The three-member band has such a big bag of tricks to draw from, it’s ridiculous. David Satori and Tommy Cappel are both music-school-trained, multi-instrumental producers. Live, they run pre-recorded beat and backing melodies through multiple laptops, while Cappel shreds on the drums and Satori rips on a violin and other exotic instruments hardly worth mentioning because you’d have to Wikipedia them to get an idea of what they are.
Basically, the band will take you from break-beat to glitch-hop to supercharged blues to Egyptian soundtrack music over the course of a show, or even a single song.
It doesn’t stop with the music. The tapestry is tied together by the presence of the lovely and exotic Zoe Jakes. She masterminded the Beats Antique project and composes much of the music. Jakes is a professional belly dancer who incorporates hip-hop and other modern moves into her routines. “When talking about a live show,” Jakes explains, “it’s really creating a visceral experience for the audience.” Jakes continuously dazzles the audience from center stage with her dancing.
The three members of Beats Antique credit their unique conglomeration of musical styles and live performance to their wide-ranging interests and to the influence of their stomping grounds in Northern California.
“In the Bay Area,” Jakes explains, “people are less represented by a style they choose, and they are just artists.”
Jakes goes on to explain how performers in the Bay are always pushing the envelope artistically. “[The Bay Area] is such a cooking pot of many performance styles,” Jakes says. The Bay Area is a like a patchwork of many different scenes, she adds, and the people are open and embrace just about everything.
That is why the vaudeville-influenced Yard Dogs Road Show, Rosin Coven, Extra Action Marching Band and this once-little festival called Burning Man all originated in the Bay.
Cappel credits the rising popularity of theatrical, gypsy-style, multimedia musical performers to Burning Man and the culture surrounding it. “There’s a big connection, mostly because [Burning Man] is a good place for people to express themselves,” he says. “It’s a great platform for people to do whatever they want to do.”
Similar to their theatrical and musical peers, Beats Antique has a spectacular live performance full of effects and stunts. But Beats Antique differ from their counterparts in that their focus relies more on electronic dance music and musical virtuosity, not to mention that they have only three band members instead of 20.
Although just a trio, Beats Antique sounds like a symphony of musicians. As Satori explains, “We play along with backing tracks [at live shows], where we have the bass lines going and the track that we produced. We take out the drums when Tommy’s playing the drums, and we take out the melodic instrument if I’m playing violin on it.”
But that doesn’t mean the live show will be identical to the recorded album. “At certain moments, we’ll tweak effects on it,” Satori says, “and for this tour we’re going to really start getting into more ripping [the tracks] apart and doing more improvisation.”
The trio clearly has an appetite for multitasking and self-expression. They are each so talented in so many ways that they have a hard time finding the space to add everything they want. As Jakes says, “Tommy and David both have other musical talents that have yet to come out.”
They have big plans to extend their tapestry even further into experimental musical and performance territory; they aren’t satisfied with their already amazing set. They want more.
“That’s another part of the challenge,” Jakes says, “being able to express ourselves completely.”