Thavius Beck was still in single digits when he knew music was his passion. He played both the tenor and alto saxophone early on and by his teens he picked up the bass as well. He had a natural affinity towards the instruments, so much so that Thavius’ mother enrolled him in a summer art camp at the age of 12. This would mark the first time Thavius would work on a sequencer, Ensoniq SQ-2, and a sampler, Roland S-50, simultaneously.
Though the idea of being able to sample and sequence was not foreign to him, Thavius had an old Casio SK-1 at home, this was the first time he had the technology to be able to explore the possibilities at length. Needless to say, it was a very formative and foreshadowing experience.
Tumult at the homefront led to Thavius’ departure from Minneapolis to LA at 16. At the time, Thavius confesses, his only frame of reference for understanding Los Angeles were the films Boyz N The Hood and Menace II Society. It was a bit of an adjustment settling near Crenshaw and Adams, but it didn’t take long for him to find his niche. Within months, Thavius, going by the alias Adlib from his days as a jazz saxophonist, met and joined the crew that would become Global Phlowtations. Because of his early proclivity towards samplers and productions as well as towards rapping, Thavius became a very integral part of the crew, producing, rapping on and engineering the vast majority of their first underground classic, Phlowtation Devices, in the mid-nineties. His central role in the crew naturally lead to him being one of the first members to record his own solo self-produced material, the project Vs.
Thavius now likens the Global Phlowtations collective to a west coast Wu Tang in its size and dynamic, crediting the group and the Project Blowed era they came up in for sharpening his skills, thickening his skin and grounding his musical perspective. After a few more projects with the crew, Thavius began branching out more on his own.
He collaborated with local labels and experimented with different sounds, from a live, straight to mini-disc album to a remix project. The attention garnered from those releases led to interest from MUSH Records.
Thavius, working at the famed Amobea record store in Hollywood at the time, dropped his Adlib alias for his first full-length project under his given name. 2004’s Decomposition helped establish Thavius as one of the trail-blazers of new electronic-fused hip hop music. Sometime after Decomposition, Thavius gave Busdriver a batch of beats to consider for his Fear Of A Black Tangent album.
Busdriver happened to be playing the music one day while Saul Williams was visiting. Saul was impressed enough to ask for Thavius’ phone number and call him on the spot. Very soon afterwards, Thavius produced Act 3 Scene 2 for Saul’s self-titled album, a cut that featured Zack De La Rocha. Even sooner after that, Saul asked Thavius to play bass and trigger samples in his band on the road. After a bit Saul decided Thavius was all the band he needed and the two spent considerable time touring. The collaborative energy spilled over into the studio while Saul was working on his Niggy Tardust record, which gave Thavius the chance to work alongside Trent Reznor.
Thavius released THRU and Dialogue, the latter being the first entire record of Thavius’ rhymes over his own compositions in years, but fell back a bit from solo material for a minute afterwards. He instead spent time collaborating with various underground luminaries like Subtitle, K-the-i??? and Busdriver, even landing a remix for Nas along the way.
His tech-savvy found him being one of the first to really embrace and understand the power of Ableton. In a short time he became a certified Ableton trainer and quickly started putting that certification to use. He designed and teaches courses for Dubspot, a music school based in New York with online classes as well. Thavius has held various training seminars at the Independent Theatre in downtown LA. Still, such creativity can require various outlets.
Thavius has spent quite some time crafting The Most Beautiful Ugly, his official follow up to Dialogue and debut release on Plug Research Records. Originally made with no definite purpose in mind, the man who cites Jean Luc Ponty’s electronic jazz fusion as inspiration notes that this is the record that so far best encapsulates the ‘Thavius Beck sound.’ A true original who has survived the ebb and flow of trends and hype, Thavius is a veteran in his realm.