Beta Play, Crimson Apple
6010 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90035
Doors 8:45 PM / Show 9:15 PM
This event is 21 and over
“We’ve been at home compiling new music,” Beta Play’s Tom Cantillon says, describing a year in the life of the Santa Barbara, California-based band. At this point there are a number of new songs in various states of completeness. And each day the creating continues. “I have a home studio, and I basically run or hike in the morning and then I work until my fingers bleed, trying to get something special.”
Being home is a new concept for Beta Play, a trio that grew out of a previous band co-founded by Cantillon and his younger brother Michael, a group of road warriors called Tommy & The High Pilots. “We had been on the road six-eight months a year since 2009,” says Tom Cantillon. But the road can wait for now. “At this point it’s all about creating the best possible body of work we can.”
Beta Play was formed in early 2015 by Tom Cantillon on guitar and lead vocals, Michael Cantillon on keyboards and backing vocals, and Mike Dyer on bass and backing vocals. After three albums and two EPs between 2009 and 2013, Tommy & The High Pilots holed up together in a house for six weeks to create. What they created was something completely new. “We jammed as a band every day ‘Everybody turns up, get on your instrument and let’s see what happens,’” Tom remembers. “We just started bringing in new influences to what we were creating, to what would become the first EP.” Those new influences turned out to be more electronic, poppier, and more keyboard-based. “The older we got the more we got into the electronic devices that were at our fingertips and toying around with that really grew our sound exponentially.”
And with that, Beta Play was off and running, armed with catchy dance-pop tunes that land them squarely in the conversation with contemporaries like The Chainsmokers, Twenty-One Pilots and Maroon 5. “We got a little more, I guess, “pop funk,” figures Tom Cantillon, trying to describe the turn in direction that birthed Beta Play, “kind of white boy pop-funk, a little quirky, a little snarky.
It’s always been a paradox: Los Angeles is called the City of Angels, but it’s ripe with temptation that can steal your soul. From afar, though, its promising allure always beckons to innocent dreamers, artists, and musicians unaware of its sinister vibrations.
The Benson sisters grew up in a paradise in Hawaii surrounded by a loving family and community who nurtured their talents. Their hometown was a Garden of Eden, but just over yonder big-town success gleamed; the shiny juicy apple of LA called out to them.
Now, as the girls find their way in the City of Angels, will they bite into its many seductions? This is the saga of pop-alternative quartet Crimson Apple. The band of sisters is poised to break through with an exhilarating collection of new songs, and a dazzling Swiss-watch precise live show replete with a signature cohesive “going into battle” dress code, featuring colors black, red, and white.
The Benson sisters write from their experiences and emotions as they pursue their dreams and ambitions. The band’s aesthetic is a vibrant mosaic of the sisters’ influences, including pop, electronic, alternative, K-pop, J-pop, and indie-pop. Crimson Apple counts as inspirations a refreshingly diverse mix of artists such as Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, Young the Giant, and Muse.
Crimson Apple is Colby Benson, lead vocals/keyboards; Shelby Benson, guitar/vocals; Carthi Benson, bass/vocals; and Faith Benson, drums. Since the band’s inception in 2012, Crimson Apple has shared the stage with such venerated artists as Will Champlain, Switchfoot, All Time Low, The Green, Hawaiian music legends, HAPA, and One Republic. The group’s 2015 debut album, Hello, garnered commercial airing in Hawaii, and across the internet, including earning spins on iHeartMedia and Star 101.9. The year of its debut, the sisters also earned nominations for Alternative Album of the Year, Most Promising Artist of the Year, and Group of the Year at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, Hawaii's equivalent of the Grammy Awards.
In 2015, Crimson Apple relocated to California to further pursue music. Since the move, the band has performed in numerous venues in California, Nevada, and Colorado. Crimson Apple has currently signed management and recording deals with the Japanese entertainment powerhouse Amuse Group USA, Inc. (ONE OK ROCK, BABYMETAL, Perfume).
The evolution of Crimson Apple has been organic. “Most people think that our parents put us up to this, but we all had a passion for music early on and we just went for it,” Shelby says.
The first apple to ripen was singer Colby who, through becoming obsessed with an old Phantom of The Opera CD, discovered her gifts as a vocalist. At her mom’s suggestion, Colby honed her talents with voice lessons.
To nurture her talents, she asked sister Shelby and a few friends to form a band. When Colby’s buddies in the rhythm section decided to part ways with the band, Colby and Shelby recruited Benson sisters Carthi and Faith who expressed interests in their prospective instruments.
Colby gained confidence and frontperson swagger working tirelessly with her sisters in the band, learning covers of modern pop and classic rock songs and working on originals. At the time, Shelby was on her way to being an accomplished talent on guitar, but the other sisters were mere beginners. Carthi was attuned to the low frequencies of the bass and relished the role of the nonchalant cool of holding down the fort. Her ascension on the instrument was swift and natural. Faith, everyone soon realized, had no rhythm, but she had a passion for the drums and was determined to master them, waking up at 4:30 AM before school to practice. Today, she is definitely the rock steady foundation of the group. She was recently named the under 18 champion drummer for the international Hit Like A Girl drumming contest for women and girls. The band’s name was suggested by the sisters’ mother who borrowed the phrase from a lyric from the song “Wine Red” by The Hush Sound, an early favorite cover song.
Hearing the sister’s progress, and witnessing their tireless dedication to music, their parents decided to relocate the Benson family to Los Angles in order to be in the pop music epicenter. In the time the Benson sisters have been in LA, they’ve grown immensely. “I think there is something about the apple metaphor of our name that ties in with our move. Hawaii was our Garden of Eden—we were sheltered there—and now we are in a crazy big place, and some of that innocence is gone,” Shelby notes.
Six days a week you can find the sisters rehearsing, tightening up their performances, writing songs, listening back to shows, or hunched over the computer perfecting arrangements on self-recorded demos. The musicians are also deepening their studies working with A-list instrument and vocal coaches who have worked with such artists as Avenge Sevenfold, Gwen Stefanie, Chester Bennington, and Rhianna, among others. “We are musicians, and not just female musicians, and we want to be the best band we can be,” says Shelby.
For Crimson Apple’s next release, the Benson sisters will collaborate with producer’s who they trust aesthetically, bouncing ideas back and forth and being open to fresh perspectives. In addition, the sisters will be touring regionally and nationally.
To stay centered in all this maelstrom of activity, the sisters enact a special ritual. “When things get crazy and we need a break, we put down our instruments and drive down to McDonald’s for McFlurrys,” Faith says, laughing.