Image for Beardyman on the Bacardi Express

Beardyman on the Bacardi Express

Written by Amelia Schmidt on April 27, 2009

Look, to be honest, I didn’t go on the Bacardi Express, Mikey did. So when he sent me this recording of his interview with English beatboxer extraordinaire, Beardyman, I listened to it and imagined them sitting in one of these beautiful old train carriages, hungover as fuck talking shit to each other for twenty minutes, probably in their underwear, continually fondling their facial hair.

I basically made up all details other than quotes as an imaginary version of the conversation.

“My body clock is fucked,” says Beardyman, lounging back and peering out the window across the outback desert as it passes by the window in a blur.

“I was on English time, now I’m on Aussie time, and I’m going home in a few days. I’m going home tomorrow.” He pauses, for a moment, thinking to himself. “Wait, that can’t be true.“

“Ah,” he says, disappointedly, stroking his beard. “I’m going home tomorrow.”

Home, being Brighton, in the UK, is certainly a long way from the Bacardi Express, which at the time of this conversation is somewhere heading away from Wagga Wagga. Beardyman pauses for a moment and stares out the window with a sense of longing. Mikey asks about how his musical genesis began.

“I started off learning piano when I was five and I learnt guitar when I was fifteen,” he begins, still looking out the window. “I like the drums but I didn’t get to play them, and to be fair the geezer on the drums was like way better than I am. He was wicked and really loud.”

And at this point we remember we are on a fucking cool train full of kickass musicians, not stuck in an Agatha Christie novel. The Bacardi Express hosted Beardyman last year also, and he comments on the selection of artists this year compared to the previous year.

“If I’m being honest I think I preferred last year’s lineup simply because it was more eclectic, not to do down on any of the bands this time but I really liked the variety last time. [This year is] really cool but it’s a lot more rocky and guitar-based and personally I just really like hearing sounds that I haven’t heard before. Maybe it’s just about being English and being exposed to that kind of music all the time. I’m a bit bored of the sound of guitars. That said they’re absolutely wicked. I’m now a big fan of Bluejuice.”

I don’t think it’s because he’s English. I’d hazard a guess that it’s because he’s awesome and deeply talented as one of the best beatboxers around. With the ability to seamlessly weave Prince, James Brown, Drum and Bass sounds and improvisation in to amazing performances, different sounds must be always at the forefront of his mind, if only in thinking how to make them with his mouth.

“I do a club night in Brighton called Battle Jam.” Beardyman looks out the window again, thinking of his home. “It’s getting bigger and bigger and it’s really just us messing about, but we’ve managed to make a club night out of us just messing about.”

And why would they start a beatboxing night? “Because going out is great but often I find music really shit, but not because it’s not really bad but because it’s too polished. This night that we do is kind of indicative of Brighton – it’s really eclectic; we mess about and make stuff up on the spot. We’ve taken that show and we’re making it really crazy.”

Mikey reclines in his chair and lights up a cigarette. I don’t know if he smokes or if smoking was allowed on the carriage but in my mind this is what happens. “One thing that we’re doing is this wheel of genres thing,” Beardyman continues.

Mikey nods, blows smoke away from the conversation politely. “So we’ll have two wheels for genres and just spin them and then we have to make it up.”

In burlesque costumes, I hope. On some other form of olden-day transport. Maybe a ship. Or a tram. I wonder if there are trams in Brighton.

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