Steve Beckett is the founder and owner of Warp Records, located at the epicenter of the electronic music revolution for decades. Founded in 1989, Warp has worked with some of the most groundbreaking and influential artists in the world: Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Autechre, Squarepusher, LFO, Nightmares on Wax, Boards of Canada, Brian Eno, and dozens of other electronic pioneers, all of whom have stretched our minds (and our eardrums) in ways we never imagined possible. Steve also happens to be an accomplished integral coach and a longtime fan of Ken Wilber’s work, as he discusses with host Stuart Davis.
Standing at the crossroad of art and spirituality as both Steve and Stuart do, the two begin by discussing a pivotal moment in which the death of Steve’s business partner Rob Mitchell awakened a change in him that reoriented his entire life. A series of dreams in which Steve talked with his deceased friend seemed to intersect with his initiation into meditation and the integral vision, ultimately transforming his role as co-founder of the legendary Warp Records and Warp Films, and as a certified integral coach.
“If you can just stand in the discomfort of what’s actually going on, rather than what you want to be going on, that’s the power point.”Steve Beckett
Originally employed as a mining engineer, Beckett was driving to work one day when he asked himself “what the hell am I doing with my life?” He arrived, handed in his resignation, and embarked on a radically different journey; mining the depths of creativity.
Shortly thereafter, he and Rob Mitchell purchased a small record store and began selling indie music from the shop. That led to creating and releasing their own titles on Warp Records, a label that’s attained iconic status all over the planet. Beckett and Mitchell soon found themselves at the nexus of an exploding scene.
They paid their dues. “Distribution” meant driving around in a car, placing releases shop by shop. By the time they put out their fourth record, they climbed the charts, sailing above Whitney Houston. No marketing, no promotional machine, their secret was simply word of mouth and an intuitive alignment with the burgeoning changes in art itself.
Warp’s cutting edge tracks left radio DJs nonplussed, but they had to play them. Unbelievably, the DJs added cow noises over the broadcast of Warp’s visionary music. It seems since the DJs didn’t know what to make of it, they would make fun of it. No matter, Warp’s meteoric rise was well underway.
Aphex Twin, Grizzly Bear, and Brian Eno all found a home on Warp, and on the expanding success of its music catalogue, the company grew to include film and television production.
“If an artist can access his or her own depths, that’s going to be a unique spark of the divine that will never have existed since the Big Bang.”Steve Beckett
In these early stages, Beckett was driven by his passion for discovering the greatest artists on the planet. But as Steve experienced the passing of his business partner, and then his own father, something profound stirred in his being.
Talking with his deceased friend, long walks, and meditation acted in concert, opening the aperture of his perceptions wider. New realms bloomed, and Beckett’s focus and shifted toward service and love. Reading numerous works including Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything, Beckett realized he’d been stuck in flatland, and was ready to depart.
“I’m not interested in any way in using integral to put people into boxes.”Steve Beckett
Although inward by nature, any reluctance Beckett initially felt toward leading shrunk in comparison to this call to serve and cultivate love. This clarity did not, of course, spare him the roller coaster ride of highs and lows. He’s gone through numerous root canals -both literal and metaphysical- and knows the contours of shadow and light intimately.
Still growing in its reach and depth, Steve’s work has touched millions of lives.
Explore more of Steve Beckett’s multi-faceted work here:
Steve is a certified “Integral master coach” and lead instructor for the world-renowned coaching school, Integral Coaching Canada.
He also works in Leadership development and executive coaching with “Complete Coherence” an Integrally informed company whose mission is to develop “Enlightened Leadership”, working with Executives and Teams in Ftse 100 organizations.
He has over twenty years experience in business leadership as the Chairman and owner of Warp (often known as Warp Records), a group of highly successful and multi award winning Arts and Entertainment Companies.
Written by Stuart Davis
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About Steve Beckett
Steve Beckett is the owner and founder of the acclaimed record label Warp, which has worked with a number of influential electronic musicians over the past couple decades, including Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Autechre, Squarepusher, LFO, Nightmares on Wax, Boards of Canada, Brian Eno, and dozens of other electronic pioneers. Steve is a certified "Integral master coach" and lead instructor for the world-renowned coaching school, Integral Coaching Canada. He also works in Leadership development and executive coaching with "Complete Coherence" an Integrally informed company whose mission is to develop "Enlightened Leadership", working with Executives and Teams in Ftse 100 organizations.
About Stuart Davis
Stuart Davis is a longtime friend of Integral Life and Ken Wilber, and has acted as guest host for many Integral Life dialogues over the last decade. With fifteen full-length albums to his credit, Stuart has carved out a unique wavelength in the musical spectrum. Taking the topics of God, sex and death, and crafting them into inimitable pop songs with lyrical flair and unforgettable hooks, Stuart also works in television, film, painting, and books.