Kenneth Beckerdite isn’t your normal 19-year-old.
He’s a fanatic of film, music, and movies. He reads Thomas Hobbes and other philosophers. He believes that Nikola Tesla got the short end of the stick in his rivalry with Thomas Edison. He has an alternate persona known as Paul the Zombie.
All of that plays itself out in Beckerdite’s first ever music album produced under the name Tesla Electricity: False Prophets. Ketchup.
The Greek wording that is included is a testimony to the deep-thinking and eclectic local product that spent his final high school years in Montana. He would draw from the ideas that Tesla developed to influence his concept of what sound and music should be.
“He took something that was seemingly uncontrollable and did some unbelievable things,” Beckerdite said. “I wanted to do the same thing with sound. Take this chaos and put it together in a cohesive fashion.”
And all of that chaos comes from his love for movies.
The album, he says, is a soundtrack to a movie in his head about a guy who gets involved with a cult, and each song tells a different part of the story. One might focus on anxiety. Others might focus on other feelings. In the end, he says, it’s a chance for him to get all of those ideas that would normally be put down on paper and put into an electronic song.
Influenced by the French electronic duo Justice as well as the Mars Volta and Tool, Beckerdite says he prefers music where you can tell that there’s a story to give listeners the chance to hear and see what is unfolding.
“It’s like the group Coheed and Cambria who recorded all of their albums to tell a story,” he said. “That’s so much more fun to listen to and enjoy. You get to pick out the meaning and you can follow it.”
But like any artist, he had to have a starting point.
Growing up in a musical household, there were always instruments around, and Beckerdite took to the drums. He tried taking lessons, and instantly dropped them – not liking the structure of the sessions. There was something, he said, about creating the beat with the drums that just made sense to him. He’d plug his headphones into B93 and just play along to the music of Green Day and Blink 182, and his love for making music started to grow with each strike.
So he took the next step. He asked for an M-Audio Axiom 25-Key digital keyboard for Christmas, and started messing around with a demo version of the popular electronic music program FL Studio.
“I got some beat pads, and with the keyboard things just took off,” Beckerdite said. “I produced a few things here and there, and I spent a lot of time at night playing around with it. That kind of started my love for it, and it got me into making beat tapes that I would give out to people.”
Like any artist, though, Beckerdite couldn’t function without inspiration.
On one hand, he works on a regular basis with writer and filmmaker Jon Walkup, and their relationship allows Beckerdite to brainstorm new ideas and take his talents to the next level with the support and assistance of somebody that shares the same interests.
“I love film as well, and with Jon I’m always at his house. He’s my muse,” Beckerdite said. “He’s a guy that wants to see me excel, and he inspires me to constantly jump up my game. It’s amazing to see how well we feed off of each other. We both the love the same things, and working together is a fantastic process.”
On the other hand, he turns to traditional ways to find inspiration: books, movies and lectures from people who know what they’re talking about.
“I love to read and I love to break down movies and take classes on different things – philosophy, quantum mechanics, things like that. “You never know what you’re going to get inspired by, so you need to keep your ears open and your mouth shut.
“Be open to anything, and don’t be close-minded about things that you don’t understand.”
Pre-orders for False Prophets. Ketchup. will begin on July 5th, and the album itself will go on sale for $5 on July 12th. To pre-order or purchase your copy digitally, go to www.thatteslaelectricity.bandcamp.com.