Artist Spotlight / News

Infrasound Artist Spotlight #6: Beak Nasty | Plus Artist Interview

beak nasty the loft

by Kyle Taylor |

Before setting launch for this year’s Infrasound Music Festival, we’re capping off our artist spotlight series for the festival with two back-to-back interviews with artists representing entirely different realms and origins in music. First we take a look at some of the festival’s local talent. The first thing to recognize is that Infrasound is careful to assemble their lineup each year with an extremely careful ear, from the headliners to the very last name of the smaller, supporting artists.

Wisconsin producer Beak Nasty is no exception. With a firm grasp of the future funk and electro soul sound, the up and coming artist has justified his appearance at Infrasound every single year since its inception. Sparking some serious talk with his track “Weightless”, a collaboration with Minneapolis producer Vaski, which exhibits minimal, angelic vibes, Ryland Sabien (Beak Nasty) has been developing his precariously beautiful and fresh sound since the project’s beginning in 2009, initially as Beaker (becoming Beak Nasty in 2013). Two albums- The Expanding Universe and Chill Funk Files Vol. 1– and the When it rains, it pours mixtape make up the impressive and eclectic catalog of noise Beak Nasty has in his repetoire.

“I have my new album, Chill Funk Files Vol. 2, completely finished. It won’t be released by Infrasound, but I will definitely be dropping tons of new tracks from it.”

His live sets represent that direction, vividly showcasing plenty of Sabien’s original production, now backed by live drums from fellow artist Foxy Dope. The two met in July of 2013, soon after the project’s transition from Beaker to Beak Nasty and the release of Chill Funk Files Vol. 1, and immediately recognized a chemistry between themselves.

“…adding drums to my live show, combined with the fact that my new album had a noticeably different sound from my previous albums did eventually transform Beak Nasty into something else.”

The Beak Nasty project is undergoing constant evolution, boasting a sense of awareness for music that few artists are able to maintain. Being a staple of his local community has allowed Sabien to build and transform his sound with a constantly open approach. Taking influence from everything from pop, to classic rock, hip hop, and future bass, no genre is safe from the brilliant Beak Nasty musical polymerization that takes place throughout each album.

“I don’t care if it’s a Barbara Streishand record I’m sampling or some emo pop song from a mix CD I made when I was twelve. If it’s dope, has a good melody, and is captivating, I can get down to it.”

“…I’m always open to change. If something new inspires me tomorrow, maybe it’s time to switch it up.”

With the addition of live drums, Beak Nasty is evolving more than just in the studio, though. The live experience and studio time have proven equally important to the still young producer as he presses onward. It’s a sure guarantee that Beak Nasty will, as always, be looking to turn some heads and send out some fresh, new vibes at this year’s Infrasound Music Festival.

Previous Infrasound 2015 Artist Spotlights:
Spotlight #1: Thriftworks [April 8th, 2015]
Spotlight #2: Freddy Todd (Plus Interview) [April 15th, 2015]
Spotlight #3: Android Jones [April 22nd, 2015]
Spotlight #4: Grimblee & Hecka [April 29th, 2015]
Spotlight #5: Midnight Tyrannosaurus (Plus Interview) [May 20th, 2015]

Beak Nasty Website // Bandcamp // Soundcloud // Facebook // Twitter

Funkadelphia: “You have quite a few festival appearances lined up for this Summer already. How many times have you performed at Infrasound in the past?”
Beak Nasty: “I’ve played all of them so far, so this will be number 6.”
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Funkadelphia: “What can we expect you to be bringing to the table to update you set at Infrasound this year?”
Beak Nasty: “I have my new album, Chill Funk Files Vol. 2, completely finished. It won’t be released by Infrasound, but I will definitely be dropping tons of new tracks from it. As always, Foxy Dope will be playing drums while I lay down the chill funk jams and scratch vinyl over the top.”
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Funkadelphia: “When did you first set out on the Beak Nasty project?”
Beak Nasty: “I used to make tracks under Beaker, and when I changed my name to Beak Nasty in July, 2013, right before I dropped Chill Funk Files Vol. 1, the goal behind it was nothing more than a name change. However, it just so happened that I met Foxy Dope right around this time and we clicked instantly. Adding drums to my live show, combined with the fact that my new album had a noticeably different sound from my previous albums did eventually transform Beak Nasty into something else. I still consider it my name more than a project but the shift in styles began two summers ago.”
Funkadelphia: “So was that when you first got into music production as well?”
Beak Nasty: “My parents made sure I was involved with music basically since I was born, but it wasn’t ’til I got to fourth grade and picked up the guitar that I saw performing music as something I actually wanted to do. Then, for the next five years or so I was obsessed with the idea of being the lead singer and guitar player in a punk rock band. During this time, I started messing around with the free music producing software GarageBand and bought myself a drum set.
I thought the drum set was the missing ingredient in me being able to record my own songs, but I soon realized that I needed to buy 1000’s of dollars with of microphones and whatnot before I could make any recordings that sounded even remotely good. I started sampling drums instead, and from that I discovered a love for making beats.
I didn’t really take it seriously enough, though, until high school when my older brother moved back into the house for a winter. I showed him the stuff I’d made and since then, he has been on my ass to make more music constantly. Definitely would not have had the drive to do what I do if it wasn’t for him.”
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Funkadelphia: “What artists and musicians do you feel have had an impact on your music, be them producers, bands, or anything else?”
Beak Nasty: “The two main players in my musical evolution have been Green Day and Pretty Lights. Green Day’s American Idiot came out right when I got into the guitar and I was obsessed, so the first huge rock show I ever went to was their Minnesota stop on the American Idiot tour. I don’t know if they still do this, but during the time I saw them they would call members of the audience to come on stage and play one of their songs.  Billie Joe asked the crowd who knew how to play a certain song and I had that sh*t down since I’d been playing it nonstop for ages.  Out of the 1000’s of people in the crowd, he looked at me and told me to hop on stage. I immediately freaked out and got way too nervous to go up there and ended up letting someone else do it instead. I immediately regretted it and vowed never to miss an opportunity like that again. That was the day I knew I needed to do music forever and get myself back up on that stage.
I discovered Pretty Lights’ first album in my brother’s CD collection when I was a freshman in high school. At the time, I considered it a hip hop album with the craziest sounds I’d ever heard, and I was still pretty focused on making rock music.  This was the album that really sparked my love for instrumental hip hop, but I really didn’t have any idea that I’d actually discovered my introduction to the electronic scene. That album had a huge effect on the way I approached making music, and Pretty Lights is still my favorite artist to this day.”
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Funkadelphia: “What other types of music do you generally listen to outside of electronic and dance music?”
Beak Nasty: “I definitely listen to mostly funked out electronic music these days, but I’ll always have a deep love for hip hop. Also a big fan of classic rock like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, et cetera. Beyond that, I love throwing on the indie rock radio station and getting exposed to things I wouldn’t normally seek out. I don’t care if it’s a Barbara Streishand record I’m sampling or some emo pop song from a mix CD I made when I was twelve. If it’s dope, has good melody, and is captivating, I can get down to it.”
Funkadelphia: “Your releases have showcased a variety of electronic and dance genres and sounds; is versatility an element you want to maintain, or are you chasing a core sound?”
Beak Nasty: “Versatility is huge for me. Right now I’m on the chill funk tip, but I really try to combine as many elements as I can into my tunes; and I’m always open to change. If something new inspires me tomorrow, maybe it’s time to switch it up.”
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Funkadelphia: “So can you tell us more about the release of your new album?”
Beak Nasty: “Chill Funk Files Vol. 2 is completely done, but I really want to release this one right, so I’m taking my time with it. Been shopping it around with some labels, and am feeling really stoked about where things are heading. Can’t put a release date on it, but it’s finished and I think it’s hands down the best music I’ve ever made.”
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Funkadelphia: “Who on the Infrasound Music Festival lineup are you most excited to see this year?”
Beak Nasty: “I mean, obviously Tipper. Every time I think I’m ready to see that man throw down, he completely blows my mind and leaves me speechless by the time he walks off stage. I’m also a huge Opiuo fan and have yet to catch one of his performances so the Opiuo Band should be super ill. Beyond that, Thriftworks never disappoints; Russ Liquid is a musical genius; and Grimblee’s alter ego Hecka is absolutely killing the game. That’s a hard question though- I’m excited for like every artist on the line up.”
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Funkadelphia: “Anything else you’d like to say to the readers and listeners?”
Beak Nasty: “Just gotta say thanks to everyone for taking the time to read through this and check out my music! Can’t wait to see you at Infra!”

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