INTERVIEW Human Beat Boxer SHOW-GO
Human Beat Box is a form of vocal percussion. SHOW-GO is one of the most successful Japanese human beat boxer in world level. In this interview, we asked him about his life with human beat box and about his future prospects.
The Beginning as a Beat Boxer
──Please tell us about your current activity.
SHOW-GO My main activity would be Human Beat Boxing. I also make songs, and I major in designing at the university.
──How did you start Beat Boxing?
SHOW-GO I know that many Japanese beat boxer goes through this path, but when I was 15, I saw HIKAKIN* beat boxing on YouTube and thought it was cool. At first I just wanted to be popular with my classmates. Besides, at that time I wasn’t even interested in music at all, so I was taking it as some kind of a party trick.
*HIKAKIN is a Japanese human beat boxer, YouTube celebrity.
──Have you been learning beat boxing by yourself?
SHOW-GO Yeah, I mostly watched the tutorials on YouTube. There were many tutorials for beginners.
──How did you get really into beat boxing from there?
SHOW-GO (Laugh)I don’t mean to brag but I was the smartest kid in my Junior high school. But then in high school, people around me were so smart and this time I really hated studying. That actually made time for me to beat boxing more than ever. And then when I was 16 I participated in beat box battle for the first time.
I had no friends in that event so I was very nervous, but then it turned out to be a fun experience. Both doing beat box and watching beat box was so much fun. After that, I was really hooked onto beat boxing.
Origin of Originality
──You’ve been successful throughout the world, but do you feel any difference between Japan and overseas’ beat box scene?
SHOW-GO You might think it strange but beat boxing is so popular in Europe. Unlike Japan, people remark beat boxing as one of the art forms. In a sense, status is very different.
──Did you have any turning points during your career?
SHOW-GO Yeah, that would be the Asian Games which was held when I was 18. In many beat boxing tournament, there are wild cards other than winners by country, and about 5 people who passed the video review gets to participate in the Asian Games. Miraculously, I got the wild card and made it to the Asian Games at Taiwan. It was actually my first time going overseas. The result was 3rd place and it was all right, but I had so much fun. At first I didn’t know how to communicate with people from various international backgrounds but soon realized that beat boxing was our universal language and it really helped me get along with everyone. This experience made me appreciate beat boxing even more and made me want to keep on competing at the world level going forward.
──What do you feel special about your own style in beat boxing?
SHOW-GO I think I’m always trying to perform a beat box that no one has ever done.
I know people with better techniques than me, and there are things I can’t compete against all the large-built people overseas, such as impact of the sound. So I always had a feeling that I have to fight in another field. I think that’s how I got my originality.
Taking Things Easy
──Who or what has influenced you the most?
SHOW-GO That would be Kyoto. It’s been influencing me since my field trip to Kyoto in my sophomore year.
SHOW-GO Yes. At that time, I really didn’t have any friends in my class. (Laugh) Literally no friends at all. During my 5 days trip, Kyoto was my only friend. I went around Kyoto, and really loved it. So two months later I was at Kyoto by myself again, and now I take a trip to Kyoto twice a year. My fashion was inspired by Kyoto, and its hard to tell but I’m pretty sure beat boxing was also inspired by Kyoto.
──What are your most important values?
SHOW-GO Don’t get me wrong, but I don’t try too hard. I’m trying to take things easy because I think the most important thing is to not stop loving to beat box.
When I just started university, I once thought about making beat box a job. So I started thinking about money and all those stuff I needed to do so. But taking beat box too seriously made me hate beat boxing and all of a sudden I couldn’t enjoy it at all. That’s why I thought taking things easy is important.
──You’ve got so many fans all around the world and many followers on your SNS accounts but how does that pressure you?
SHOW-GO I really appreciate it and it’s also true that there are many benefits that comes from having followers. But the thing is, I personally haven’t changed much. So I don’t get pressured by those numbers.
“I wanna continue beat boxing until my tooth falls out.”
──What kind of lesson did you gain through beat boxing?
SHOW-GO There are so many lessons. I mean, everything was a lesson for me. When I first started beatboxing when I was 15, I was one of the youngest players. People around me were mostly older than me and I learned many important life lessons from them. I’d say, I grew up along with beat boxing. Making so many overseas friends was also something I couldn’t have done if I hadn’t met beat boxing.
──What’s your future prospect?
SHOW-GO I have a dream to live in Kyoto with my future wife, (laugh) who I haven’t met, and relax. Like I said, I’m not thinking about making beat boxing my job, but I would never quit it. I wanna continue beat boxing until my tooth falls out. You know, It’s always about enjoying.
──What is “culture” for you?
SHOW-GO I think culture is basically something close to tradition. But, culture is more free, and generous. Moreover it always changes. As new generation comes out, culture its self keeps on changing.
──Thank you for the interview.
In spite of the huge pressure from the world, SHOW-GO believes that nothing is more important than to keep on loving human beat box. His attitude to beat boxing was very substantial. We can not take our eyes off from his future activities, not to mention beat boxing.
Sentence & Translation Shotaro Charlie Ohno
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