying to find myself stylistically after a decade of not picking up a paint brush. This has been a fun and invigorating challenge, a welcome respite from the stress I've been under for the past couple months. I will sell my artwork at a discount for patrons.

Where you come into the picture: Patreon offers 3 models to creators: 1. Membership, which would require me to make premiums for supporters. 2. Subscription: which is better for those creating serialized material, such as podcasters. and 3. Ongoing support: Patrons typically just pay a dollar a month to "go along for the ride" (Patreon's words, not mine), and can take satisfaction in knowing that they are helping an artist do what they are meant to do.

I am going with the third option for now, because at the moment it just isn't feasible or realistic for me to take on the responsibility of making items for fans, and getting them out in a timely manner. Once we're through the stress of securing our property, getting the studio running again, and our workload lightens a bit, I may very well shift to the membership model.

Support can come in many forms:  if you know of someone in the industry you feel I should contact, or you have a venue suggestion, or booking agent suggestion, by all means, feel free to contact me or forward my links to them. If you have any recording equipment that you no longer use and are willing to donate, that would be great too. Donate what you are comfortable with. I'm grateful for any help I can get.

Many thanks!

-Monique





Goals
2% complete
Now that I've reached my first goal of obtaining my 24-track digital recorder for songwriting (big thanks to Jeff Derose!), it's time to post the next necessary equipment upgrade for our recording studio: We are in dire need of a good compressor/limiter. The models we've been eyeing for several years are the Universal Audio 1176LN and 4-710D. Pretty much every professional studio has one or both of these and there's a reason. They're handbuilt and make pretty much every sound 100 times bigger and better. I could get into the technical jargon, but I might bore those who aren't gear geeks. If we had one or both of these  the difference in our recordings would be night and day. You've all heard recordings using these compressors, on records by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Radiohead, and Michael Jackson, to name a few. As is the case with most industry-standard studio gear, you get what you pay for. The 1176 lists for $2,399 and the 4-710d goes for about $1600. Once we get one or both of these powerful tools you'll immediately be able to tell which recordings had it and which didn't. The new sound will have more depth, more dynamics, crisp high end on vocals and guitars, warm,  consistent lows on the bass and drums (that's a very general description). If we raise even $2000 we can at least get the 4-710, which is better than nothing, and still a vast improvement from our current arsenal.  

If you'd like to do as our patron Jeff did, and donate directly to us to expedite our upgrades, rather than go through Patreon, you can do that through my PayPal:
https://PayPal.Me/MoniqueOrtizArtist

For those who do enjoy geeking-out on audio gear you can read about them here:

4-710d:
https://www.uaudio.com/hardware/4-710d.html


1176LN:
https://www.uaudio.com/hardware/1176ln.html







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If you're here you probably already know a bit of my history. Currently I am working on 3 music projects: Alien Knife Fight, A.K.A.C.O.D., and a collaboration with Alain Johannes, Gary Arce and Bill Stinson of Yawning Man, yet to be named. I also continue to work on my visual art with my concentration in painting (I also work extensively in photography, video, and glass).

I've arrived at a place in my life where I've had enough of playing little bars, to only a handful of people who aren't there for the show, then get handed a $20 bill at the end of the night. I've been doing that for 25 years, and very little has changed. We all have to pay our dues, but the standard band model of "get out and play anywhere you can" simply doesn't work for every artist or every genre. I know I have fans out there, but you guys are scattered all over the world and there aren't enough of you in any one place to convince booking agents to have me. It's ok. I've always known my music isn't for everyone. If it was I'd probably hate it. The majority of shows I've played I felt were not appropriate bills or venues, but I just couldn't get through to the venues I thought my music would be best received at. I make music and art because it's what I love to do, and I feel as if it's in my DNA, but the reality is that it does cost money to do it. At 46 years old, with very little following, no record deal or crew, hauling all of my gear around myself, setting it all up, performing for 2-3 hours, then tearing it all down and hauling back (not to mention gas, food, lodging, wear and tear on my van) for $20-$50 a night just isn't realistic for me anymore. So I'm shifting my focus to the content. I'm pouring my energy into increasing my creative output, in a variety of media, here at the home studio. I have a lot of ideas for experimental film, music videos, and video collage to be projected at future shows, in addition to my musical work. I'm thinking until that better tour offer comes around, if it ever does, I can perform right here, and broadcast it to you all, with art direction, sets, props, lighting, more than I'd ever have at my disposal at any of those little bars. 

Progress has been very slow on getting new musical works out due to a litany of equipment problems, and legal and bureaucratic red tape threatening to take our home (which happens to be where our recording studio, painting studio, and glass shop are). I believe we are now turning a corner, and Mike and I can get back on track with mixing the new AKF material. our goal is to drop a new single online every other week. Once we have accumulated 8-12 songs we will take a vote from you all on which 8 or 9 songs should go to vinyl. Vinyl is prohibitively expensive to do, but if enough of you were interested and willing to pre-order we might be able to pull it off. 

Work on new A.K.A.C.O.D. material has been moving at a snail's pace for the reasons listed above, but also because I live in Austin, Texas,  and Larry and Dana are in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. We are attempting to share files and piece songs together long-distance. Most of the responsibility is on me since I'm the primary songwriter. It's been difficult to write music or be creative in any way when the possibility of homelessness has been constantly looming. I'm hoping after we get through this legal battle with our property I will be able to breathe easy and pick up momentum on songwriting. It's too soon to say if we will be reuniting as a band. The only way that can happen is if someone offers us a good touring opportunity that pays well, or we do the occasional fly-in, paid for by a promoter. Basically it has to be proven to venues and promoters that the demand is out there.

The "Desert Sessions": In November of 2018 I was invited out to Joshua Tree to collaborate with a few of my favorite artists: producer/multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes (Eleven, Queens Of The Stone Age, Desert Sessions, etc), guitarist Gary Arce, and drummer Bill Stinson (both of Yawning Man). We got together at Red Barn Recorders for a weekend of jamming. We recorded 4 hours of material. It has been left up to me to do the first edit, which will take some time. I need to go through each piece of music, pick out the best parts, put them into a new session, and begin shaping them into songs. Once that is complete I will send my edits to Alain for further refinement and any overdubs he feels are necessary. At the moment we are approaching this as a one-off project, with no plans to tour or make a band of it. Yawning Man are constantly touring and Alain is also very busy with touring and a variety of other projects. If there's a lot of interest from fans and/or labels however,  we would certainly consider getting it together.

As far as my visual art goes, I am currently working on a new series of paintings, while trying to find myself stylistically after a decade of not picking up a paint brush. This has been a fun and invigorating challenge, a welcome respite from the stress I've been under for the past couple months. I will sell my artwork at a discount for patrons.

Where you come into the picture: Patreon offers 3 models to creators: 1. Membership, which would require me to make premiums for supporters. 2. Subscription: which is better for those creating serialized material, such as podcasters. and 3. Ongoing support: Patrons typically just pay a dollar a month to "go along for the ride" (Patreon's words, not mine), and can take satisfaction in knowing that they are helping an artist do what they are meant to do.

I am going with the third option for now, because at the moment it just isn't feasible or realistic for me to take on the responsibility of making items for fans, and getting them out in a timely manner. Once we're through the stress of securing our property, getting the studio running again, and our workload lightens a bit, I may very well shift to the membership model.

Support can come in many forms:  if you know of someone in the industry you feel I should contact, or you have a venue suggestion, or booking agent suggestion, by all means, feel free to contact me or forward my links to them. If you have any recording equipment that you no longer use and are willing to donate, that would be great too. Donate what you are comfortable with. I'm grateful for any help I can get.

Many thanks!

-Monique





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