Contrary to what people say nowadays, there is no lack of quality in Electro/Industrial music. Truth be known, you have to seek a bit more and to filter out which acts stand above the average. One example is the one-man project BETA led by Ian Velasquez with his debut “Reflections in Darkness” out on BLC Productions (www.blcmusic.com). Ian proves his marvelous talent through rich sequences, dark synth layers and a great choice of voice samples. Check also out this link to read two reviews of this excellent release: www.chaindlk.com/reviews/index.php?search=reflections+in+darkness&type=music.Most surprising is the fact that BETA does not sing — there is no vocalist. For this and all other relevant background information, please read this interview…
Chain D.L.K.: Like the title of your CD “Reflections in Darkness” there is still a lot of darkness around you, Ian. Please introduce us briefly to BETA. How, when and why did you create this musical project?
Beta: I officially started BETA in 1999. I started off as a DJ about 9 years ago, spinning industrial for college radio, and occasionally at clubs here in the Los Angeles area. I got to know, and become friends with, some of the local bands here. They taught me a lot about music production, and inspired me to start making music on my own.
Chain D.L.K.: “Reflections…” impressed me totally by its unique style in art and complexity in sound structures. Tell us the truth, how long did the work on that whole album take?
Beta: The songs on “Reflections” were actually written over the course of about three years. Some of the songs were originally written a few years back, and were later remixed/revised for “Reflections…”. The other half of the album was done over a year and a half. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to music, so I like go to back through songs and refine everything very slowly and carefully.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you get in contact with BLC Productions, your current label?
Beta: A few artists who are friends of mine (S.E.M;I and Radius Desire) appeared on BLC’s “Annihilation and Seduction” compilation. They suggested I submit material for an upcoming compilation. Brandon at BLC liked the material, and decided to include me on “Interbreeding II” and also agreed to release an album.
Chain D.L.K.: I can see on your website (www.betamusic.net) that you have already released a CD called “Without/Within”. Is this disc still available and did you release it on your own?
Beta: “Without/Within” was kind of a self-released “demo”. It was never officially pressed and released. “Reflections in Darkness” is the first “official” BETA release, but it does feature some remixed songs from “Without/Within”.
Chain D.L.K.: Your music sounds almost perfectly arranged. But there is one single question, and I think you often heard this: Why does BETA not sing? By not having a singer for your music, do you find yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to sales?
Beta: When I wrote the songs, I wanted to focus entirely on the music. I wanted to make songs that were more “conceptual”, so I decided to go with a lot of samples instead of vocals. The samples were carefully chosen and arranged, and I think they tell a story on their own. Yes, there are some disadvantages to promoting “instrumental” music, but it can be done. Feindflug and newer Noise Unit are good examples. I think if people listen to the album, they won’t be disappointed.
Chain D.L.K.: Four foreign remix works are also available on “Reflections…”. How did you get in contact with IMPLANT, SKOYZ, AGONOIZE and SCHATTENSCHLAG and how did you get their will to do a remix?
Beta: Brandon at BLC has lots of good friends and connections in the Industrial community. He approached these bands about doing remixes, and they were kind enough to agree. They all did a great job, and I’m thankful for their work..
Chain D.L.K.: Did you already do a live performance of your stuff? If yes, what is a BETA gig like?
Beta: I’ve done a few BETA shows, and I’d like to hopefully do more. My friend and collaborator Raven F. usually helps out during the live shows. During the performance, we each have our own PC workstations, running a sampler, and VST synth racks. It’s a nice sonic assault on the ears. Ultimately, I’d like to turn BETA shows into a multimedia “visual” experience as well.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides music, what does Mr. Velasquez do in his private life?
Beta: Aside from music, I’m a big movie buff, and a computer nerd. I’m also into art, and like watching anime and old “Twilight Zone” episodes when I have time.
Chain D.L.K.: Your plans for your future musically and personal?
Beta: To evolve. To progress and develop as a musician. I’d like to keep pushing myself and the music to new levels. When you look at bands like FLA and Skinny Puppy, who are considered the true “innovators” of thegenre, they’ve always managed to reinvent themselves and push the musical boundaries.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final comments you would like to add?
Beta: ….Punish your machine 😉
Chain D.L.K.: Many thanks, Ian, and good luck and success with your music!
Visit Beta on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]