Brief Encounter With ... Mouthtronica’s Shlomo
When did you discover your beatboxing skills?
I grew up in a very musical family and got my first drum kit aged 8 years old. All I wanted to do was play my drums on Top Of The Pops. The only problem was that it was on at 7pm, and I wasn’t allowed to practise my drums after 6, so I instinctively started making noises with my mouth. I didn’t know it was called beatboxing until much later.
Tell us a little bit about Mouthtronica, your debut Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.
Mouthtronica is a mix of highly energetic beatboxing and polite conversation. I always get asked how I found out I could beatbox and Mouthtronica is my attempt to answer that question. I get to relive lots of scenes from my childhood, re-creating the sounds and rhythms, including a story about me belly dancing aged 3 years old at my Iraqi grandmother’s party. Don’t ask.
You have worked with some of the biggest names in music, how did the collaborations come about?
The most memorable was being asked to record with Bjork, as it was my first real break. It was a massive shock; I was working in a call centre typing out lonely hearts ads when I got a voicemail from her asking me to come to London to record my beats. After that collaboration I got really inspired about my music and took it a lot more seriously, and since then I’ve got to work with amazing people like Jarvis Cocker, Imogen Heap, Bill Bailey and the Mighty Boosh.
How are you feeling about your Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut?
I’m worried that I’ll get sick of the sound of my own voice! That’s why I have a different guest collaborator each night to create an improvised duet with me, which will keep things exciting; it’s always my favourite part of the show. I’ve got some amazing acts coming down over the course of the festival, including The Magnets, Isy Suttie and Abandoman.
What can people expect if they buy a ticket for Mouthtronica?
My show aims to be uplifting and put a smile on your face. My music is a celebration of the idea that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything; even create a note for note rendition of Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox using just your voice. Why not?
Shlomo: Mouthtronica runs at the Underbelly Cowgate from 4-28 (excl 15) at 21.00.