When and why did you start beatboxing?
I beatboxed unconsciously all my childhood. I always used to do sound effects and simple beats. I remember watching a video clip when I was about 6 years old with beatbox and rapping in it (I think it must have been the Fat Boys) and thought it was amazing. Next thing I saw was Michael Winslow in Police Academy and of course his parts were my favorite of the whole movie.
I used to do simple house music beats and my friends kept telling me to do "that thing that sounds like the radio!", so they were the first to motivate me. The first time I heard 'modern' beatbox was when I heard The Roots album Things Falling Apart with Rahzel and Scratch. I was amazed. I think that motivated me to really start practicing. I wanted to be able to beatbox like that!
What was the first cover or routine you learned?
I'm not a cover lover as a beatboxer. For me it's more challenging as a musician to create my own routines from scratch. I remember I had to create a 10 minute beatbox session for my first show that contained various styles of music. I guess that was the first time I really had to learn a whole routine and perform it.
Do you have a favorite routine or sound?
I don't really have a favorite routine or sound, but there are certain sounds and routines that I tend to use more than others.
Do you have a signature sound or routine?
I've got a couple of snares, bass and kick sounds that I haven't heard other beatboxers do. My Listen to My Beat routine is probably the one that I get asked to do the most.
Did you have a beatbox mentor?
I guess not. I was the only one to beatbox where I grew up. Some friends got into it after I started, which was cool. So it could be said that I have been the mentor to others.
Which other beatboxers have you learned from?
I've learnt from a lot of beatboxers, but I would say I learnt the most from Rahzel and Scratch when I was starting to take beatbox more seriously, as they were the first professional beatboxers that I heard.
Which beatboxers do you admire or are your favorites?
Doug E. Fresh, Buffy and Biz for being pioneers in the art of beatbox; Rahzel and Scratch for bringing beatbox back to life after some time 'asleep' and for being the pillars of modern beatbox; plus Kenny Muhammad and Killa Kela for creating new techniques to inspire thousands of other beatboxers. There's a lot more, but let's keep it short and easy. [laughs]
I sounded like a 12 year old
with a breaking voice!
Do you have a fond beatbox memory?
I remember a couple of years ago I had a show with Neneh Cherry to raise funds for cancer research. It was something really important for me, not only because of what the show was for, but because I was really excited about collaborating with her. Thing is, I had a horrible cough at the time and it wasn't a good idea to go and do the show. However, I wasn't gonna miss out, so I did it.
The funny part was when Neneh introduced me and I came on stage. I remember I wanted to hype up the crowd and introduce myself, but I just couldn't speak properly. I sounded like a 12 year old with a breaking voice! [laughs] It was quite embarrassing, but as soon as I started to beatbox it was all good and it actually turned out to be one of the best shows that I can remember. People still come back to me and tell me how much they liked it.
Are you influenced by old music?
There's a lot of old music that has inspired and influenced me. I'm a 80s kid so all of the music of that time, and the 90s too, has influenced me: Michael Jackson, Prince, Queen, the Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill and many more. There are also other musical genres such as Classical Music, Swing, 50s Rock, Jazz, Ethnical music, etc., that have also influenced me.
Which genres of music does your style fall into?
I like beatboxing and producing several genres of music. The main ones are Hip Hop, House, Break Beat, Electro and Drum'n'Bass.
What do you think of battling?
I've always been more into jamming than into battling; just because I reckon that you can't really measure objectively how good a particular artist is when performing. I see competitions more suitable for more technical purposes. Those who win battles I would say do so because they have shown a more perfected technique or are a better showman, but aren't necessarily a better artist (although a lot of people confuse this).
I see battling as a sort of tradition that has been created by hip hop culture, so I respect it fully and I also understand that most of the time a battle isn't something so serious; more like a jam session and whoever hypes the crowd most or shows more skill wins. I'm ok with battles as long as there are no tensions and bad vibes.
Have you been in any competitions or battles?
I was at the first Human Beatbox Convention, but no official battles or competitions.
Where was your first performance?
I had performed before, but I always consider my first real performance as the one I did at the Pacha DJ Awards in 2002, in front of all of the best Dance music DJs and in one of the best clubs in the world. It couldn't have been a better place to start.
What kind of performances have you been doing recently?
I've been doing quite a lot of shows with my whole crew - DJ Jet-Eye on the wheels of steel and the Supremos B-Boying Crew - where essentially my beatbox is the main element and we combine it with turntablism and b-boying in a variety of ways, and where I'm able to play my own tracks and perform them live. I've also been doing quite a lot of solo shows, where I am able to adapt easily to other musical styles or show formats.
You can have a good show in almost any situation
if the right ingredients are present.
What kind of situation do you enjoy performing in most?
It's hard to say really. I quite like festivals and large crowds, although sometimes a small crowd is also cool for a certain type of show. I've done a lot of different show formats and wouldn't be able to pick one and say its the best. You can have a good show in almost any situation if the right ingredients are present.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
The show must go on! [laughs] I love to freestyle and most of my shows are 80% freestyle and 20% rehearsed, which means I'm not scared of going wrong. If you go wrong you gotta find your way out of it and use your freestyle ability to do so. There's nothing worse than seeing someone on stage say "Oops... I went wrong there!' and make a whole issue about it.
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Not really. It's more like an adrenalin rush mixed with excitement and intrigue. It's nothing to do with negativity.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Nerves block creativity and skill so if you get nervous you have to learn how to convert them into guts! You just have to think straight and see your situation from another perspective. It isn't like you are about to be executed! [laughs] If you're gonna perform you need to have fun and be confident so that you can get the most out of your skills and show the people what you can do. If you think that you can control the situation, then you can!
Do you like to session with other beatboxers?
A good session is one with no tensions, when you're friends with the other beatboxers or you feel good vibes. Like that, I'll jam anytime.
Do you think it's necessary to practice?
You have to practice to develop technique and exercise creativity. I always try to practice when I have an urge to do so and I'm always 'shitboxing' (just doing any random beat or crazy sound I can think of) wherever I am, so that keeps my creativity working. I actually think it's the way I've come up with the best techniques and routines.
...there's nothing like suddenly figuring
out how to do a certain sound or technique...
Have you ever taught beatboxing?
I've never taught beatbox in a class, but I have explained how to do certain techniques or sounds to a lot of people. I always encourage people to try and figure things out themselves first, because that way its more challenging and there's nothing like suddenly figuring out how to do a certain sound or technique yourself.
How do you balance your beatboxing with other obligations?
I'm lucky to be dedicated professionally to being a beatboxer/producer, so the free time that I have I spend with my family and friends.
What set-up do you use?
A wireless SM58 or Beta version, depending on the situation; plus a pre-amp, compressor and EQ.
What do you prefer: acoustic or mic-ed?
Both, depending on the situation.
Have you appeared on any releases?
I've done quite a lot of collaborations; some released and some un-released. The latest release has been a house track I made with DJ Wally Lopez. It's called Do You Wanna Dance With Me? and it's all vocal except the kick. The CD is called Perceptions of Pacha Volume II and it's out with Pacha Mutimedia. It can be bought online in various stores. For those into Spanish hip hop I did four interludes on a compilation CD called Mas Zona Bruta Mas Hip Hop.
...keep an eye open for the Beatmaster G show!
Do you have a website where people can check out your skills?
Are there any new Beatmaster G projects coming up soon?
I'm producing an up and coming emcee called Sanchez and my own album will come out sometime in 2007. We've got quite a tight schedule coming up for 2006. We might be hitting your nearest venue so keep an eye open for the Beatmaster G show!
Listen to our exclusive MP3 from Beatmaster G