San Francisco synth-indie band Cold Beat has lost a lot of good musicians to children.
“Just warning anyone who plays in this project, you might get pregnant,” Cold Beat front-woman Hannah Lew says. “We’re a very fertile band.”
As the proud mama of Cold Beat, Lew, embraces the fertility of her baby-making music. “I ended up recording a lot by myself because of that [band mates dropping out of the project],” Lew tells BTRtoday. “It naturally became this thing for me to record stuff on my own as much as I can, it was a good experience—different.”
Though rock at heart, Cold Beat is growing up to be a little more post-punk these days. Instead of just the classic guitar, bass and drums ensemble like most rock bands have, Lew includes an array of other instruments like synth, drum machine and analog equipment—comparable to the likes of Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen and Gang Of Four.
The latest album Chaos By Invitation takes advantage of the time Lew had to herself. During her solitary writing process Lew experimented with creating new sounds on her laptop. This resulted in tracks that contain more synth and sound effects played along to catchy drumbeats, that were sometimes recorded live, but mostly made by Lew on her computer. The tunes are still just as catchy and melodic, but with much more of an experimental outer space vibe.
“I’d reach some pieces mathematically instead of playing like this chord to that chord,” Lew says. “I would look at it and visually lay things out, so that was sort of different. It brought out different sounds—I was also learning a lot.”
Lew didn’t intend to work on her own. But with babies popping out left and right of Cold Beat, she didn’t have a choice. The experience she gained from her two full-length LPs gave her the confidence to continue on. “If I had done my first album like this, I probably would’ve been more disheartened, but I think I’ve been up for this process by this point,” she says. “There’s no one to really bounce off of, so I would just be like, ‘what is this album?’ I had to like pep myself up a lot.”
She grades the entire writing and recording process a “confusing out of eight.”
No new babies have surprised the band of late, with one exception.
This year, Lew and her husband opened Contact Records in Oakland, CA. She says the store has kept her busy, but intends for Cold Beat to get out and play live.
Cold Beat’s live experience not only captures the audience’s attention with passionate instrumentation, but also adds a second element to the entertainment with fun props and lasers. “I mean everybody in this band is extremely cute, and I don’t think that everyone wouldn’t want to look at them the whole time, but it’s fun to have this other element,” Lew says. “We’ve got some stuff in the works that I’m excited about.”
While there’s no human baby lined-up for Lew, she’s got her hands full as a music industry mother of two with Cold Beats and Contact Records. Rearing them well, make sure you check out her baby’s newest creation Chaos By Invitation, playing in full on this week’s Music Meetup.
But maybe wear protection—anything can happen when you listen to Cold Beat.