TikTak: Hello I’m TikTak and welcome to Beatbox.Guru. Today our first guest will be Roxorloops who’s joined us from Belgium. He’s one of the world’s top beatboxers so he’s gonna share his beatboxing knowledge with us today in an extensive one hour interview. Enjoy watching!
Roxorloops: Hi, my name’s Roxorloops and I’m a beatboxer. I’m thirty years old and I’ve been beatboxing for about fourteen years now, I think — it’s a long time.
Ok, cool. So brings you to Poland, man?
I’ve been invited by TikTak to judge the Championships in Poland, in Warsaw and… so I’ve been judging. And also, I’m staying a little bit because I’m taking care of my health at the moment. I’m getting some kind of foot massage and I’m eating healthy and I’m not smoking, I’m not drinking. I’m being a clean guy.
So how do you like Poland so far?
Poland is one of my favorite countries in the world and it’s especially cool because for people from Belgium, for example, Poland is quite of a cheap country. I mean, things are cheap to buy but still, it has all the possibilities. It has all the technology, it has all the opportunities and you can drink everything, eat everything, watch everything so so basically it’s like it’s developed country but it’s less expensive to be here.
The battle that you were judging — please, tell me about your experiences with it.
So there were a lot of contestants in the battle and I think that we at least had 60 or more and it was of course a hard job as a judge to do elimination rounds because elimination rounds if you have about 20 or 30 it’s okay but when it starts to be more than 30 beatboxers, it’s hard to keep your focus as a judge and it’s hard to rank everyone so there was a very hard elimination round. And quarterfinals were easier to judge because they were more clear. Like there was a clear winner and a clear loser or “not winner”, let’s say, and you know, sometimes it’s tight but for me as a judge I always know who to choose. I never make a draw. It’s against my principles.
So yeah, starting from quarterfinals it was just enjoying the battle.
Please, tell me more about the principles of your judging becaus e we’ve had this conversation and I know that you have a really strong philosophy of judging beatboxing battles. As a judge, it’s very important that you know what you are judging, that you are aware, that your focused on what’s happening because sometimes I see judges that are falling asleep or not paying attention and I’m watching: of course, the technical level, the skill level; is this beatboxer able to do a certain amount of techniques but what’s also very important is a groove and a feeling because you might be good technically but if it doesn’t sound like music, if it doesn’t make you move, it’s less less important so musicality at this is very important to me, then also battle attitude so I wanna see when I wanna see a battle.
“Face to face” as Bee Low always says…
Exactly. Face to face battle, you know pushing the other one to his and having this tension, you know of like: I think you should never be too confident or too aggressive because then come over as cocky or as an asshole so it’s good to be confident and if you battle, if you are dissing the other guy, make it with a little bit of humor so it keeps in the friendly spirit but you know, still you’re dissing the other guy. And then what I’m also watching for is replies — it’s part of the battle attitude that when some guy’s doing something, the guy who replies really has to use his right to reply to like: okay, show that he can beat the first guy and…
Give me an example of a good reply.
An example of a good reply? I think in the World Championships finals — Alem versus Skiller. Alem was doing what Skiller was doing the round doing it good” and then he said like: “hey, I’m just learning! It is the first time that I tried.” So that was kind of a good way of replying.
Ok. And what kind of exercises would you recommend for beatboxers to sort of build up their attitude towards battling? Watching “Rocky” movies? Or?
Yeah, I think that it’s important to maybe watch some DJ battles so the DJs will be also battling, putting in some scratches. Try to find these punch lines and so it’s very important to build the set. You know, part of the beatboxing battle is freestyle but a big part is also a prepared set because you’re there to entertain a crowd, you’re there to smash your opponent. If you have a prepared set with climaxes and punch lines at the right moment, it will be easier to be in this battle mode without having to improvise because if you are improvising as a beatboxer, a lot of times you go to the stuff that You know, like you’re practicing a new pattern and you’ve been practicing it for two weeks. If you come to a battle and you freestyle and you are out of inspiration at the moment or you feel insecure, you will go to this same routine that you are trying. That’s what I see with a lot of beatboxers actually in battles these days. So the more you are prepared, the better you are in the battle.
Nowadays, a lot of people listen to dubstep music so there’s a … or trap music or drum ‘n’ bass, jungle — genres which have a lot of build-up of these drums like [BEATBOXING]. And then you drop the beat. How else can you build up the climax except for just dropping the beat?
Part of climax is you can have the silence when you’re going to like: [BEATBOXING] one, two, three, four, one, two. And you will have like a moment where people is like: “Where is four?” and then you have the four. Of course, now it’s just numbers but if you do it with a punch line, it will be better. For example, yeah, you can… of course, the best way to get climaxes is to get this drum rolls.
So what you do is you get intensity of speed but also intensity of tone; like you could do: “Suck my motherfucking dick.” And then you’re going: [BEATBOXING] “Suck my motherfucking d‑d-d-d-dick!” And then you’re like you know you get into something and then you start to hype it up and that’s I think pretty important in the climaxing.
Ok. Sucking dick, you mean?
Of course, I’m being silly. Well, someone has to suck a dick. You know, it’s a battle.
If you were preparing, if you were coaching a champion beatboxer — that would be the next world champion, let’s say — what advice would you give him or her to prepare well? Let’s keep beatboxing out of it for now — not just building beats but let’s focus on the attitude and the preparations. What would you recommend?
I would for sure recommend to… if you are going for a battle, you need to know what kind of a battle this is so first of all, check your situation. If it’s like national championship, you will know the people who will be playing a part in it, for most part you will know the important guys that you have to watch out for. If you go to world championships, check the guys. You know, there’s YouTube material of everyone — check the guys that you are going to battle. That’s very important to know what’s the level, what’s being done so you have a good prepared way of going there. Also, see who the judges are — they can count. Look at other battles, what are judges voting for so it’s really it’s very strategical. And then what I would do is you just do a lot of freestyling, do everything you can and write it down. Write down all the sets that you have.
Give a name to every routine, record something — if you got something new, record it, keep it and just have a full list of everything you have. And then select your A material like a new sound, a new special technique; this is going for final round, only for final round.
And if you don’t make it to final round, you didn’t drop this sound. I mean, don’t drop it in a panic moment, prepare it and then eliminations — that’s really easy because you don’t have to battle anyone so you can really build an elimination set, very strong one. And then I would prepare for the battles, you just prepare like it’s one-and-a-half minute battling, each round. Prepare one minute of set, keep half a minute for replies and if you know who’s gonna be your opponents, you can have already prepared. You can have already, you know, stuff prepared against other guys and then be ready way before the battle starts.
You know, like if it’s gonna be in April, be sure that your sets are ready in end of February. And then all you have to do is practise them before the show comes because if you have good ideas and a new set but you didn’t practise it and you are under the pressure of the battle, you will not perform it well. You need to have done it a hundred times already: try to do it on stage, try to do it with a mic, try to do it with moves, with attitude already. When I practise, I practise with my hand here even if I don’t have a mic.
Just, you know, so I know how I’m gonna move and if you gonna make a punch to someone, you know that you are really prepared in the body and, you know, it has to come automatically on the battle. So prepare, prepare, prepare!
[…] if you got something new, record it, keep it and just have a full list of everything you have.
Ok, so would you also recommend like practising in front of a mirror?
I would definitely recommend practising in front of a mirror. It’s really, it’s like also record yourself, listen to yourself and watch yourself in the mirror or camera or whatever so you can see like: “Oh shit! This looks kinda gay in a way. I need to change this style. Or like: “oh no, shit, what did I do?”
So try to, you know, watch yourself. And yeah, you know, like that attitude on stage and when you gonna go like for a: [BEATBOXING] that you know like that you have these moves prepared and when you’re on the battle, you just pop them out.
Ok. Ok, that’s very intense. That reminds me of how Olympic athletes prepare for the Olympics, you know. A year ahead and just practice, practice, practice.
Yeah, its all about practice. I mean, come on, it’s all about practice — that’s the main thing. That’s really… and first part is inspiration and creativity, you know, for me also a lot of things come to me if I have to battle, they come to me like little bit just before the battle. I will have ideas and that’s why if you prepare the one-minute set and you have some ideas the night before — you’re scared in your bed and you shit towards the battle, now you’re repeating everything — if you find something, you still have some space to put it. So yeah, creative process is one but then preparation’s the key. Ok.
What would you say about fighting the stress? Because some beatboxers I know are very well prepared, very good technically but then again on stage when the moment comes, they’re like wind up and the stress eats them.
Yeah, stress is always killing you. Especially in a battle and I’ve seen so many good beatboxers stressing out on the battle. Wanting to be too loud, wanting to be too fast, especially when you’re intimidated by your opponent like: “Fuck, he was loud and now I have to be loud!” and you overdo it, there’s nothing much to do about except for experience. You know, if you did it a couple of times, you will know it, you will be more confident, you will be more secure.
If the first time you’re ever on the stage is on a battle, man, it’s almost impossible to win because the stress is really gonna kill you. And I would say: when I’m judging, I always account that people on the battle are performing at about 60 percent of their regular skill and there’s very few people who get even 80 percent of what they really can on a battle because, you know, it’s the stress. But then again if you are well-prepared, stress is less. When you are not prepared then the stress is really high.
So are there any special techniques for memorising the beats that you would recommend? Like mnemonic techniques, like you’re in a room or something. I don’t know, whatever. What do you use for this? Because if you have sixty different patterns, you obviously have to memorise them.
Yeah, I think for me I’m creating sets so if I’m going to a battle, I’ll be creating sets and I’ll be making: “I go from this song to this song to this routine to this punch line.” And so there’s a story in every battle, which has a kind of an intro, you know, to like: “Hey, guys!” And then you get into the story then you have the middle part with a couple of climaxes here and there. And then your ending has to be like “bam!” and you know like. So to memorize it I just I write it down — write, write down your sets and then practise them. Again practise, practise and prepare.
Would you recommend practising in front of an audience as well? Like taking part in smaller battles or doing this battle stuff, parts of it during concerts or whatever?
Yeah, I think doing some of the stuff that you will do in a battle set if you can do it on a stage already, that’s for sure really really good to do. So if you are performing quite a lot, it’s good to have. Of course, you cannot do battles stuff in like to your audience. You know, it’s gonna be like: “What?” But covers of songs, you know, or special you can for sure try out with audience and to feel how it feels on stage and how people will react to it. That’s also very important when you can have some crowd participation where you ask people to clap along with you. I mean if I’m judging and I see someone who’s talking to the crowd and the crowd goes: “Oh, oh!” on his beat, for as a judge it will score some points. So yeah, for sure practise with audience.
Basically when it comes to covers, it’s about: it’s “crowd pleasers.” You are doing covers only for one reason, it’s to please the crowd.
You mention doing covers so let’s talk about the proportions of covers of other people’s music and original beats. What do you think about this?
Basically when it comes to covers, it’s about: it’s “crowd pleasers.” You are doing covers only for one reason, it’s to please the crowd. I mean, otherwise if it wasn’t for the crowd, I wouldn’t do no covers, never. I would just do techniques and have fun and do rhythms. So I think in every set should be at least a cover. It’s not like a rule but it’s a good thing to have because it’s these moments where you have the crowd: “Oh, he’s doing that song that I know!” So it’s very smart to get the crowd on your side and yeah try to do covers, original covers — so I mean like find your own covers of songs. ‑Don’t… ‑Don’t use covers that previously were done by beatboxers. Yeah, don’t do “If your mother only knew” on a battle, don’t do “I’m just a bachelor”, don’t do too many of the known like Snoop Dogg. Don’t do it on a battle. Do it on a showcase, yeah, for sure people gonna love it but, you know, try to find some original covers of your own. If you find those and can perform them
well, they will score a lot of points.
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