Give me a beat

BEAT–BOXING is a musical skill similar to singing and playing the instruments that requires a lot of practice and unending passion. It is not exactly something alien in the local entertainment scene as numerous beat-boxing talents have emerged in recent years to gain success and accolades up to international level.

ABeatC or his real name Lou Soong Huey is one of them. He has been doing it professionally for more than 10 years. The 26-year-old lad is now doing more than just mimicking musical instrument with his mouth. He is trying to get the local beat-boxer community together while guiding new talents by sharing his own personal journey and experience.

“I am currently working on four different jobs at the same time. I run my own event company called Beatnation as well as a jewellery line, but my main passion will always be beat-boxing. I want to continue on creating music with beat-boxing for as long as I live,” said ABeatC.

What draws you towards beat-boxing instead of more conventional musical skills like singing, rapping or playing instruments?

I’m not a really good singer when I first started. In fact, I’m still taking singing lessons right now. Beat-boxing is quite easy to learn. I can make just about any sound with my mouth as the instrument. There are just so many things that I can do with beat-boxing. I am drawn to the variability of it.

What makes you stand out from other beat-boxers in the local scene?

Being one of the first-gen beat-boxers in Malaysia, I always perceive beat-boxing differently from others. I see it as more than just a global trend. I’m not into trends at all and always have the tendency of going towards the opposite direction.

Are there any beat-boxers that you look up to or modelled your career after?

When I first started, I used to look up to French beat-boxer Eklipse. I was blown away by his skills and how versatile he was. Now I see him more as a reference because of how far beat-boxing has grown. Another one is American beat-boxer Reeps who never fails to astound me.

Could you share a little bit about your experience backpacking and busking across Europe in 2014?

I travelled with my friends from Beijing heading to Europe through Mongolia and Russia before continuing on into Turkey, Armenia and finally India. The whole idea was to see the world via land. We walked a lot and hitch-hiked from one destination to the next one. We met some really good people and, of course, we had our fair share of unpleasant memories throughout the 13 months.

I saw a lot of buskers in the streets of Amsterdam. I was so inspired by them and bought an amplifier to travel around with. Whenever there was a crowd, I just put it down and start performing. Without realising it, I have actually performed across Europe. The entire backpacking trip was turned into my own mini European Tour (chuckles).

What is Beatnation all about?

It is an event company that started off as a beat-boxing community. I ran the community with my partner, Coex, to help gain exposure for all of us as we were already growing in numbers.
We did (beat-boxing) battles, workshops along with something that we called Beat Camp. After a while we realised we were doing everything too intensely and decided to change our direction into an event company focusing on beat-boxing, particularly youth-centric projects and events.

Could you take us through the process of releasing the single Losing You?

I wrote the song and gave it to my producer, Daekim and his girlfriend Jocelyn aka Stemilyn, who is the featured vocalist in the song. I was really surprised with the end result. Daekim realised my vision to combine beat-boxing and vocals with this song. I wanted to highlight beat-boxing as it is instead of making it sound like musical instruments. If you listen closely, you can still hear my tone.

What can we look forward to from ABeatC this year?

I will be releasing another single within this couple of months. There will be a six-song EP to follow towards the end of the year. All the songs will have beat-boxing elements in it and written based on my travel experience.
Beatnation is also planning a Beat Camp. This time the focus will be on youngsters with learning abilities. Beat-boxing could be a good skill for them to have and we are providing the tools that they need. We never know they could be the next Timbaland or Justin Timberlake.