Beats Antique updates traditions via electronics
Beats Antique is an in-demand act for end-of-the-world parties. On December 21, 2012, when Earth will be obliterated, Beats Antique will be playing next to the pyramids at a festival in Egypt. Not only that, they got invited to gig at the Mayan pyramids in Mexico on the 21st as well.
“We decided that the Egyptian festival and those pyramids would be powerful,” drummer Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel explains during a conference call with multi-instrumentalist bandmate David Satori and the Georgia Straight. “Just personally, hearing all the stuff that’s been going on in Egypt, they need some love.”
The Oakland, California–based, world-fusion act consists of Cappel, Satori, and Zoe Jakes—who is kind of the lead singer, except instead of singing she performs belly-dance routines. (Unfortunately, she won’t be making the trek for the band’s LIVE at Squamish set.) Beats Antique’s sound blends acoustic Northern Indian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern folk music with electronic genres like downtempo, dubstep, glitch, and hip-hop.
Cappel and Satori, who are both classically trained musicians, honed their passion for world music through schooling and travel.
“Studying all these folk songs, I had a real deep appreciation and love of the music. It was a really natural, easy thing for us to create our own version and our own modern take on these folk traditions,” says Satori. “It was a sort of a no-brainer. ‘Let’s make a belly-dance album!’ ”
The belly-dance album he’s referring to is Beats Antique’s 2007 debut, Tribal Derivations. It came about when Jakes’s former troupe, the Bellydance Superstars (think Riverdance with belly dancers instead of Irish jiggers), needed some music to perform to. The album sparked a serendipitous reaction.
“People said, ‘You guys gotta deejay this stuff out,’ and we kind of laughed because we’re predominately live musicians. I don’t think either of us planned on being DJs,” Satori admits.
Apparently, deejaying wasn’t a hard skill to pick up, as he and Cappel were soon invited on tour with the West Coast bass scene’s biggest name, Bassnectar. Buzz from that led to a choice booking at Lightning in a Bottle, a popular Southern California EDM festival. “That was the first opportunity to add live drums and be more like a band. It’s just been growing ever since,” says Cappel.
If this all smells a little like unwashed dreadlocks, you are correct: Beats Antique plays a lot of patchouli parties. But the band has also been burning up large audiences like incense with tunes off its fourth full-length, Elektrafone, at live music–driven festivals such as Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Lollapalooza.
“What we prefer most is where we can stand out in some way. For instance, we both had a good time playing the Vancouver and Winnipeg folk festivals because we were the crazy electronic weirdos,” Cappel declares. “Same thing with rock festivals. We are a band. We just do a band differently.”
While not as dramatic as an end-of-the-world show with the Great Pyramid as a backdrop, Beats Antique’s Live at Squamish appearance will take place in an indisputably majestic setting. And, as a bonus, you won’t have to worry about pesky mummy attacks.
Beats Antique plays LIVE at Squamish, at Hendrickson Fields & Logger Sports Ground, on Saturday (August 25).