Kid Beyond, Beyond a Kid
Getty spits with the Human Beat Box.
By Kate Getty,
8:07AM, Fri. Mar. 16, 2007
Yes, indeed, this guy knows how to use that mouth. His voice is his instrument: "I have chosen, with my art to only use my voice, just my voice, and these are just the limitations I have put on myself for this project" speaks Kid Beyond of his four-year-old baby, an idea that spouted and haunted him, a step-up from beat-boxing to the illustrious land of live synchronization, the art of live-looping, layering vocal tracks on stage, and then singing and rapping over them (live!) during the performance.
Last night (Thursday) was his official SXSW showcase. Here's what's coming up next:
Today, Fri., Mar. 16, noon Spiros, 611 Red River badges + invite only
This afternoon, Fri., Mar. 16, 4:30pm Firehouse Lounge, 605 Brazos free - open to the public
Tonight, Fri., Mar. 16, 10pm SXSW showcase (...billed as "Beyond") Latitude 30, 512 San Jacinto badges + general public
He's been beat-boxing since I was in diapers, and he says it never gets old. A Buddhist and calm soul (you just can tell), he doesn't rush to talk about his art. He is humble, he is charming. His art is just part of him, his essence ... and he just wants to be taken seriously.
However, taking it too seriously just might seem to undermine much of Kid Beyond's philosophical background. He's a peace-lovin' Buddhist, for chrissake. He's silly, jovial, and the type of chap to emphasize progressive business models, challenging the status quo with his art, as well as his own involvement in the Burning Man movement, an annual "hippie-dippy" festival which promotes sustainability, and, for the most part, the opposite of capitalism.
But, Kid, when he's not bartering for water bottles among the miles of tents and body odor, this boy's got an agent, an LP (which, listen to it three times, it kicks major ass) and even hopping merch with his image and concept on the likes of YouTube and now, at this li'l music fest, it is amazingly refreshing that, after the long day of work – this kid really has values. Sure, he is realistic about the market of commercialized music today. Sure. He's comin' to SXSW, isn't he? To get a deal, or to get exposure ... or any number of the rock & roll reasons that double Austin's population and make I-35 utterly unusable.
But where he draws the line, and why he isn't that low-life musician with unwashed scruff and a malleable belief system, is his ability to never let this (soulless) business ever jeopardize the way he carries on; He's true to it. I mean ... it's Burning man... man.
And it's beautiful. Man.
"Sure, I get a lot of people who know me because they're like, wow, I've never seen that before, a guy doing the entire track with only his mouth, with the live-looping, said Kid. "Sure, I like that, at least as a way to get people to listen to me, but I don't want it to end there. I want that to be what starts it, but then the songs, the music, I want them to stay around because it moves them."
Listening to his debut, Amplivate, (and it seems funny that this is just his debut as he's been kicking it since 1983) I find it hard to believe he does it all with just his mouth. Seriously. It's bona fide. The bass is deep and dirty, and there are parts where, sure, the snare may sound a bit like a bald dude spitting pretzels (somehow, it still sounds cool), but for the most part, these four songs are smart, complex, and catchy. (No shit.)
It feels like gospel kinda, his music, it's spiritual; like the layers build and build on top of one another, getting hotter and thicker, and more importantly, the stronger the layers get, the final cherry on top is Kid's voice, singing clearly, confidently, while spouting joy and positivity, the message being the fuel that's really driving this performer.
But he's not driving to SXSW, no, he's flying, from Cali right up to Magnolia Cafe where he knows to order the Love Migas by name. Cuz if there's one thing this cat knows, it's love.