Jaime Ortiz, otherwise known as J.C., has his hands totally full. Ortiz is a surgical technician and founder of United Scene, a music promotion business that he started while in the army. Perhaps it is no coincidence the initials of United Scene is "U.S.," the same as our nation that Ortiz served. This Pompano based company strives to get local bands that rock star status they're reaching for. Some even made it to our 2013 "Best of" list. Bands they work with include the Riot Act, Unity Rise, and everyone's favorite Misfits cover band Ms. Fitts. So the theory that modern men somehow lost their ambition? Consider it dispelled (Future hubby material, anyone?). We sat with the former soldier, tech, and musical guru to see what United Scene does for local acts besides free promotion. Up and coming bands, you better take notes.
New Times: So what does United Scene do?
J.C. Ortiz: U.S is a one hundred percent D.I.Y business dedicated to helping underground bands/artists reach a wider audience. We do everything from promoting shows, contacting venues and booking showcases, printing fliers, working merch booths for the bands and even hauling equipment around. Basically anything a band might need to help get some kind of recognition for their hard work, we can provide... Or die trying to.
How did you come up with the idea of United Scene?
I came up with the idea based on my memories of growing up in South Florida. I remember so many music venues that really cared about what the local scene was producing. Culture Room always had great shows. Most of those places either went out of business or have been under new management for some time now. And sure, places are still around to go see great shows. But it feels like something is missing these days. It feels like it's more important for some venues/bars to make sure they get a great guarantee at the door rather than support the local community that pays their bills and keeps them in business. This is all my opinion, of course. I just feel very strongly about our music community and the quality of artists that are here at home.
How did United Scene get started?
I started on a very small scale while I was serving in the Army. Really, just a few of us going to shows and hanging out with all the locals, telling people about shows coming up, handing out stickers, whatever. Since it was so hard to actually get started while I was serving, it gave me time to plan a little bit. I didn't officially "start" United Scene until I was honorably discharged and back in Pompano.
You mentioned that some of your bands were written about in the Best of 2013 of New Times.
I'd like to answer this by saying that we don't consider them "our" bands. We don't charge for promoting or anything if I hadn't mentioned that. We have promoted shows for the Resolvers (Best Reggae Band 2013) and Unity Rise (Best Folk Band 2013). We have also promoted for other bands featured in New Times including Killmama, the Riot Act, Ms. Fitts and tons more great bands from the Tri-County area you may not have heard of yet.
What do you want to accomplish with United Scene?
We want to grow a network of local artists and venues dedicated to putting out quality music. South Florida has so many great artists that people need to know about. At the end of the day, our goal is simple: to get new music out to as many people as we possibly can.
Did any of your artists get signed? If so, who are they?
None of the people we have promoted for have got signed. I'm sure a few will be close very soon though.
If a band wants to work with you guys, what should they do?
Right now, we can be contacted through the Facebook page UnitedSceneHQ. My phone number is there too and we're open 24/7.
When is the next concert you're working on?
A few are coming up actually. For instance, the Ms. Fitts pre-party play December 13, at Churchill's. We put up new events on our page almost every day, so be sure to visit us.
To get in contact with United Scene, visit them on Facebook or call J.C. at 954-802-9790. United Scene is open 24/7.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.