Beardyman: Beatboxing To Daisies

Superbalist is Rocking The Daisies is roughly 9 days away from turning us into gooey piles of happiness, so we decided to catch up with Beardyman, one of the more eclectic headliners, who shall be performing at Superbalist is Rocking The Daisies and Superbalist In The City. We spoke about what his live show usually sounds like, the gear he uses and the possibility of meeting the slayer of Trump.

I understand you are currently on your One Album Per Hour tour in Australia – how has the tour been so far?

I’ve just finished it. It was awesome to be in Australia and doing the One Album Per hour Show was great in Australia, people really dug it. I make a new album every night. It’s really fun to do.

You’re going to be performing in South Africa very shortly. Were you surprised when a South African promoter got in touch with you and asked you to come perform in South Africa, or has this been something you’ve always wanted to do?

I’ve always wanted to play in South Africa but haven’t had the opportunity that worked out before. There have been offers but I’m glad that we could make it work this time. I’m super excited!

You’re going to be climbing onto a stage to perform for people that are not entirely familiar with you and what you do. What can first time listeners expect from a live Beardyman set?

I never play to the gallery. I always play as if the audience has never seen or heard of me, even at my own shows. Everything I do is improvised and I try not to repeat myself too much so every show is different.

One of the things that I really like about festivals is that there is always going to be an artist on the line-up that you don’t know. What are your thoughts on festivals that persistently seek to expose their attendees to new and eclectic acts alongside more popular and mainstream artists? Do you think it is something that should become more common?

Absolutely, those are my favourite kinds of festivals. Ones that introduce you to bands they know you’ll love. There are some festivals which never publish who’s on the bill. I love them.

As an artist, do you occasionally get nervous before performing before a crowd that doesn’t necessarily know your music?

Nope. I like it that way. I love the looks on people’s faces as they realise what’s happening.

Seeing as you are a bit of an unknown act to the less enthusiastic Rocking The Daisies attendee, let’s talk about how you got into creating music. When did your initial passion for music start and how did you start to get more involved in creating music?

I was birthed from a pod in 2004. I emerged fully formed and immediately started beatboxing into loopers. Soon I had completed all the levels so I became an end-of-level boss and now am doomed to spend eternity guarding the sacred palace of wonders less the infra-noobs steal my hyper-crown.

The system and software you use to transform your beatboxing into a spectacular and innovative live show is one of your design. What made you decide that you need your own specific software and system to create your music?

I was the UK beatbox champion 2 years running like 10 years ago and soon parted ways with pure beatbox as an obsession and started to nurture my real passion, which is the use of technology to enhance and enable improvisation. I quickly found there was nothing available to enable me to do the kinds of things I wanted to do so I had to design it myself and get it built in software and hardware form.

I understand that you did a Ted Talk in 2013 regarding the Beardytron 5000 MkII. How was that particular system evolved in the past few years? Has it incorporated any new elements?

The Beardytron now features a dedicated synth computer which can sound like anything, a guitar which can sound like anything, a drum machine and instant sampler both of my own design. It’s nuts.

 

One of the thing that stands out to me is your use of loop pedals (and obviously your insane beatboxing abilities). How difficult was it to master the use of the pedals and do you occasionally worry that something is going to go hopelessly wrong with them during your live performances?

If you’re using tech of any kind you find ways to mitigate against errors and failures but if something does break catastrophically you have no choice but to roll with the punches.

Loop pedals weren’t used that often when you were starting out but gradually they have become more popular with popular artists like Ed Sheeran and Jeremy Loops using them. What are your thoughts on how popular these particular pedals have become?

I think it’s fantastic that looping is finding mainstream acceptance. Artists like Ed Sheeran are showing that it doesn’t have to be niche if it’s used well.

Finally, we’re going to be seeing you very shortly in South Africa. Do you have anything besides performing that you would like to do while you’re down here?

I want to meet Trevor Noah and tell him to go in on Trump and stop fucking around. He can slay the dragon.

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