Minutes before Beats Antique take the stage at Sea of Dreams, we hope they look back on this past year and smile. What should come to mind is playing to their largest crowd ever (13,000 fans) alongside two of the biggest names in bass music, Pretty Lights and Bassnectar. And if that’s not enough to coax a grin, surely this is: their fans are thanking them after shows for breaking cultural barriers. It’s not surprising that if any band could break these barriers it would be Beats Antique. The Bay Area trio’s diverse sound bridges world music with electronic bass, and add belly dancing to their performances. No, it’s not surprising – but it is commendable. One of the most powerful aspects of music is its ability to tie people together whether around protest, war, celebration, or reflection. And while many try, very few are able. Thrillcall spoke with David Satori over the phone after they had returned from their East Coast tour.

Thrillcall: How would you describe your fan base?

David Satori: Our fan base spans a very diverse range from middle aged housewives, to raging seventeen year olds who are going to their first show and want to hear electronic music. We represent dance with belly dancing, so there is a very big following in that world. A lot of our crowd, the majority, is female. We have a diverse crowd, and I love that.

Thrillcall: Have you ever noticed a clash, good or bad, between the crowd?

David Satori: I totally have. I’ve seen in the crowd a kid maybe doing ecstasy for the first time, or too drunk, maybe a twenty year old kid who is not handling their drugs or alcohol that well next to a 35 year old lady who is all dressed up and looks really good and is excited about the performance. This kid is falling all over her and his friends are trying to help him. That happens. We do hope we don’t turn off our older fans. You can’t really control that, it’s just the nature of the crowd.

Thrillcall: Have you noticed patterns in the type of crowds you get, say on the East Coast or West Coast?

David SatoriOn the East Coast it’s a little bit younger. We’re getting a lot of party kids, whereas on the West Coast is our old school family of performers because of Burning Man and this is where we are from. We have an older crowd on the West Coast that’s more underground artists because the scene has been on the West Coast a lot longer and it’s stronger. The kids on the East Coast are so excited it feels almost more vibrant than some of the West Coast.

“There are a lot of artists that grew up and evolved together. I booked Lorin for a gig at Cell Space, eight or seven years ago.”

Thrillcall: Does your set change based upon which crowd you expect to show up?

David SatoriIt’s hard because we really try and get a show tight and work on specific pieces before a tour. We won’t change it up too much. We’ve been to the East Coast, and the second time we go, we’ll change it up. Well, that’s not true, we did a Bassnectar opening set with Pretty Lights in Georgia and we definitely changed our set to make it a heavier, bass crazy, show compared to our other shows as a smaller theater. We do change it up at each show.

Thrillcall: Congrats on that show with Pretty Lights and Bassnectar. You did just that one show?

David SatoriYeah it was the first time they did a show together. We opened up. It was crazy with 13,000 kids in this huge amphitheater. It was wild.

Thrillcall: Was that one of the largest shows you played?

David SatoriIt was. If not the largest.

Thrillcall: How did that feel?

David SatoriIt was wild. It was a sea of frantic, young, raving kids that were super excited to have a wild experience.

Thrillcall: Did you spend much time with Derek (Pretty Lights) or Lorin (Bassnectar)?

David SatoriWell Lorin is an old friend. We were just hanging out two nights ago at a club in San Francisco. We come from the same underground music community in the Bay Area. There are certain bands that were a part of that like Yard Dogs Road Show and Extra Action Marching Band. There are a lot of artists that grew up and evolved together. I booked Lorin for a gig at Cell Space, eight or seven years ago.

Thrillcall: What was the venue you were hanging out?

David SatoriWe were at Cafe Du Nord seeing our friends perform. Derek is cool. I hung out with him a bunch. He’s totally inspiring.  I was like, is this guy for real? Does he really make all his own music? I didn’t really know. I went on his bus and he has the full analog, crazy ass studio on his bus, with analog synths coming out of the bus, patch bays everywhere. He’s making tracks everyday.

Thrillcall: Is there any chance you guys have some collaboration in the works?

David SatoriWe’re talking about it, we don’t have anything solid right now, but that reminds me we should give that guy a phone call.

“If anything, we hope to bring more tolerance to other cultures and open people’s ears to music they’ve never heard before. That’s sort of what I feel what my purpose is in making this music: to expand international and cultural tolerance.”

Thrillcall: You brought up the show at the Verizon Center (in Washington, D.C.), and then I was looking at your tour dates – your next set was in Birmingham, Alabama.  I’m sure that was a totally different scene.

David SatoriYeah, that’s the nature of being on the road – you go from crazy huge shows to like, small clubs in the middle of nowhere, and you just keep going at it, but it was great.

Thrillcall: Is there ever a place, like Birmingham, where you receive a backlash because of your multicultural music?

David SatoriYou know what, I haven’t experienced that yet – that’s what I’m really pleasantly surprised about, especially in the South. I mean, the South is conservative and has a history of racism and cultural intolerance, but I think – it’s 2011 now, people have changed. The culture has changed, kids have changed, it’s an international world, you know? And now hip hop dominates the world – people are way different than they were back when those stereotypes were still there. If anything, we hope to bring more tolerance to other cultures and open people’s ears to music they’ve never heard before. That’s sort of what I feel what my purpose is in making this music: to expand international and cultural tolerance.

Thrillcall: Is there anything you can point to where you felt like, at the end of the day you were doing what you set out to do?

David SatoriYeah, I’ve totally looked out into our audience and seen fans with heritage from India, Africa, or the Middle East. I had a guy who was Iranian, and he was like “thank you for doing this, I’ve never seen anyone play music like this the way you guys are, bringing people together around this stuff.” It was a really powerful experience for that person who had eastern heritage and had nothing like that going on where we were. And then hearing them say that and seeing how the crowd can enjoy that with other people, it’s amazing. Seeing them so immersed in it, enjoying it on a deep level in that moment, just seeing themselves dancing to it and losing themselves, that’s a powerful experience.


Beats Antique play the Sea of Dreams on December 31st in San Francisco, along with Santigold and Amon Tobin. Buy tickets for Sea of Dreams 2011 here.