I decid­ed to tran­script the first part of the Rox­or­loops inter­view. Please let me know in the com­ments if this works for you, like read­ing it instead of, or in addi­tion to, watch­ing the video. Mak­ing text tran­scripts is pos­si­ble but time-con­sum­ing for me, so I’d like to know your opin­ion — is it worth it?



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…

Roxorloops reads Human Beatox Personal Instrument

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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This is the tran­script of part 1 of the Rox­or­loops inter­view. Please tell me — in the com­ments — are the inter­views worth putting in text addi­tion­al to the video?

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