When we hear about artists coming to perform in Beirut, one of the things we look forward to is originality. Originality in art and performance. Heymoonshaker definitely stands high on this criteria. Blues and Beatboxing might seem like an unlikely match, but Andy Balcon and David Crowe manage to create a harmonized fusion making it seem like a most trivial choice of collaboration. We were interested to know more about how it all came together, so we had a chat with the duo and talked about everything from music to food.
1. A blues guitarist and a beatboxer is definitely a new type of musical collaboration for us. Can you tell us how it all came together, and how you brought it all to life?
Andy: Our first meeting was in New Zealand, believe it or not. We were both playing golf and that evening we decided to meet up for a drink. It so happened [Dave] Crowe saw my guitar, and from there opened a tin of worms on the topic of beatbox/blues, see as that’s what we were both playing at the time. This was in 2009, and since then, we’ve found ourselves looking outside the blues field, but I’m pretty sure it has firm hold on ears of what we enjoy listening too.
2. Beatboxing is traditionally used in music genres that are close to rap and hip hop. How do you manage to integrate it with the guitar without losing the bluesy sound?
Dave: It’s just my style. I moved drastically away from hip hop after the first 2 years of beatboxing. When i ‘got my chops’ I was deep in the heart of Dubstep and blues, Hip Hop didn’t stand a chance.
3. In a world where technology is rapidly gaining on us, with musicians using it more and more in their artmaking process, how do you see the future of beatboxing?
Dave: I see it getting more and more computerised. I see incredible mind blowing opportunities arising for the up and coming beatboxers, but also for the existing ones. However, I believe that basing musical careers on being someone that plays a machine rather than an instrument (natural beatbox) is not the best choice, as we are quite the fast food consumers of modern music and its popularity. We quickly move with what is cool and then what quickly isn’t anymore, we moved from synth, to pad, to laptop in 20 years, WOW. How long is a loopstationist really gonna last? Yes he’ll always have his original art, but at what cost? No stamina, as the loopstation creates a song worth of beatbox in one bar. Kaos Pad, they will loose dynamic as its being created by the machine, all filters, compression, reverb, echo, have great utilities for all musicians, but in my opinion become hazardously the backbone of many beatboxers.
4. Can you please tell us a bit about your love affair with the blues? Do you ever flirt and experiment with other music genres?
Andy: All the time, my library isn’t just blues, to be honest it’s not really my go to sound at the moment, but whenever it comes on it takes all my attention. In regards to flirting with other genres, I’d have to say yes, I try to watch as much live music as possible, regardless of the genre, just anything to feed the creativity pot.
5. We always like to hear about the musical interests of musicians, can you name the 5 blues albums that you think defined your sound?
Andy: Wow, that’s a great question- I think everything I listen to has an influence. In terms of top 5 blues artists:
6. Who are some of the contemporary artists that you admire and would like to collaborate with one day?
Andy: I think Thom York would be an interesting guy to work with His approach to recording of beats and sound I think would sure have an impact on the way we write. In regards to performing live – we are always open to playing with anyone, we put strings on our new album and got to play with a quartet of strings live. It’s amazing how flexible our sound can be but still sound like us.
7. All bands have interesting stories that happen while gigging and recording, can you share a memorable Heymoonshaker moment with our readers?
Dave: We once played in a bar in Paris, it was full to the door with people waiting outside just to listen. We pushed the sound to the limit. The police arrived and the manager of the bar begged us to turn it down. At first we said no, explaining ‘you shouldn’t book bands if you don’t have the ability to let them play’ but when the police entered and argued with the manager. We decided to turn the sound system off, but we continued playing acoustic for 45 minutes. THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
8. We’re looking forward to your gig in Beirut on June 9th. We have an eclectic taste of music in Lebanon, and we’re sure the audience will love you. What do you know about the city, and what will you be looking mostly to do while there?
Andy: Personally I’m looking forward to the food. It’ll be my second time in the east, my expectations were set pretty high from last time so I can’t wait to see what’s on offer. Also, I’ve heard great things about the nightlife.
9. If you could perform anywhere and any time (past or future), where would that be?
… Probably in the future when we inhabit the moon. So yeah… On the Moon
10. What is Heymoonshaker preparing for the future? Any collaborations or new releases that you can tell us about?
Its all a secret. Sshhhhhh.
Photo credit: Gwen Mint