Introducing: The Boxettes
Check out this awesome beatboxing girl group...
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The Boxettes are an all female vocal group featuring the world beatbox champion Bellatrix and vocalists Alyusha, Kate, Neo and Yvette. Brace yourselves, because any preconceptions you have of what makes a girl band are about to be beautifully shattered...
So how did the five of you meet?
Alyusha: Most of us met at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama while we were studying jazz. Our Kate came along a couple of years after that.
What brought about using beatboxing instead of instruments?
Yvette: Aside from being a brilliant jazz bass player, Bellatrix came to us as a Beatboxer looking for ways to expand that art form musically and get more females involved. So the beatbox element was there even before the concept of the group started to build. Coming from varied musical backgrounds and meeting through jazz we took the Boxettes as an opportunity to experiment with our voices and play with beatbox and that then developed into a vehicle for creating new sounds and writing and that became the Boxettes you see today!
Your EP No Strings is available for pre-order right now, can you tell us a bit more about it?
Neo: We've enjoyed working with some incredibly talented producers. It features our new high-energy single Puppet on a String. All the material on this EP is original and we raised the funds to make it through www.pledgemusic.com. This was a very interesting process for us. Being unsigned and unmanaged and working with Pledge gave us a chance to really get in touch with our fans. It was a really special process for us. We ultimately wanted to release a new EP, but beyond that we wanted to create merchandise, our fans then gave money for these things. Each pledge goes towards an overall target and if we meet the target, in return for their support, we give our "pledgers" all sorts of special edition merch, which in turn pays for the EP!
Kate: The pledge was a success! But it's closed now and we are currently beavering away having our EP made and it will soon be available.
How would you describe the sound of the Boxettes?
Bellatrix: If we had to categories our music we would say Alternative Pop but expect to hear hip-hop, electronic, dub step and world music influences.
What sets you apart from the current music scene? besides the beatboxing, obvs!
Bellatrix: I guess what sets us apart is that first of all we are a very diverse group of females in-terms of nationality, looks and sizes. No one Boxettes is same; we're a very multicultural group.
Who would you say are your biggest inspirations musically?
Kate: We all have different musical inspirations as we are all very different! I love Beyonce for her stage persona and that voice, Bjork, Donny Hathaway, Alyusha's flavour of the month is The Weeknd and Laura Mvula, there are so many different people. In there are a couple of British producers like Eric Lau and Hudson Mohawke and lots of powerful singers like Kurt Elling, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.
Your sound is very organic and original, do you think artists today rely too heavily on autotune and other effects?
Neo: I guess we probably all have our different views on autotune and effects but there is definitely space in the music industry for all types of different music. We're really proud of the sound that we create with just the 5 of us and we're continually trying to improve and better ourselves.
With beatboxing no doubt comes a whole different experience when creating a song, talk us through this process...
Yvette: We've recently been experimenting with lots of different ways to create our music. Sometimes one member will bring a song to the group in quite a raw form and we'll workshop and arrange it all together and experiment with new sounds to fit the song. We have also recently been improvising together and using any 'gems' from those sessions as the bricks to build a song from. Some of our newest songs were created that way. We are looking to work with other songwriters too in the coming months to expand our sound which is really exciting and something we've never tried before.
Recently you’ve been playing festivals and even working with the BBC, what else does 2013 hold for the Boxettes?
Bellatrix: At the moment we've been writing our album and hopefully this winter will involve us disappearing into the wilderness away altogether to do some serious intensive writing sessions, so an album is on the horizon. We're touring France in the autumn and we want to do some more live session videos as we really enjoyed making those last year. Watch this space!
You can pre-order the girls' EP: here.
Watch the girls in action below:
Words: Lee Dalloway (@Leeroydalvin)