Beats Antique: A little bit of everything
by Halee Hastad
Spicy Dijon mayo, strawberries, bacon, peanut butter, anchovies, avocado and more bacon. Alas, the ingredients of Beats Antique’s current tour if it were a sandwich. This may go without saying, but judging by the sounds of it, this tour is a lot like one of those sandwiches you have to taste to understand. Or in this case, see to believe.
The collaborative entertainment group of Beats Antique travels under the stage name Creature Carnival and has featured different artists and performers with each tour. It is no surprise that this time around they will continue knitting together sounds from multiple different cultures and traditions to craft not only an original auditory experience, but a visual one as well. However, they are switching it up a bit, David Satori, multi-instrumentalist for the band, said. Different from previous tours, this one will focus less on visual effects and more on performance and music.
“When you take away projections and bright lights the experience is much more personal and I think that is really what we are going for here,” Tommy (Sidecar) Cappel, multi-instrumentalist and percussionist, said in a recent interview.
Though, even with a whisper of change in the air, die-hard Beats fans need not fret. Their promise remains to provide a breathtaking experience for concert or festivalgoers with audience participation and on-stage performances straight out of a daydreamer’s fairytale.
They have teamed up with trumpet player, dancer and set designer Sari Breznau, stage name Pinky d’Ambrosia, to create a carnival experience from the ground up. The audience can expect the unexpected with d’Ambrosia on stage, Zoe Jakes said, as she will embody a variety of different characters to add even more splendor to the show. There will be hand painted sets that include carnival bunkers, masks and just about any odd contraption possible. Similarly, sounds from around our world will be making vibrations in songs that have roots ranging from Russian folklore to Balinese chants with Arabic motivations.
“We want our audience to be able to travel, auditorily, around the globe and back in one show,” Satori said.
The tour started mid-September in Austin, Texas and will ramble through cities all over the U.S. before coming to a halt in Santa Cruz on New Year’s Eve (they stop in Bellingham on Nov. 1).
Beats tours with their road manager, Rich Canut, who reins from Bellingham. So the story goes, they had come to Bellingham a decade ago with the Yard Dogs Road Show, your typical 13-member travelling vaudeville, burlesque, magic-making cabaret, and found themselves without a person to work sound. Canut was working sound at the former venue The Nightlight and ended up being a tremendous help to the complicated band. They decided he was awesome and with a European tour ahead of them, asked if he would join. Again, like any outstanding Bellingham-based sound guy would do, Rich said yes (see the sidebar at bottom for more about the legendary Rich Canut).
“We called up Rich, asked if he wanted to go to Europe, told him we couldn’t pay him but that we were going to Portugal, which seemed cool, and he was like ‘Yeah, sure’,” Satori said.
A little history here: Beats started in 2007 when Jakes, Beats’ dance and performance extraordinaire, and Satori, came together with Cappel in San Francisco. Jakes and Satori had previously made music together in The Funnies, an experimental instrumental group, and wanted to work on a new project when the three combined forces. That was eight years ago and since then Beats has produced over 8 full-length records and performed in venues and at festivals all over the U.S. and Europe. (The Funnies recorded two albums in the early 2000s and toured exclusively in an eco-bus that ran entirely on recycled vegetable oil. And that may not have been so bad. When I spoke with the band they informed me that their current rig was too hot and relief seemed impossible).
All things aside, Beats plans to open up their own storefront in San Francisco early next year. It is there that they will sell merchandise, have a practice and recording space for their label, Antique Records, and provide dance and choreography classes.
They say that the Bay area is where they manifest many of their visions and hope that having a space there will promote growth for them and their community.
“We are inspired by all that is around us – our experiences and motivations as well as those of others – and will continue creating authentic art from that which we are surrounded by,” Cappel said.
This month’s cover is an illustration by Katie Johnson of the legendary Rich Canut – local musician, soundman, engineer and production manager who has been around town off and on for the last 15 years. Throughout his time in town, Rich has become known for his talent (having played in Language Arts, 76 Charger, Black Eyes and Neckties) and professionalism.
About 10 years ago, Rich’s awesomeness stopped being a huge local secret. “While I was working at the Nightlight The Yard Dogs Road Show came through which Tommy and Zoë (Beats Antique) were members of. They hired me on the spot to start touring with Yard Dogs, which I did for four years,” Rich said, adding, “A couple years into that Tommy and Zoë left to focus on Beats and when the time came that they could afford to take crew they hired me. I’ve been with them for almost five years as FoH (front of house sound engineer), TM (tour manager) and PM (production manager).”
Rich hasn’t just focused on Beats Antique, he’s also doing sound for Wild Throne and Dirtwire, keeping him on the road often. When he’s not on the road, he can be found doing sound locally. Good man.
See Beats Antique on Nov. 1 at the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham. For more about the band, check out www.beatsantique.com or see their Facebook page.
Published in the October 2015 issue of What’s Up! Magazine