Photos by Lori Sky Twohy
What do you get when you combine Middle Eastern melodies with electronic dance beats, Jazz vocals, belly dancing and animal masks? Why, Beats Antique of course! As part of our ongoing Counterpoint coverage, we recently had the opportunity to speak with the members of the band: David Satori, Sidecar Tommy and Zoe Jakes. They have begun a tour of 35 cities called “Animale Mechanique” and also just released a new EP titled “Contraption Vol.2”, a track of which is available for free download:
JBO: The majority of our readers are fans of jam bands. What do you feel you can bring to the table for them?
David: We definitely leave room for improvisation and we try to change it up each night. Were also a little quirky and weird and I feel like a lot of the jam band scene has like a knack for being weirdos and liking strange stuff. I also grew up on jam bands. I grew up in Burlington,Vermont going to Phish shows.
JBO: Do you feel they have influenced your music?
David: Yeah, Phish has totally influenced my music growing up. That was when I was a lot younger. I definitely feel like it has changed a lot, but it definitely had an influence from early on, especially the improvisation and experimentation that we do.
Tommy: Yeah, I mean getting the opportunity to rock out over a songs form is always fun. I personally just really love playing songs. I think that’s a good balance with David who like to rock out and jam out. I like to play songs and so, you know, it’s a give and take world.
JBO: Do you listen to any other jam bands?
Tommy: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, old school jazz jam bands, Herbie Hancock…
David: What about Mike Dillon’s gogo thing?
Tommy: Oh yeah! I just forget the name of it, What is it called? (Mike Dillon’s Go-Go Jungle)
David: Tommy’s a Medeski Martin Wood fan.
Tommy: Yeah! Medeski Martin Wood kicks ass and yeah, I love basically any project that Medeski Martin Wood is in.
JBO: So, counterpoint is coming up next weekend. What sort of things are you doing to prepare?
David: We’re always preparing. Every show is a preparation. We’ve been doing festivals all summer, so in our mind, it’s just another festival, but we’re really excited to play in the Atlanta region. We have not played in there in a while.
JBO: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Tommy: David and I stare into each others eyes deeply.
David: Ohh…wow… I didn’t even notice that, that’s how much we do it…
Tommy: I always try but he doesn’t want to..it’s weird. I feel kind of weird when I do it, but it’s what I have to do. David likes to jump up and down. David always tries to get us to huddle up and jump up and down.
David: Yeah, the jump up and down is the new thing.
JBO: Like a football team or something?
David and Tommy: Yeah
JBO: Will you be bringing the whole crew of performers or will it be just you three?
David: The three of us is sort of the whole crew and then sometimes we bring extra people but at Counterpoint it’s just gonna be the three of us.
JBO: Are there any artists at counterpoint that you are looking forward to seeing?
JBO: Yeah, Ghostland is playing.
David: Yeah, those guys are fun
Tommy: Bassnectar is always fun to watch people flip the hell out.
JBO: You just released a new EP and it is amazing. Where are you going from here with your music?
David: We are going…TO EGYPT!
JBO: For the end of the world right?
Tommy: And then if the world doesn’t end we’ll be kinda disappointed but also kinda psyched and then we’ll make a new record and you never know what that’s gonna sound like..Probably some robotic animal consummation.
JBO: So like Skrillex then right?
Tommy: (laughing) Yeah, we’re gonna basically sound like Skrillex from here on out. A combination between Skrillex, Deadmau5, and um…
David: Bon Jovi!
Tommy: What about Marvin Gaye?
JBO: Marvin Gaye?
David: Bon Jovi on a unicorn flying through space.
Zoe: Bon Jovi!
Tommy: Did you get the Bon Jovi part?
JBO: Yeah, and Marvin Gaye right?
JBO: Is there any one track in particular on your new EP that you would like to talk about what went into it?
Tommy: Well, Bus to Balkans is kind of an interesting style for us; that one is our first all original Balkan piece. We went for a real traditional sound with it and stuck to that for the recording and we collaborated on that one really big time, like the three of us each wrote pieces of the melody. That was a really nice collaboration that we had on that one. The title sort of explains my trip that I had up to the Balkan region and showing up at a jazz band festival so its sort of like a tribute to that region.
JBO: My favorite track on this ep is crooked muse, is there a story behind it?
ZOE: I can tell you a story about that! So basically we were in the studio and they started playing and Shannon and I decided that it would be really fun to have mermaids in the show.
ZOE: Yeah! So we started crafting the song a little bit more around that and making it more of a theatrical song about drowning from love an all that and the lyrics ended up twisting into it and bringing that into it. In the show when we perform Crooked Muse, I’m back up singing as a mermaid so that’s maybe not the answer you were expecting but…
JBO: No, that makes a lot of sense, I could totally see that. Are you going to be doing that one at Counterpoint?
ZOE: Absolutely, well… actually, is Lynx there?
Tommy: She’ll be with us, she’s not performing at the festival itself but..
Zoe: We might be able to rope her into it.
JBO: You have played several festivals this year, do you have a story of something that happened on this tour that you would like to share?
Tommy: STARFKR drank all our booze at Sasquatch.
Zoe: Yeah, they did and it was pretty funny, we had a big bottle of Grey Goose and we went and did the show and when we came back the Grey Goose was gone and replaced with an empty bottle of Ketel. And to add insult to injury, I went on Facebook and totally called them on it and they took my post down. That is hilarious they should have like kept playing.. That could have been a funny game that went on forever but they couldn’t handle it…
JBO: Are there any towns that you are especially looking forward to being in on your upcoming tour?
Zoe: Well,Austin is one of them but we’ve already been there and that was a blast.Austin is a killer town. I’m gonna say I’m real excited about Florida. I think Florida is gonna be real awesome. People haven’t seen us there before in some of the towns and I think it will be a really great chance to meet new fans and explore parts of the country we haven’t been before.
Tommy: I’m looking forward to Athens,Georgia. We’re playing at the Georgia Theater again. It’s all redone. It’s such a beautiful place to play and Athens is a great town. Also another favorite of ours is Asheville…
Zoe: Oh yeah! Asheville’s Awesome!
Tommy: We’re playing the Orange Peel again and we love that place and the people there are just wonderful.
JBO: Is there anything that you would like to add about your EP or counterpoint or the upcoming tour?
Tommy: We’re really excited about it all! Today’s a special day you know? You get to see your name on number 2 on the electronic music charts… Kinda excited.
Zoe: Yeah, were stoked! If I was to add anything to our earlier conversation: Right now, even though we are on tour and some people would think this is when we are working hardest, I actually don’t think of it like that at all. I feel like we’ve done the work. We’ve worked really hard on the EP. We’ve worked really hard on the live show. We’ve busted our ass and now we just get to have a good time and play these songs and we’re starting to sink into them so it’s like we know them better and the show is starting to meld and now we just get to have a good time so for me it’s like Counterpoint and all the shows on this tour people just get to see us have a good time and enjoy all the hard work we have done and hopefully they will appreciate and enjoy all the stuff that we’ve done and we can all just kind of have a good time together.
Tommy: The tour is always really fun for us. We sink into all the music real nicely and then its just like, time to laugh a lot and be friends and run around and act crazy.
Zoe: Pretty much
JBO: Wearing animal masks?
Zoe: Yeah! Oh totally, robot masks, animal masks…
Tommy: I started a documentary today so… Were gonna have some… yep, it’s gonna be real stupid. It’s gonna be fun.
Zoe: Cool! I like stupid.
Tommy: Yes you do… I have to interview you actually… Remind me.
Beats Antique will be performing at Counterpoint Thursday, September 27th at 8:45PM and at the Orange Peel in Asheville on October 6th. For other tour dates and information, visit www.beatsantique.com/