Beatbox Chile: Shout Out From the Underground

Written by Octavio García Soto

"Stop it! You're invoking the Devil!"

Implores the woman on her knees. She's terrified at the strange sounds Tomazacre spits out of his mouth.

For him, this is just a regular work day.

His office stretches more than 10 stations wide, in the wagons of the Santiago Metro, in Chile. There, he beatboxes part-time. The other half, 16-year-old Tomazacre goes to night school. He's a believer in the idea of a complete beatboxer, as in "someone capable of making you feel something, transmitting a little message, feeling, whatever, using only the sounds he's capable of doing".

Tomazacre was 11 years old when he saw his first duel, Skiller vs. Reeps One, and got hooked on spot. But it wasn't till 2016 when he realized he wasn't the only beatboxer in the country. That was the year he discovered Beatbox Chile, a community that has raised eyebrows all over Latin America.

At first, it was only a Facebook group for amateurs. "There were only like 30 when I got in," remembers Mr. Androide, "And only ten could throw a beat". Now Mr. Androide is 28 years old and has a decade old career in Beatbox. By 2012, he had already appeared twice on TV talent shows, and had won his first Latin American Championship. His obsession had made him the tacit head of Beatbox Chile, when the community was still pretty lukewarm.

He was the organizer of the national championships for the next two years, but it all came to a halt after the 2014 National Friendly Match. It was a huge event: LED screens, stages, entrance fee. But the overwhelming pressure behind its organization crumbled down the prospect of it being the first of many events. "I had no more energy left," Androide remembers.

Talk about bittersweet, it all got bitter sweeter after the BBWC invite. Not only was he the first Chilean invited. But the first Latin American! The only problem?

Intimate friend of his, Cat Negro, remembers: "We sent letters to everyone, all the brands, looking for sponsors for Androide". But the meritocratic "first in Latin America" wasn't enough to convince the guys with the wallets.

Cat Negro had met Mr. Androide just a year ago, at the backstage of one of his shows. Even though Cat wasn't acquainted at all with Beatbox, sparks just flew between them. That's why it was unsurprising that after the constant refusals for sponsorship, it was Cat and his wife who decided to become sponsors themselves.

And so, with just Androide and Cat Negro, the first Latin American crew arrived in Berlin to the Beatbox Battle World Championship 2015. A trip that proved inspiring for the building of today's Beatbox Chile. Androide and Cat Negro were astonished at the professionalism of European beatboxers. Especially the French, who killed it that year: Alem

had won the solo category for men, Twenteam'8 the Tag Team, and Under Kontrol France was the vice-champion for Teams Category.

Cat Negro was well aware of Chile's potential, and in Berlin he saw a level of quality to which his country's beatbox could aspire to. "It all led me to say: 'Dude, I'm gonna take the reins of this."

With Cat Negro behind the wheel, Beatbox Chile created the National League: Four eliminatory rounds throughout the year, that lead to December's National Championship Match. The rules are the same as in the BBWC: Two-minute showcase, 1:30 per contender, and wildcards. Nevertheless, Cat Negro's unifying desire crossed borders.

Thus, the Planeta Beatbox platform was born. Now beatboxers from all over Latin America could shout out through Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Nevertheless, its most important mission was the recording quality. "Planeta Beatbox's mission is to showcase Latin American level in a professional way, with professional video and professional audio". And it proved its worth last year during the Latin American Championship Match in Lima, Perú, where Planeta Beatbox assumed the responsibility of recording the entire tournament.

It was during that Championship that Chilean Beatbox also proved its worth. Tomazacre, who ended among the tournament's best four, remembers the clear difference: "We arrived with, t-shirts. We were 15 Chileans vs. other countries that brought around five or three representatives".

How many people are in Beatbox Chile anyway? Well, according to its Facebook fan page, there are 6372 members. Beatbox Chile Oficial, a closed group created for the more dedicated, has 1452. How many among these are really involved? "Like really really active to the day, we're like...100, 200 max," Cat Negro estimates, "We still lack a solid audience that follows our updates". Tomazacre believes this is because of Beatbox Chile's young age, since "it's been only three years that Beatbox Chile has started to make itself known". Nevertheless, Mr . Androide is certain that Beatbox is one of our time's revelation artforms, able to fit into a pop music festival as well as into a 15 thousand people electronic rave.

In true Toretto fashion, equally or more important than the love for the craft, is family. "It's one of the ways to professionalize, building a house for the people who wanna join," says Cat. That was what he encountered in 2015's BBWC, and ended up crystalizing his love for Beatbox. "It's magical," he explains, ". Without me knowing the other person's language, we can communicate so well through beatbox that you don't need to talk at all".

Androide adds the importance of respecting tradition: "All the new ones must understand that you've got to respect the old beatboxers. Crea Beatbox, Chico Claudio, for example... they moved Beatbox throughout Latin America. When nobody did it, they were there".

And even though they're still hailing from the unsponsored underground, Beatbox Chile is powered by conviction. Every Saturday they gather in the Bustamante Park and beatbox a la gorra, for voluntary donations. That's how they've been financing the National League, as well as the trip to Perú last year. That's how they hope to finance this year's workshops, where they intend to teach Beatbox history, scenic performance and vocal performance.

And, obviously, Berlin 2018.

Meanwhile, they keep knocking on doors for sponsorships.

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