Beardyman

Darren Foreman (b. 1982), better known as Beardyman, is a musician from London renowned for his beatboxing skills and use of live looping technology. He was given the nickname ‘Beardyman’ because a name was quickly needed for a flyer for an early show, and he had a beard at the time.

As well as accomplished solo beatboxer, Beardyman was inspired by MC Xander to use music technology such as the Korg Kaoss Pad 3 in order to loop and sample his vocals. Through his use of looping tools he effectively produces whole DJ sets where the records are constructed live from his vocalisations, as well as live production of original material.

His music frequently contains elements of drum and bass, dubstep, breakbeat, trance, techno and other associated forms of electronic dance music. He also incorporates other forms of music into his live sets, including but not limited to reggae and country music, often purely for the purpose of providing a comedic counterpoint to his beatboxing. Virtually all of his music is created using only his vocal chords to produce sounds, and incorporating music technology such as vocoders and software synthesis to alter the pitch of his voice, or to add various kinds of audio effects such as delays, reverbs or modulation effects.

As of 2012 he has foregone the usage of Kaoss Pads in favour of proprietary software he has been developing, currently known as the ‘Beardytron 5000 MkII.’ ‘Over the past 3 years I have worked tirelessly on the system, overseeing its development and testing, improving and configuring it. I had no choice really, as the shows I want to do are simply not possible using any existing off the shelf gear, existing software or even cobbled together patches using freeware. The system is essentially my life’s work and will continue to be what i use for all my future endeavours. The Beardytron 5000 mkII is a work in progress and at some point you’ll be able to buy some form of looper/production-system based on the innovations developed to make my shows possible.’

Beardyman further states: ‘The system is built from the ground up in C++ and objective C by Dave Gamble of DMGAudio and employs 15 instances and counting of a partly bespoke version of Sugarbytes’ incredible linear-8-way-morph-engine controlled multi-effect ‘Turnado.’ Guitar rig is also used along with Rob Papen’s delay. The system is controlled using 2 ipads running bespoke programs using a specially developed high definition, self-reconnecting protocol.’

Foreman was born to a Jewish family in Stanmore, North London. After studying at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for Boys, Barnet, Foreman moved to Brighton in 2001 to study at the University of Sussex. Although he started making noises at the age of three by imitating Michael Winslow from the ‘Police Academy’ movie series, it was seeing Rahzel perform live that convinced Foreman that beatboxing could sustain a whole show rather than simply provide interludes within the context of a broader presentation. Beardyman’s first musical venture was composing a symphony for his school orchestra at the age of ten. At fifteen, an introduction to drum and bass led to his long-standing obsession with music technology.

Beardyman often incorporates humor into his act. He has impersonated Elvis, dressed as a monkey on stage at Bestival, and once posed as an Austrian climate change lecturer, ‘Professor Bernhard Steinerhoff,’ before breaking into his set. He also features in the Funky Sage ring tones in which he plays a floating head who beatboxes and gives good advice. His video ‘Kitchen Diaries,’ which features him combining beatboxing with cooking, has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube.

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