Cultura Dura is a Remezcla and Mike’s HARDER content and event series highlighting emerging Latin urban culture. We’ll be exploring scenes that haven’t really gotten any coverage anywhere else – from block parties and street art to underground sports and raw, young artists making movements pa’ la calle.
Frank Briones is a multifaceted fellow. As a Mexican who was raised in L.A., lived some time in South of the border, and now calls Houston his home, his varied background might explain the eclecticism he practices in his musical endeavors.
As Panchitron, he has been DJing and producing tracks for some time now, eventually storming H-Town along with his Bombón comrades to play the best parties in the area. Recently, he hooked up with Sines to start Svntv Mverte, the dark-edged dance machine that has gathered much notoriety lately with their concept and sound, which mixes and matches old school-reggaeton with a grimey edge, trap, and other heavy club-ready music.
With everything from dembow to tribal to merengue at his disposable on his arsenal of rhythms to set dancefloors on fire, Panchitron is a person whose interests lie in anyone using insistent rhythms and hip-swinging movements, regardless of location.
We caught up with Briones to know a little more about his musical mind and endeavors.
What made you interested in music?
There is a funny story behind it. I was living in Mexico at the time and I was on the school baseball team. I was really good and loved it, but I did not behave at all, so I end up [getting] kicked out. I had a tape deck and I would buy all these bootleg tapes just to pass the time since I had no more practice. I began spending all money on these tapes: Barry White, Nirvana, 2Pac, El Recodo, Control Machete, etc. Music can change a mood or a moment just on the first note. I could have gone a wrong path but music kept me sane and interested.
When did you become aware of the tropical sounds that influenced your music? Was there something or someone that made you want to incorporate these influences to your sounds?
We can thank the Jedi himself, Toy Selectah, for that one. We had dinner one night and talked cumbia, vegan life and cannabis. [It] sparked an interest, and four months later I was at SXSW with Toy meeting other producers and DJs. I watched Maluca perform for the first time, met Milkman and saw the grind mentality, watched DJ Orion spaz out. I came home ready to work!
How did Svntv Mverte start?
Sines and I have been real good friends and always talked about doing a project. The last two years have been very busy, with me touring and Sines working on the Freshmore label.
So I called him one day and told him that if we didn’t do this now we would never make anything. Two hours later we had a full studio set up at my place, and began to work on music. We didn’t know what we wanted to make or present, but as we talked about music and what we wanted to play at parties, we began to get ideas flowing.
What’s the difference between Svntv Mverte and your solo stuff? Is there a difference in approach from your part?
When I DJ or produce as Panchitron I play and present generally happy vibes. Cumbia, merengue, tribal. I play for the party and the ambiance. With Svntv Mverte it has become more than just a DJ set, it’s a performance now. We want to lead the dancefloor through emotions and moments when they can remember that time they were dancing. We are focusing on visuals for our show and also stage design; we want to engage the moment they see or hear the first note.
[Are we] club? Dembow? Dance? Cumbia? Who cares! Dios me guía, Ella me cuida.
What inspired you to come up with the concept behind Svntv Mverte? From what I have read, you talk about the culture of dance music, the expression of subcultures in the US, and the cult after which you are named.
La Santa Muerte is venerated by many and hated by more. Santa Muerte is a huge symbol of hope and disgust in the Mexican culture at this very moment. I identify with that concept because not everyone is going to accept my music, clothing, beliefs, or goals but some people will, and have believed in me. Santa Muerte is a sub-culture within the Catholic church, same with the sound we are presenting. We can’t be identified! [Are we] club? Dembow? Dance? Cumbia? Who cares! Dios me guía, Ella me cuida.
Personally, what changes between playing a DJ set and playing your own stuff live?
As Panchitron I am playing tons of 3BallMty, DJ Dus, Milkman, Omar Souleyman, Erick Jaimez. These guys are amazing producers and I love playing their stuff at the sweet spot of the night. As Svntv Mverte we are playing a lot of False Witness, Rizzla, Total Freedom, DJ Zone, and all the NAAFI homies from Mexico City!
How did you get involved with Bombón? What has the collective brought to you personally and artistically?
We just had our fourth anniversary! Well, I was DJing everywhere but Houston, and Bombón had a plan and it was to grow to be the best party in Houston. The plan was presented to me and I loved it! Four years later here we are. Artistically talking I have been pushed to give my all onstage and bring 100 per cent to a show, and personally I can tell you we are a family and we share more than just a stage. We support each other on our daily lives.
Bombón is notorious for throwing amazing parties. How do you make sure everything falls into place for that to happen?
Bombón has been consistent on having the best night on the first Saturday of each month. Everyone brings 100 per cent each night and has their role to do. We make sure everything we do matches our culture and our aesthetic. We make sure everyone is taken care of and has a great time. All great vybz!