LSD Magazine interviews Beardyman

Issue Seven – Made in Space
May 9th 2011

You seem to be lacking a beard these days. Is this a post modernist follicular statement about the condition of the modern world. Yes. I aim to highlight the fundamental fallacy inherent in ascribing names to abstract entities. What’s in a name? Nothing….just logical loopholes and cognitive vortices

Where is the line if any between noise and music

Noise is whatever you deem unpleasant. Everyone’s threshold is different. For me a babbling brook is music and Justin Bieber is highly offensive and damaging to the soul. But that’s just me. . . well. that’s not just me. . it’s anyone who isn’t a total spanner.

Is it true that your career began doing the sound effects for the nativity scene at kindergarten and has the Catholic church put a price on your head over the resulting debacle

Yes. It is true. The Catholic Church have sent several ninja Vatican assassins to destroy me, but I borrowed a coke gun from Charlie Sheen which fires wraps at them and causes them to become distracted and search for a bush to hide behind and have an emergency anger-wank.

Is the voice the most versatile instrument known to man


Is it just a hippy rumour that you were raised by a sett of falsetto badgers with a sideline in feral burlesque who taught you the esoteric mysteries of vocal manipulation and the art of masking vile brutality under a cuddly veneer.

No. It’s not a rumour. . . I could lash out at any moment and destroy the entire human race with my mind powers . . but I don’t thanks to the falsetto badgers. They taught me to channel my powers.

When did you first start to grasp the potential of looping stations and just how much did that revolutionise your approach to music

Loop stations have always appealed to me more than other kinds of station. Most stations have entrances and exits to facilitate the transit of humans from one station to another. Loopstations ferry data between buffers and allow sounds to be looped in iterative cycles and manipulated in accordance with the will of the great magnet, in whose fields all things flow.

beardyman-eAs the rest of the industry sweeps deeper into the mathematical precision of computers – how much freedom do the Kaoss pads and the simple hardware you use open up to you

The hardware I use is limiting and I’m developing my own software which will enable me to destroy the entire world. I’ve been developing it for 3 years with a developer and it’s neeearly ready. Once it is ready, you pitiful humans will know. . Oh yes. . . you will all know my true power. . MwwwoooWAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

Do you find being labelled a beatboxer misses the point of a lot of what you actually do

Yes.  . I am an artist. . an individual… an enemy, a friend, a brother, an animal, a human, a giver, a receiver, a creator, a destroyer. I am all things to all men and most things to most women.  ..

How much did centuries of harmonic music with only implied rhythm affect Western culture

Folk music has always used danceable rhythms and percussive instruments. The rhythmic minimalism of western religious and formal music is not the whole picture. Still. . that’s a fucking good question. . and not one there is time to adequately explore here.

beardyman-bDid samplers change the world and the understanding of music

Yes, but unfortunately copyright legislation is only just starting to adapt to these changes. Creative Commons licenses are a new, and more subtle way of legislating in a post copyright world.

How loose are the frameworks of your sets

It depends on the situation. If it’s a massive stage it’s generally more well planned, but even then, with a rigid and meticulous plan I will often abandon it totally and do whatever feels more right in the moment.

Are the moments when you’ve just stopped thinking, calculating and anticipating on stage the most special

Yeah. When your brain is just doing what it’s doing independent of your conscious intention, that’s when it’s at its most efficient and creative.

How does the feedback loop with the crowd work on some of the larger stages

It doesn’t. The bigger the audience, the less it is possible to interact with individuals. You have to interact with the crowd as a whole. . or in large sections. It helps to treat them like an enormous unwieldy child with no legs.

beardyman-hTell us about Battlejam

Battlejam is a club night I don’t run anymore because running club nights is a ball-ache. But myself and JFB, the DMC champion scratch genius who I ran it with continue to work together on every project we can. We are currently trying to get Battlejam TV up and running. The concept of Battlejam was always to interact with the crowd as much as is possible, making the whole club night go according to the whims of the great magnet. We have sampling and looping technology to let the crowd’s random shoutings become the hook for the next tune. . . whatever that might be. .

You seem to be a keen masturbator from the research we have done (including CCTV footage from the biscuit aisle at Morrisons) Is this what gives you the manual dexterity to whip across 4 Kaoss pads like an epileptic harpsichordist on crystal meth.

Yes. It’s the wanking. . . the incessant wanking. It never stops. . I’m wanking right now. . . It keeps the blood flowing and actually helps to reduce the risk of testicular cancer.

What else do you have running live bar the Kaoss pads and your voice –

4 Kaoss pads, 1 Kaossilator (a synth), a Microkorg Xl (synth), a Boss RC-50 loopstation, a TC Helicon Voicelive 2 (a vocal fx processor), a Boss GT-8 (a guitar FX unit I use for my voice) and a bunch of other stuff to make it all sound crisp and balance levels and stuff.

beardyman-dWhat with your kitchen experience – are you planning to cash in on the Jamie factor and bung together a  programme entitled 30 Second

Basslines aimed at nice middle class people whose work commitments simply don’t allow for in depth synth tweaking.
Yes. I also plan to start a chain of restaurants that serve bassline based meals and with loops and drum hits as side dishes. .

So you have done an album. Why?

Why not.

Tell us about the concept behind the album and how it unfolds

The album is an album what I did. It’s got music on it and other stuff too. It’s really good and you should buy it with money.  If you want to steal it that’s fine but come to one of my shows to make up for it.

Did you have to immerse yourself in a totally different headspace to your live performances

Not really. . I tried actually to make sure I was in a similar headspace as when I’m on stage otherwise I’d end up writing love ballads and classical music.

Did you start experimenting with more precise technology to hone very specific sounds

For the album I developed a very complex Ableton Live set-up which enabled me to tweak a lot more than my usual touring rig. This meant audio fidelity could be improved by over 68%.

Do you find that some of your greatest moments are simply unrecordable.

Yes, which is a huge bitch. A lot of my best live moments were not recorded. . so basically. .  I’m more awesome than most people will ever find out, and also crapper than a select few think I am.

beardyman-fHow important is it to your creative dynamism to get out on the dancefloor and have a proper knees up

It is imperative to lose your shit every so often. It’s important for everyone to lose their shit every so often. . to many people always no where there shit is. . your shit needs its freedom to roam the planes of this multiverse. . set it free. . . be the change.

Where is the balance between the sublime, the ridiculous and the just plain kicking

The grey areas in this universe dwarf the black and white.

Have you been developing a wardrobe and dance routine for your upcoming tour

My wardrobe for the tour consists solely of masking tape and cling-film.

Why oh why did you never go on Britain’s Got Talent.

Cos it’s fucking gash and full of cunts and only cunts watch it. . Yes I’m talking to you. . You cunt.
(at this point we would like to point out that while the interviewer is indisputably a cunt – he was taking the piss here)

How do you structure insanity


What are your views on sobriety and live performance

When you have as many parameters to control in real time as I do, sobriety is unfortunately a requirement. This displeases me as I enjoy inebriation an awful lot.

Do you wish that there were more on the fly live performers out there rather than press play on the sequencer jockeys or are you quite happy virtually cornering the market

I like it when I see a new cat on the scene cos that means I’m not a freak and I can stop cutting myself to let out the pain.

Have you considered doing the voiceover for a Satnav

Yes. . . but how annoying would that get after a while. I’d like to make my own one which cycles through about 10 different samples for each phrase at random. . Satnav voices are annoying.  when you’re lost and they’re fucking up they become the most annoying thing in the world.

Are improvisation and live rushes of unexpected inspiration the key to transcendental epiphany or should I stop smoking those crystals

Keep smoking. . I think you’re onto something!!

beardyman-cHas the internet democratised or saturated music

Both. It’s also de-professionalized it, which is interesting. People have the technology to make amazing sounding music these days. I’d say the advent of computer based hi-quality recording and production has meant more to the democratisation of music, but the internet will continue to defeat the record industry and starve artists of remuneration.

Arcadia – what was playing that like

It was good. . there was all this fire everywhere. . . it was mad…. plumes the size of houses, quite hard to concentrate when the sound of the fire jets is way louder than the sound system. . and it wasn’t a quiet sound system.

How important is festival culture to you

Hugely important. Festivals are vital. We’ve lacked them for years in our culture and their popularity has little to do with music.

What can we expect from you this summer

Nudity, bodies, carnage.


Beardyman Website

Issue Seven – Made in Space
May 9th 2011