Article Archive

Afra & the Incredible Beatbox Band interview

Author: Andrez Bergen
Monday, 8 January 2007
Afra and his Incredible Beatbox Band (a.k.a. Kei and K-Moon) are one of the weird and wonderful delights of this year's Big Day Out festivities.

These guys, who hail from Tokyo and previously headlined at the Sonar Festival in Spain in 2005, have been critically acclaimed around the world for a wad of energetic live performances along with killer recordings, like "Digital Breath".

Frontman Afra is touted as one of the more vital beatboxers to emerge in Japan's vibrant scene; he lived in New York for four years, worked with Prefuse 73 and enigmatic Japanese outfit Hifana, and was described by the BBC as a Japanese version of Goldie.

Tranzfusion set out to find out more from the man himself.

TranZfusion:
How, when and why did you start the Incredible Beatbox Band-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
We formed our group about two years ago. We're friends and we were doing live shows before, but one night it was such a great performance, and I decided the band name then and there.

TranZfusion:
What can audiences expect from one of your performances-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Fun!

TranZfusion:
Why would you say that your method of beatboxing so popular in Tokyo-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Because of our the way our ensemble works together, and the party feeling we generate.

TranZfusion:
Japan has some great DJs and musicians like DJ Krush, Hifana, Ken Ishii, DJ Shufflemaster, Tatsuya Oe (Captain Funk), Fantastic Plastic Machine, and Co-Fusion. What do you think about these people-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Each have their own unique colour, and all of them are very original.

TranZfusion:
I hear that you've worked with cut-up hip hop specialists Hifana - how was that experience-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
They've got mad rhythm skills and original showmanship; I always look up to them, and am continuously learning how they make people have fun.

TranZfusion:
What do you think of older school Japanese music from labels like Major Force, and bands like Yellow Magic Orchestra-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Without those great people, I wouldn't have ever had a chance to encounter hip hop, nor start beatboxing. I have massive respect for them.

TranZfusion:
Which Japanese musician or band do you respect most-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
SDP. They inspired my early interest in Japanese hip hop.

TranZfusion:
If you could do the soundtrack for any Japanese anime or manga story, which one would it be-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Real, by Inoue Takehiko.

TranZfusion:
Any special messages for all the aspiring beatboxers, DJs and live acts out there-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Keep doing what you believe. Respect your parents.

TranZfusion:
Do you think some beatboxers, musicians and DJs are too serious-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
I don't think so. Serious is good.

TranZfusion:
Sampling is an essential part of hip hop, as much as it is for most other contemporary styles of music. Do you feel that sampling is, in itself, an art form-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
It is an art - if you love hip hop, you know it.

TranZfusion:
What do you dislike most about the contemporary music scene-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
I dislike the power of the publicity machine. Sometimes, I feel I can't find what I really want to listen to…

TranZfusion:
What was your weirdest gig-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
I beatboxed right after a stripper danced. In New York

TranZfusion:
Godzilla or Gamera - who would win in a wrestling match-

Incredible Beatbox Band:
Both!

You'll be able to catch Afra and the Incredible Beat Box Band in the Boiler Room at any of the Big Day Out shows. Check back here for set times closer to the d
Tags