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Electronic band Beats Antique defies traditional genres

Beats Antique is scheduled to perform at the Newport Music Hall Oct. 22.  Credit: Courtesy of Derick Ion

Beats Antique is scheduled to perform at the Newport Music Hall Oct. 22.
Credit: Courtesy of Derick Ion

Electronic gypsy music. Electro-acoustic culture-mash-up. Gyp-hop. These are some of the ways Beats Antique member David Satori attempted to describe the band’s genre of belly dancing, electronic, performance art-inspired music.

“I wish there was a better word for ‘fusion,’” Satori, who plays keyboard, said. “Culture step? I just made that one up. Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it before.”

The group is slated to perform Tuesday at the Newport Music Hall, with doors opening at 8 p.m.

Perhaps the reason Beats Antique is difficult to pinpoint to a traditional genre is that not many bands are formed for the sole purpose of making belly-dancing music.

Group member and professional belly dancer Zoe Jakes is the woman behind the development of the group, Tommy Cappel, the group’s percussionist, said.

“Originally, Zoe came up with the concept ‘cause she was looking for music to belly dance to,” Cappel said.

The band’s latest record, “A Thousand Faces,” released Oct. 15 and is a different kind of album for the group.

“It’s our first attempt at a concept album,” Satori said. “Instead of a collection of songs we have come up with in the past year, it is actually put together as a story with an intention set for each song.”

The story tells of a “hero’s journey” and is inspired by Joseph Campbell, a writer and anthropologist from the 1940s known for popularizing the hero’s journey concept through his study of traditions and folklore from around the world.

“We named the album after his book ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces,’” said Satori. “A lot of writers and artists use his work to find structure for their stories.”

Guitarist Les Claypool, frontman of the band Primus, is featured on the album’s single “Beelzebub.”

The trio teamed up with producer Miles Copeland to create their debut album, 2007’s “Tribal Derivations.”

“(It was) an album made for tribal belly dancers,” Cappel said. “We put that album out and (the band) kind of became a project by accident.”

The group continued to make music and perform, with Jakes using her lifelong dance skills while Satori and Cappel laid the beats in the back.

The recipe seemed to work for them, and the band got its big break on a tour with Bassnectar.

“We went on tour with Bassnectar, and that was sort of what solidified us as a touring act,” Cappel said. “We’ve been making albums ever since.”

Beats Antique has gained a following from its elaborate performances, and was a featured headliner at major festivals this year, such as the Electric Forest Festival and the All Good Music Festival.

At last summer’s Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Mich., the band was able to see just how dedicated its fans had become.

“We had a 20-piece marching band of fans playing our music (along with us),” Satori said.

The group had asked fans to submit videos of themselves playing Beats Antique songs online.

“We chose some people from that and got them into the festival,” Cappel said. “These kids got to have a really memorable night playing our music in front of thousands of people. It was a beautiful moment and felt good on our side and theirs. It was just a really great experience.”

Beats Antique last performed at the Newport Music Hall in September 2012.

“We are very excited to have Beats Antique back for a second year,” said Marissa Luther, marketing director at PromoWest Productions, in an email. “Their live performance is incredible and (the) Newport is the perfect fit for a show of that size and for that genre.”

Cappel said the audience can expect lots of visual production, new songs and interactive pieces Tuesday.

“It will be a journey that we are creating and inviting the audience to come with us down the rabbit hole,” Satori said.

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Opening acts include ill-esha and SORNE.

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