Beatbox Collective: 'Beatboxing should be seen as an art form'

The Beatbox Collective on stage Image copyright The Beatbox Collective

The beatboxing world champions say their style of music is no gimmick and people should see it for the "art form" it is.

Too often people see it is as just a party trick, The Beatbox Collective tells Newsbeat.

MC Zani, real name Dean Hosenie, a 15-year veteran of the scene, says the level of competition has exploded over the last few years.

"Back in the day the battles were pretty tame, but now they're full on."

"You'll get a minute and a half to demonstrate your skills and people will diss you, people will cuss you, some people will sing, some people will flip on stage - it's all guns blazing basically."

Image copyright The Beatbox Collective
Image caption MC Zani (far right) has won the UK Beatboxing Championships, reached the top 16 in the World Championships and reached various European finals

Zani says he's treated as old school by most beatboxers after winning the 2008 UK beatboxing championships, but that whatever style you choose is all down to your musical upbringing.

"I used to listen to hip hop so I used to beatbox a lot of hip hop.

"But now as electronic music is progressing it [beatboxing] is anything," he adds.

"It's any sound, it's any genre of music, it's whatever you want to do because the voice is limitless so you can take it to wherever you want to take it."

Mainstream... success?

As for whether or not the top 40 is ready for a beatboxing record, or if it'll ever go mainstream, Zani's wary: "I think it has to be credible because it can get like what happened to the breakdancing scene, it can get very saturated very quickly.

"Because YouTube is so popular there are already a lot of commercial, big corporations and brands using beatboxing for their own benefit where they don't really care about the art form.

"I guess it's hard because if you're an upcoming beatboxer and a big brand comes up to you and says 'do you want to beatbox for this' and they chuck loads of money at you so of course they're going to do it.

He says it's how you stay credible: "We do see a lot of the younger talent and the young generation and we try and build them and tell them 'know your worth'".

Image copyright The Beatbox Collective
Image caption Beatbox Collective founder Bass6 (far right), says Ed Sheeran has helped take beatboxing to a massive audience

Bass6, real name Rupert Oldridge, founded the Beatbox Collective around eight years ago and says Ed Sheeran has been a positive influence on the genre.

"[Ed Sheeran] has a little beatbox and a loop and everything and it sounds great. And the beautiful thing about all these beatbox sounds is that people do identify that it's human.

"We can create a whole track, we can recreate a track, we can do absolutely anything and the voice is infinite."

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