For Australian street performer Benjamin Stanford of Dub FX, fusion is not necessarily a bad word. “I’ve jammed with a sitar player in Australia before and the collaboration yielded a unique result,” he says.
Stanford is currently in the city with his accomplice and fiancé Flower Fairy aka Shoshana Sadia. He is on a six-city India tour, during which he will perform at various popular venues and even collaborate with sarangi player Sabir Khan, son of Sultan Khan and saxophonist Rhys Sebastian.
After Austrain beatboxers Bauchklang wowed the city’s audience by jamming with percussionist Taufiq Qureshi in 2008, many vocal groove projects have sought to perform with local musicians, the most recent being British beatboxer Shlomo who collaborated with morchang player Raeis Khan earlier this year.
Says Stanford, “I was eager to work with Indian Classical musicians and then the Dewarist tour came along. The Sarangi is a beautiful instrument that I’m glad I was introduced to. It’s going down really well with the audience in India.”
Stanford has already performed at Hyderabad, Bengaluru and New Delhi, and is busy gorging on shahi paneer and dosas a day before his gig in Mumbai.
An Internet beatboxing sensation and street performing dubstep act, Dub FX (FX is an acronym for effects) has earned a name worldwide for their technique of creating loop and effect pedals with vocal chords. However, Stanford is not pleased with the tag. “I’m a s**t beatboxer because I think that is a very limiting form for a musician. I think of myself as a singer who uses loops besides other things.”
The genre-bending Dub FX’s music encompasses everything from dubstep, trip-hop and reggae to a capella and dance-step.
“I take something like hip-hop and mash it up with vocals instead of using samples or instruments to back me up,” says the loop pedal whiz. The result is an illusion of a small orchestra where foot pedals are used to create bass and high-and low-pitched sounds, and even effects such as reverb.
The Aussie duo is at home performing at any bustling street around the world. “I park myself at a busy street corner and work up a musical routine that draws the crowd to me,” he says.
“The street is where the poor and rich, old and young get together. I like to draw my energy from the crowds and my favourite shows are often ones on the streets where I can connect with people.”
About playing at a niche club such as Blue Frog, the singer says, “You can’t have an organised show for fans at a street corner. So I end up performing just as much at clubs. It’s a different vibe and I usually don’t prepare a set list for it. I let the audience vibe decide my playlist.”