Groundbreaking Producer Beardyman's New Album Is Surprisingly Human

Juan Jose Ortiz

Beardyman photographed at The Box Studios in Shoreditch.

The pioneering multi-instrumentalist is bringing his revolutionary Beardytron machine on tour to 12 U.S. cities, but know this: He can sing.

Beardyman, a legendary beatboxing champion and pioneering multi-instrumentalist (real name: Darren Foreman), is perhaps best known for his charismatic live performances that straddle stand-up comedy and DJing and for being the voice on Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr's 2013 mega-hit "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat." But electronic music obsessives know him as a pioneer of production whose groundbreaking Beardytron machine revolutionized the way artists mix and record loops in real-time, as seen on his 2013 TED Talk, "The Polyphonic Me," which has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times.

This week, the British producer embarks on a North American tour to promote his new album, Distractions, which was released in February on Tummy Touch Records. With the Beardytron in tow, he'll hit 12 cities, beginning in Boston and ending in Miami during Winter Music Conference. To kick things off, he shared an unreleased Cosmodelica remix of his song, "Mountain Side," with Billboard, which you can listen to below. 

As Distractions demonstrates, underneath Beardyman's nutty public persona is an undeniably serious artist itching to stretch beyond the beatboxing grind. "There's an element of 'Look, aren't I clever?' about beatboxing," he says. "The crowds love it, but it felt very trapping."

The album, which was made over the course of three years with four iPads and two laptops, is as technically sohpisticated as Aphex Twin's Syro or Scuba's Triangulation, but far more accessible. Billed as an exploration of his inner singer-songwriter, Distractions is an elegant mix of emotional synth-pop ("A View" and "You Only Like What You Know" sound, at times, like M83 or Massive Attack) and glitchy, chilled-out electronica (such as "2^25,000:1 Against And Falling," a groovy, minimal track that's closer to his roots). 

Dates for his March tour are below, and tickets can be purchased here

3/4/15 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
3/5/15 – Toronto, ON – Coda
3/6/15 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
3/8/15 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
3/10/15 – Victoria, BC – Sugar Nightclub
3/11/15 – Vancouver, BC – The Alexander
3/12/15 – Seattle, WA – Nectar Lounge
3/13/15 – Denver, CO – Beta
3/15/15 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
3/19/15 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
3/20/15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater
3/21/15 – Miami, FL – Bardot Miami