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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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?
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With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot


Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.

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Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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