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Darren Foreman is a globally recognized, two-time UK beatboxing champion, better known by his stage name, Beardyman. He's pushing forward beatboxing, electronica, live performances and real-time music composition with a machine designed specifically for him, called the Beardytron.
"It's basically two laptops and some iPads, and it sits around me as kind of this crazy spaceship, cockpit kind of thing," says Beardyman. "Basically, it allows me to walk up onto a stage with no really preconceived ideas of what I'm going to do, and just kind of improvise my way through an hour electronic music."
The Beardytron is the star of Foreman's latest album, "Distractions."
On the "beardytron":
Darren Foreman: "It's kind of my life's work. It's basically two laptops and some iPads and it kind of sits around me as this kind of crazy spaceship cockpit kind of thing, and basically it allows me to kind of walk up onto a stage with no, really, preconceived ideas of what I'm going to do and just kind of improvise my way through an hour of electronic music."
On the track, "A Cheerful and Sunny Disposition":
DF: "So, that track, I did it live. It's nice to be able to produce that fast. That's kind of why I've made this thing, is so that I can just get ideas out really quickly before I get bored of them. I like giving myself the restriction of having to do things in real time because it — I think you get things happening then that you wouldn't otherwise get."
On why he uses the "beardytron" instead of actual instruments:
DF: "Yeah, but I suppose what you're asking is, 'Am I insane?' Yes. No, so I've got options, so it's obviously much quicker for me to just, you know, beatbox something or sing a bass line and it's depending on how whimsical I want it to be, or how good I want it to sound and the trade-off between how quickly I can get the sound in my head out and the kind of level of detail that I want it to have, anyway, these are the kind of decisions that are going on in my head all the time when I'm doing a show."
On the one other person in the world who has used the "beardytron":
DF: "Herbie Hancock...it's really cool. He is really cool. Do you know what's great about that, is that, like, everyone, like, my grandma included, was like, really? Herbie Hancock? Like, everyone. That's how cool Herbie Hancock is...At TED, he was there and he saw my talk and there's this kind of TED app where, when you've been at TED, you can communicate with anyone else at TED. And I was like, messaging all these people being like, 'Hey, love the work you're doing at Google! Can I come?' And, yeah, didn't hear anything back. But, like, Herbie was like, um, yeah, let's link up. So we just hung out and then I went to his studio and we hung out there and we like jammed for four hours and I've got all these four hours of recording from when we jammed, and I should really do something with that recording."
On the future of the "beardytron":
DF: "I'd like to sell a version of it but that in itself is a huge ordeal and takes a lot of investment to do, so I'll probably do a kickstarter at some point in the next couple of years, but we'll see."
- "Beardyman has been on our radar for quite some time now. He reminded us of the kid in the playground that could make machine gun sounds with their voice, or the popular Donald Duck impersonator at the back of class."
This segment aired on March 4, 2015.
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