Since its inception, Beat Cinema’s combination of trippy, kaleidoscopic visuals and a gathering of envelope-pushing producers offered the beat scene an outlet for their art and a chance to get weird.
When DJ/producer Rick Gonzales started the event started at Hip Kitty in Claremont in 2009, it included performances from breakaway beatsmiths like Gaslamp Killer and Ras G . Since then, Beat Cinema continues to welcome fresh, unknown talent while still saving a seat for established artists, giving all of them the freedom to let their sprawling, psychedelic hip-hop beats branch out into exciting new territory.
What started off as a lone project by Gonzales aka, Rick2Fresh, has grown into an eight member collective of DJs and producers all hailing from various corners of Southern California. After their 5-year residency at the now defunct Hip Kitty ended, Beat Cinema took their audio and visual experience down the freeway and began hitting up several venues across Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
Major Gape’s projections add the visual cinematic aspect to the event’s live audio show. “It’s not just people playing beats,” Michael Davis, co-creative director of Beat Cinema says. In a scene that has a surplus of rappers and producers, Gape wears the title of projectionist with pride. “He’s actually live, doing it with controllers and he’ll be changing everything through out the night. It’s not like he’s putting on a reel and letting it go or something.” says Davis.
Monthly podcasts with mixes by residents and guest artists are also part of Beat Cinema’s list of ancillary projects. Beat battles draw in aspiring beat makers. Producer, Daedelus, Soulection Co-Founder, Joe Kay, and hip-hop journalist, Jeff Weiss, have judged Beat Cinema beat battles in the past. Beat legends Daddy Kev and Peanut Butter Wolf have also given Beat Cinema their nods of approval.
Repeated Measures from the OC beat collective, GRN+GLD, came to every single Beat Cinema after going to one for his birthday. Then, after winning a beat battle, Beat Cinema decided to induct him as a resident. Genuine support and camaraderie is key when deciding residents for the Beat Cinema crew. “We don’t look at people who have 10,000 Soundcloud followers to mess with us, if your music is good and you want to help us, we’ll help you grow as an artist.” explains Davis.
Beat Cinema is barely starting to break ground in Orange County, previous OC shows have been held at La Cave and Proof Bar. “I’d like them to do something every month at the Underground, that’d be really cool.” shares SanTana resident, Luis Carmona, aka Etta.
Wednesday night’s show at the brand new DTSA Underground will showcase Orange County beat talent such as Llusion The Reviver and Etta. Beat Cinema is also welcoming its newest resident, Coby. Another beat event will take place at DTSA Underground on Friday February 26th. Come get your beats!
Tickets are $5. Show starts at 9pm. February 24th 2016 @ DTSA Underground, 220 E. Third St. Santa Ana