I got the chance to speak with Tommy Cappel, producer and drummer for Beats Antique, a couple days before their sold out show at The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO to get a sense of what was in store for fans and newcomers to their dizzying display of live percussion, exotic performance art, and mystifying music. Previously opening for Bassnectar at Red Rocks earlier in the year set the trio’s bar impossibly high. With their popularity on the rise, the trio is continually finding newer and bigger audiences for their one-of-a-kind live show and genre-bending music, and leaping over that hurdle with acrobatic ease.
Nicholas Callaio: How is the road treating you?
Tommy Cappel: Awesome, it’s always just an amazing time being on the road; it just gets better and better every day. Right now we are just doing weekend shows and we just finished up Milwaukee and Chicago, recently, which was a very memorable weekend. We know Denver will always be a great time and Salt Lake City is right after that.
NC: From where did you guys derive the out-of-this-world concept for the animal masks?
TC: Yes, it's pretty much just a sign showing everyone that we don't take ourselves too seriously. It is ok to be a little crazy because honestly you don't have to be the coolest guy in the world to have a lot of fun. It feels pretty weird to wear them,but people love it so we do it. They really aren't comfortable at all; I can barely keep it on for one song. One of my favorite aspects about the masks is that they just have this kind of lost face on them, a sense of bewilderment. People found out where to get them and started wearing them to all our shows, but there was this one guy who would wear it to all of our shows. On top of it he always stands in front and wears the mask for the whole show, I don’t know how he does it. (laughs)
NC: You guys just came out with a new record earlier this year, are you happy with the reaction so far?
TC: Oh yeah, we approached it more with a live feel to it versus our other albums that have that produced sound to them. It was a little bit of a different style and I definitely had a great time making it. We recorded all the live drums first then went through all the producing stages. To me it has more of an “on the road” type of sound to it, going show to show and getting the whole live experience.
NC: You guys are raising the bar everyday with your music, is it hard to stay there?
TC: As of right now, it's really hard to balance it all out in terms of booking shows. Really it's a management thing because we need to plan ahead so we can play well. The more time we get the better we play, so we can keep on raising that bar in our music. Also it's really difficult when I am on the road then switching to studio mode. The live mood and studio mood are contrasting and hard to get use to.
NC: What are your plans for ringing in 2012?
TC: Yes, we got three shows lined up: one at Belly Up in San Diego, then the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, and New Years Eve at the Sea of Dreams in San Francisco.
NC: You collaborated with the amazing ill.Gates and the The Glitch Mob on your new album, how was working with these big names?
TC: Dylan is a really great friend of mine, but one day I was hanging out at his house and we made that song on our album. We started to mess around and that’s what came out. He is a really intelligent person, and even better person to collaborate with. Also, I used to play drums with The Glitch Mob, too, so that was a fun time to do that with them. I like their stuff because it has a street band sound to it rather than all the other electronica stuff out these days. Definitely one of my favorite tracks on the CD but collaboration is my forte. Working with and combining other people's ideas make it a special thing to me—just something new and different to bring to the table.
NC: “Revival” stood out in terms of being your first music video. Can you explain some of the intricacies that came along with that?
TC: Well the animator and I are very close friends, but he came up to me after a show and started going off about this idea of his. The only thing I asked was how he was going to do it (laughs). The weird part about doing that whole video was that it was a three-day shoot in three different locations, short and sweet. The amazing part was that he captured us doing our strange animal thing but still put it together to make a stellar story about it. In my opinion it was groundbreaking because of the use of all the old and new technology. At the end of the day there were so many cuts and edits, but the video was exactly how he described it to me from day one. All the work everyone put into it was great and made me really proud to put it out. There was awesome feedback from all over the world and represented us perfectly as a music group, so with that there will be many more videos to come.
NC: In your own opinion, what separates what you do from other acts?
TC: What sets us apart from the rest is the use of acoustic sound, and it's not the same old live act. A lot of people listen to electronic music and hip-hop and it's the same sound all the time. I want to charge new waters whenever I can. You know, what else can I do but add something new to the mixture whenever available? It’s not just the acoustic sound, but we like to orchestrate our music instead of pushing play. Another factor is definitely our improvisational skills we use when we go up in front of a crowd. We have to keep people waiting for more and hold their attention or otherwise we will go nowhere. I feel like we catch people because we incorporate a number of different styles and we don't bind ourselves into a box. Like I said before, we like to make music and mashup remixes instead of being the traditional DJ. Then we add a bunch of instruments to the mix and it all comes together very smoothly for everyone to enjoy.
NC: What is 2012 looking like for you guys as of now?
TC: All I can say is give me more, more, more, and even more. As of right now we have the first five or six months planned out for shows. That really consists of a lot of small tours, then we’ve got a jam-packed schedule for the summer festival circuit, which I can't really talk about but it's looking pretty sweet. We are definitely going to be doing more collaborations with other artists and another album is in the making, also. The biggest idea we have is that we are really trying hard to get to Europe for a tour which would be really exciting. Then we want to go to the basics and develop out live shows to attract more and more people. Absolutely looking forward to 2012, it's going to be a big one.
NC: What are you looking forward to in terms of working with Alex Grey?
TC: I love the guy when it comes to his art, I think at one point in everyone's life we stared at his artwork and just got lost or inspired. He has this unique vibe that he carries with him wherever he goes. We met in Australia and all we could talk about was that our music and his art goes perfectly together. So one day I got a call from him asking if we wanted to do this show with him in Denver, there was no thinking about that one. (laughs) He handpicked the whole lineup and with that I could not turn down the offer. Plus it’s Denver, I mean I use to live there once a upon a time and I love that city so much. It is a great hub for music and some of the best shows I have ever seen was in Denver. So anytime we can get to Denver we always take the opportunity no matter what, it's a great lineup and any chance I can see Tipper I will jump right on that. Personally, Tipper is one of my favorites, so I will definitely be having an extraordinary time.
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