Hailing from Montreal, Canada, The Beat Escape is a duo formed by multi-talented artists Addy Weitzman (of Footprintz fame) and Patrick A. Boivin; two musicians united by their common love for new-wavey electronics, catchy hooks and hypnotic pop melodies. After a fine self-titled debut EP – released via Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union imprint two years ago, the pair almost immediately returned to the studio and started recording the tracks that would soon form the backbone to their first long-player, ‘Life Is Short The Answer’s Long‘, to be released on 27th April.
With just a couple of weeks to go until the release of the album, timing couldn’t be better to welcome Addy and Patrick for a little mix session, stamped with their usual seal of elegance. Delivering a finely weaved assemblage of synth pop delicacies and other ’80s-laced themes, The Beat Escape invoke a variety of voices, from Bill Nelson to Pink Industry, via Raze De Soare and Degrees of Freedom; chiseling a mix tailored for the sunny days and aimless wanderings in the park. We sat down with the guys to discuss the roots and shoots of their singular musical universe.
Interview by Baptiste Girou
"We’re just trying to make good music, not really trying to emulate anything specific, just every single one of our influences over the span of our entire lives."
Hey chaps, thanks for that dancey, feel good mix! It’s just perfect for the return of the warmer days… Can you tell us more about the selection? When and how was it recorded?
Patrick: Our pleasure, Baptiste. Just checked to be sure – we made this March 6th, 2018 in Ableton. Been listening to these songs on repeat lately… They’re the type of tracks that I always love discovering. Ones that capture this emotional, weirdo pop energy that feels timeless but at the same time forgotten.
Addy: Yeah, happy you like it! We had a playlist called “off the beaten traxx vol.1’ so we just compiled what was in there, recorded a few records, made an edit or two and got some “exclusive unreleased” material from friends. We’re working on vol. 2 now – “Dinner Time with The Beat Escape” – that one’s gonna be a romantic exotica, film music kind of thing.
Your music, style and even this mix clearly are ’80s-indebted. What would you say is so appealing about the ’80s? Looks like this era is often associated to vibrant colours, happiness, a certain sense of naïveté…
A: Well for starters, vibrant colours and happiness are pretty good things. But the thing is we draw inspiration from lots of different decades, it’s just that most of our equipment comes from the ’80s so the sound of that time period inevitably comes through.
P: I think one of the main elements would be taking cues from engineering and production. I also appreciate the theatricality of the ’80s. Where narratives and the images behind them were often perfect reflections of the music being made. That naïveté, romanticism, grittiness and glamour all sit well with me.
Was The Beat Escape born out of a certain nostalgia for this sound, period, overall aesthetic? Or did it emerge later?
A: Not really. It’s weird, I feel like after a while your influences are just ingrained into you. We’re just trying to make good music, not really trying to emulate anything specific, just every single one of our influences over the span of our entire lives.
P: Haha, I feel the same… Although this period is a reference point, it’s not an exclusive relationship. Perhaps the sense of nostalgia you’re speaking of is a meeting point between dance music and the art of songwriting, which makes sense for us.
How did you guys first meet, and what triggered you to start The Beat Escape?
A: We met when we were almost young, in my parents’ basement, singing ‘The Weight‘ by The Band in the middle of the afternoon. You know the chorus, with the three part harmony…? “and, and, and…” This is what Patrick recalls, the memory is a bit vague for me.
P: A few years later we started a band together but only recorded one song. Then after Addy’s project Footprintz was slowing down, we found an apartment that had a perfect studio space in the back room. We grouped all of our equipment together, moved in, and started working on music more regularly.
What about this name, The Beat Escape? What does it mean to you?
A: It just looks so good written out. We’ve been designing merch recently and keep saying – if the record flops maybe we should just start designing activewear.
P: A nomad heart in nomad heat. A dervish blood. A dervish beat.
"We’ve been designing merch recently and keep saying if the record flops maybe we should just start designing activewear."
Your debut album, ‘Life Is Short The Answer’s Long’, is coming out April 27th via Last Gang for the Canada, and Bella Union for the rest of the world, which is run by former Cocteau Twins co-founder Simon Raymonde. It’s your second record on the label after an inaugural EP in 2016. Please tell us more about this first full-length. Where did you draw your inspiration for it?
P: We had the album title before writing any of the songs, so that set a tone. But inspiration mostly came from process, momentum and fluidity – constantly working through ideas, expanding on them, and simplifying them. I also took lots of long walks and drank a regimented dose of caffeine every day. 6 cups – no more, no less.
A: I was reading this great book about the history of the world and then all of a sudden Leonard Cohen died. But it’s true what Patrick said, we had the album’s title before the songs – this was a blessing but also a curse, because the title was so good, it was tough to make something that lived up to it.
I guess it’s safe to say that the Cocteau Twins is a favourite of yours, as it is for so many of us. What’s your favourite record from the band and why?
P: I always have a tough time picking favourites, but the first Cocteau Twins record I got was ‘The Pink Opaque‘, which is a compilation. It’s what made me get into their music many years ago and was a nice introduction.
A: I really love ‘The Moon And The Melodies‘, that’s the one they did with Harold Budd, it’s just a beautiful record. Haven’t heard it recently though, have to put in on, think it’s a good record for the springtime. Listening now, great record for being on a boat.
How was the studio process for this album? Has it been rather easy flowing or tougher than expected?
P: Everything starts rather simply – turning on a drum machine, writing chord progression and bass line, maybe a sequence. Then what’s to follow is always a journey and somewhat of a mystery. Sometimes the road is longer than others, taking you to places you didn’t really expect, and other times the trip is more direct.
A: There’ a tendency to just try every “technique” imaginable in order to find a good idea and that can be really brutal. Occasionally it can be quite fun. I’m pretty sure that we both at least learnt quite a bit throughout the process. In the end, man is an event which cannot judge itself, but, for better or worse, is left to the judgement of others.
"Sometimes the road is longer than others, taking you to places you didn't really expect, and other times the trip is more direct."
You are operating from Montreal, which is home to quite a diverse fauna of intriguing electronic and indie music acts. How is the emulation there? Do the musicians hang together or do you feel there could be more mutual aid between artists?
P: Lots of our friends are musicians and it’s always a pleasure to hear what everyone’s working on. One of my roommates, R Weng is part of a label called Temple and we’re very close with his whole crew. My other roommate is in Booma collective, also friends of ours, and just bought a weird guitar synth to make library music. Needless to say, we’re around music all the time and have learnt so much from everyone.
A: Yeah it’s pretty amazing how much we’ve actually learnt from friends around “in the scene”. One really has to have a willingness to go out often though. I know there was a point when I was always after this 10 on 10 rave scenario and was going out all the time, but that was a while ago. I just want to work on as much music as I can and feel fortunate that there’s so many talented people around to feel inspired by.
What are your favourite places to hang out in town? What spots should we visit the next time we come around?
A: Oh wow wow we just discovered this Chinese restaurant called Oriental Fusion in the basement underneath an all you can eat sushi place. Honestly might be the best restaurant in town. Otherwise I like going to the market in the summer, walking through parks in the winter, It’s all quite lovely really.
P: We both, for the most part, end up cooking with friends a lot, but always go out to the same spots. But a nice day could be spent taking a walk on the mountain, going for a coffee at Social, followed by record shopping at a few spots on Bernard. Then dinner at either L’Express or Chez Doval – both totally different, but both staples. Finish it off with a dance at your friends apartment, and you’re in business.
What was the last record store you visited and what did you bag there?
P: I recently got the ‘Amarcord‘ soundtrack by Nino Rota at aux 33 tours in Montreal.
What will you be up to in the coming weeks?
P: We’ll be rehearsing and re-tooling our live set. Otherwise, working on lots of new music and playing the piano. Stopped with the coffee regiment though. Realized it went too far…
A: Yes, preparing for shows and finishing our second album – feels like we’re getting close! Haha!
Life Is Short The Answer’s Long is released via Last Gang (for Canada) / Bella Union (rest of the world) on 27th April, pre-order your copy here.
1. The Beat Escape – Sign Of Age
2. The Beat Escape – Moon In Aquarias
3. The Beat Escape – Limestone Alps
4. The Beat Escape – Where Water Ends
5. The Beat Escape – More Dreams
6. The Beat Escape – Then I Drift Away
7. The Beat Escape – Seeing Is Forgetting (Album mix)
8. The Beat Escape – Thousand Pound Shoes
9. The Beat Escape – Nemo Propheta (Extended Mix)
Discover more about The Beat Escape on Inverted Audio.The Beat EscapeBella UnionLast Gang27 April 2018ColdwaveElectronicSynth Pop