One of the newest acts to emerge from the city's growing electronic-pop scene, Beta Frontiers were born of their creator's desire to tease out ever-dirtier noises with the right "crackle to 'em."
Whereas local dance exports Azari & III and Art Department are descended from a long line of slickly produced house and techno, Beta Frontiers' Michael Butler approaches dance music with a punchy, indie pop mindset and a DIY production ethic.
"There's something wholesome about imperfections," he says. "I don't like a cold, straight drum machine. I'd rather sample it, overdrive it and play it on a speaker and record it back again."
For that reason, the Toronto-based producer/musician feels a kinship with the other acts he'll perform alongside tonight at Queen West club Play, a concert curated by long-running indie music showcase Wavelength and dark-synth concert series Silent Shout.
"I think everyone [on the bill] has come from playing in ‘proper' bands and then moved more into an electronic vein," he explains. "We're making tight pop songs but in that outsider electronic mindset."
Butler, who asked - via his manager - to keep personal details to a minimum for "privacy" reasons, has kept a low profile compared to other acts signed to buzzy local label Daps.
"I keep getting billed as a bedroom producer, but it's more of a living room set-up," he clarifies.
Last year he released an EP of fuzzed-out sci-fi dance music simply entitled ...EP, plus a handful of tracks and remixes. He collaborated with You Say Party's Becky Ninkovic on ...EP's lone vocal cut, Hondo, and is recording with more singers for his debut full-length, which he hopes to release this fall.
Onstage, Beta Frontiers expand to a duo with the addition of VJ and music director Andrew Olivares, aka Breau, who mixes visuals live to the music.
"It's really about the sound. Chords and bass lines are important, but if you have a good-sounding stab or snare, it makes a big difference," says Butler. "You can have a lead line plucked on a ukulele, but if it's coming through a cracked-out, warped-sounding [filter], it changes everything."