Music and Art In Your Backyard

Master of All Trades: Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

Back in the day, it was customary to have a single  job that you stuck with for life.  Fast forward to the modern day to discover that there is an evolution towards the multi-skilled and multi-genre lifestyle as individuals are challenged to master numerous skills to bring their creations to life. Nathan "Beatstreet" Hadden, blows all expectations out of the water. A music producer, filmmaker, artist, photographer, and graphic designer, there really isn't  much he CAN'T do. Hadden creates an intricate blend of audio-visual art  that tells powerful and relevant stories. His work shows an artist that is diligent about the details and an innovator who is not short on ideas. In his own words...

 Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

Who am I is a heavy question. I’m a super minimalistic introvert with extroverted tendencies, which explains why I’m an artist. As an artist I change everyday. Daily I have new ideas, new methods of challenging the status quo, and I try new things which I’m unaware have been done before.

In this moment in time I am motivated by my talents and skills to take an innovative approach to what’s popular. I fuse retro-futurism, surrealism, fantasy, natural elements, and urban landscapes in all my artistic mediums. Mediums that include Film, Photography, Design, and Music Production. The bounds of my artwork are explored using traditional methods filtered through digital techniques. I find this process creates an alternative world that truly compels the imagination. My aim is to create timeless work with positive messages. 

 Music produced by Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

Music produced by Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

As a multi-genre artist, I entered these worlds out of lack of resources and frustration. Growing up, I was always interested in how movies and music were created from concept to completion. I wondered what was the motivation, how was the story created, actors chosen, music and score chosen, how the sound design was created, etc. The problem was nobody in my community had answers to my questions or even a clue to point me in the right direction. My parents helped me tremendously with music, but outside of that I had nobody. Basically anytime I wanted to figure anything out, I would create a hypothesis, and reverse engineer the methods I felt were used until the end product came out perfect. I would then add my own twist and figure out innovative ways 1 person can accomplish the same goal of an entire big budget professional crew. 

I’ve read books, magazines, watched every “Making Of” segment, and listened to every commentary to how films, music videos, and musical albums were made by my favorite artists. By doing so, I gained as much knowledge on my own as possible, and practiced what I learned until it became second nature. I was doing this for years before entering college at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. I did this because I knew I had no one else to turn to for help. Trust me, everyone thought I was a weird kid. 

A challenge of balancing everything for me is that there’s never enough time in the day to make my work perfect to standards I set forth for myself. I’m an over achiever and I like to have my work precede me at all times.
— Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

The main set of artists I studied who’ve helped me create a solid base for my skills are; Spike Lee, John Singleton, Stanley Kubrick, James Cameron, Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira Kurosawa, Akira Toriyama, Gary Rydstrom, Patrick Nagel, Hype Williams, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. I actually have had the pleasure to work with Gary Rydstrom. He’s a solid dude with great wisdom that I’m more than happy he was willing to share with me and that I still practice today.

My web-series Artist Statement is where the most innovative, influential artists explain, justify, extend, and contextualize his or her body of work. It places the work in relationship to the artists’ personal standpoint, theory, the art world and the times. Further, the series serves as a looking glass towards how the artist is conscious of their practice and it’s position within art parameters and of the discourse surrounding it. Therefore not only does it describe and place, but it indicates the level of the artist’s own comprehension of their field and making.

On a subconscious level, the series is also to help motivate individuals to not let anything stand in the way of their dreams. I’ve been a mentor and teacher to what the system likes to call “Disenfranchised Youth” since I’ve been in high school. Witnessing the daily struggles they unintentionally embark on such as scavenging for food, clothes, shelter, living with the idea of an uncertain future, and fear of their life being taken away at any moment due to violence really made me want to give back and uplift my community. For me, the best way I can help at this point is with motivation and making others believe in themselves. I believe watching and hearing from each artist how he or she triumphed over obstacles in life is proof in the pudding enough to make anyone attempt to do the same.  

In terms of the music, how would you describe your sound?
In the words of Fela Kuti, “Music is a spiritual thing. You don’t play with music.”
  Mara Hruby by Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

Mara Hruby by Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

My intention with all my art is to always be timeless. A method I came up with for myself to accomplish this goal is to fuse different genres of music from different time periods. From the sounds chosen, time signatures, dynamics, the textures, and it’s arrangements. For example, my favorite thing to do is fuse 50-70’s Jazz, 70’s Progressive/Fusion Rock, 80’s Pop, 90’s Hip Hop, 80’s-90’s Drum & Bass, and 90’s House music together. I’m currently working on a project similar to this with Grammy Award Winning Musician Thomas Pridgen and a few other friends that will also be in conjunction with a few short films I’m directing. Another artist friend of mine who goes by the name Slvstr has contacted me recently to collaborate with him on some musical endeavors alongside his art. I can’t get into details now, but trust me… It’s gonna be huge!

  Renee Delgado by Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

Renee Delgado by Nathan Beatstreets Hadden

In my creative process, I love bouncing ideas with others who don’t think like myself, and researching all possibilities of an idea. I learn so much that way, to the point I have a library of random facts in my head now. The most frustrating challenge during my creative process is figuring out early that there’s no way I can attempt my idea anytime soon, due to not having resources. At anytime there are a few who give form and meaning to their generation. By not being able to attempt to execute my ideas due to not having resources, I know I am missing out on making history. That’s a real kill joy for me. 

What is one thing people are surprised to find out about you? 

People are usually surprised to find out that I’m a young black man (if they have never seen me before); I do all my own stunts like Jacky Chan; I want to be an action star in movies; if The Last Dragon movie is remade anytime soon; I’m the perfect person to play Leroy Green, I was almost killed during a robbery while filming my own death scene in a short film; I have never owned a camera;  and I have written three feature films, four short films, six television shows, created over 400 instrumentals, and strive to make all appear publicly within the next two years.