Beat Antique was in Chicago this weekend performing at the Aragon with Umpree’s McGee. Playing to a packed house this band pulled together a most enjoyable performance for the audience in attendance. I had heard the group’s music before-mainly through YouTube-and really couldn’t put a finger on their sound. Beats Antique is a must see live-the energy and sound they generate can truly be appreciated on the big stage with a sound system that can deliver the bass and make you want to dance.
Speaking with founding member David Satori-I had a chance to speak with him about the band and this is what he had to say…
I understand the group Beats Antique is originally from San Francisco?
Yep, we’re out of the San Francisco and Oakland area. We actually more out of the Oakland. We love San Francisco and have lived there but right now we all live in Oakland.
Tell me…how did the band get started initially and it’s current evolution?
In 2007, the band started as a belly dance recording project. A famous record label owner and manager named Miles Copeland who managed the Police and was Stuart Copeland’s brother who was the drummer for Police-started IRS records in the 80’s. (He did a REM, the Bangles and lot of punk music.) He also had started a belly dance company and a dance company wanted to make music for it.
Zoe was a dancer for the company and asked me a Tommy to start making music and we made a belly dance album. We all had influences studying that genre…music from North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe so we decided to go for it. We started experimenting not really knowing what we were doing-we were like-let’s throw all these influences together and see what we get. And 4 albums later we’re still just riding that wave. It’s caught on and people are really into it-we’ve got fans across the country, great bookings and great management. It has been quite an adventure from just making belly dance music to touring the country and the world on that whim.
What sort of instrumentation do you use-is it purely electronic?
Well, we all came from live bands. It started off as just a DJ group-cause we created these compositions and this music-but in order to replicate it live we’d need a 10-15 piece band. Realizing that size band wasn’t affordable we started DJing it and that got popular. Then we became a little unsatisfied with just DJing-so Tommy took out all the drums and started playing drum set-I took out all the melodies and took out the banjo part and violins and we started playing together with these minimal back tracks with a lot of bass. And Zoe was a huge part of the performance with the dance and choreography.
Our shows turned into a full live experience with live drums, banjo and violin-along with electronic performance-so it’s a full show now.
How did you get people to buy into this music when you first started?
We started doing small shows on the West Coast. And then we also got asked to do a lot of festivals-including Lollopalooza. The cool thing about our stuff is that-the band started as just being influenced by belly dance-but it’s really more than belly dance music…it’s electronic music-it’s hip hop music-it’s Indian music-it’s South American. Belly dance is where our roots came. And Zoe with her performance-will do belly dance, some burlesque and modern dance.
Tell me about your new album Elektrafone…what can your fans expect?
The album just came out released October 4th. It’s a lot of our fresh new stuff that we produced while on the road. It’s like high energy brass band music with some Afro-beat and dub-step influence. With the Afro-beat we went to West Africa-so we have some horns in there. Zoe put together a real beautiful slow dance piece called Siron’s Song. It doesn’t sound like our other albums and that’s why we like it. It’s marking it’s own territory-with more electronic styles and different elements.
What can your Chicago fans looking forward to with the show at The Aragon?
Our fans can expect a lot of interesting music and performance and some surprises. We like to bring elements of surprise to our show. So it’s not like every other show. We try to bring out unique interactives and a beautiful dance pieces. It’s a cross cultural extravaganza.
The Beats Antique sound is quite infectious-so go see their show-whenever and wherever you can! Loved it!!!