When and why did you start beatboxing?
I started beatboxing in February, 2003. To cut a long story short, a mate and I used to mess around at school, not really listening in PE [= gym class] and making stupid skits with badly spat beats, and it evolved from there. Getting inspiration from Rahzel, Kenny M, the legends, then finding Kela and so on. I realized I could do some of those sounds, then from Googling I found humanbeatbox.com where I learnt bits off the old school audio tutorials that TyTe had up and the rest is, as they say, history.
What was the first routine you learned?
I think it was probably the infamous Wind routine, badly though, since this is the first recording of me I have. Also, Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple was one of my first - it just worked!
originality is what it is all about
Do you have a favorite routine or sound?
Umm, I think I would have to say the Laughbox, which is just great fun to do! However, I really just enjoy vibing the moment and doing what comes best to me. Just about the crowd and how they're feeling it. I must say I do enjoy the old vocal scratch though!
...And a signature sound?
As before, would have be the Laughbox and probably the Echo/Delayed Wind Routine (big ups to Roxorloops who did create this!), but I would rather not be known for that one!
Did you have a beatbox mentor?
Well TyTe has played a big part in my beatboxing career (as I'm sure he has in many other beatboxers'). I have learned a lot from him both musically and generally as a friend. I think I would have to say TyTe, definitely.
Which other beatboxers have you learned from?
The list would be ongoing. I think we all learn from each other, picking up bits and bobs. I think originality is what it is all about though; it's just when you hear someone drop something you've never heard before - your mouth just hits the floor.
Which other beatboxers are you feeling at the moment?
At the moment I am really feeling Eklips - his skill is insane. He has hip-hop and many other covers coming out of his ears and they are just so damn good! I also had the privilege of meeting him at the 2007 International Human Beatbox Convention, which was sick. I also love the sounds of Beatmaster G from Ibiza, whom I also got to meet there. His skill is insane and beats are just crisp and sound.
Is there anyone you'd love to work with?
Man, hard question, you could pick so many. Primarily, I would love to have a huge beatbox jam style mixtape which could work very well! I have to have a long think about this question…
Do you have a fond beatbox memory or funny story?
Well, appearing on Channel 4's Big Brother's Little Brother in the UK was an experience in itself, just the plain surreal nature to it was the brain ticker, and especially performing to a camera instead of a crowd was different! Also playing at NASS Festival (Extreme Sports event) right after Tony Hawk and Matt Hoffman had finished their set in a middle of a half pipe with the Zulu Nation breakdance crew was crazy, plain crazy. However, the one memory that sticks out most was my first performance on a mic at Make Some Noise 2004 in Bristol, which was run by humanbeatbox.com and TyTe and was just madness. Beatboxing for beatboxers was a great buzz as they had the same love for what I do. Was a mad experience which can never be made again.
Are you influenced by old music?
Well growing up, especially at a younger age I would listen to Michael Jackson's Off The Wall album non-stop and copy the moves and all, so that had a big inspiration on my musical choice. Also, my Dad was a blues harmonica player and front man of a few bands, so his life, as well as us was music. Also my Mum is a pianist and a brilliant one at that so the house would never be quiet; either blues, rock, jazz, classical or something would be playing, which perhaps threw me along this path of direction.
Which genres of music does your style fall into?
I think mainly I am a hip-hop head, however my iPod is full of everything and anything, genres and bands from the early days to now. I love them all. It's just me.
What do you think of battling?
Well, an interesting topic to discuss. I have battled before, not really my subject, but for some people they can kill it. I think Beatbox Battle events can have a great vibe and go down great and especially this year the UK Beatbox Champs are going to be insane with some great talent and a brand new car to be won!.
Have you been in any comps or battles?
I first entered the Make Some Noise 2004 beatbox battles when I first performed which was a great laugh. However, more seriously I entered the South West Heat of the 2006 UK Beatbox Champs and managed to win, which was nice! However loosing out in the finals in London, but hey. I also entered the Vauxhall Tribes Search for Urban Talent, where I battled a breakdancer, beatboxer, MC, Robot man and singer and came out on top with the £1000 which was a great experience and very enjoyable!
Do you hold any titles?
2006 South West UK Beatbox Champion and the Vauxhall Tribes Search For Urban Talent Birmingham Champion.
Where was your first performance?
I first publicly performed at Make Some Noise in Bristol, UK which was held by TyTe and humanbeatbox.com. This was an event for beatboxers, by beatboxers so my first performance was in front of around 40 beatboxers therefore rather intimidating at first but went down a treat and I can't stop now!
What kind of performances have you been doing recently?
I am currently doing all sorts from Clubs to schools and youth groups; it's great to have that flexibility. I'm doing workshops and main performances and also playing with my band, The Austin Francis Connection, which is all really fun!
Crowd response is such a big buzz
What kind of situation do you enjoy performing in most?
I think you can't deny performing at a nice large venue where everyone is just feeling it, to me is great. Crowd response is such a big buzz and if I know they aren't feeling it then I cant perform as well as I'd like, but when you can really get into the show it works so well!
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Normally badly, haha. It's just best, from point of view and experience to not make it look like you're making a fuss and adapt it so it looks like you meant to do it, that's where it can be easy with beatboxing, whereas with a guitar it wouldn't work quite as well.
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
I used to, the nerves seem to stay down now, you still need some nerves though, gets the adrenaline pumping. I have to say I was nervous at the International Human Beatbox Convention 2007, since of just the people that I knew were there, just had that different feel.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
I mean you got to take it sometimes and let it roll; never let them take over though. If you want to perform - do it, rock that stage, and let people know who you are with a bang! That's what it is all about.
Do you like to session with other beatboxers?
I think it is great when you can jam with a few beatboxers and really get things going. I think a good session is just when everyone is really feeling what is happening and things just stay solid and don't mess up and people can add in what they like, instead of having to think what they should. Big jams can be awesome.
Do you practice?
I wouldn't say I practice plain beats that much anymore. It's more of a habit nowadays: the car, toilet, bath wherever works for me. However, practicing with the Loop Station can take up a good three hours easily - and still fun at the same time. How often and for how long? If I do get into a good solo practice I can really get stuff down and listen to some tracks which could work well to cover and work crowds and what not. Practicing with the Loop Station is somewhat more like writing songs and getting things built up and sounding crisp so that they can rock a crowd.
teaching kids and the
youth is very fulfilling
What do you practice?
Pretty much, getting some new routines down, listening to different tracks, different music types, thinking up different beats, crowd pleasers and all that malarkey.
Is practicing essential?
I think you need that practice to get things down nice and tight, which I know can be missed sometimes due to neglect. Practice makes perfect - just as if you were a guitarist, bassist or whatever.
Do you teach beatboxing?
I do a lot of workshops both solo and with TyTe and its great, teaching kids and the youth is very fulfilling - especially when you both are feeling the set and can get the crowd to join in and get things down.
How do you balance your beatboxing with other obligations?
Well, an interesting one. Of course you have to leave time for things. I try to vary time around for family and things like that. It's great that I am supported so well by them and that they know I love what I do so they're happy when I am.
What set-up do you use?
My set up is easy. My SM58, make sure you provide the system, requirements are in my rider!
What do you prefer: acoustic or mic-ed?
Depends on the situation, always. You can't beat a fat beat on a phat system though!
Have you released any material?
I currently have my DVD out, Do The Beatbox, which can be bought at the mic(ism) store, humanbeatbox.com and various other places. Also, I have a CD from my band The Austin Francis Connection called A Bit of a Shambles, which suits us perfect. It can be bought on iTunes and from our site. I am also appearing on Nizlopi's second album, from just coming back from the studio with them, which was sick.
Is there a place where people can check out your skills online?
Of course: hobbitbeats.co.uk or myspace.com/hobbitbeats.
Anything exciting coming up in the near future?
Keep an eye out and WATCH. THIS. MOUTH. All dates available from hobbitbeats.co.uk.
Any shout outs or thank yous?
Big ups to humanbeatbox.com and the crew! The AFC, big up to Prask and the mic(ism) boys and to everyone, anywhere that has supported me and loved what I do, I say thank you! Keep supporting!
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