The human percussion

Unique cut

The human percussion
There are no instruments, no accompanying artistes, not even a turntable. But the crowd goes wild the minute Faya Braz enters the stage; such is the beatboxer’s popularity.

Having started his experiments with the vocal percussion form sometime in 1996, Faya Braz is today considered one of the most creative artistes in beatboxing culture. He is one of the main French beatboxers and one of the most prolific activists of the beatbox culture. Collaborating with other musicians, he is also part of the French crew ‘Art Hifis’ and the popular ‘Under Kontrol’ group (who were Team Beatbox World Champions in 2009).

Taking time off from his world of shows and fans, Faya talks to Rajitha Menon about his love for beatboxing and music in general.

How would you describe your music in three words?

Three words are not enough for me to describe my music but I can say this — I love hip hop.

How has the global scene for beatboxing changed from when you started out?

There has been a marked change in this field. Firstly, there are more beatboxers now than around 10 years ago. And 10 years ago, there were many more than what used to be the number around 15 years ago.  The amount of newcomers increase each month; maybe each week. When I started 20 years ago, I never thought it would become this huge.

Why do you feel so?

One of the most evident affirmations of this is how evidence is that beatboxers are getting chances to come to the front of the stage. Till a few years ago, there was no festival where beatboxing was involved. And personally, I never thought my passion would take me this far in life.And another thing that really changed the game is the internet. It played a big part in beatbox development.

But the flip side of this is that the internet brings a lot of uniformity. It creates like a norm. So there are more beatboxers but maybe less originality and less creativity than before.

Your most favourite show till now?

I’ve been to many concerts and many artistes have touched me with their music. But I can’t deny that the best show I’ve ever attended was the Snoop Dogg concert in Bercy, Paris in 2005. It was something like three and a half hours long and the crowd was just crazy.

Performance-wise, it was the ‘Cypress Hill’ show in 2012 in Nice, Southern France. I was doing the opening with my group, ‘Under Kontrol’, and we were so hyped and so glad to see one of the groups we grew up listening to!

Thoughts about Indian music?

I love the orchestrations, melodies and grooves of this music. Especially when it comes to tablas; tabla players and beatboxers have so much in common. The way of learning tablas is so ‘beatbox’ — you literally have to sing and beatbox the instrument before playing it. This is fascinating for a beatboxer and I would love to know more about this art.

Thoughts about this city?

In 2012, I had the chance to do a ‘India Tour’ with my group ‘Under Kontrol’ . We performed in 4 cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. And I have to say that, from what I remember, Bengaluru was the city I liked the most; maybe because I felt the city was not as busy as Mumbai or Chennai. I only stayed for two nights then, so I hope I will have the chance explore more places this time.

Three things about you that no one knows?

It’s not known for no reason (smiles).

If not a beatboxer, then..?

Then... a beatboxer.
 
(Faya braz will be performing at The Humming Tree, Indiranagar, on September 15.)

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