This year we did live coverage at Electric Forest where we set up an interview with one of the members of Beats Antique. While interviewing the belly dancer, Zoe, she shared what truly goes behind the production of their music and what influences their style to create that cultural sound.
I want to start off with the fact that there’s so much music out now, how do you guys discover new music and what platforms do you use?
I would say Soundcloud is probably the biggest one, and Spotify. One of the ways we’ve also been finding new music lately is interestingly enough, Shazaming television shows. By using the Shazam app, we find artists that we wouldn’t normally find on Soundcloud or any of the streaming options. The thing that you really notice now is that a lot of major artists are actually doing a lot of major TV shows and commercials, and I feel like you can just find the craziest music from those.
Some of your music contains strong middle eastern belly dancing themes; have you ever been to the Middle East?
I have actually never been to the Middle East, but David and Tommy actually played in Egypt at the Pyramids. There is a production company that set up an area and people who worked with the Do Lab put together this tiny little festival on during an eclipse.
Do you think visiting these other cultures would help with studio creativity?
Me and Tommy were in a marching band for a long time and we were heavily influenced by Balkan and Bulgarian music; so it has been a huge influence on the band since before Beats Antique even started. We also bring a lot of artists from different cultures into the studio to record. Alam Khan, who was Ali Akbar Khan’s son, actually is on one of our new songs on our upcoming album, Shadowbox, and he’s featured on a song that I co-wrote. It was really amazing for me to write this song and to have this amazing, Indian musician come in and play.
So what contributes to inspire you guys to create that Middle Eastern, cinematic sort of genre? 
I’m a belly dancer, and before Beats Antique I was heavily influenced by all the classic North African, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern songs. There’s a woman by the name of Umm Kulthum, and she was pretty much a treasure of Egypt. This woman was like the sound of this culture, and a lot of her music was a big inspiration to me as a belly dancer because as a belly dancer at the time, you would learn her songs and you would dance to them. I was bringing in these artists and other Middle Eastern artists, and we would use that as influences for a lot of our songs. Our song, “Egyptic” is directly influenced by beautiful Middle Eastern orchestras that were a huge part of the 70’s and the 80’s in the Middle East.
Do you guys still use Ableton live? 
Oh yeah, that’s the backbone. The program, each year puts out a new version and it just keeps getting better and better. The things that you can do with it are unbelievable, so the program just keeps growing. I’m a huge advocate of Ableton.
Do you use it for both a live setting and a studio setting?
Both of them, yes. We use the arrangement window when we want to build the songs, and we use the kind of DJ session when we’re playing, so we use it on both sides. 
How do you guys get the creative juices flowing in the studio? Do you have any tricks to get the music flowing?
For me, the most important thing is that I actually immerse myself in my inspiration as much as possible. It can be anything from Middle Eastern dance, to a live Balkan brass band or going to see upcoming young artists do their thing. I feel like it’s constantly being open to change and creativity-that’s the most important thing for me to keep me inspired.
If you were to be eternally stuck in one year’s music scene, which year would it be?
Oh man, 2006 I think…maybe more like 2008 when dubstep was blowing up more on the West Coast and it was really new and super exciting for a lot of people. I feel like I got to see everything first-hand because the West Coast was going off and that was when you could still go to a small festival and see Bassnectar, or the Glitch Mob on a smaller stage. It was super cheap, and the festivals were more home-grown, family style which had its’ pros and cons, but it was just an exciting time to be around music. Now, it blows my mind how incredible festivals are.
You guys are playing some major festivals and venues while on tour. What are some of the places you are most excited to play?
Well Emo’s is an incredible venue to play in Austin, Texas. Austin always comes out for our shows, but we love playing there, it’s such a great city. Next weekend, we are headlining Red Rocks Amphitheater, which is the very first time we’ve ever done that and we’re super excited. Then, we’re playing Voodoo Festival at the end of our tour in New Orleans, and I love New Orleans, it’s amazing. 
You guys have a unique setup that you have never used before. Do you guys have any big plans in store for tonight’s performance? 
Well, we’re working with a new medium and that is shadow and light and we’re starting to play around with these lanterns that glow and create patterns. So, it’s an inspiration off of like the old, Middle Eastern lanterns, but with bigger, more geometric cutouts and stronger lights so you can project it on the walls and floor. So we’re kind of going for a more analog style in terms of just playing around with things naturally on our stage plot.