Beck DeVito
Beck DeVito
Beck DeVito is a composer of music, much like Mozart or Aaron Copeland. Just like the famous composers of old, he conceives and hears original music in his head, and then has the ability to translate that musical vision into complex, finished pieces. But Beck enjoys an advantage that would make even Mozart envious.

When Mozart composed, he could imagine the finished symphony in his head, and he could communicate it as notes on paper. But the only time he could actually hear the complete composition was when a full orchestra performed it.

Beck, on the other hand, has a symphony of musical sounds and tones available on his computer. He can build his compositions instrument by instrument, all by himself, and instantly hear the finished piece. No orchestra needed. You can go to and see him create a tune from scratch. It’s spellbinding.

Beck is a Madison native, son of Jane Vonderheide and Joe DeVito, both current residents. He produces his music under the name Backwhen. “I started when I was a freshman in high school,” Beck said. “My stuff was a lot more aggressive and high energy back then. And it was more based on samples, pulling from existing recorded sounds and music.”

His junior year he went to an electronic music festival in Michigan called Electric Forest and it changed his perspective.

“I started doing more original production, less sampling. And I formed a virtual online group called the Purple Posse. It was me and 10 or 12 dudes from France, Lithuania, Brazil, the U.K., all over the place. We put out ‘issues’ of music together, and I started getting attention from fans all over the world.”

Describing his creative process Beck said, “For me, it’s all about opening my mind to the sounds and smells and sights around me. I start to get a mental picture of a mood I want to create, and then I translate that into music.”

Beck has no formal musical training, which makes the 19-year-old’s work even more impressive. His music is complex, layered and fundamentally solid.

Beck recently released a new album of music he describes as his best work so far. It’s titled “Melt” and it will literally make you want to melt into your couch and just zone out. It’s relaxing, inspiring and super trippy. Judging from the Youtube comments below his videos, his music has a profound effect on his appreciative fans.

I highly recommend you take a few minutes and check it out for yourself. Just go to Youtube and type these two words in the search box, “Backwhen Melt.” You’ll also discover many of his other earlier tunes and sound productions below that search.

Today Beck is on the road a lot, living in different parts of the country and soaking up life. He’s now somewhere out in Colorado, last I heard. But he’ll always be grateful for his Madison roots.

“I think the rural, natural setting of the town has influenced my music,” he said. “It gave me the space to explore and find my original sound.”


Tell your friends who don’t get the paper that now is the time to subscribe. It’s only $5 a month in this area with an annual subscription. And the old excuse, “It’s too much to read every day, they just pile up!” doesn’t fly anymore. It’s three days a week now ­— juuust right, as Goldilocks would say. On the music front, I’m going to check out Spontaneous Rambunction at Thomas Family Winery Saturday night. It looks old-timey, bluegrassy, and fun!

Charlie Rohlfing is a stalwart of the RiverRoots Festival committee, a campfire guitar strummer, and a partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening. Find him out and about or at