Beardyman. Beatboxer, MC, comedian; his refusal to be put in a box and pushing himself way beyond what most beatboxers would consider limits has managed to secure him sets all across the world, including support slots on Groove Armada's tour and performances on huge festival main stages.
Bouncing onto the scene in the mid noughties, Beardyman (real name Darren Foreman) has come a long way. Frustrated with the restriction of the human mouth, but obsessed with its unparalleled capabilities, he quickly became a leading figure in the trend of live-looping, introducing Korg Kaos Pads as a live-looping tool.
After all this success, Beardyman is still not satisfied. This year sees the release of his debut album 'I Done A Album', showcasing some of his own crazy, comical creations. With so much going on right now in Beardyman's career, Example thought it would be rude not to catch up with him.
Example: Safe Beardyman, can you introduce yourself to the readers and give us a little bit of background information about yourself?
Beardyman: I am Beardyman, it's not my real name, but it's sexier than my real one so i changed it by deedpole. My real name is Nufral Demara. My parents are both adopted. I started beatboxing when i was 3 and was consistently told to stop it, until one day someone gave me a microphone and the resulting noise catapulted me into superstardom where you find me today, a rotting hulk of a man poisoned by fame and riddled with a deep and all-pervading paranoia.
Example: So, what initially got you into beatboxing?
Beardyman : Rahzel. His album was a revelation. I'd always beatboxed but never before thought that it could be anything other than a vaguely annoying habit. I ended up gigging loads and always incorporating comedic stuff into my sets, just cos i felt like it. Then i won the UK championship twice in a row. Then i had a bath.
Example: Your sets comprise of a variety of different genres. Do you have a preferred musical genre?
Beardyman: No. There's good, bad and excellent in every genre. Why seperate things by genre anyway? My favourite pieces of music are impossible to define. I'm all about Ween and Jon Hopkins at the moment.
Example: How would you describe your style?
Beardyman: pass. . .
Example: How has the involvement of samplers and various other equipment in your sets changed the way you perform?
Beardyman: I couldn't do what i do without the technology. Beatboxing is for kids. It's never really interested me. It fascinates me in the same way that religion does, fascinating but i want no part in it. It's a means to an end. A way of making music, a component. The sampling and looping technology which i use is what i'm really excited about. . and beatboxing is just a way of getting ideas down quickly, and luckily i'm not bad at it.
Example: How do you go about memorising your sets?
Beardyman: I don't. They're improvised. Sometimes i'll take a rough plan, attempt to stick to it and end up completely going off piste and landing up somewhere totally random and doing nothing which i planned to do. . I'm not sure what my problem is. . . but i think it's something to do with drugs.
Example: What's been your best gig to date?
The biggest has been Bestival 2010 where 15,000 people turned up to see me. . . it was crazy. The best gig though. . . i can't possibly choose. . . I love all my children equally. . apart from the bad ones who must be punished because they are witches and ruined the crops.
Example: Have you had a worst gig yet?
Beardyman : yeah. . . i played a wedding for some gangsters in 2008. terrifying. Never again.
Example: You played a sold out run of solo comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Do you think being the 'funny man' has helped push your career forward compared to the 'standard' beatboxer?
Beardyman: Spose so - more strings to your bow isn't it. I mean, i don't want to be a beatboxer. . . no one's ever bettered rahzel as far as I'm concerned, and why should they bother. . its a very juvenile thing to do. Pretending to be a drum machine. . yeah. . clever. OOh look at me i'm a drum machine!. . . no your not, your a grown man now stop being silly and get a job.
Example: When you play live you look like your having a right laugh and seem like your on a level with the crowd. Is having fun a very important part of your performances?
Beardyman: I figure - if I'm not enjoying myself then nor will they. . . people pick up on the tiniest things. . . Stop for a tiny pause or snigger or raise an eyebrow or just do some tiny micro expression and depending on the context of what's going on the audience can, en-mass, pick up on every detail of your emotions and thought processes. And since I'm improvising i do have to genuinely be in a good mood, or I'll just churn out shoe-gazer/Jack dee/IDM.
Example: Your new album 'I Done A Album' is out very soon. What was the idea behind this album?
Beardyman : The idea was to make an album. So I did. I didn't want to build in any restrictions, like everything being made form my voice, as my shows don't have those restrictions either. Playing live, I have keyboards and synthesisers and other noise machines. . There are no restrictions when i play live so why restrict myself when i make an album.
Example: Have you always wanted to be a 'songwriter' and release albums or is this just a natural progression for you?
Beardyman: I've always written songs. . since i was five. I learned piano and guitar as a kid and have played constantly. . . there are surprisingly few actual songs on the album though. Lots of tunes, hip hop homages and concept pieces, and some weird song-type things but there are no guitars on it and very little actual proper singer-songwriting, although, saying that, there ARE, just not in the way which i used to write songs when i was a teenager: guitar/piano chords, lyrics, middle eight, solo, cry-wank etc. .
Example: Live performances have obviously made you the recognisable figure you are today. How different do you find recording to live performances?
Beardyman: Well, live recordings generally happen in a studio and end up on a CD or as a digital download, whereas live performances happenings performed to audiences at live events. I'm being facetious... because I'm a knob, but it has actually been interesting trying to avoid the distinction between these dictating the feel of the album. I wanted the album to reflect the immediacy and spontaneity of the live sets but sound more polished. . . my next album will be even more flowing i think. This album is tracks and skits. They flow into each other but are still discrete tracks. I'd like to do a Goldie and make an album which has no tracks at all, so you can never be arsed to put it on. That'd rock.
Example: What can we expect to see from you this year?
Beardyman: Many, many gigs, some new tunes, many new and exciting things to be put up on youtube, possibly a DVD and many weird projects I've been involved with will be surfacing too.
Example: Any dates we should be sticking in our diary?
Beardyman: Many, watch this space! Go to Beardyman.co.uk and sign up to the mailing list and i'll tell you about everything coming up! BIG!
Example: Do you have any vices?
Beardyman : Yes. Coke and Whores. . .oh and murder.. i just can't stop murdering. . . it's a problem. . i'm seeing someone about it. . we're working through it. I haven't killed in a while. We're making progress.
Example: Any tips for anybody out there trying to make it into the music scene?
Beardyman: Yeah, get a job you useless layabout. This country needs drones. Oh and pay your taxes, also take as many drugs as you can get your hands on. Also, join the army, shit yourself whenever possible and whatever you do, don't talk to strangers they may be evil strangers.
Example: Any shout outs?
Beardyman: Big up my mum. Massive respect to Lionel Blair and Matthew Corbet, Sooty crew, Big up Vanessa Feltz. Massive. . genuinely huge.
Example: Finally, marmite, love it or hate it?
Beardyman: indifferent. . don't believe their marketing bullshit. Think for yourself. Be the change. Start stockpiling food now. . all is lost.