Why Everyone Should Be Listening To Balkan Beat Box

Why Everyone Should Be Listening To Balkan Beat Box

An interview with Balkan Beat Box on their new album, tour, creative process, and more!
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With their new album, Shout it Out, coming out on November 11, Balkan Beat Box is about to reach a new level of success. Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat met in New York, bonded over their love of similar music and and formed the band in the mid 2000s. Since then, they have added Tomer Yosef as a vocalist. Their performing style is so unique that not even the band members describe it the same way. I sat down with Balkan Beat Box at LEAF Festival in Black Mountain and asked them about their music, touring, and their creativity.

In your own words, how would you describe your music?

Tomer Yosef: Hip-hop and traditional music are the polarities, but there’s a lot in between. We’ve always been intrigued by mashing up stuff.

Tamir Muskat: World music is more like the folklore side, and we grew up with both that and modern music. We grew up in Israel and then we lived in New York for many years, so it’s been an evolution of mashing up. And you see that in New York, you can walk around and hear something like salsa music on one block and hip-hop on the other. This idea of music from all over, constantly mashing up together and confusing your identity almost, became our forte. Instead of being confused, we just started mashing it up into something that maybe made sense to us in the beginning.

How does that connect to your performing style?

TM: This is always the most difficult question to answer. It’s kind of like a rave.

Ori Kaplan: We perform our music like it's a big party with lots of dancing and a sound system.

What are you working on currently?

TM: We just finished our new album, which comes out November 11. We’ve already started releasing singles. It’s our sixth album, so we’re excited.

OK: It’s our favorite album so far. We always try to push the envelope to something new that we haven’t done before. We started with our first album as more of a DJ vibe, but now it’s more of a solid band. It can let itself experiment and it has the freedom to be stylistic and shift around, and we’ve definitely experimented in the new album. We will be touring in Europe beginning in November to kick off the new album.

Do you have any experiences from performing that stick out to you?

TM: I loved Tokyo, Mexico City, New York, but I also love who-knows-where in wherever. You never really know where a show that sticks out going to come from.

OK: All the elements together make for a great experience. We'll have a good performance, the crowd is always amazing, and so much more goes into it.

TM: It can come out of a struggle sometimes. Everything could be terrible, and then we’d have this one moment on stage where everything clicks. Like the audience combined with how we hear things and the energy. Our kind of show needs some kind of feedback. It’s fine if everybody is shocked, we want them to be a part of the performance somehow.

TY: The best performances have energy between us and the audience, and that energy happens through all those elements we talked about. It makes everything click.

How does music affect you and the world around you?

TY: Music is definitely good at helping us through problems. Lyrics and specific songs help. You know, when you’re a young kid and you hear a song that is speaking for you, and then it makes you feel good.

TM: I can't imagine my life without music constantly being in it. It's such a big part of who we are and it reflects in the world around us. The impact is so strong because we live through our passion of music very strongly and we make music all the time.

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Harris

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Freshman Year Of College As Described By John Mulaney Quotes

Freshman year of college described by the King of Comedy himself, John Mulaney.

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Gracing the world with his presence on August 26, 1982, John Edmund Mulaney has taken the world by storm through his extremely relatable, at times awkward, standup comedy. And a lot of the time, I can't help but sit there and relate to his self-deprecating, hilariously truthful jokes.

So, here are 9 John Mulaney quotes that accurately and hilariously describe freshman year of college.

1. On finally becoming an "adult":

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It's been very funny to try to act like an adult. Even getting dressed. Every day, I'm like, 'Should I wear a blazer and walk around with an umbrella? Do I carry a briefcase?' Because I'm trying to be some image of the adults I saw on TV growing up.

2. On new-found struggles:

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I am very small and I have no money. So you can imagine the kind of stress that I am under.

3. When your very first round of midterms comes along:

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I like when things are crazy. Something good comes out of exhaustion.

4. When you take your very first midterm, and it didn't go quite as planned:

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If it's one of those true or false questions, you should be able to add a third option which is, "Who's to say?"

5. On studying for your first round of dreaded final exams:

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You can do good work simply staying up all night and eating nothing but junk food, but probably not in the long term.

6. On learning how to participate:

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College is just your opinion. Just you raising your hand and being like, "I think Emily Dickinson's a lesbian." And they're like, "Partial credit." And that's a whole thing.

7. On procrastination:

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Percentage wise, it is 100% easier not to do things than to do them, and so much fun not to do them—especially when you were supposed to do them. In terms of instant relief, canceling plans is like heroin.

8. On dealing with your new lack of sleep:

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College [is] like a four-year game show called "Do My Friends Hate Me or Do I Just Need To Go To Sleep?"

9. On finally getting the hang of things, despite still occasionally messing up:

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The more you do stuff, the better you get at dealing with how you still fail at it a lot of the time.

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