Interview: New Beat Fund

By | December 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM

nbfNew Beat Fund have been hard at work this year releasing their debut EP CoiNz and touring the country multiple times playing with some huge acts. They just finished up their latest tour opening for 3OH!3 and idobi writer Catherine Yi caught up with Burnie (guitar/vocals), Snapz (bass), and Button (guitar) to discuss their unique sound, the craziest nights on tour, all the bullshit in the current music scene, and more.

On your Facebook, you call your genre “G-Punk.” How would you describe that to someone who’s never heard your band before?

Burnie: Well, we call it G-Punk, beach funk, ghost rock. But I guess that’s just a mixture of all the good music that we grew up listening to. We grew up with like punk rock and the early 90’s and stuff like that and then moving into gangsta rap at the same time, which would be the G-Funk. The punk part is obvious, so we kinda combo’d the words and made G-Punk and that’s how it came about, but we have a rich amount of musical influences so we just labeled it that.

Yeah, you guys have a pretty unique sound but you’ve been aligning yourself with the alternative scene like playing Warped Tour and Riot Fest. How’d you guys end up playing with all those bands?

Burnie: The Warped Tour thing was really our first tour and at the stage we’re at. It’s not so much a selection for us, but we go where the wind blows us.

Button: I would probably say our music is much broader than that scene and we’re looking forward to growing outside of it. It’s just a matter of the right opportunities and time when that’s going to happen.

And I know you guys signed with Red Bull Records earlier this year?

Burnie: Yeah, we were getting played locally at this little station called KROQ. Kat Corbett is a DJ out here and she was a fan of us and started spinning “Scare Me” on the Locals Only Show, probably like the beginning of this year. Then some fancy people from labels and stuff started hitting us up because they heard it on the radio and one person we particularly liked was a man named Chip Dragon. I shouldn’t say a man. He’s more of a beast.

Snapz: A wizard. He’s a wizard.

Burnie: He goes by Chip Dragon and we liked his vibe and we had a connection musically.

Snapz: He came from a similar musical background and we hit it off immediately.

Button: It wasn’t so much we chose him or he chose us – it was the universe aligned both of us together.

Burnie: It was destiny!

Snapz: Some call it fate, some call it a cup of coffee. What was that place called?

Burnie: We had some really strong coffee, which we were wired from for like three days, at this place. It was in Eagle Rock or something.

Snapz: The coffee was really strong though so we liked it.

Button: We obviously blacked out. We don’t remember anything.

Burnie: Yeah it was so black…coffee, that we blacked out.

Snapz: I do remember that he was sitting directly in the sunlight and was like in a button-up shirt, sweating profusely while he was talking to us.

Burnie: So to round this story out, turns out this mythical being, Chip Dragon, actually works for Red Bull Records. He was an A&R dude who just came on the team and he brought us into Red Bull so we haven’t looked back since.

Button: We were his first and only signing while he’s been at Red Bull Records.

Wow, is that a lot of pressure?

Burnie: Oh, not at all. We just do what we do and that’s about it.

Button: Yeah, there’s no pressure. It’s just a lot of fun.

I was talking to another band the other day, and they said when bands are serious they tend to move to LA, so what was it like already being in LA when starting your band?

Burnie: Well, it’s interesting because LA is actually an extremely tough place to make it. But we grew up around here so we know a lot of people and we know the spots. We’ve been playing Hollywood and stuff since we were learning how to play instruments.

Snapz: I would say the difference between other places and LA within music is like LA has music, but I think it’s more keen to music business. It’s a very business-oriented vibe when you’re coming into its play, like people are always thinking in terms of not only talent but dollar signs, like the one on our album cover.

Burnie: It sucks to say but yeah, money. That’s what the music industry ultimately is. And when you’re in a small town just playing music for the love of it, that’s great, but there’s like a whole other knowledge of what goes into being a successful band. Talent is obviously number one, but there’s also all the other bullshit that an artist has to go through. People don’t necessarily understand when they’re just playing music in a garage. We didn’t understand it at one point either. But I’d say that’s the one part about LA that catches people off guard, is that it’s turning talent into business.

Button: I would say us, despite being from LA, it’s not so much where you are, it’s just maybe we’ve figured out sooner than later or whatever the timing is. I think bands out of town are just a little naive to certain things and they don’t quite understand and then they come to LA and they have to have the cycle of learning. Us being from here, we just went through that cycle and now we’re kinda past it.

Burnie: Yeah, we’re used to it so like it’s easy to come here and probably get swallowed up or be manipulated and changed because some random person, who you might think is a big deal, is actually stealing your money and telling you to be something else. There’s a lot of weird shit out here.

Snapz: Hollywood’s a matrix. It can swallow you up whole without you even realizing it. But if you know what it is, and you see it for what it is, and you keep your head on straight and just stick to what you want, then you can use it to your advantage.

Both your music and your image in general tend to be a bit out there. Do you ever find yourself attracting any haters?

Snapz: Oh absolutely. We welcome them warmly though because to us, it just doesn’t make sense to put negative energy out into the universe and when people do so willingly and they actually go through the process of finding us on the Internet just to express hatred, to us it’s kinda funny. We usually just respond with an emoji, with like the unhappy face with an arrow to a happy face, you know, turn that frown upside down. People are so focused on putting negative energy into the world that it just seems stupid to us.

Burnie: Yeah, it’s a compliment because when we started this band, we wanted people to either love us or hate us and not lie in the middle of being mediocre. So if they hate us, that means we’re doing our job right. If they love us, then we’re also doing our job right.

Snapz: And we don’t expect everyone to like our music. As long as we’re getting some sort of reaction out of people, that’s the purpose of what we’re doing so if it’s a negative one, that’s fine. I’d rather offend somebody than them not care. Like even the way we type on shit, it’s so stupid, like we takeover the Warped Tour Instagram or AltPress Instagram and all these kids are like talking about grammar and shit like, “They never fuckin’ went to school.” First of all, it’s not even grammar that you’re talking about. These kids, they just find anything to nitpick and fucking hate. So if it wasn’t the way that we type, it’d be like the color of my shoelaces that day or like the way my armpits look in a photo. It’s dumb.

Button: You know what, it’s an honor to be the ones that distract them from their lives because obviously if they have to spend that much time on the Internet critiquing something so minuscule then it’s really an honor for us to be that person.

Also your music, especially the single “Scare Me,” tends to get somewhat political at times. Is there a certain message you guys try to get across to your listeners?

Burnie: It’s funny because people see it as like a catchy little pop jingle and they can bop around to it and I don’t know if everybody hears the lyrics entirely. But it was just some things and some questions that were being brought up in our minds and what things that were bugging us at the moment and frustrations. I mean, I wasn’t saying anything in particular about singling anyone personally out, except for Lady Gaga [laughs], but it was trying to raise a question, which I think is good and I don’t think people heard that yet but maybe in our future music.

Snapz: I’m glad that you did though.

Button: Either way, if someone can take something away or it can evoke some sort of thought that’s probably the goal. I mean, it’s not necessarily our opinions, but maybe what people can gather themselves from what they’re hearing.

You guys also have a song called “Beware of Phony Disco,” so what do you consider real disco?

Burnie: Well, again that was sorta poking fun at the state of music, things we didn’t particularly like about it and I don’t wanna say what real disco is. Disco is just the term that I used to describe music, or something fake. I think the past 3 years have been a very disco resurgence with the whole Dr. Luke and Katy Perry kind of dance music. And we were just making fun of it really.

Snapz: Yeah, in LA it’s like…

Burnie: Everybody’s a DJ.

Snapz: Where the club scene in LA is not only that kind of music, but it’s all the people that it attracts. And you know, songs that are about good times, and then we go out in LA and it’s just people doing a bunch of drugs at stupid clubs and like trying to mask the fact that they’re really just trying to fuck each other in strange scenarios, so it’s also poking fun at that. And everybody just wants to be a fucking DJ now. We play instruments! So we’re like fuck, what happened to real instrumentation? Like everyone just wants to fuckin’ get a Serato rig and mash two songs together like they’re a fuckin’ musician, but they’re not. You’re not an aspiring DJ, are you? Sorry if you are. Those are just my personal feelings.

Don’t worry, I’m not.

Snapz: Ok that’s good.

You guys also just wrapped up a tour opening for 3OH!3. How was that tour?

Burnie: It was good, really good. We made friends with those bands on Warped Tour and so this tour was like an extension of all the people we really liked and getting to know them better. We got to get in front of their fans and grow our fanbase and make new friends. We got to see the whole country, like you can’t complain about that.

Button: Yeah, it was good vibes, good people. We played a lot of great shows and made a lot of great connections with bands and fans and there’s not much more you could want out of that, you know.

Yeah, it seemed like a pretty wild tour package. What’s the craziest story from this tour that you can share with us?

Burnie: Um, well there’s probably too many to get into. Probably our favorite night was New Orleans where we ended up just like –

Button: We should probably leave that one out. It’s a little rated R.

Burnie: I like rated R.

Snapz: Are we rated like X, R, PG-13 or G?

Button: Ok, your birthday in Boston. That was a good night, like all bands got together, hammered drunk bowling. That was a good one.

Burnie: I’m still gonna say my favorite night was New Orleans though. And I’ll keep the rated R out, but we got to explore New Orleans, a city that I’ve always wanted to visit, and we got to rage with all the bands and we danced at reggae clubs and got haircuts at 3 am.

Snapz: Yeah, one of our homies got a haircut and a shot of whiskey at 2 am in a bar.

Burnie: And met some fine ladies and saw a beautiful town for the first time so it was good.

Snapz: And you can drink in public there so we were just walking down our merry way.

Button: Like pirates.

Snapz: We were pirates for the day.

Button: But honestly, there’s so many nights that it’s hard to sum it all up. New Orleans was a standout.

Burnie: New York was cool. We went to a Fader event. I got a bucket of water dumped on me out of an apartment window.

Button: Boston was great. That was early on so that was when we first like hung with everyone.

Burnie: And then back in LA was just a shitshow. An absolute shitshow.

With everything you’ve done this year like Warped, Riot Fest, opening for blink-182, what’s been your favorite part of 2013?

Burnie: The whole bit. I’ve been saying the whole bit. I love all of it, like it’s all been a progression from being signed to going on Warped Tour to doing blink to doing 3OH!3, so let’s just hope that things keep on this path. I think they will. Playing music live is awesome, so we got to do that a lot.

Button: Yeah, I mean traveling was fuckin’ sweet.

Burnie: And we got to eat a lot of pizza from pretty much every city in America. And there’s a lot of great pizza out there.

That’s very true. So what do you guys have planned for next year?

Burnie: We’re going into the studio.

Snapz: We were actually supposed to move into a new studio the other day but it got pushed back a few days so we’re probably going to be moving in some time at the end of this week. We’ve got a bunch of new songs written at various stages of recording so we’re gonna be locked up in the studio for the next couple months, just trying to finish up some new stuff and then hopefully hitting the road like at the end of February or early March.

Button: Pretty much more of what we’re doing, with new and amazing stuff.

Burnie: But it’s gonna blow your mind so you should be on the lookout.

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