The end of an incredible year in the LPU for our family is in its last days- LPU jerseys made of recycled plastic bottles, original artwork by a fellow LPU Soldier, and quite easily one of the best exclusive LPU albums; and part of what made LPU XIII such a great listen, was “Change” by Beta State.
Linkin Park fans may have caught their first glimpse of Beta State in 2011 at the Local Band Stage at BFD, Beta State performing at the very festival Linkin Park was headlining. Anyone reading Mike Shinoda’s blog got their first real look; finding Chester after the show, Beta State handed him an iPod Touch with a simple-
“We’re in a band called Beta State, and we’d be honored if you guys would check out our music.”
They caught the specific attention from Chester, Mike and Phoenix, Mike writing about the impression they made with a simple, but carefully put together iPod Touch with a personal note, album art work, songs and music videos. That album, was Stars.
By the end of the year, Beta State already had new music for any fans they made after reading that blog and clicking ‘play’ for the “I’m Still Alive” music video, their EP for their full length album #Friendship released in December, the full album in our hands May 2013.
Just after they released #Friendship, they produced a music video with a tribute to Breaking Bad for their song “Start A Clean Slate,” featured on MTV’s Buzzworthy.
Come July, they stood out again in the fan base, entering the LPU Sessions with Linkin Park and Red Bull Studios for a chance to record with Linkin Park, the very same band they asked to “check out” their music. Come August, they led in votes from the LPU community. Come October, they won the LPU Sessions with fellow finalist Ryan Giles and traveled to Los Angeles to produce “Change,” featured in LPU XIII’s exclusive cd.
It’s been a whole year since that mile-stone of a week, and we’re excited to not only catch up with our fellow LPUer, Matt McDonald, but get to know them a little bit more. #WeAreLPU
How did Beta State come to be, what was the beginning to this band?
I was coaching basketball one day, and went home to an email that a drummer I used to write music with sent me. Beta State was auditioning singers via MySpace. They had a number of instrumentals posted online and I loved their sound. That day, I wrote a song called “In Between the Truth and the Trees” and sent it in. The next day Adrian [drummer] and I got to chatting, and I went up a week later to meet the guys and jam with them… the rest is history!
The impressive iPod Touch- was Linkin Park the one band you wanted to hand your work to, or one of many bands you reached out to?
They were definitely THE band we wanted to work with. We’ve always felt their work ethic, attitude and approach to music was very similar to ours.
For LPU Sessions, why did you choose “When I’m Too Weak to Know” off #Friendship for your submission above other songs?
“When I’m Too Weak to Know” was actually a song that we almost chose as our main single. As you know, we chose “Start A Clean Slate,” so when it came time to choose a new song to push, it was the obvious choice.
We were able to see during the LPU TV episode for your recording session at Red Bull Studios your access to the tools and instruments used by Linkin Park; were the tools familiar, or were you taught a whole new resource?
They were very familiar to us, we had done most of the recording for both of our previous albums in our own bedrooms. That being said, recording/writing is something you can never stop learning about, so it was great to watch LP use it the way they do and add that new knowledge to mind.
Since then, have you invested in any particular tools and instruments you especially considered essential to drive your creativity further? Any you recommend for aspiring artists to immediately bring into their work?
Now that we adjusted the way we write songs, our library of tools that we use everyday has grown far beyond what we used before. I would recommend to all songwriters to invest in a recording software of their choice (we use ProTools 11) and learn it the best you can. That itself will start to unlock major growth in your songwriting potential. Much better perspective than jamming in a loud live room.
You now focus on vocals first, then grow around them- how exactly does this differ to your previous process? Has it changed each member’s involvement in the writing process?
We had always talked about wanting to write this way, but it wasn’t until the LPU Sessions that we were able to make it happen for the first time. Usually, we would “jam” out ideas in our live room for hours, record live demos of the songs, and then go home and tweak them until the were done. With this approach, we naturally wrote music first and then vocals after, which can be limiting to what I may have wanted to do vocally. Now, we make everything much more collaborative, and once I have completed a vocal that everyone is satisfied with, we then restructure the music to fit the vocal in the best way possible. When we are sitting in front of a computer and recording ideas AS they happen, we can capture magical moments better, and also hear the whole song from objective point of view… instead of sitting in a loud studio where we can’t always hear what everyone is playing and are preoccupied with our own instruments.
You’ve adopted certain processes from your LPU Session with Linkin Park, what of your “genre”? Do you see yourself testing the waters of different styles like Linkin Park?
We have, and you’ll hear soon enough!
— Lorenzo Errico (@lorenzoerr) October 17, 2014
Your newest single “Left With the Pain” not only premiered on radio but you already launched a contest of sorts, having fans take a ‘selfie’ and posting it on Instagram or Facebook with #LeftWithThePainVideo to be in the upcoming music video. How else are you looking to interacting with fans, reaching out to them? What of a street team?
We interact with and involve fans in any way we can. We will be building a street team, and it starts with our #Friendship List, which can be joined on our website. We like to give away a lot of free stuff to that community and give them chances to be involved.
Has the experience of LPU Sessions with Linkin Park opened new doors, brought different opportunities that you may not have reached yet without it?
We recently partnered with The Collective, the same management firm that works with Linkin Park.
Would you consider collaborating with your fellow finalist for LPU Sessions, Ryan Giles?
We love collaborations!
The heart of your fan base is in Northern California- what are your top three places in the world you want to step onto a stage in and perform?
Philippines, Japan and South Africa
If you could have a tour with any artists of your choice- what would that line up be?
U2 and Linkin Park
Matt, Justin, Adrian- your five favorite Linkin Park songs.
Waiting for the End, Papercut, Faint, Hands Held High and From the Inside
To end a great year of LPU XIII and bring in LPU XIV- what is your favorite memory with the LPU?