International Man of Mystery THePETEBOX is an “ageless and nameless, beatboxing, guitar-playing, singing, loop-arranging music maker from Nottingham, UK,” according to the man himself. He’s also an O Music Award nominee for Best Fan Cover.
How long have you been beatboxing? How did you get into it?
I heard Rahzel on a CD a few years ago and was amazed at what humans are able to do to make music without any instruments. From that moment on I studied beatboxing, learned it, practiced it, developed my style and started making music with it. I then started playing around with a loop pedal and found that to be the area I was most creative in — looping and layering my vocals to create songs.
Are you a fan of The Pixies? Why did you choose that song?
The Pixies, along with Nirvana, are the reason I started wanting to create music. I listened to loads of bands before, but it was them that resonated with me on that deeper level. I remember hearing that song for the first time and it sending me [into] shivers. Seriously. But my choice to interpret it in the way I did was more of a stumbled-upon thing after messing about plugging my guitar into my loop pedal as well as a microphone. I thought it sounded cool so recorded it.
How did you feel when the video got so popular?
The great thing about it is that it’s the first time I’ve reconciled where I came from with my music making and where I’ve got to. I started out playing and writing grunge songs on my guitar, then I got into electronic dance music at the same time I started beatboxing and mainly beatboxed drum ‘n’ bass, techno etc. This video is a coming together of those different worlds for me, a reconciliation of the start and current points of my musical journey. For those reasons it’s made the fact that it was that video that got so popular a lot more meaningful to me and I’ve found a new direction with what I’m doing. It’s great.
How long did it take to make that video?
I worked with a guy called Simon Ellis who filmed it in his kitchen. He was borrowing a new, never-before-used camera, and I was nervous as I thought it was too early to be singing and my voice wasn’t working right. It took four attempts. So yeah, about an hour to nail on the live shoot and a few goes through the day before to get the arrangement right and levels of everything right.
When did you join YouTube?
I joined YouTube around five years ago when I first started doing shows and have mainly been posting videos of live stuff. I started taking the approach of making studio recorded videos at the start of this year and the “Where Is My Mind” one was the first.
Why do you think you should win the O Music Award?
I can’t imagine words having too much say in the matter here. Watch the video and at the very least gain some enjoyment from it. With things like this, standards don’t really play too much a part as everything is so high in quality, so I guess if it appeals to your taste more than others, give it a vote!