Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Orbs of Light”?
It’s a song that, musically, includes a lot of my influences. The main guitar riff, played with a 60’s Rickenbacker 12-string, is very Beatles, and so are the hand claps in the B section. The instrumental section is reminiscent of Rush, a band I listened to a lot when I was a teenager. There are some very cool analog synthesizer parts that probably came from all the 70’s music I grew up with.
The overall soundscape is very ethereal, and I think that is what inspired a lot of the imagery Gregory Allen came up with for the video: outer space, Sci-Fi sort of stuff. Vocally, I think there’s a bit of Peter Gabriel in there.
I love the overall energy we were able to capture; even though I played all the instruments and sang all the vocals, Pablo Munguía, Sal Ojeda and Brent Fischer, my co-producers on the track and the album, had a lot to do with the overall final result. The mix that Sal Ojeda did is masterful, in my opinion!
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Not one thing in particular, but I am always very “in tune” with what is happening in the world, and this affects me a lot. I see a lot of chaos everywhere and the lyrics try to address that; how to confront evil and hardship; to try and never give up hope.
How was the film experience?
I only participated directly in the sections you see me in; those were fun, though! We filmed at Plural Films’ studios in Mexico City. All the other footage was done without me being present. I think Director Gregory Allen and Producer Andrew Donaldson (and all the other people involved such as editors and VFX people, and of course the actresses), were amazing. The locations were in these incredible places in Mexico, and the space videos were obtained from NASA. In fact, NASA sponsored a contest and the video was submitted! So, we are in the running for that, and I also submitted the video for the Grammys!
Why naming the album after this track in particular?
I think it really captures the essence of the album, plus it’s a really cool name. The “Orbs of Light” idea reflects people’s eyes – the windows to the soul, as they say- but it also has a magical connotation, as well as a planetary/space vibe, so it works on many levels.
How was the recording and writing process?
I had a blast; it is the first album I record at my brand-new studio, Los Olivos –https://www.facebook.com/losolivosrecordingstudios – and the experience was amazing. There’s nothing like recording in a space you designed and put so much love into, and I believe – I hope- the music reflects that. I played 90% of the instruments and sang 99% of the vocals. I had a few guests with amazing credits on their resume, and I feel their contribution was essential to materializing what I was hearing in my head.
How did Bob Dylan and Beatles influence your writing?
I’ve listened to them for most of my life. I am quite a Beatles nerd; I know pretty much all the lyrics to all their songs, and know how to play many of the instrumental parts on drums (my main instrument) as well as bass, piano, and guitar. I’ve breathed their music for several decades. All my songs have at least some Beatles in them.
Dylan is a giant lyrically and musically. I haven’t even gotten close to scratching the surface of his contributions, though. I know some of his music, though, and have tried to emulate his honesty, and his amazing ability to transmit emotions. “So Fast” is my mini-Dylan homage; the harmonica part I played is a definitely a Dylan thing!
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
We are living in very strange times; very negative and aggressive times. My idea was to show that there’s another way to live, to deal with hardship, pain, suffering, hate; we can be kind to each other; we can love each other; and we can opt to face evil in the eye and say “Stop! I am not afraid of you!”.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes; I am planning some special dates in my hometown of Mexico City for later this year, to start, and also some gigs in my adopted city of LA. I am also looking at some very interesting opportunities in the East Coast and Europe. I’ll keep you posted!
What else is happening next in Beto Hale’s world?
I’m starting to write a new album, this time all in Spanish. It will be an “alternative” album; the influences will range from Beatles and other British bands, to some of my favorite Latin-Alternative bands, but also, classical, Jazz and “World” music.