Tuesday, 29 March 2016

INTERVIEW - Beardyman

BEARDYMAN, aka Darren Foreman, first realised he had a talent for beatboxing when he was about 20.
He had started performing his "party trick" after years of playing instruments and began to realise that not only did people actually like what he was doing but he was good at it.
"I was doing it as a kid but didn't really know what it was but by the times I was a teenager people thought it was cool," he tells me.
"Slowly but surely it grew into a form of beatboxing and I realised it was a super power which enabled me never to have a proper job," he adds chuckling.
It wasn't long before he had won the UK Beatbox Championship and was developing his act by adding his own comedic slant on it to set him apart from the rest.
"I remember people like Michael Winslow doing voices and sound effects and I took my references from them as much as hip hop," he says.
"I ended up winning competitions because I was good at the showmanship aspect of it all."
And while today he still beatboxes, he admits to constantly pushing the boundaries to explore what he says are the endless possibilities with music and sound.
"I tend to use beatboxing as an instrument and as a component within what I am doing," he says.
"But the emphasis has shifted over the years and it's now more about the technology."
And this obsession with technology and experimentation is evident in the creation of the Beardytron5000, a custom built rig that combines multiple iPads and devices loaded with FX and loopers that enables him to experiment and improvise with sounds and use live loops.
Those curious to know what can be created by it should head to the Electric Brixton on Saturday (April 2).
The gig will not only showcase the capabilities of the Beardytron but will also allow the audience to take part in the creation of live album, something Darren is very excited about.
Indeed, Darren says the show will be special for a number of reasons - not least because he will be on stage with a handpicked supergroup of world class musicians - The Dream Team - who will help him make the album from the show.
It will be inspired by suggestions for song titles from the audience and will be made under the banner, Improvisation. Telepathy. Imagination. Beat Boxing. One Album. One Hour.
It sounds a daunting task but one which Darren is taking in his stride.
"It will be a bit nervewracking but it's also incredibly exciting because no one knows what will happen," he says.
"What's amazing is the audience gets to see the entire process behind making the music.
"For me it's the most exciting kind of gig as you know what you are watching is real and genuine. They are not songs that someone wrote when they broke up with their boyfriend and is now over it. It doesn't apply to an emotional state that has now passed.
"This is of the moment and you know that what you are hearing is what we are feeling at that time and that matters.
"It's also a much faster process - you have to think on your feet throughout and work faster. You can't re-write anything so it's genuine and raw.
"I love that we will be flying by the seat of our pants!" he adds laughing.
"Besides, I've got the most amazing brilliant musicians with me who all have got unbelievable talents so there is zero chance it will fail."
These include JFB, three times UK DMC champion and who Darren describes as "the best scratch DJ", female beatbox champion Bellatrix who is a "wizard on the bass", MC Dizraeli on vocals, violinist and saxophonist Ben Sarfas, " an unbelievable jazz beast", Rob Lewis on cello and Emre Ramazangolou on the drums.
Through a special mic and earpieces Darren will be able to speak to the band and give instructions without the audience hearing him.
"The audience's suggestions will be transformed in to a three to four minute song which will be recorded for the album and which will be available for download after the gig," he says.
"I did something similar last year but it was just me on my own so a more comedic experience but a lot of fun.
"This is a similar idea but with a different execution. It's not going to be a comedy night but a concert and rave.
"It's actually really audacious as it's a really big venue but I know it's going to work."
And at the heart of it all will be the Beardytron, the latest incarnation of which is the Beardytron5000mkII.
Indeed he credits his "awesome" machine with enabling him to undertake such exciting projects as this concert and do the shows he has wanted to do.
However he admits it's not a cheap piece of kit.
"It's costly but it means projects such as this are possible," he says. "I remember doing a show at the Electric about five years ago with a string ensemble.
"The gig had so much potential but I realised I was limited by the consumer tech available and it annoyed me that I couldn't do what I wanted so I devised the Beardytron.
"It's been built for me by several total geniuses. It's an insane network of computers, touch screens and bespoke software that represents hundreds of hours of development and manpower - and is constantly evolving.
"It enables me to do what I do and really widen the pallet of sounds I have got - there is so much potential.
"So who knows what the show will be like and how it will sound," he chuckles. "It will be totally improvised and created there and then with a mix of sounds from drum n bass, house, acid, dub, reggae, hip hop and even a bit of jazz and rock.
"The audience should expect to be dancing and having a great time, staring in wonderment at the talent of the band. They can definitely expect awesomeness!" he adds laughing.

Beardyman presents The Dream Team Session at the Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, on Saturday, April 2. Visit http://www.electricbrixton.uk.com or http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/XUL0204Z?brand=electricbrixton&camefrom=ELECBRIX_WEBSITE_beardyman for tickets.

No comments:

Post a Comment