eq

Best EQ Settings For Beatboxing

This can always be a tricky thing to get right and is quite often a beatboxing nightmare, so it’s useful to have a bit of knowledge as to what the EQ settings actually mean and do.

Lets start with the basics… Using the EQ is a way of turning up and down the different frequencies on a channel (Mic, input, line.. whatever!) so you can make it sound nicer. A high frequency (HI) would be something like a hi-hat or shaker and a Low (LO) frequency would be a bass guitar or bass drum. Therefore turning up these frequencies make them sound different… you’re not actually turning the volume up or down for these actual instruments!!!

So the idea of beatboxing is to make music as close to the real thing as possible and this is where using the mixers EQ settings can be used to your advantage. You can increase or decrease certain frequencies to make yourself sound different or in fact exaggerate some sounds.

Generally on a mixer the knobs will give a flat line signal when turned to 12 o’clock. If you want more hi-end or low end then turn them up. This can give the nice bassy sound like a bass drum would or the top-end of a hi-hat. But this isn’t just it…

Quite often you, or the sound engineer can have the EQ spot on but it still isn’t having the same impact like it should. so…

– – DON’T BE SCARED OF THE ‘GAIN’ – –

The gain is whats going to help get the ‘boom’ that you want from the microphone. So here’s what I generally do when sound checking myself.

1) Start by having all the EQ settings flat and the fader completely down.
2) Do a bass drum sound into the mic until you see it start to peak on the mixer. This means you’re at the maximum it can be for the mics sensitivity.
3) Then gradually increase the fader or volume until your happy with the power you’re getting.
4) From here it’s just a minor tweaking process on the EQ’s to get the nicer sound you want. Don’t go too much otherwise you will get feedback.

Once you’ve mastered your mixer it will take you literally seconds to sound check next time. It’s not that difficult. It is more about knowing what to listen for and where the line is for the system you are using.

Any more issues or problems then ask a question below..

 

 

 

Beatboxing Hygiene and Health Tips

There was a time at the 2009 Human Beatbox Convention at the Southbank Centre in London where all the beatboxers present were asked to get on stage for a monster 10 minute jam. Now there were 4 microphones on stage and about 50 beatboxers, so without going into details you can imagine what the mics were like after 10 minutes. It wasn’t a problem at the time because all the beatboxers were keen to be involved, but thinking back it probably wasn’t very pleasant.

Therefore I felt it important to highlight some issues and let you know about some ways to help with microphone hygiene and general beatboxing health:

1. Use Your Own Microphone:

Its your microphone. Don’t let anyone else use it. Its not a problem if you are performing and when you go on-stage you need to swap the mics over. The sound engineer shouldn’t have a problem with it, but do make sure that you sound check with your mic. Sound quality can vary a lot between mics. Using your own microphone means that it can only be your spit and saliva going onto the mic grill. After time the microphone grill is going to get some wear and tear so you might want to consider buying a new mic grill or cleaning your existing one. There is a great article on the Shure website on how to clean your mic grill which can be found HERE.

2. Oral Hygiene:

Now you should know this from about the age of 2! Brush your teeth regularly. I know its obvious, but teeth brushing and mouthwash is seriously going to help prevent your mic from smelling and your going to spit less of those little germs onto your mic. Also, if you’re like me and occasionally beatbox too much, then you get mouth ulcers… which hurt and are bloody annoying. So using a mouthwash like Corsodyl will help prevent and heal mouth ulcers. There is also gels such as Bonjela or Iglu which are great if you use them just before performing.

3. Lip Balm:

I use it all the time! Its the worst thing in the world if you are trying to beatbox with cracked lips and as a performer is nearly impossible to beatbox. You know the feeling when having cracked lips you can barely talk or eat! MICISM actually do a beatbox branded lip balm, but any kind of lip balm will work perfectly.

4. Preventing Dry Mouth:

Its a problem I used to have to contend with and every performer knows that its a problem if it occurs. For a beatboxer it is a killer! It effects some people more than others and has been linked with nerves and stage fright. For some people you’ll need to deal with this first and half the time this comes with experience. So for the long term solution be confident about your abilities. Most of the time there was no reason to be nervous in the first place. How often have you said to yourself afterwords “what was I nervous about?”.

For short term solution you’ll need to make sure that you are drinking. I don’t recommend just water. Most beatboxers that I have spoken to drink juice, milk, or other ‘thicker’ fluids. Save the water for on stage. I would steer well clear of alcohol too. You can also buy things like dry mouth spray.

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I’m sure there are many other things you can do , but these a just a selection on the practices I use. If you have any other recommendations or additions then please comment.

Beatboxer Hobbit in ‘Ghost Boy’ Theatre Production

Hobbit is an established UK beatboxer and has featured at many high level events which include TV and Radio appearances, and has performed to crowds as big as 50,000.

In ‘Ghost Boy’, Hobbit takes up the role of the music provider accompanied by a cellist and also creates all of the sound effects from doors slamming shut to pencils sketching.

Welcome to Lemonade Estate. A place between the city and the hills, a place that people have forgotten, a place where the kids are running wild. Community elder Dennis has had enough of the ‘little demons’ running round the estate; he decides to take the law into his own hands and transforms himself into vigilante superhero ‘Fly Man’. Meanwhile, on the other side of the estate we meet Jamal, a boy whose life changes forever after an ‘incident’ on the back field. Jamal holds a deep, dark secret. The secret of Ghost Boy. Fusing Grime, Dubstep, Ska, Puppetry, Beatboxing, Hip-Hop Theatre, Street Art and Dance, Ghost Boy is an anarchic and energetic piece of theatre.

Trailer:


Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Wed 24th – 27th March, 7:00pm
Tickets: £10 (Discounts Available)
Booking: 0121 236 4455
WWW.BIRMINGHAM-REP.CO.UK

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
Mon 29th & Tue 30th March, 7:45pm
Tickets: £8.50 – £13.50
Booking: 01473 295900
WWW.WOLSEYTHEATRE.CO.UK

Bernie Grant Arts Centre, London
Thurs 1st – Sat 3rd April, 7:00pm
Tickets: £10 – £8.50
Booking: 0208 365 5450
WWW.BERNIEGRANTCENTRE.CO.UK

Curve, Leicester
Thurs 13th – Sat 17th April, 7:45pm
(Thurs & Sat Matinees 2:30pm)
Tickets: £10 Tues – Thurs, £12 Fri & Sat (Discounts Available)
Booking: 0116 242 3595
WWW.CURVEONLINE.CO.UK

Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
Tues 20th – Sat 24th April, 7:30pm
(Wed Matinee 1:30pm)
Tickets: £10 – £14 (Standby Tickets £5, Discounts Available)
Booking: 0151 709 4776
WWW.EVERYMANPLAYHOUSE.COM


…More info can be found at:
Hobbit’s Website

20 Stories High Website


TALENTED YOUNGSTERS TAKE TO STAGE FOR CHARITY EVENT

The original Aricle can be found HERE

By Emma Foster, Community Newswire

Performers from across Norwich will be showcasing their singing, dancing and performing talents at a charity event next week, organised by a group of local youngsters.

Slam Night, which will feature street dance, free running, drama, MCing, break dancing and beat-boxing performances, will take place at The Garage, an arts centre in Norwich, on January 22 at 7.00pm, with all proceeds going to local charity Asperger East Anglia.

The event, aimed at young people aged 14 and above, has been organised by 10 young people between the ages of 16 and 25. They have been supported by The Garage, thanks to funding from vinvolved, a youth volunteering charity.

The event will showcase a range of local dance acts and performers, alongside professional dancers and singers.

One of the young people who has organised the Slam Night is Dean Knight, 20. Speaking about working on the project, he said: “Brilliant experience, full of fun and laughs.”

“It’s good to have a group who are thinking positively and working hard. The project is led by the young people in the group, so all the ideas and themes have been thought of by us.

“The themes are personal to the members of the group and it’s a chance for them to bring them to life. It’s also a chance to show people, in an educative way, how they should question their perception of the themes.

“We chose Asperger East Anglia as we believe there is not enough awareness of what it is.

“A member of our events team has Asperger’s and has talked to us about it. We all feel not a lot of people know how to interact with people with Asperger’s.

“Our event is to generally raise awareness, and help un-alienate people who have Asperger’s.

“When we met representatives from the charity, they told us they weren’t well known but they do so much for people with Asperger’s, including helping them socially, personally and to learn new skills.

“They really inspired us, and as a group we decided we wanted to raise money for this cause, using our Slam Night event.”

Darren Grice, executive director of The Garage, said: “This is a really exciting event for us.”

“Not only does it provide an exciting place for young people to socialise safely out of school, it also gives them the chance to enjoy and take part in a first-rate performance.

“The Scratch Round is my favourite part, it’s a kind of ‘open-mic’ section that offers local talent an opportunity to step up and show what they can do.”

“This kind of work is really important to us as an organisation as it helps young people to use their skills and interests to make a positive community impact.”

“We know how energetic, skilled and talented young people are and events such as this help to show everyone just how important they are to vibrant communities.”

“For this event, the young people chose to donate all the proceeds to the charity Asperger East Anglia, so not only are they providing a valuable event for their peers, they are raising money for a really good cause.”

Tickets are on sale at £3.50 from The Garage in advance by calling 01603 283382 or on the door on the night (subject to availability).

There are also some places left for the open Scratch Round, call The Garage for more information.

The Garage is a city-centre cultural venue on Chapelfield North, Norwich. It delivers a range of projects that support young people to access creative arts activities and use their participation to help support development of their wider transferable skills such as leadership, communication, team work and citizenship. To find out more about activities at The Garage visit www.thegarage.org.uk.

Beatboxing Vs. Vocal Percussion – Whats the Difference?

I believe that there is an obvious line between Vocal Percussion (VP) and beatboxing which makes them different. but what exactly makes these different? even if it is a THIN line, what is it that defines one from the other?

There are only really 2 main terms you can call someone who makes drum and musical sounds with their mouth, them being a Human Beatbox’ or ‘Vocal Percussionist’. In terms of the sounds themselves, a vocal percussionist’s aim is to be able to replicate and mimic drum sounds as realistically as possible. A feat which beat boxers can’t usually compete with. Many beat boxers use a large soundbank of sounds which are often less accurate, but try to fit as many of these sounds into a beat as quickly as possible. They will also include other instrument sounds into a routine such as horns, synthesisers, strings, and bass.

Very often, vocal percussionists are part of an a’cappella group meaning that rarely need to use sounds other than drums. They often come from a musical background and already be familiar with music theory and several instruments (including drums), integrating their knowledge and techniques into their VP. They will simulate things like drum rolls and ‘para diddles’ and incorporate the visual aspect during a performance by literally air drumming whilst performing. Because they are a key member within a vocal group, the image they portray is a lot smarter and clean-cut.

People who class themselves as beat boxers tend to be the younger generation and probably wearing a hoody and Nike trainers (or any other brand!) showing off their ‘skillz’ on the bus. Now, I’m not saying that vocal percussionists don’t own hoodies. I just mean that when performing, a beatboxer would not fit in as well as a VP at a jazz festival. Likewise, with a VP performing at a DnB or hiphop event.

Many beatboxers would argue that they call it both things. Or that Beatboxing is a form of VP. Vocal Percussion can cover a vast area of vocal rhythms such as Indian Bols (Konnakol) which are syllables used to symbolise what stroke or combination of strokes a percussionist needs to use.

‘Beatboxing’ as a term is very specific and you know exactly what to expect and the image that comes with it. This image is certainly linked with its background being hip hop. Its led itself to be strongly linked with the mimicry of electronically produced music.

Here is a short description of the history of vocal percussion from Humanbeatbox.com:

“When blues was brought about by black slaves telling the heart ache of life, there wasn’t usually instruments at hand. Musicians would improvise with what little they had, their body and their voices. Claps and clicks became the drums, and low hums became the double bass; the two back bones of blues and jazz music. One would hum, one would clap, click and hit things as the drums, and one would sing. This would eventually evolve into imitating many sounds, such as the ‘shhchh’ of a soft snare and the ‘tssa’ of the hi-hat being played with brushes. Blues groups found a way to make their music with nothing but their voices. As blues became more and more mainstream, scatting and bass humming became well known. Higher range singers would wail long, joined notes, taking the place of the trumpet in solos. Immediately, this form of vocal percussion became a staple of urban culture, that is, culture of the street. Poor artists would roam the streets, or gather on street corners, imitating trumpets and saxophones outside jazz halls.”

This would definately suggest that beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion and has developed into what we know today from the birth of electronic music.

A Home Setup for Recording Beatboxing

There has always been an ongoing argument about what home equipment you need to be able to beatbox and record at home. Hopefully below I will be able to guide you onto what basic equipment and set-up you need so that you can record your beatboxing at home, stick it on your phone and play your new tracks loudly on the bus!

The Hardware…

Microphone

Don’t have a mic? get one. The main talked about industry standard is the Shure SM58 Vocal Microphone. These microphones generally range from £70 – £100 each depending on where you buy them from. Ok, this is quite expensive for a first mic but not to worry, as there are many much cheaper mics which are surprisingly similar in performance to use from home. The Behringer XM8500 is a great little microphone with a similar size and weight. I would even recommend visiting your local music shop and have a ‘taster’ of some of the mics on offer and compare them to the more expensive mics.

Mixer

You will need a basic mixer to be able to plug your microphone into. It also gives you the added benefits of controlling the microphone volume and any EQ settings. Plugging your mic straight into your PC removes any benefit of balanced noise reduction. Microphones have a three-pin XLR plug on them. As a general rule, jack plugs are used for unbalanced equipment and XLR (three pin) plugs are used for balanced equipment. A mixer has an XLR input and can therefore deal with it properly before sending the sound to your PC.

The PHONIC AM 240 is a good example of what is needed but there are many more good budget mixers available.

Leads

You should only need 2 leads to complete this setup.

  • An XLR to XLR lead for connecting your microphone to your mixer
  • and a phono to mini jack for connecting the mixer to the PC

Software..

There is only really one free good piece of recording software available in my opinion and this is AUDACITY. Its an amazingly simple piece of software to use with the added bonus of being able to edit, cut, copy and add effects if you want. This is also a great way of layering tracks if you’re feeling creative and you can export them as MP3 files.

Total cost of this set-up:

Microphone: £17.00
Mixer: £40.00
Leads: £10.00

TOTAL: £67.00

Hiphop workshops get a £30,000 Grant

Hiphop workshops get a £30,000 Grant. Teenagers in Hertfordshire have the chance to learn from professional Hip hop artists with a number of workshops taking place next year.

A £30k arts council grant is being used by Hertfordshire county council to join forced with THEATRE IS, and professional hip hop artists from THROWDOWN UK (as seen at Norwich’s Garage SLAM NIGHTS) to run a programme of training in performance for 13 – 19 year olds.

The free workshops in January offer young people the chance to learn skills including dance and beat boxing, song writing and MC-ing.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

The Magnets: GOBSMACKED – Norwich Playhouse

Just found out that The Magnets will be at the Norwich Playhouse on 6th February 2010.

The Magnets are Britain’s most exciting vocal group since the 1960s. Combining harmony singing with beatbox drumming, they have taken a cappella music to a whole new audience, and created a sound to rival that of any band with instruments. In fact, The Magnets have the advantage over any conventional band. They can perform any time, anywhere there is space for six men to stand and sing. From street corner to arena, just add an audience and let the show begin.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

From Norwich Playhouse website:

Air MTM presents
THE MAGNETS: GOBSMACKED
Saturday 6 February 7.30pm
Tickets : £15 all tickets
Running time : ca. 2 hours including interval

THE MAGNETS: GOBSMACKED

You are dancing to the best band you’ve heard in ages. On stage are six sharp-suited men with infectious tunes, slick moves and a tight rhythm section. But something is different about this group. There are no instruments, no backing tracks, and yet the music goes on. Then you realise. All of this amazing sound is being made with voices alone.

The Magnets are one of the most uniquely entertaining music acts around. By combining harmony vocals with beatbox drumming they have taken a cappella music to a whole new audience and created a sound rivaling that of any band with instruments. In addition to a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 they also appeared at the Glastonbury Festival, The Isle of Wight Festival and London’s South Bank Udderbelly Festival.

“A breathtaking, sexy, and postmodern show” The Scotsman

The Magnets official website

Click HERE to book online through the Theatre Royal Box Office

Click HERE to book online through the UEA Box Office

Shlomo & The Vocal Orchestra – “BOXED”

[Originally from: www.shlo.co.uk]

Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra in: BOXED
January 7-8 2010, 7:45pm
Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London

Southbank Centre are proud to present the first performances of BOXED – a brand new “beatbox theatre” show from Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra.

This epic escapade sees our beatboxing heroes travel to the future and back via outer space, dropping some soulful vocal gymnastics and slickly staged theatrics along the way.

“This show will be like beatboxing’s answer to Stomp, Blue Man Group and Into the Hoods.” says Shlomo. “I can’t tell you how excited I am about it!!”

BOXED is a turbo-charged story of friendship and adventure demonstrating the power of unity using nothing but the voice boxes of the 10-strong cast. Performing jaw-dropping vocal routines and tunes spanning the musical spectrum from hip hop to jazz to drum n bass and opera, BOXED is not to be missed!

“This brilliant, effervescent ensemble of rapping, riffing, improvising youngsters could drown out the QE2’s foghorn… Slick theatrics… soulful vocal gymnastics.” – Evening Standard

More info and tickets –>

Win Backstage passes to meet the crew

There will be a random prize draw to select one winner who will win a pair of backstage passes to meet the cast of BOXED at the Purcell Room on January 8th 2010. All ticket holders for the Friday 8th January performance will be automatically entered into the competition.

The BAC Beatbox Academy with SHLOMO

The Beatbox Academy is an outreach project set up by Shlomo and the BAC in early 2008. Four weeks of workshops in schools and youth clubs are followed by a five week course every Saturday at BAC. Students are taught a range of musical and vocal skills, using beatbox as a focus to work on both solo and group performance techniques. There are visits from guest tutors from the beatbox scene, and participants record a performance for a DVD as well as putting on a show for friends and family. The BAC Beatbox Academy launches fully in January 2009 and will run for 3 terms throughout the year.

One of the world’s leading beatboxers, Shlomo has worked for years to push the boundaries of beatboxing as an art form. This man’s mouth makes mad, mad music. Shlomo has used these incredible vocal skills to make music with people from all kinds of musical backgrounds, including the Mighty Boosh, Björk, Martha Wainwright, Damon Albarn, Jarvis Cocker and Bill Bailey.

Previous Beatbox Projects:

BAC Beatbox Academy Pilot Project
Young people from locals schools and youth clubs took part in a five week project at BAC where they learnt how to beatbobox with Shlomo, Jes*star, The Hobbit and UK Beatbox Champion 08 MC Zani. Each participant recorded their own showreel and performed on stage to a live audience.

Battersea Tech Beat Orchestra
This six week after school project enabled students to hone their singing and beatboxing skills, culminating in an end of term celebration where they showcased their talent to family and friends.

Wandsworth Beatbox Allstars
Pupils from four secondary schools joined with singers from local choirs to spend two days mastering techniques in beat boxing, singing and other vocal approaches. World renowned beat boxer Shlomo and his Vocal Orchestra led participants aged between 11 and 66 in an electrifying sell-out performance in BAC’s main house.

In Collaboration with SHLOMO and AllFromTheMouth.com