It is not common to see beatboxers breaking through as recording artists, as commonly they can be dismissed as gimmicks and are often inferior to electronically driven or sampled production. However hearing beatboxer Tom Thum’s vocal driven beats alongside the acoustic guitar and vocals of Jamie MacDowell makes us wonder why we’ve never heard more of this before? Of course, Ed Sheeran has previously incorporated elements of beatboxing in his acoustic driven music, but you’ve never heard it done like this…
Hailing from Brisbane in Australia, Tom Thum is a master of beatboxing, having built up an arsenal of almost any sound you can think of, Tom has been able to take to the road touring, firstly with his crew, and currently touring his solo show; wowing audiences with his skills and humour as he drives through a set which incorporates everything from traditional hip hop beats to New Orleans jazz and the story of the world’s creation all through the power of his voice.
As a gymnast on Tom’s former crew tour, Jamie MacDowell decided to take advantage of travelling and started playing open mic nights around the world, showcasing his outstanding song-writing and sublime singing talents. Having taken heavy influence from hip hop artists (citing Eminem in particular) in his song-writing, when Tom suggested joining him on stage to provide ‘boom bap’ percussion for his songs, Jamie decided to give it a try, and the two have never looked back since.
The pair describe the fusion as walking down a delicate line; whilst they choose not to label their music hip hop, it has a definite “boom bap sensibility” and describe their output as 90% a personal joke, explaining that they just like to have fun on stage, and if things go wrong that doesn’t particularly bother them. And the fun they’re having comes across, as does their confidence and experience; having spent the last two years touring and performing as a duo at open mic nights around the world.
Finally deciding to make recordings of their songs, the pair self funded and compiled their debut album Pirates & Thieves and have been living via day to day CD sales out of their backpacks ever since whilst touring the world on Tom’s solo show, which just finished a run at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival. In their own words they are ready to “Take the world by slight drizzle!”
Words by Grant Brydon
Edited by Natalia