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The Beat Club \ Biography

Miami based dance-project The Beat Club first emerged in 1987 when producer Ony Rodriguez issued electro single Dreamworld through his own small label, HR Records. Says Ony: 'In the late 80s I was part of the electro-pop band, The Voice In Fashion. We were signed to a major label and our goal was to record pop music, tour and basically, become famous. While fun at the time, I felt limited by the artistic constraints placed on such an endeavor. As I was already signed to a label as an artist, The Beat Club began as a studio project, where I as a producer I could invite people I met along the way to come and join me on a jam session. As The Beat Club, my first release was a remake of one of my earlier recordings, Dreamworld. This release was a collaboration with a singer named Greg McGlaughin. Greg's band, The Front, was my favorite punk band from Miami at the time. This style of music was quite a stretch for Greg but the result was, surprisingly, exactly what I was looking for.'

The Beat Club project made waves with their second single, Security, on which Ony was joined by his girlfriend and future wife Mireya Valls. A pin sharp, freestyling electro cut, Security swiftly outgrew the initial indie release on HR. 'For my second release, I asked Mireya to speak some verses I had written over an electronic groove. She had taken voice classes in college, and had (and still has) a beautiful voice, which records extremely well. I was quite interested in what the Miami Bass movement was doing with the sound that Kraftwerk pioneered in the mid 70's. Security was the result of those influences. The released cut featured edits by The Whiz Kids, as well as contributions from Avy Gonzalez and Peter Marrs, and also Fro Sosa, the singer/guitarist Nuclear Valdez. The success of the 'street' version of Security resulted in a licence to a major, but as I was still part of The Voice In Fashion, and signed to a different label, I had Mireya sign the deal as an artist. Since then, she has been the voice of The Beat Club.'

Security's tight edits and dark edge also impressed clubbers at The Haçienda, the celebrated Manchester nightclub founded by Factory Records and New Order. Moreover, Bernard Sumner of New Order was casting around for likely collaborators as part of a new side project, Electronic. For The Beat Club, this wave of interest from the UK in 1989 was indeed timely. 'The major deal was a fiasco,' sighs Ony. 'The day I went to present our follow-up record, our label rep announced he was moving to Epic - his first order of business for the day, my meeting was second. The label decided to walk him out of the building immediately, while I was sitting outside in the lobby. Fortunately I had a backup career as a software consultant. That summer I was contacted by Frank Callari, a friend of New Order's Bernard Sumner. He told me that Security was the biggest song at The Haçienda club and that Bernard would like to speak with me about working together. I was quite happy to work with him, as I was a big fan of New Order. While in Manchester I was approached by Rob Gretton about handling my career. I agreed that we had lost momentum, so our focus shifted to the UK, as we released a series of recordings on Robs Records.'

As well as Bernard Sumner's pleasing Euro remix of Security, two further Beat Club singles were issued through Robs: Dreams Were Made To Be Broken, and X. The first Beat Club album should have emerged through Robs, but due to delays in Manchester was eventually self-released by Ony through his own label, Electobeat, in 1994. 'Factory had collapsed and I expect that was Rob's main concern. I retained my masters, and along with the new tracks I had been working on, I repackaged the album as Electrobeat, Introduction and Paris.' Engagingly eclectic within the dance genre, Paris combined electro, synth pop and techno styles to great effect. The CD edition also contained no less than five mixes of Transamerica, released as a single in 1993, as well as a Sumner dub mix of Security, and a remix of Dreams Were Made To Be Broken by Martin Moscrop of A Certain Ratio.

Electrobeat also allowed Ony to explore more avenues. 'I decided to rename my old label (HR Records) and establish it as a new label, expanding The Beat Club into different projects concentrating on different styles. I guess this philosophy has made it quite difficult to establish a particular name and has kept us in relative obscurity, but I haven't gotten caught up too much in any particular hype and music is still exciting for me. Previously, my projects are categorized as follows: The Beat Club is alternative/dance oriented, Toys for the Revolution is electronic, Fuzzy Logic is experimental, Urban Select is ambient, and Santa Fe is new age. But those are just buzzwords falling under the generic 'techno' label currently used in the retailing of electronic music, and currently I'm only recording as The Beat Club.'

The Beat Club returned in 2003 with Dream Within A Dream and Lost In Space, two door wobbling club singles that trailed second album Robotica. This was followed in 2008 by Minimalista, with Ony and Mireya here exploring styles ranging from high energy, guitar-driven vamps to four on the floor electronic musings. Both band and label remain proudly eclectic. 'As Mireya and I only answer to ourselves (we bankroll the label), we are free to try different marketing avenues as required, and so our artistic goals remain as the driving forces behind the label, rather than money or trends. The Beat Club, originally, was intended to be a faceless studio project with no specific expectations. I usually work within a more liberal set of parameter yet maintain my music accessible. It is quite interesting to me that while most creative individuals are so liberal in their political ideology, they are so conservative in their artistic views. It also appears to me that the more successful they become commercially, their artistic views then generally skew over to the "far right". This is just an observation! Still, even though I have options, I keep coming back. I feel like Michael Corleone in Godfather III.'

James Nice

April 2010

The Beat Club