allaussie hip hop spotlight on: Tom Thum – The Versatile Voicebox

‘Tom Thum appears to have swallowed an entire orchestra and several backing singers’
The Guardian (UK)

‘There are not enough superlatives to describe the wonder of this beatboxing virtuoso – I am still trying to figure out how he got those sounds out of his mouth’
The Daily Telegraph (UK)

‘The mic master seems to have an orchestra living in his throat: trumpet blasts, guitar strums and samples from classic songs including Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” effortlessly spout from his mouth’
Time Out, NY

These are apt quotes to describe the performance of one of Australia’s most prominent and respected beatboxers and serial pests. Only in his mid-twenties Tom Thum has achieved and experienced more than most artists could hope to achieve in a lifetime. From winning the team battles in the World Beatbox Championships in 2005, to fulfilling every artists dream and performing on Broadway in New York with the Tom Tom Crew, Tom has seen his fair share of accolades and well and truly paid his dues. Raised by the small but accommodating Brisbane hip hop scene, Tom started out as a graffiti writer and a Bboy but slowly rose to recognition through his ability to produce unhuman sounds and his natural knack for performing and weaselling his way on stage.

Following on from the 2005 victory in the world championships in Germany, 2006 saw Tom travelling to Ohio to secure a second place position in America’s most prestigious hip hop battle, Scribble Jam. More recently, Tom was invited to perform and exhibit in the 2010 world beatbox convention in Berlin, in front of many of the worlds most respected and revered beatbox artists, blowing away even the most cynical of critics with his performance. It is not surprising with achievements such as these, he has been seen fit to share the stage with hip hop legends such as Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. As a solo artist, Tom has proved time and time again that he is a creative force to be reckoned with, whether using one mic, loop pedals, spinning on his head whilst beatboxing or even playing strange instruments in obscure ways they were never intended to be played. Alongside others, he is an essential ingredient in the alchemy of creating sonic gold. Teaming up with long time DJ friend Sampology, saw the formidable duo playing countless festival spots and supporting and impressing a range of Hip Hop heavyweights, from DJ Qbert and Mix Master Mike to the X-Ecutioners and Blackalicious.

In 2007, Tom began touring extensively as a beatboxer and breakdancer with the Tom Tom Crew: an energetic show, explosively fusing the worlds of Circus and Hip Hop culture, alongside many of Australia’s leading musicians and performing artists. This has seen Tom and the crew perform with critical acclaim to sell out seasons In Brighton, Scotland, New York, London, New Zealand, Holland, Berlin and Hamburg, culminating in a record breaking 23 sold out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 2010 has been yet another exciting year for the Tom Tom Crew, after sell out seasons in the Netherlands, France and Germany, and Munich, Taipei and Bangkok seasons still to come.

As Tom’s experience within the music industry expands, he plans to push the limits of the human voice as far as inhumanly possible. Enrolling the help of numerous loop stations, Tom has been conducting DJ sets using only his voice and nothing else, propelling crowds across the country into a frenzy of jaw-dropping disbelief, as he re-creates and remixes classic joints and jams from all eras and genres. You might see him on a stage at a festival looping up a storm or supporting anyone from the Hilltop Hoods, Blue King Brown, or you might catch him annoying the hell out of commuters on public transport. Either way, you will notice him soon enough. Keep an ear out for Tom Thum.

The video below is a little dubstep cover of Tainted Love performed by Tom Thum using Kaoss Pads. Footage includes bits that Tom ripped the audio from, another up close demonstrating the one shot features of the KP3 and live footage from performances with Tom Tom Crew at Tollwood Festival in Munich.