If Tribal Fusion had an official soundtrack; Beats Antique
would compose half of it. Beats Antique is a fusion of Experimental, Electronic, Middle-Eastern, Downtempo, Sideshow, and Gypsy music. Sounds crazy right? Turns out when former members of the Yard Dogs Road Show (David Satori) , Extra Action Marching band (Tommy “Sidecar” Cappel), Miles Copeland
, and well, Zoe Jakes
get together; magic happens. Honestly, if you have not listened to Beats Antique, there really is no category that it fits neatly in. There are too many words to describe the listening experience; it’s an amalgamation that creates a soundscape meant to transport the listener to another realm.
The other half of the Beats Antique experience drawing the masses are the live shows. Packed with an array of sights and sounds, from off-color humor to eerie and artistic, and everything in-between; the live show combines theatrical, burlesque and stellar belly dance performances that keep crowds begging for more. Zoe Jakes is truly a visionary artist, unique in her expression and the audience gets to tag along for the ride. She doesn’t shy away from incorporating new and edgy material, such as a gas mask burlesque number and dancing with huge deer antlers. Each tour and album have different themes so every show is a brand exploration. Needless to say, if you have a chance to see a live show, go. There are plenty of videos and recordings, but nothing beats a live show. A few years ago I snagged a spot near the stage at a Beats Antique show in Massachusetts, I could babble on about how great each and every song, performance, and artist was, but I would rather you just go experience it yourself. Honestly, Beats Antique is not meant to simply be listened and danced to; it’s meant to take you away for a night. Go do it.
The newest addition to the Beats Antique collection is Killer Bee
, released in June of this year lives up to the Beats Antique off-beat fame. A track featuring vocalist Lafa Taylor, it’s the story of a 17-year-old killer bee, Bill, that is forced to kill. Poor bill is misunderstood and ousted as a killer, but he simply wants to “be free”. They have even recorded a hilarious little music video about the life of Bill. (warning for those sensitive to sexual humor, you may want to skip the video)
Conjuring images of bees
Most of the track is instrumental, leaving the lyrics for the last minute and a half of the song. The intro is reminiscent of the opening Cat Skillz, featuring brass and horn instruments and having an overall “buzzing” and humming quality. Really, the entire track does conjure images of bees. It’s quirky and cute, but not on my favorite tracks list of Beats Antique material. I am a big fan of their earlier releases such as Crash and Puzzle; their downbeat tempo really itches my dance music spot and I can easily zone-out and tune into a variety of sounds and cadences, but this is just me.
Overall, I think this is a solid and catchy track that is fun to listen to and lightens the mood. I encourage everyone to take a listen for themselves; you check out all of their music, free on band camp. While you’re there, check out their link to Greenpeace and read up on the plight of the bees.
If you’re looking for something to do this fall or winter; I would highly recommend catching a Beats Antique show. They are starting their Shadowbox Tour and have added a number of dates and cities to their tour from now until January. All the information is on their website as well as some awesome merch for fans. Before you go, leave a comment on your favorite Beats Antique song, or your experience you had at a show, or if you’re really brave, what you ask Zoe Jakes if she was standing right next to you.
Wikistory of Beats Antique
Beats Antique Killer Bee
“Killer Bee” appears on Beat Antique’s album, Shadowbox (October 2016). The album contains additional contributions from Alam Khan, Tatiana Kalmykova, and TOO MANY ZOOZ. Beats Antique is a U.S.- based experimental world fusion and electronic music group. Formed in 2007 in conjunction with producer Miles Copeland, the group has become noted for their mix of different genres as well as their live shows which mix samples and heavy percussives with Tribal Fusion dance and performance art. | Photo: 2016 Beats Antique | Link |
David Satori, born in Burlington, Vermont in 1979, brings experience with many different styles of world music to the collaborative drawing board of Beats Antique. He began playing music while at Burlington High School, and graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a degree in music performance and composition. While attending CIA, he formed an experimental instrumental group called The Funnies. The Funnies recorded two albums, and toured in an eco-bus that ran entirely on recycled vegetable oil. In 2003, Satori moved to San Francisco to join Aphrodesia, a ten-piece afro-beat group. Aphrodesia toured the US and made a trip to Nigeria and traveled throughout West Africa playing music. The afro-beat group’s tour ended in a performance at the New Shrine in Lagos, a venue built by the son of afro-beat composer and player Fela Kuti. His son Femi Kuti also sat in with Aphrodesia, and inspired Satori to produce their 2007 album, Lagos by Bus. In 2004, back in San Francisco, Satori and Zoe Jakes met and began dating.
Zoe Jakes began belly dancing in 2000, but is a lifelong dancer, having 10 years of jazz and ballet dance experience under her belt. Her belly dancing is a blend of traditional belly dance with tango, popping, and Indian dance. She toured with the Yard Dogs Road Show for five years, performed with the Extra Action Marching Band, and has been touring with The Indigo Belly Dance Company for four years. She began touring with Bellydance Superstars in 2005, a dance company produced by Miles Copeland. Jakes and Satori began working with Ableton Live, and this is when she began to experiment with electronic music.
Tommy Cappel met Zoe Jakes when they were both members of Extra Action Marching Band. Satori and Cappel met years ago when Satori brought him in to play drums for a Burning Man decompression party. Cappel grew up in Fairfax, Virginia. The son of two music teachers and the brother of a drummer, Cappel was always surrounded by music. At a young age he took up his brother’s drum set, and was playing with a band of friends by the age of six. Influenced by his father’s jazz LP’s and his brothers prog rock and heavy metal music, Cappel became very interested in percussion. In the 1990s, Cappel attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a degree in studio drumming. At Berklee, Cappel studied New Orleans jazz, bebop, modern jazz, and world music. When one of his teachers needed help transcribing African and Arab drum patterns to a drum kit, Cappel helped and learned a lot of non-jazz rhythmic patterns. After graduating, he moved to New York City and began exploring many different types of genres. He would spend a lot of time at the Bell, a café in Manhattan that held free music jams. When a group of friends and musicians moved to San Francisco, Cappel joined them.
Beats Antique was formed in San Francisco, California in 2007 when Zoe Jakes approached her manager, Miles Copeland (brother of drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police) about creating an album. Copeland green lit the project, and their debut album Tribal Derivations was conceived on Copeland’s CIA record label. Tribal Derivations was a concept album, created to complement the dance styles of producer/arranger Zoe Jakes. The group’s second album, Collide, reached the top 10 of most downloaded artists under the Middle East and World Dance and the top 20 most downloaded electronic albums on Amazon. For their third album, Contraption Vol. 1, Beats Antique brought in collaborators such as hammered dulcimer player Jamie Janover, and beat boxer and hip hop vocalist LYNX. Their 2010 release Blind Threshold featured harmonica player John Popper of Blues Traveler. The 10-track Elektraphone was released October 4, 2011 supported by a 26-city tour running from October to December 2011.
Beats Antique released an 8-song EP follow up to Contraption Vol. 1 on August 18, 2012 entitled Contraption Vol. 2, which includes horns features from Balkan Brass Band, Brass Menazeri, vocals from hip hop vocalist LYNX & a remix of Colony Collapse’s "Filistine." Later that year, David Satori teamed up with Evan Fraser, a fellow student at the California Institute of Arts, and formed the side project, Dirtwire and released a self-titled album through Beats Antique Records on October 1, 2013.
In October 2013, Beats Antique released A Thousand Faces: Act I, followed by A Thousand Faces: Act II in April 2014. Featuring artists include Alam Khan, LYNX, SORNE, Micha & Leighton, and the Antibalas horns. Les Claypool was also featured on the A Thousand Faces: Act I single, “Beelzebub.”
In fall of 2014, Beats Antique toured with Shpongle (Simon Posford DJ Sets), Emancipator, and Lafa Taylor as part of their “Creature Carnival” tour. Featuring carnival-themed performers specific to each city, audience participation, and crafting events surrounding four “Creatures” (Light Saber the tiger, Al Eyes the owl, Jackie Lope the Antelope, and Squidzilla the squid), attendees of the shows were encouraged to dress wildly and come prepared with customized Creature masks. Selections from two of these performances, in Denver, Colorado and Asheville, North Carolina, were compiled into their latest release, titled Creature Carnival Live.
(Listen to Beats Antique on Soundcloud)