We spoke to the Co-founder of Beatbox Bangladesh, Moktadir Dewan. He shares an overview of the scene, their future plans and gives valuable advice to anyone new to beatboxing or someone wanting to get better.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is the most common style that is being explored by local artists?
The common styles would be trap, dubstep, techno, and house. But the core styles are old school beats. Depending on the beatboxer’s knowledge he/she can fuse multiple genres. There are over a 1000 beatboxers of different calibres in Bangladesh (as opposed to maybe a handful or less just 8 years ago).
How many shows has Beatbox Bangladesh had since their inception in 2014?
Since then, Beatbox Bangladesh has organized several events and workshops in Dhaka and Chittagong. The two main events are the national beatbox championships that took place in December 2017 and November 2018. We plan to hold various beatbox meets, friendly battles and other events.
When you are searching for beatboxers for the competition, what is the biggest challenge in finding talent?
The biggest challenge is to find beatboxers with a clean flow. One common habit that sadly exists in all genres and communities in Bangladesh (and perhaps in many countries), is that individuals believe that they can skip to advanced techniques, without mastering the basics. Beatboxers need to remember the importance of having a proper sense of rhythm and composition.
Fortunately, we found over 40 beatboxers who knew that, for each competition. 16 competed at each battle. We are hoping as the community grows and with each year, the talent will be more formidable. Beatboxers from previous events are also trying to help others grow and support each other. Some are learning through more research. We also hold workshops and live video tutorials along in addition to the tutorials on our youtube channel.
How does the local community support you?
Locally, we received help from LMG Beats, Glitch, Ujjiban, ABC Radio, The Mothership, Jadughor, ShopHobe, BeatsBangla, Desi Hip Hop and many others. Tilok Adnan and Shafiq Alam of The Pod helped us build the Beatbox Bangladesh logo and the brand identity of “Battle Box BD”. The brand identity was even nominated at the Spikes Asia 2018
Battlebox BD also got international support. What kind of support was that and how was that?
It was overwhelming. We received support from two major hubs of the beatboxing community: Swissbeatbox and Humanbeatbox.com. Both Pepouni and Kazu from the respective communities have been supportive. They announced our work on their social media platforms and websites. Human beatbox followed both the battles; the breakdown was highlighted on their website.
Other communities and crews have helped as well, namely Beatbox Australia, Beatbox France, Portuguese Beatbox and The Beatbox House. Professional beatboxers Napom (USA), Gene (USA), Amit (USA), Kenny Urban (USA), Chris Celiz (USA), Ibarra (Netherlands), Ettoman (Japan), D-koy (USA) and Tioneb (France), gave shout-outs or video messages on our Facebook page and Youtube page.
The local beatboxers get personal advice from beatboxers abroad. Amit (from the USA) was a judge at our first Battle Box BD in 2017. He also facilitated a workshop at the EMK Center in Dhanmondi. Soulrock from Germany is one of the first beatboxers to personally come and teach the local community.
Any advice for someone who is interested in starting beatboxing?
Well, he or she has to be extremely patient. Initially, it might seem tough to make the distinctive sounds with your mouth. But, when it is done properly it becomes easy and quite fun. Beatboxers need to practice daily with a metronome no matter how good they may think they already are. We encourage the beatboxers to abstain from smoking or doing drugs. They must have good stamina and healthy lungs.
Any beatboxer needs to do research on the background of beatboxing and the origin of the sounds. She needs to learn about the instruments we mimic and try new sounds. Youtube and the internet exists, which means there is absolutely no excuses and plenty of resources to learn from.
Gather knowledge, stay humble. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t know. Bangladesh isn’t a place where one can chase fame just by beatboxing. But, things can and will happen if a beatboxer builds himself or herself, beat by beat, from the ground up.
What is next for Ronesh Biswas and Moktadir Dewan Shanto?
We will be busy with doing activities to help spread and build the beatboxing community around the country. We have found beatboxers in Bogura, Sylhet, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Cox’s Bazaar and are hoping to meet more in Barishal, Khulna, Rajshahi, and other places.
We will be uploading original compositions and shout-outs from participants of the battle, to our youtube channel. We hope to organize more beatboxer meet-ups, a 7toSmoke battle, friendly battles, open mic showcases, crew/tag-team performance, etc.