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Beats Antique to play Mill City Nights

Beats Antique, the California-based tribal electronic band, takes their audience on a mythical journey.
Beats Antique have the charm of an offbeat antique store with unbelievable wares.
Image by Beats Antique
Beats Antique have the charm of an offbeat antique store with unbelievable wares.

Beats Antique has cultivated a style of performance that looks like a Baz Luhrmann scrapbook.  

The California-based tribal fusion band embodies the oddly effective clash between all things Bohemian, a raving good time and a freakish love for curios. 

Their current “Thousand Faces” tour is their most ambitious production, but far-off lands and bizarre performance art were already an integral part of the band.

Beats Antique formed in 2007 when David Satori, Zoe Jakes and Tommy Cappel came together to create music for belly dancing. Their first album, 2007’s “Tribal Derivations,” is a concept album, just like this month’s “A Thousand Faces – Act 1.”  

“Making an album just for people to dance to in that specific genre was a concept album in my mind. From there we just kept making tracks and developed our own sound,” Satori said.

That sound is an instrument-heavy mix of tribal fusion, electronic, afro-beat and Middle Eastern belly dance music.

The group uses acoustic string instruments, horns and bell sounds from around the world. Most of the songs use chord progressions and harmonies popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern music.

“We’re influenced by so many cultures, producers and music. We feel proud of the sound that we make. There’s not a lot of it out there that sounds like us,” Satori said.

The band’s current tour and album is based on Joseph Campbell’s novel, “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” in which he discusses his theory of the monomyth, or hero’s journey. The idea is that most myths from around the world follow a hero character through the same fundamental story structure.

The band based the 19 songs, which they split into two albums, on the different stages of the book’s monomyth.

“We were looking for a structure to follow for our concept album, but we didn’t want to tell a literal story like, ‘Here’s John and he goes on this journey.’” Satori said.  “‘A Thousand Faces’ is about the crowd and bringing everybody on this journey with us.”

For Satori, one of the most powerful moments of the new show is when their journey takes them across the threshold into the underworld.

“We have this moment where the whole set gets enveloped by water.  This big flood happens in our show and that moment is really intense and it’s fun to perform,” he said.

The elaborate stage production for this tour includes a full set design and video components that create worlds for the audience to travel through, Satori said. 

They raised almost $60,000 in their Kickstarter campaign to help fund the elaborate tour production.

As a reward, the campaign donor who pledged the most money will get a DJ Party Buddy package, which includes a private house performance by the band after one of their shows.

But Satori isn’t sure if the donor is even aware that he has not one, but two private Beats Antique DJ sessions coming his way.

That’s because the campaign’s highest donor is Sean Parker, who pledged $15,000 on a whim and claimed both rewards by default.

“He saw the project through a friend and was like, ‘Yeah, just fulfill it.’ He didn’t even know how much it was,” Satori said.

Parker made his billions with business ventures like Napster, Facebook and Spotify. Satori said they’ve been trying to contact him to thank him.

His donation brought the band to its $50,000 goal, ensuring that the project would be funded. His rewards include the two DJ Party Buddy packages at the $5,000 level.

“I think we’re going to have some interesting DJ parties ahead of us, if he even remembers,” Satori said. And if he doesn’t, “that’s his loss.”

After the tour, which is scheduled to end in December, Satori said they will finally take a break “like a normal band.” They have produced an album every year since 2007.

“We can’t stop. We’re all very motivated artists,” Satori said. “We love doing it, and the fact that we’re surviving on it is so inspiring to us that we just keep making it. We don’t slow down because of it, we speed up. We love exhausting ourselves on it.”


What: Beats Antique with ill-esha & SORNE
When: 8 p.m., Thursday
Where: Mill City Nights,111 N. Fifth St., Minneapolis
Cost: $22 advance; $25 door
Age: 18+


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