Joel Turner: Ripping it with Joel Turner

The genius of Joel Turner had long been known around Brisbane before his name was blasted across the nation when he first captured Mark Holden’s interest as a seventeen year old. After an audition on the very first Australian Idol, Joel’s flair with vocal percussion, producing drum beats, rhythms and musical sounds simulating instruments solely with his mouth and vocal chords instantly took the nation by storm. His previous background on drums, guitar and bass guitar have all added to his rather impressive arsenal in music, establishing him as a bone fide talent in the studio and on the mic. Joel has been particularly inspired by world renown beatboxers Rahzel, Kenny Mohammad and Scratch as well as artists BB King, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix and James Brown with his brother’s hiphop collection of Tupak and NWA also infiltrating his musical psyche.

After his groundbreaking performance on Idol, Joel was then signed to a record label – a move that came about with Mark Holden’s support – and thus Modern Day Poets was born – a hiphop group that also includes his brother and cousin. Joel has since continued with his career, going on to release two critically acclaimed albums with the imminent release of his third album, winning the title of Beatboxer Champion of the World with forthcoming plans for a “Learn to Beatbox” kind of DVD underway. In the lead up to his eagerly awaited performance showcasing his beatboxing skills for Ibiza Downunder on Australia Day on the Gold Coast, ITM sits down with Joel and gets the rap on finding his niche in the industry, basslines and grinding his teeth.

Welcome Joel! How did you first get into beatboxing?

I would always grind my teeth together to make beats in my head on the way to school, at school and when I was bored. When I was 14 , I was showing my friend some beats – and he said that was a cool beatbox. Until then, I didn’t know I was beatboxing! I just did it. From then, I took beatboxing seriously and started practicing drum sounds and sound fx everyday.

Tell us about your musical background?

When I was 7, my Mum chucked a guitar in my hands and said ‘’ here – play this thing.” My dad was a good guitarist so it was through I should be able to play too’.’ From there on, I kept practicing and started recording songs with my brother Tim aka dubLT of Modern Day Poets infamy – on the old tape decks. He would write lyrics and then say “Yo, Joel – can you make a beat for this?)”. I’ve actually been recording from a young age. So these day, I ‘m a beatboxer, singer/song writer, guitarist and producer. I use all this skills on my recordings. I start every song from scratch with guitar, beat and basslines – and go from there.

What else do you take your inspiration from?

I get inspiration from the crowd, if they’re feeling good it makes me feel good and everything just flows.

How did your stint on Australian Idol impact upon you musically? What do you think this did for the art of beatboxing nationally?

I went to the auditions for the first Oz Idol and beatboxed my own material. They liked it and asked me to perform at the grand final and Australia embraced it. After I was on television, beatboxing took off – and even McDonalds were using beatboxing on there ads.

After Australian Idol, you would have been exposed to a greater part of the industry rather than only the hiphop scene. What did you learn and how has this impacted upon you as an artist?

I’m appreciative of all music styles but have always done my own thing and am still developing as an artist. As a musician, I learn something new every day. When I went to the ARIA Awards, I noticed that it’s harder for urban and hiphop artists to be accepted by the Australian Music Industry. To them, we are still a Pop Rock country and so we are forced to listen to musical propaganda by the radio and TV.

You are also producing as well as beatboxing. How did you get into this?

I’ve always had a vision of what I want my music to sound like and I don’t stop until the track sounds like the music that’s in my head. I started at a young age making beats for my brother and overseeing the final sound. Now, I make everything from scratch. Every song is different and requires different sounds. As long as the track sounds good though – that’s all that matters.

You will be performing at the launch of Ibiza Downunder on Australia Day at inconic Gold Coast venue Billy’s Beach House. What can the audience expect to hear from you here?

I’m gonna get on the mic and rip a beatbox show without effects, with C4 a.k.a 3am in the Valley as my MC – and we’re gonna tear the roof off!

Joel Turner features alongside Vandalism, Baby Gee, The Cut and a slew of loved local acts for the launch of Ibiza Downunder at Billy’s Beach House on January 26.