011: Mark Martin - Using beatboxing to help people free the power of their voice
NYC and Denver based artist Mark Martin is known for playfully blurring the lines between language and sound. Winner of the 2016 American Beatbox Championships, Mark has battled in and judged many international battles. Martin is a passionate educator who has taught groups, workshops, and private students all over the world for over 10 years. Mark collaborated with World Champion Beatboxer Kaila Mullady to create a curriculum utilizing beatboxing as a tool for speech therapy.
In this episode we talk about:
what beatboxing is and when it started
how beatboxing helped Mark to express himself
his work with speech therapy and how his mother helped guide him to this path of serving others
the curriculum he and his partner Kaila Mullady have been developing to help children as well as adults tap into the power of their voice
how the work he did in Namibia changed the way he sees the world and further reinforced the work he’s doing today
lastly, Mark gives us a taste of his beatboxing wizardry as he prepares for the Grand Beatbox Battle in Poland, the largest invite-only beatbox battle in the world
Instagram and Facebook: @markmartincreative
Grand Beatbox Battle: https://www.facebook.com/grandbeatboxbattle/
American Beatbox Championship:
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Learning-Journey-Optimal-Performance-ebook/dp/B000QCQ97
If you are interested in learning how to beatbox, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This episode is brought to you by GATHORA.
Are you an artist, creator, or entrepreneur that creates with purpose and wants to make the world a better place? If so, GATHORA is your media company.
We tell the world about your brand through storytelling rather than sales pitches like most other companies.
GATHORA is committed to getting to the heart of your brand and its mission so you don’t just have fans, but “superfans” that will support you for years to come.
Let us tell your story today. Learn more at gathora.com.
Mark Martin: 00:00:00 You know, I said my real goal is spreading the gospel of beatboxing. And one of the most important truths of that is that we all have the ability to do it. We, and I mean that in, in a very real way, that you can do it. You have your own sounds, you will develop your own style. You, you're not going to sound exactly like me. You're not going to sound exactly like anyone else, but within the B box and world, no one sounds exactly like anyone else either. And that's the whole fun part. You're going to come up with something new that I've never done before that's exciting to me and it should be exciting to you too.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:00:34 Welcome to the Vitalic Project podcast where you'll learn how to find your own voice in a world filled with noise. I'm Gabe Ratliff. I'll be your host as I sit down with fellow artists, creators and entrepreneurs to learn more about their work and how they serve others so that you can tap into your creative purpose and live a life that's drawn, not traced. All right, I'm stoked. Let's get to it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:01:02 Hey guys, thanks so much for joining me on this episode of the Vitalic Project. I am so excited for this episode. We've been on a little bit of a break with the holidays, but we are back with this episode with Mark Martin. Mark Martin is a beatbox champion and I am so excited to share this episode with you. This was a fantastic conversation. We were laughing, we were beatboxing, we were just having a good old time and I'm so excited to share his story with you and the work that he's doing and I also have a magnificent treat for you. He is actually going to drop some of his beatbox wizardry for you on the air. I'm so excited as a nice little, treat for you. At the end of the episode, Mark is going to do a, it's about a minute long piece that he's done for the show, exclusively and I'm super excited for you to hear it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:02:07 So stick with us and stay till the end because man, is it worth it? He is so good and such a great guy. Let me tell you a little bit about Mark. He is a New York City and Denver based artist known for playfully blurring the lines between language and sound. He's winner of the 2016 American beatbox championships and has battled in and judged many international battles. Mark is a passionate educator who has taught groups, workshops, and private students all over the world for over 10 years. He's collaborated with world champion beatboxer Kaila Mullady to create a curriculum utilizing beatboxing as a tool for speech therapy. I saw Mark speak at TEDx in Denver at the Mile High event called Reset. Oh my gosh. Such a great Ted Talk. I mean he had us not only coming out of our seats with his abilities as a beatboxer, but he actually taught the crowd to beatbox.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:03:20 I'm already familiar with it. I love it. I have for years. We even talk about it during the show. I just was like, this is my tribe. So I'm so excited to share this because I mean he's so devout to the art form, but he's also just, you know, he just wants to share what this art form is and as he puts it, to spread the gospel of beatboxing and I'm happy to help him do that. And, yeah, it was such a treat to see him at the, at the Reset event, but then to also see him, you know, trying to teach hundreds of people in this audience to beatbox. And not only did he try, he succeeded and loved it. It was so awesome. I just lit up as soon as he started to talk about wanting to teach everyone to play their part, whether it was the kick drum, the snare, or the cymbals. I mean, it was just awesome. And as a drummer, I immediately was just like, let's do this.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:04:35 And so without further ado, in the episode, we're going to talk about what beatboxing is and when it started, how it helped Mark to express himself as you will see, his work with speech therapy and how his mother helped guide him to this path of serving others and the curriculum that he and his partner Kaila Mullady, have been developing to help children as well as adults tap into the power of their voice, and the work that he did in Namibia and how that changed the way he sees the world and his further reinforced the work he's doing today. And lastly, as I said, Mark is going to give us a taste of his beatbox wizardry. He's preparing for the Grand Beatbox Battle in Poland. That's in April and it's the largest invite only beatbox battle in the world. So wow. Yeah. So stay tuned for that. And without further ado, let's do this.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:05:31 Mark Martin, thank you so much for being here, brother. I really appreciate it. I'm so excited to have you on the show.
Mark Martin: 00:05:49 I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me, man.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:05:51 So, I will have said this in the intro, but I just also have to say it again man, after seeing your Ted Talk, I was just so moved. I love it. If those of you out there listening have not seen it, you should go check it out. It's at TEDx: Mile High and was the Reset event that was just a few months ago and Mark spoke about beatboxing and how he uses that for speech therapy. And thank you again man. I appreciate you being here.
Mark Martin: 00:06:25 Thank you man. Honestly, it's super fun.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:06:29 So I thought we would start off, I normally like to do what I call, the CliffsNotes, you know, and get kind of a Cliff's Notes around your life and how you got here. But I thought what would be interesting for this one would be to start with a little bit of an explanation about what beatboxing is for those out there that don't actually really know what it is.
Mark Martin: 00:06:47 Gotcha. So beatboxing is the art of manipulating your voice and is using all the elements of your mamama-mouth to create any sound that you can imagine. For example, you can become a drum set, you can become a bass, you can become a Dj, you can become a trumpet, you can become whatever you want.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:07:34 Yes! And that my friends, is why he is here. Oh my God. Love it. Truly a beatbox champion you are. And yes, I just did a Yoda. Beatbox champion you are. (in Yoda voice)
Mark Martin: 00:07:50 Let's go.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:07:51 That's going to happen. It's gonna happen. This is like the time where it can happen. So wow. Thank you. Perfect explanation. So one of the things I was wondering is, you know, how old is beatboxing now? Like when did this start?
Mark Martin: 00:08:08 So the term beatboxing originates in the early eighties during kind of the rise of hip hop and some of the first synthetic drum machines. So the first machines to imitate the sound of drums were lovingly known as boom boxes or sorry, beatboxes cause they were boxes that made beats, so there is a young man in the Bronx named Doug E Fresh who wanted to be a drummer, wasn't allowed to be a drummer, didn't have the tools or the money to do it. So he started imitating the sounds that he heard on the radio. So he was the first to call himself a human beatbox. So this is where the term beatbox comes from. It's actually human beatbox, because it's acumen imitating the sounds of a synthetic drum. So there've been traditions all across the world of imitating drum sounds, imitating different sounds like, I'm sure you've heard of Michael Winslow from Police Academy. So there's traditions of vocal percussion, people who've been imitating the live sound of drums or trumpets across many cultures, but beatboxing specifically comes out of hip hop and we're imitating those synthetic sounds. So it's a very different tradition because not only were you imitating the sounds of the drums, but you are also now doing the new synth basslines and the vocal samples. And all the elements of a track, you are the whole beat put together.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:09:40 So when did you first find beatboxing then and how old were you? You know, what, what was the, I was really curious about like what was the first song that you learned, cause I'm sure you, it started with imitating either a song or, or was it just jumping in with your own originals?
Mark Martin: 00:10:03 So my journey to beatboxing is a curious one because I never knew what beatboxing was till I was like 18, but ever since I was a little kid, I made so many sounds. I was what I consider like a natural drummer. I tapped on everything. I was always in trouble for all my teachers hated me, they'd call me in, you know, your son is tapping on the desk. He's making weird noises. When I played with my toys, you know, light ships, light sabers, laser guns, you know, like a lot of boys do. I was just making sounds all the time. And someone, I was in fourth grade, we're supposed to pick an instrument. I really wanted to play drums. I was dissuaded from playing drums. I picked up bass. So in my kind of rebellious state I was like, well I know that one day I'm going to be a drummer so I'm going to keep listening to the drums.
Mark Martin: 00:10:57 And I was just making the drum sounds. Anyways, so I started imitating it more. I started playing jazz when I was 12 as a bass player. And so it was a similar thing because I'd watch the jazz drummers talk to each other and then we'd use vocal fills. They'd be like, ya know, duh-doh-diggity-ga-diggity-ga-diggity-ga-psst-duh. And so I started imitating that in my head. But really the first beatboxing sound in the context I gave earlier as far as you know, like hip hop, the first CD I got was Big Willie Style by Will Smith Big Willie Style. The intro to Get Jiggy With It is there's a little DJ scratch. So like that was my first CD. First thing I always listened to, literally the first, second of the first song was that scratch.
Mark Martin: 00:11:43 And so that was my first beatboxing sound. Right? We go, I would do that all the time and we'll, it's fun is about a year ago, I was listening back to the song and there's actually, you can hear, Will Smith beatboxing in the intro. He goes like, it was this interesting thing where I literally never heard it till about a year ago, but subconsciously that was part of the first song that mentally somehow snuck in there. So that was really my first beatboxing sound. But from there when I was like in middle school, I, you know, I didn't, I just got my first CD player and it's a lot of times I just imitated the music I wanted to hear. So a lot of it was, you know, early 2000 stuff like Lil John and a Ying Yang Twins. So for one of my first one was like, which is a Ying Yang Twins called, the Whisper Song. And interestingly enough, about three quarters of the way through, there's a whole bridge where it's their beatboxing. He goes tss-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh-tuh. The thing I didn't realize until about a year or two ago, but yeah, a lot of my formative beatbox songs actually incorporated beatboxing into it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:13:12 Wow. That is so bad ass man. That takes me back. I remember doing the same thing. You know, I'm a drummer and also a DJ and producer. And I remember when I was a kid, same thing, you know, about the same era where you were just hearing hip hop. I mean hip hop was like getting injected into my life and I was just like, what is this? And same thing. We would be walking to school and just be trying to, you know, do beats. And then interestingly, when I got to college, what we used to do is I started getting into dance music and I had a Saturday, midnight to four show in college for four years. And we just were, you know, it just, I was just getting inundated. I was into the music. I was a music buyer. I was selling vinyl, ordering vinyl and all that. And I was just so into the scene and we would actually, when we were going to, you know events or concerts or whatever, even when we were just on road trips, we would actually beatbox dance tracks and each take apart, you know, and similarly, do you know where, you know, I would take the melodies and somebody else would take the beat and somebody to take the baseline and we would just, you know, beatbox for like half an hour on their way to a show, not even have the radio on, you know.
Mark Martin: 00:14:40 Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:14:41 Right? And it's funny cause when I was listening to you, I went back to that was thinking about, oh my God. Like I didn't even think about how much beatboxing has been in my life and because it's just been there, but I was just so moved by what we were talking about with the, your, your story and you know, I love hearing even more of these stories. That's why I wanted to have you here, but it just, it brought up so many things nostalgically for me as well. And just thinking about how this has been such an integral part over the last several decades and, and it's like you said, it's even more than you think. You know, it's in songs and you don't even know it. You don't realize like there are producers that actually have written samples into their songs that they've used to write these huge tracks that are very popular and you don't even know they did it with their mouth, you know, and that they, they just sat there with a really nice mic and just rattled off a bunch of cool shit, you know, and then turned it into this, they just produced it and turn it into to even bigger song. So thank you for sharing that. That's awesome.
Mark Martin: 00:15:44 Yeah. The, the big kind of example of that is a Michael Jackson. There's a lot of his best songs. He literally came into the studio humming and beatboxing a song, Quincy Jones recorded it and then literally just layered instruments on top of it. And that's part of the reason why so much of Michael Jackson stuff is so singable is because literally you can do the whole thing at once. Like it's designed that the whole thing, the drums, the bass, the melody, everything is singable. It can all be done at the same time. You know, it's not convoluted like made mass produced song. It's, it's very organic, creative elements. So Michael Jackson, Timbaland too super well known for using a lot of beatboxing and his stuff and encouraging also Justin Timberlake to do a lot of beatboxing and stuff. So yeah, some of the biggest artists and it's just this human flavor that's buried in the music that something about it speaks to all of us. It really resonates in a really powerful way.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:16:56 I was wondering how beatboxing changed your life specifically? How did it, you know, really get deeper from just a, you know, just something fun on the side to becoming what's now become more of a, you know, it's a full on mission in your life? How did that change happen? How did that come to pass?
Mark Martin: 00:17:25 So, uh, in 2007, I moved to New York City and I went to NYU. I was studying in the music business program, so that was the same year that youtube came out and all of my professors were freaking out. They're like literally these seasoned professors, we're looking to the class, like our industry is falling apart dear God, someone help us. Literally the classes would frequently and that, and I was like, this sucks. I'm gonna get Outta here. I interned at all these like big companies where literally on on an average day, like one of the big companies I worked for, our entire department got downsized, like 40 people got replaced by two guys in a computer. And I was like, I'm getting out of here, but I still want it to work within the music industry. So I switched to the Gallatin School of individualized Study where I could create my own major.
Mark Martin: 00:18:15 And, so one of the, I was still doing kind of the music business stuff. So I was taking, you know, music, music industry, but I also took a philosophy course. There's one of my roommates was a philosophy major and at the time I had just met the New York City beatboxing community. And that was like the first time I'd really been like, oh my God, there's like a whole community of people beatboxing. And I was immediately drawn to it where I really felt it was like, these are my people, this is, this is me. Uh, something I'd never really felt in that way cause beatboxing has always been this subversive thing. This like I'm, I'm going to, this is how I express myself kind of thing. So finding other people and, but that's thing I always did it alone. I never knew another beatbox or never met another beatboxer.
Mark Martin: 00:18:58 But then all the sudden I had a community of people that were pushing creatively how to do this. So I took a philosophy course and, in, it was a course on ethics. So it was this interesting scenario where we're asking these kinds of deep questions like, what are humans made for? Kind of like what's our purpose? And, so we looked into something called the, I believe the Aragon argument, which essentially you to find something to buy what it does. So someone asks Aristotle believe it's Aristotle,, like how do you define a human? And he says, humans used logic guided by reason. And so I kinda got a really curious and like looking into this and I started thinking about, you know, our human ability to, to think and to rationalize and to communicate. And that, you know, language is a, essentially a flawed vehicle of communication.
Mark Martin: 00:19:54 But what I saw in beatboxing was essentially like a metal language or a language with which we speak about our language. You know, something that I'm very happy about is the fact I can speak more than one language. I love languages. I love how in each language there are certain words or phrases or grammar that doesn't really translate, but each one has its own unique perspective on reality and can communicate something very powerful. And specific. So I started thinking, well, what if beatboxing is this new? You know, it's kind of born with the Internet. There's all these communities all over the world that don't speak the same language, but they are able to fluently share their beatboxing very quickly and in a powerful way. What if there's this new approach to listening and understanding that's coming through the discipline of beatboxing? You know, is there kind of an ethical, a ramification of this? And so made me really think
Mark Martin: 00:20:48 about, you know, when it comes to communication, how we communicate as humans. So many of the world's problems come from this communication, and could beatboxing kind of be, you know, the same way that you would learn yoga to have the flexibility to move in the way you want, could be boxing be the kind of oral flexibility that allows you to hear someone in a more powerful way, which could actually ease a lot of the world's communication issues, so like games I like to play or sometimes trying to, you know, speak a language where I alternate like English, Spanish, Hebrew, you know, or kind of, or mixing sounds or accents. Like I love, you know, speaking Spanish with a German accent, you know, things like that where all of a sudden the same ideas being communicated in a different way, and it's in a more flexible way.
Mark Martin: 00:21:39 So in that way, can we learn something else about our tone, about the speed in which we communicate? These are all super powerful elements of our communication, so that's really how I, I, I kind of fell into this idea that beatboxing, maybe it could be more than just a party trick. Maybe there's something really to be said about human communication in a powerful way. And around that time, that's when we started looking at beatboxing as a tool for speech therapy. I grew up with that. My mom was a special education teacher, so I seen in my whole life, but it was very clear that there were all these different applications of, of what we're doing. So you mentioned that you know what it's like to struggle to communicate. What, what did you mean by that? Well, around the time when I started beatboxing was when I was a 12 and 13 year old boy growing up in suburban USA in Connecticut.
Mark Martin: 00:22:37 You know, definitely the culture that I grew around is a very, you know, emotionally repressive culture. You know, there's a lot of jokes about Connecticut that people being robots from Connecticut, and yeah, it was just a, for me, a very difficult time. I really thought there was something wrong with me because I had emotions because I'm a guy and guys aren't supposed to have emotions. So it was like literally that was like the narrative. You know, experienced a lot of bullying, you know, just a lot of, you know, negative outside things. So I became very, I don't know the word, like tentative to speak up to say, you know, what I was feeling because there was so much judgment, so much bullying, and I think that's a big part of what really got me beatboxing because, around the same time I started beatboxing I also wrote poetry.
Mark Martin: 00:23:28 I would come home from school and literally write pages and pages of poetry and it was the best like emotional release for me, but that was something that I had to like sit down and write. And so when I was walking into the halls or if I didn't have, you know, privacy or a place to write, I would make music. You know, that was a big, I just made noise. That was my, in the moment, you know, expressive thing. Cause I was always listening to music. I love music. So that for me it was kind of like the two sides of the expressive coin was either kind of sitting down and quietly writing poetry or just making the sound viscerally reacting and getting it out. Cause especially with beatboxing it, you can quickly tap into particular emotions. You know, if you're feeling kind of angry or if you know of your thinking more than just, you know, you can kind of tap into those feelings pretty quickly, but yeah, definitely when I quit, I couldn't find the words to say something. I would, I would be box it. I would just get it out.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:24:42 I remember when I was, you know, in, in drum line we did the same thing. You know, we would we called it pecking was actually when we would actually like peck literally with sticks and Peck and whatnot. But then we also had, like these, you know, cause they were like, with rudiments, you know, you've got paradiddles and flamacues and all these things and it actually sounds like what it is. You're like flamacue flamacue. Paradiddle paradiddle paradiddle and it's actually how you play it. And so when you're talking about these rudiments, we would actually like do things like that and, and speak in those same kinds of tones and rhythms, you know, and talk out something we were working on or you know, come up with an idea that we were working on musically for some peace and, or if we were just practicing and we were like trying to like explain something to somebody and, you know, cause we all learn differently.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:25:36 Some people can have to do it, some people can say it or hear it or see it. And so we would communicate in those ways so that you could understand something. So I, I totally get that and I, I could totally connect with what you're saying about that. Cause you know, people, it makes sense, right? Like you can hear something and I love how you're talking about your emotions and how you can get those things out. You know, cause he, it immediately puts you into this scene of like, oh, that's how he feels. Oh, okay, cool. You know, and it's, it's, it's, it's like a very obvious, you know, you've either got like the angst-ridden gangsta beat that you're dropping some trap or something or you've got the like sexy jazz, you know, chill hop or something. I love it, you know, so, I, yeah, I really connect with that. How did you get from, you started to talk about this a little bit ago, but how did you get from, you know, the, where you started to pull up your, you know, your background with your mom as it is a educator and pull that towards the speech therapy and how does that kind of lead to the light ship?
Mark Martin: 00:26:56 Okay. So this whole journey has been kind of, like a back and forth, or there's all these kind of layers that keep kind of repeating themselves. And so, in the late two thousands, I was working with an organization called beat in New York, bridging education art together. And so James Kim, the head of that had a program called Beat Rockers where, we use beatboxing as music therapy for blind and handicapped students, so that was, super powerful, super integral part of what we did because we had to learn how to teach people how to beatbox who couldn't see our mouths, who had, couldn't, you know, had no visual feedback but a population that was super sensitive to sound.
Mark Martin: 00:27:41 So like their interpretation, how they imitated sound is very different from most people, and within this world, most people that are blind have other learning disabilities as well, so a lot of the kids had stutters or autism or speech impediments. And so the idea of beatboxing as a tool for spirits, that speech therapy has been around for a long, long time, Kaila and our mentor, Kid Lucky he had done some kind of rudimentary versions of that on a show called the electric company, where like, they would beatboxes either by Bubba, Bubba, bubba be, you know, to, to touch, to touch to a t. So they really did this kind of like foundational just yeah, here's a letter and a sound in this kind of, it's like Sesame Street-esque kind of educational space, you know, my own journey. Me Personally, I've been looking at this connection between beatboxing and a language a way before this as well.
Mark Martin: 00:28:40 It's something, you know, cause I would notate my own beatboxing using letters I had created, like a whole system that I used for communicating it. And a lot of my style coming into the beatbox scene was this kind of jibberish style because I loved, uh, like I was saying all the different types of languages and words. So I would play with, you know, the polls if it did the both of them. It's a big cup, it's a vision of proposal. Where's the comments from what's into like I love just that. It's like a making metal in language essentially. I was, oh that was always my game. Same when I was around like 13 is I would invent languages. I came up with grammar and sounds and you know, just how I wanted to communicate and to kind of go back even further when I was three or four, I thought I could understand birds.
Mark Martin: 00:29:27 I remember hearing bird calls meaning like, Oh dad, hear what he said. Like I was, and that's something that I've always been super passionate about is that there are all these different languages and I just want to understand them because I know that they all communicate something different., so also at the same time, my partner Kaila, who's a two time world beatbox champion, she had her own experience with a beatbox getting speech therapy. She had a cousin who is learning disabled and had speech therapy. And so whenever she was around, her cousin wanted to play with her cause she was the fun on. And, so she started beatboxing the words that he needed to work on. So she was like, baseball, baseball bat, you know, things like that, so she was really the one that, that pushed forward cause we've been tossing around the idea for the speech therapy, with beat for a while because James had like a similar idea.
Mark Martin: 00:30:24 He's like, Hey, we should do this. And we all had this, it was this, you know, kind of in the ether. We all were like, yes, like we see what this can do. We all have our own strengths and our own access or experience or kind of philosophy or you know, all different kinds of backgrounds, so they are actually going to shut down the beat program. And so Kaila was like, Hey, no, let's, let's make a speech therapy thing. So her and I teamed up and we sat down and we wrote out a whole curriculum where we kind of combined, you know, what I knew about, you know, the education side and the, I'd studied phonetics. That's kind of the next chapter. When I was at NYU, I studied phonetics. So I was familiar with the international phonetic alphabet, which is what, you know, speech therapist and language used to describe sounds.
Mark Martin: 00:31:09 You know, in my experience, you know, watching my mother and what she had taught. So you use that with kind of Kaila's like fun games that she had developed and the things that she had seen work with her cousin. And so we synthesize our experiences into one curriculum, and from there we just said about testing it, you know, bringing, you know, these ideas and games into the classroom, seeing what worked, what didn't work, and especially within the particular challenge that we're working in a school for blind and mentally handicapped students, but not only that, because we're coming in as teaching artists, we didn't have access to these students, like information. We weren't allowed to know what their actual speech goals were or what their issues were. So we had to kind of guess. And each student, I mean, we had like nonverbal kids drooling and you know, flipping out in the back and other kids that are highly functioning, you know, but they're just slightly visually impaired in the same class.
Mark Martin: 00:32:04 So it also, it was a really cool and powerful learning experience because, you know, instead of teaching to a room of fifth graders, there was just a huge age range of suitability range and we had to keep on our feet, you know, between engaging and keeping the whole group moving together, so it was, it was a really powerful thing. A, and from that context we were able to start okay now working with younger kids now working with you know, particular type of speech impediment. Okay. Now working with a particular learning disability, so we were really flushing out and we saw a bunch of breakthroughs in the classroom. Like once again, we had, we had no way to test it because we weren't allowed to know the students issues. But we had this one student who, you know, English as a second language, you know, pretty strong speech impediment, but he's an amazing beatboxer. And so we would give him the microphone. He wouldn't want to talk and you super shy, but he would be box amazingly until one day he, we had this kind of breakthrough moment where we were beat rhyming. You're using the sounds of words and connecting them. Uh, I think they're work with chicken. So we're like, all right, say, and here we go.
Mark Martin: 00:33:16 All right now say chicken and you know, if her car and there, and so there's this constant back and forth until it literally, there's this moment that clicked where he literally went and like, oh. And he went like chick in awe. And literally from that day forward he was the most engaged, like happy. He literally walks into class everyday I'm on fire, I'm on fire, like high fiving us. And it was the craziest transformation to literally like the shyest kid in the room became the most vocal and willing to try. And we're like, Holy Shit, this is, this is real. Like he found confidence in his voice, which is, once again, we will, we see a lot with, a lot of the things would be boxing. It's not necessarily, you know, we do focus on particular sounds and patterns, but just having confidence in your instrument.
Mark Martin: 00:34:04 That's the whole thing is beatboxers. We all have different instruments. My teeth are different than yours. My own structures, different years. My voice box is different. My vocal cords, my breath support, my residents, everything is different. So rather than, I'm trying to sound like you, meaning if you don't make the right sound and you sound wrong or you sound bad, it's just celebrate your instrument. How do you make your music happen? And we just kept seeing these breakthroughs like fuck. It was real. Uh, and honestly like some of the best days of my life, it was a two and a half hour subway ride from Brooklyn or the Bronx. So twice a week we'd go up there two and half hours, one way and a in the subway and the, you know, get there, you're tired and you're kind of like, ugh. But within 10 minutes, being in the class, it's just the most uplifting.
Mark Martin: 00:34:50 Like all these kids, you think you have problems, you think you have struggles, like bolts. She helped you don't. So I don't know if I can spare this bus. You know, we're in, we're in the North Bronx. Like this population is, is, is so many challenges as it is, and that's the thing, we saw the power that like, it really helped a lot of these kids want to try, want to push forward, you know, show them that they can own their instrument and that they can grow and real and powerful ways, so we just continued on that. We developed a, you know, we took our curriculum, we studied it. We had, some speech therapists come in. We conducted a whole 10 week study outside of the school because of all the red tapes. We invited like a six year olds that had speech impediments.
Mark Martin: 00:35:34 We had a group, and we tested all different kinds of games with them and we saw that there was a marketed improvement in not only their speech, you know, their articulation and their finny make awareness, which is the ability to hear, identified, manipulate and recognize individual sounds, but their willingness that they want it to be there. Which was the craziest thing. Like we have one student that had been in speech therapy for I believe, two to three years and his speech therapist was saying, oh my God, like, what are you guys doing? Like he's grown so much and he, he wants to do it. Like, what are you guys doing? They was super curious or she, and that, that was a huge motivator. Just seeing these little kids were normally, it's like, Oh, you've got to go to the speech class, but it's like, no, we're going to beatbox class.
Mark Martin: 00:36:20 Like we had kids that were just like, oh yeah, like, you know, at six years old, older like, aw man. Like, yeah, the, the, the snare drum. Yeah, that's the, the case. Yeah. Okay, cool. Like they, they wanted to, it's, it's super playful, but we're getting the kids to make the sounds where, you know, I watched my mom, you know, uh, telling a kid, all right, please make say kitten. And they're like, no, I'm not doing this, but in our, in our class that we use the philosophy of, it's like sneaking vegetables into a fruit smoothie. So instead of being like, everyone's say kitten, you know, we're like, all right, we're going to cut down a tree. Everyone has to use their ax and chop the tree 10 times. And it goes like this and you get a kid to do the 10 towns and all of a sudden they've made the sound, but they're not trying to say kitten. So it's just, you know, all these different kinds of layers and hitting a different places and kind of keeping them on their toes, it's just fun and engaging and, yeah, it's still processing and we're still learning a lot. There's so many different populations with particular needs and wants. And, that's really our goal is to help identify how, you know, we, we, we were very clear that beatboxing isn't speech therapy, but as a tool for speech therapy, it's a, it's an approach. It's a mentality. It's a, you know, a saying before kind of a meta language it's a way we can talk about the sounds that we're making. That takes off the whole like right or wrong approach. It's more about how you want to express in the same way that if you hear someone with a different accent, you know, they might browse their t's differently, but that doesn't mean you can't understand them. You know, there's all these like layers of communication and celebrating those differences. One of the things I was wondering about is what, you know, what it was like developing that curriculum with Kaila and, and what, how do you say her last name? Is it Mullady?
Mark Martin: 00:38:15 Mullady,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:38:16 Kaila Mullady. Okay. Yeah, what was it like developing that curriculum? Because I mean, you can, you can make that statement in a sentence and it is not that simple, right? You're, you're completely creating something from this subculture that came out of another subculture in the 80s, and you're then weaving that into a curriculum around speech therapy with this really great, you both have this really great history with, you know, your mother and with hers, with, was it her brother or cousin? I'm sorry, cousin. Cousin. That's right. And, you know, taking from those experiences that you had, which are magical, right? The fact that that came together in life merged with both having this passion for beatboxing, but how did that evolve into like developing a curriculum? What was that like and what was that? I mean, how did that process unfold and how did you work through that to get to something to then be able to like, you know, relinquish out into the world?
Mark Martin: 00:39:28 So it really was a dynamic and interesting process. Kaila and I, we, you know, we're partners and we, we kind of describe herself as two sides of the same coin. We have very similar, like what, like, focus, but we go about it in very different ways. So the building the curriculum was very kind of an expression of our relationship in a way, I came very much from the philosophical kind of academic side, you know, these are the markers, these are the things that we're really trying to get at. She came from the more like fun application side. Okay, this is like the the cool way to do it. And so what we literally do is like I would write a chapter, she would write the next chapter, then we both go back and add in, are posing a kind of perspective and kind of do this back and forth game where, you know, mine would be very technical and kind of dry. Hers would be kind of flowery but ambiguous.
Mark Martin: 00:40:28 So it was, this is kind of constant, you know, using you example of top down and bottom up, you know, where top down is kind of, well here's the whole philosophy, philosophical reason why this should work. And someone's like, okay, but what is it? And you know, hers, the bill that I can just express yourself and you're like, all right, but like how, so it was literally just this back and forth and we, we went chapter by chapter back and forth, you know, making sure that it was rigorous but also entertaining and engaging and applicable. Something that was digestible. And so literally it was just a few days where we sat, we were like literally sat on the couch to computers and we just typed for like hours, like eight to 14 hours a day just writing and writing and writing and writing and writing and writing and writing, and the whole framework is kind of based off of like our pillars. They're like the pillars of our education, which include like leadership, communication, you know, speech therapy, so the idea is that as we're going through it, that we're always touching on these kind of core that are important in our curriculum, the things that we think are significant, and then the, the whole progression is cumulative. It builds off of, okay, what are like the first kind of introductory things that we can introduce? How do we build off of that? So for example, like first you learn kind of the sounds like the drum sounds. Once you have the sounds, the drum sounds, then you can start adding your voice, which is a technique called beat rhyming that our one of our mentors pioneered. And so it's the whole idea of using your voice.
Mark Martin: 00:42:05 You know, in tandem with beatboxing, a lot of people, they kind of separate them. Where's either, you know, or they're singing. But for us, you know, be like, you know, I just won Judah. No, no, no. I want you to know, no, no. You know, incorporating the voice into the beatbox thing. And then from there it's like, okay, now what are we creating with this music? So we do a lot of storytelling, you know, storytelling, you know, we know how powerful storytelling is when it comes to learning. So now telling stories and now we get into the whole as a reference of where Michael Winslow, world of soundscaping, okay, well one kid's telling a story. Everyone else is making the sound. It was a windy day, you know, adding these elements of sound and play, but it's for the sake of communication, it's for like telling a story for getting something across, and then from there, okay, what are kind of the moral implications we get into topics like leadership? Cause that's like a big thing, you know, with beatboxing. All right, who's leading the groove? You know, what would a leader do in this kind of situation? So a lot of, you know, honestly, a lot of the work that we do now, we do a lot of assemblies that are focused on like anti-bullying, diversity. You know, it's about having your voice in the conversation, and my, my personal phrase is the first step to speaking up is making a sound, you know, I talked about when I was a kid, you know, the challenges of speaking up, of knowing the right word to say, but the whole idea is with beatboxing, like if you have the confidence to go, like how many, like it's easier to be like, stop that, don't want it.
Mark Martin: 00:43:46 Like that's not okay, so that's, that's our whole, you know, so there's all these kind of levels of, you know, focus and attention. And that came from when we were working with the students at, at Lavelle, the school in the Bronx, that, you know, somebody's kids needed different things. So how do we kind of create these parallel narratives where we can work on, okay, that kid who's maybe a little more advanced, we'll give him or her, you know, a leadership role, you know, in this next activity that's helping reinforce this other thing that the kids are working on, and so it's all a very dynamic process. And, you know, we've, we've, we've developed kind of a framework, like a, a long narrative of how the things can work. And now it's just a matter of, you know, refining it for particular audiences.
Mark Martin: 00:44:33 You know, if we have like a group of six year olds, it's very different than a group of fourth graders, which is very different than a group of 15 year olds, especially in the world of speech therapy. Most like articulation and kind of, you know, physical aspect of speech. Most of those are solved or kind of worked out at a very young age, but then for like older kids that I'd have a learning disability that maybe have behavioral issues, that's where we can bring in more. Okay. The expression, the, you know, the morality, kind of like that narrative that can work, that works really well for like middle school and high school kids, so that was always a challenge with the, with VA curriculum will be developed one curriculum, but we're trying to, you know, in the context of the vault, we weren't trying to solve a lot of needs simultaneously, but through that we've created a frame for ourselves that we can now pigeon hole. And, you know, we're from that curriculum. We were able to develop stuff more specifically for six year olds with articulation and phonemic awareness issues, but once again, really the philosophy just shows us the philosophy of the curriculum, that it's more of a framework for approaching challenges. Like we keep using the vegetables and fruit smoothie example. You know, how do we just make this engaging and fun and interactive and relevant and communicative so that the work we're doing means something to these kids and then they want to do it. It's that simple. You know, that's really, that's why we say once again, it'd be boxing as a tool for speech therapy. This isn't the cure all, but if this can get a kid interested in speech therapy, that's, that's a huge success.
Mark Martin: 00:46:16 Where did the name Lightship come from? So Kaila and I have been, beatboxing together for a long time. We actually battled as a duo and our, our team name, we all had kind of made a joke team names for ourselves. Ours is power couple, and so something, you know, it was like, it was a tongue in cheek kind of joke, but once we really, you know, leaving the battle scene going into the world or are just kind of like cheesy and we're like, Eh, like that's not really our vibe, you know, isn't really a power couple. So we, we'd always talked a lot about things that inspired us. And one thing that kept coming up was like the idea of being the lighthouse of, of, you know, shining a light being, you know, providing a path for other people, in the darkness. And so one thing we stumbled on was the idea of the light ship. So I ship is essentially a mobile lighthouse. It's a ship that goes into the darkest parts of the ocean and provides elimination. And with that, lightship also has this kind of future funk spaceship vibe with it too, which is also another kind of a hallmark of our, of our styles were like that kind of, and you know, moving to Colorado Denver, there's a huge kind of space funk, Edm scene here that we love. And you know, in my experience growing up as a jazz musician, like a lot of my stuff is very kind of funk, jazz influenced same with her, so we really felt that kind of made the most sense where it's this, we're Lightship we're going out, we want to be a source of elimination in the darkness. But we're also this like funk, future spaceship traveling through. Cause that was kind of the idea as essentially instead of a boat going on to the deepest parts of the ocean is where a spaceship going to the deepest parts of space and providing elimination, because that's really what a lot of this boils down to for me. My motivation is I want to help people, express themselves, be themselves. Because I know so many, you know, personal, social issues come from, you know, trying to fit in and, and, and stopping your own voice when really when we have the opportunity to be ourselves, we can really be ourselves in a powerful way.
Mark Martin: 00:48:25 So saying, hey, if I can go ma, you can vlog too. And you do that. Find Your Voice. That's the thing. I don't want you to sound like me. That's one of the reasons I love teaching. Beatboxing. You know a big part of what I do is personal lessons. I love teaching when are one, because I'm not like sound exactly like me. It's like, no, I'm going to help you. I'm your, I think myself more as a mentor. It's like, no, I'm going to help you find your style, your voice and so you can do what you want to do and that confidence in your voice, even just as a beatboxer translates to every aspect of your life. You want to speak up in the boardroom, you want to speak up in your relationship, you want to speak up with your family sometimes cause that's happened sometimes where you know you're having a tough conversation with a family member and you can, if you can just get to the point where you both feel comfortable as being like hang in there like it, it, it breaks down a lot of those. Whoa, you said that the thing will, you know, put up these barriers to protect ourselves emotionally. So if you can tap into that and break through it, it's super powerful and meaningful and I've seen those transformations and myself and my family and the people around me, so that's really one of the reasons. Yeah, I love to teach and share that, that aspect of vocalization, of, of opening and freeing your voice.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:49:42 Oh man, that is so great. I love it, I feel like you touched on this in a couple of ways, but, I'd love to ask this separately just to see if you have any specifics around it, but, Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...[funny blob language]
Mark Martin: 00:50:12 Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...[funny blob language]
Gabe Ratliff: 00:50:13 I'm curious, you know, what learning lessons have come out of this work with speech therapy and beatboxing. I mean, you told some really great stories about some of the kids that you've worked with, but now that you've developed this and have been doing the work, what are some great learning lessons that came out of it that you could share?
Mark Martin: 00:50:34 You mean, can you clarify a little on like what a learning lesson is?
Gabe Ratliff: 00:50:37 Yeah, I guess, you know, just challenges and things that you've learned in the process, you know, maybe things that you've refined in it or maybe you, you know, took a step with the curriculum and then started to implement it and then realize like, oh, maybe that wasn't working, let's refine it and that now, now this is better. Like, or, or just, you know, something that just didn't stick, you know, and, and wasn't really like hitting the mark. Is there anything like that with that you've learned in the process are and how you've kind of evolved in the, in the, in the process of doing it?
Mark Martin: 00:51:17 Well, one thing I can definitely say about, you know, speech language communication is there, there's certain benchmarks that we're all striving to reach and you know, kids are kind of expected to reach, but we really are all so different. And for me that's one of the fun and challenging things about teaching beatboxing is that, you know, one thing that works perfectly with one kid could just not work with another one and you know, something that might, and that's one of my favorite things about be boxing too. Like there's some sounds that you will learn, you will learn in seconds that has taken me years and the same way that their sounds, that took me seconds to learn. That will take you years to learn. So there is this kind of constant student aspect of being a beatboxer that, and to put things into perspective, be boxing is such a young art form.
Mark Martin: 00:52:11 There are no retired beatboxers, there's never been a retired boxer. So you know, and it is very much a youth sport, and what we know about language acquisition is that people learn languages, you know, and pick up things when they're younger, faster. So there's like nine year old beatboxers, the pickup stuff that took me years in seconds, and they're constantly evolving the craft. There's new sounds, new things all the time, and just like learning new languages, you know, there's new words being created in every language. So there's this just this infinite sense of yeah, you're forever a student, which is exciting and daunting at the same time, because, you know, forced to the question what like, what is enough? And once again, this really kind of gets to the core of, well, what do you want to express? And it enforces a lot of kind of introspection into, well, what do you want to do with it? You know, every, and my favorite thing, once again about teaching, you know, especially one on one, is everyone has their sound. Everyone has a little sound they made since they were a little kid and they've perfected it and someone's all the moves weird. So the really self conscious about it, but they're really good at it. And it's always my favorite thing to find.
Mark Martin: 00:53:26 Whatever that little touchstone is, whatever that little sound is that you do, you done since you're a little kid. And something about it just breaks through everything. We were just like, oh, that, that wonder and sense of amazement that comes with it, tapping into that, like that's kind of the challenge is just reminding people of what it felt like to be a little kid having fun, and that's, that's the thing with all these lessons, all these different games. Some things work for people, some things don't, but that's what we're always searching for is that mental space of play of, you know, instead of, well you said this word and you know, looking for concrete meaning and language, you know, to go back to what I'm saying originally, we know that language, you know, spoken language as a failed mode of communication. It cannot communicate perfectly.
Mark Martin: 00:54:16 So once you accept that, instead of trying to refine your, you know, or in tandem with refining your language to be as specific as possible, it's also where are the limits, what can't be expressed and how do you dig into that and then find a vocabulary around expressing that thing. That's one of my favorite thing, especially talking about people who speak different languages or if I'm speaking in Spanish or something like that, there's something I don't understand that they don't understand. It's how do we, how do we identify and circle around this thing that we don't know how to communicate rather than saying, I just don't know. I Dunno. I Dunno. I Dunno. It's okay, well let's, let's build our bridge. Let's build the linguistic bridge. Let's find a way. And whether it's with tone, you know, whether it's, it's the way you say the word that gives it a little more meaning.
Mark Martin: 00:55:04 You know, it can be as subtle as that, that that helps you. Cause that's where we're stretching for. People want to feel heard. People want to know that they're connecting with other people in a meaningful way, whether it's hello or, you know, in, in the language that they grew up speaking, it's really just, you know, when, when you've made that communication and that's, that's what it always comes back to, and that's, yeah, it's constantly the learning lesson. Whenever I focused too much on the curriculum, it's like, okay, well how do we adapt this person, you know, they communicate in a different way. How do we adapt to them, reach out to them. And you know, that once again, that's why I think of myself more as a mentor than a teacher because it's about your evolution, your process, you figuring out your path.
Mark Martin: 00:55:52 Like I'm very much a, you know, a fan of the, you know, know thy self. Like what's the music you want to do? When I teach students at the first thing we do is all right, what's the music you listen to? What's the stuff that inspires you? And that's, that's what we use as a base, what you're familiar with, what's part of your musical DNA, and that's usually a place where people want to grow from. And of course if you want to learn more, if you want to explore other styles, like we have all that there for you to explore but, the first part is connecting with you at your root. What's your mother tongue essentially? Nice. One of the things I was wondering when you were talking about your curriculum,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:56:31 I immediately started thinking about the possibility of that being able to go global and more of like a like an online presence. Is that something that you've thought about doing with that sort of since you've, as you've already been developing it for younger kids, you know, you know, different age groups, youth, young, you know, more, need around, like if they have learning disabilities and more need around the expressive that you were talking about. Do you foresee maybe that being something that you could turn into a curriculum that could be shared with the world, like in a larger scale or online or something that could be or, or, or even taught to other people to have their own version and maybe other countries or other cities. What have you thought about that?
Mark Martin: 00:57:23 Absolutely. That's a big part of our future plan is you know, a lot of what we do, you know, there is a huge value in the fact that there is the one on one communication. There is a sense of flexibility, but there is a lot of work that can be done digitally, especially when it comes to training other people, and this is a big part, two of our hope, you know, with the future of this is it's not only for us but also we want to give opportunities to beatboxers all over the world because there is a growing, massive community of super talented, hardworking people that are able to do all these sounds. So if we can connect that with schools, you know, get them trained that they can be, you know, on the front lines helping people, you know, that ultimately is a huge part of our goal is just to help our community help other people, you know, um, you know, we all want to feel like we've helped the world in some way and you know, and that's a big part of, you know, our intention and our philosophy is okay, boxing, fun noise, you know, good at a party. But you know, once again, kind of the philosophical, but like, what can we do with this? Like it's more than just a minute 30 of fun. It can be a lifetime of improved communication, but that's really an important part of our, our mission.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:58:41 Awesome. Yeah, that's great. I love that. Cause I, yeah, I just immediately started thinking like, wow, I could see this being this thing. You can really pay it forward, you know, and, and be able to get others because so much of the community of, you know, beatboxers and hip hop community and you know, the dance community, like so many people in that space and artists in general are very sensitive and have that kind of philosophical need to help others. And I mean, humans in general have that. But I feel like, you know, right brain people generally have that capacity and want to do something just for themselves. I mean that's why this show exists is to showcase people like yourself doing that thing. And I could just see that really being something that could take off and, and be this next level potential for people. You know that it could just be a hobby that they can then see like, oh my gosh, I can actually like do some really some real good with this thing. That's a hobby of mine. I love it man. That's awesome.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:59:51 [Ad] This episode is brought to you by GATHORA. Are you an artist, creator, or entrepreneur that creates with purpose and wants to make the world a better place? If so, GATHORA is your media company. We tell the world about your brand through storytelling rather than sales pitches like most other companies. GATHORA is committed to getting to the heart of your brand and its mission. So you don't just have fans but super fans that will support you for years to come. Let us tell your story today. Learn more at gathora.com.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:00:25 So one of the, one of the questions in the question in the questionnaire that I really appreciated your answer to was around what you ultimately want to do. And you talked about wanting to spread the gospel of beatboxing and the importance of creativity in our lives. And I was wondering if you could elaborate on that. Cause I really loved that answer.
Mark Martin: 01:00:41 So one thing that's been very dear to my heart is the, the influence of automation in our lives. I gave an example earlier when I was interning at a big music company, one day I came in and my entire department of like 40 people were downsized and replaced by two guys with a computer. And that's been a big just truth for me is that so many industries are being disrupted by automation and artificial intelligence. And you know, he keeps seeing more and more of these reports that, you know, 40% of jobs are going to be redundant within 20 years. So kind of behind everything I'm doing is this, this urgency, this sense of well, you know, a lot of these things that exist now just aren't going to be there in a relatively short period of time. And the real competitive advantage that we still have over artificial intelligence is our creative abilities are ways to think outside the box and to make errors in a human way that can actually result in positive change, and so using this kind of idea, we'll, you know, we think in terms of language, if you can expand your linguistic potential, you can expand what you can think of, what you can conceive of. So I see this, you know, beatboxing as part of this kind of metalanguage how do I expand how I think about how I think, which I think is going to be a necessary skill and you see more and more of it popping up that this type of improvisation and innovation, you need that to survive in the future. Like next generation. In the same way that, you know, modern schools are based off of preparing people for industrial jobs where you sit in a row and all perform the same tasks for the next generation is going to be how well do you innovate and work creatively within a limited space, and the same way, you know, I do a lot of work with improv teams. I was part of a team called North Coast, which is an Improv hip hop team. And we would do corporate gigs all the time. Improv is huge. And the corporate sector, because it's, you know, there's a lot of similarities between Improv and, you know, freestyling, like how, how do you react when you don't know what's coming next? How do you respond in the best way that supports your team when something horrible happens? And these are real skills you learned through Improv. You know, it, it's comedy, it's funny, but when good improvisors well, it's funny because it's true.
Mark Martin: 01:03:15 Not because they're trying to be funny. There's a certain element of truth and that's always, that's when you laugh yourself, you know, till you're crying because you're just like, oh my God, that's so true. Like I would, yes. That makes sense, and that kind of improvisation and playfulness is something that we need. You know, I just, even just like, Uber is a great example of watching, you know, living in New York, pre Uber and post Uber, just seeing how that entire industry has been disrupted by a single APP is just amazing. It's incredible. And like I said, my experience watching my company, you know, 40 people get downsized, you know, talking to my boss outside, they're like, hey, what's up man? He's chain smoking cigarettes and I got a bottle of whiskey and home but I don't know what I'm gonna do. You know, freaking out and just like, oh damn.
Mark Martin: 01:04:03 Like I don't want that problem. How do we innovate? How do we look at the things we have and flip it into something new? That's something he called the hustle or flip mentality. How do I turn this thing that's worthless into something that's valuable and so be oxen? Beatboxing is the one place where you wish you had like crazy teeth. Cause if you have crazy teeth and be boxing, you can make all these crazy whistles and sounds that no one else can make. Same as the one place where people are like, aw I wish I had a giant gap tooth. Aw, I wish I had like a broken tooth. Oh I wish my teeth were all like in weird formations. Ah, shoot. Like dammit my, my teeth are well aligned and well put together. Shoot! Darn it! You know, it's such a fun, you see it happen over and over again and be like, man, like I wish I had, you know, messed up teeth. Cause that's the thing is the thing that people don't want becomes your moneymaker. So with that mentality, it's how exactly that, you know, across all across America and the world, people are cutting funding to schools, no money for instruments. Well and beatboxing. You are the instrument. So, you know, at school system you don't need to spend all that money on guitars and strings and violins and drums. We are everything. So that's another reason that I'm super passionate about it be, is, you know, I've taught all over the world and you know, bring this to communities that literally have no resources and you're on the same level as anyone else. It's very egalitarian. Just like you put in the work, you learn the sounds you can do. It doesn't matter if you can afford the expensive equipment, you, you are enough, and that's why, you know, we're seeing that all across the world. I lived in Namibia, Namibia, southern Africa for 10 weeks. I was working in an orphanage teaching computer skills and music and it was crazy to be in a place where they literally didn't have shelter, they were starving, but most people had cell phones, you know, their connection to the internet and their ability to tap into the future of information wasn't, it was incredible. You know, like even young kids all had cell phones and they're able to communicate with, so just the feed the future is we need to be creative. If you want to be competitive, you know, the real capital is creative capital, your ability to manipulate information as it comes to you in the information age. It's not enough just to know it's how you apply it, and it's necessary.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:06:28 Hear! Hear! All of that, all of that kids, yeah. Wow. I don't want to digress because I love... All of that, I'm still processing and I totally even just the, just that comment about Namibia and cell phones is mindblowing, but so true. Yeah. one thing I wanted to step back a little bit cause I was just curious since you have this reference, but what, what happened, on the ground floor in New York with the Uber App? Like what, cause I'm not, you know, I'm not familiar since I've been here. What, what was that like? Like what does it, how has it changed now in the reality of it?
Mark Martin: 01:07:20 Uber, you know, forever in New York City cabs had a monopoly, right? You didn't have to change. So a lot of the cabs were just crappy, like not well kept, smelled bad, you know, just, it was this very impersonal, dirty kind of thing. And you know, learning about the whole monopoly with, you know, how that actually works is there's like a medallion that people buy that allows them to have a registered cab. Then people sell those medallions or rent those medallions at for ridiculous, ridiculous prices. So a lot of the, you know, especially like immigrants come, they get a job, but all their money goes to paying off this medallion that someone owns. So someone's just making money off of, you know, a lot of immigrants and people try to make money. But because it's been established for, you know, how many years, it's like, oh well I know that I'll have a job and all of a sudden you have Uber come in, where now people have nicer cars.
Mark Martin: 01:08:16 The more interactive, it's much more convenient because I can just order the instead of, do you know when it's raining and you're outside waiting for a cab, like that sucks. So we can just call one that's amazing. Completely disrupt the whole thing. So for a long time, you know, all these cab drivers, you know, if you did get into a regular cab, they would talk to you and complain and they'd be like, man, Uber's like destroying my job. Like it's so much harder now, but it's one of those things you're like, wait a second. But the situation you're in already sucks. And the whole industry is being disrupted. So the longer you stay as a normal cab driver, the harder this is going to be in the future. So it reminds me of a story. I love to go. Just go on Wikipedia and reading, you know, stuff about history.
Mark Martin: 01:09:01 It was reading about the invention of the cotton gin, the invention of the cotton gin. So the guy who invented the cotton gin, he was like, hey guys, look, I made this machine that, you know, this job, he used to take you 12 hours, I can do it in 10 minutes and do you know what everyone did? They burned down his barn with a machine in it because it threatened their jobs. Right? And so he built it again and they burned down his barn again and he built with again and they burned down the barn again. And so it's one of those things where, you know, people's reactions to innovation where they were happy, they felt more secure with the job, where they had to do grueling like hand separating of cotton for like 12 hours. They were like, this is better. Then maybe making our own machine and innovating.
Mark Martin: 01:09:50 Like I'd rather stay at this tedious mind numbing job, then innovate. But, but well, it's very clear looking back is like we don't still have an entire industry like a union of, you know, cotton separators. No. Like you got beat out by the machine, that's great for society because you can now focus on other things. We don't need huge swathes of humans spending their time doing this. So I see the same thing with, with taxi drivers. It's like, it's clearly painful in the moment because your industry is being disrupted, but it's disrupted. Like it's going to change and clinging onto the old mode doesn't necessarily help anyone in the long run. If anything, the longer you hold onto it, you could actually be damaging our ability to really innovate. So, you know, in those kinds of moments, how do you identify when this new thing is coming out and how do you move towards it in a way that lets you be at the forefront of that innovation?
Mark Martin: 01:10:49 You know, Napster is a perfect example. You know, all the music industry, they could have teamed up with Napster, they could have worked together, but instead they're like, no, you're a fad. And Napster was dissolved in 20 new Hydra heads popped up in its place and the music industry tanked. You know, it's a perfect example of innovation comes and the people making the money just don't want to hear about it. They literally are just like, I don't know, modeling Dean and Dan about it. Uh, and that's what you see in New York with the cabs. It's like, yeah, someone came out with a competitive advantage. And so now it's, you know, with this medallion system is just extorting people. It's, it's a horrible system. Let's change that. It doesn't need to exist like that anymore.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:11:35 So I found it interesting that you kind of segwayed there around, Namibia and how it's the, it's the exact flip of that, right? Like where the machine is being embraced. What, what was that like being there and seeing that and seeing that shift that's happened there versus, you know, what you were just talking about juxtapose with New York and Uber. So what, what was it like, I mean, first of all, that's amazing that you were over there helping, what, but what was it like seeing that and like how is that affecting that society from being on the ground floor of that too?
Mark Martin: 01:12:18 I mean it was honestly, it was like almost beyond comprehension. It was this interesting thing where, you know, I'm teaching these adults like basic like how to put a floppy disk in and the adults are just not getting it. But the kids, you know, especially the young ones, they just run into the room and they may immediately can do whatever they want. Like there's definitely a technological fluency, you know, that comes with age that with the young kids, like they're connected with something so much bigger than their immediate area where a lot of the adults, like they've lived their whole lives in this like hell hole. And there's just no context for anything outside of it. It's just this is reality. And for the young kids, they're like very aware of all these things nearby, all these movements and music. And like literally they would come into the classroom without me even telling them that they would open all these programs and design all these flyers and banners with like their and their friends' names and you know, they just, they got it there.
Mark Martin: 01:13:17 There is this sense of, of fluency, you know, that comes with that sense of exploration. They just went for it. And it really reminds me of just the human spirit to want to explore and innovate. It's, it's within all of us and you know, to have fully grown adults unit as you're walking to teach, you know, fully grown adults begging you for bread. You know, that juxtaposed with little kids with cell phones who are able to communicate with people on the other side of the world. It is mind boggling. Just these two kind of competing realities. You know, one, we're very here and now and then the other one is connected with the world at large, and so like the questions that kids would ask or just what they were into and you know, it was just was confusing at times because you, you kind of forget where you are.
Mark Martin: 01:14:14 Like where I was, we in the southern most city of, of Namibia, which is the least densely one of if not the least densely populated countries in the world. And so I was essentially in an area of that called location, which is essentially the, like the ghetto in southern Africa. And so it was literally just a desert. There's no place to grow food or anything. They're just kind of a midway point between the capital in South Africa. And I'm like literally just dust sand, like burnt animal bones on the ground, shattered glass. I mean, I can go into that whole story, but it was just like, literally like hell on earth just to kind of like abuse and like drug abuse and alcoholism and like some of the teachers were like raping and beating the kids and you know, talking about, innovation, but adaptation, you know, after a few weeks of being there, that's just, this is life, you know, you very quickly adapt to it and just like, oh, this is normal. You know, another sewage line broke and now the whole yard is flooded with raw sewage. Like you know, like it happens here regularly.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:15:23 Wow.
Mark Martin: 01:15:25 So yeah, it was just this, this constant like perspective switch between, you know, being an American in a new place, you know, talking to an entire generation of people that had essentially been forgotten and are trapped in a hell hole. But then a group of young kids that are very aware of the things happening around them and are actively, you know, doing things and trying to get out and, and grow. It's just, I very much saw, you know, the future people say features in Africa. It's like, yeah, like there, there's going to be so much growth there. Cause the thing is they don't have the, like we have antiquated infrastructure in the same way. Like Europe kind of does too.
Mark Martin: 01:16:12 Like they're, they're optimized for cobblestone streets and horses, but in Africa they're, they're going to be optimized for digital reality. Like Wakanda is real. Like it's gonna it's, it's going in that direction and I'm really excited to see how that will eventually play out. You know, it really is the, the powerful change, you know, change is coming. Yeah. Well I'm curious how, how that co coming from that and coming back here, how has that changed the way you approach, you know, your perspective at life and working with kids here? So my experience in Namibia definitely impacted my desire to teach and to share and also my, my faith in humanity, because I really saw even in the darkest of places that there was so much potential and power and curiosity and so many things. And it really reframed, you know, my sense of, of struggle or you know, privilege, you know, just as an American the things we have access to.
Mark Martin: 01:17:26 And, yeah, it really changed my relationship with a lot of people with my family, with, you know, things around me. I'm just realizing how big simple things can be, how powerful that song can be. You know, how powerful that access to a meal can be. Like I remember I had one girl that frequently tried breaking into my compound where I lived in because I had food, you know, just a little like to try it, like telling us like a little five year old girl, like, I'm, I'm sorry, I can give you food, you know, or if I did, then you know, all the other kids would find out. And so it was just this whole interesting thing of just like, damn, like that box of cookies or crackers can make a huge difference. And you know, for a lot of these kids they just, there was no other way that was just their reality.
Mark Martin: 01:18:18 Same with the adults. It was just this sense of like, this is reality, this is what it is. We can't get out of it. So it made me really want to, you know, provide the tools cause that that does a big part of like when I got there, one of the first things I did is I went through there was like a landfill in town and I went through with a couple of kids and we went looking for a scrap metal and like tree branches. And so I had a knife and I whittled the tree branches and to drum sticks. And I made like, we found all these plastic buckets and started like made like a bunch of instruments for the kids. So it's the same thing of literally like, how do I turn trash into something that these kids can play with? When I talk about like the flipped mentality, how do I literally transform these things that are valueless into things that are valuable, and that was a huge thing. It was, it was a great, you know, I, every day I'd have a group of like 20, 30 kids that would come and we'd give them all these different instruments and things and they'd all just kind of bang along and sing songs and dance, and it was powerful that that gave them something to do in a play. We were literally in a barbed wire fence than compound where if I was outside of the barbed wire by like 5:00 PM, people would come up to me like, you need to get out. Like, it's not safe. You need to leave, you need to leave. You need to leave. You know, very dangerous, dangerous place, and so just to have that kind of space for the kids and the adults too, that they could just come together and make music together was really powerful. It's, you know, it's a, it's an essential part of our humanity to connect with people in that way.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:19:54 Hear! Hear! So I'm going to start to wind it down now, but I was curious, you know, you're now, new to Denver in the last year. Welcome.
Mark Martin: 01:20:07 Thank you.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:20:08 What was it that brought you from New York to Denver? How did that all take place and what was that story?
Mark Martin: 01:20:18 So, Kaila's cousin actually lives in Boulder. She works in the music industry, so kill it and visited a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, and then, I've been working with Ben Verdery is the head of the Yale Guitar Department, and so we performed at a festival tar festival in Denver, in 2016 so we were like, hey, this is an excuse to check out Denver. So we came for the festival, stay for about a week, really enjoyed it, and then when we're back in New York, you know, we're kind of going back and forth. Like New York's definitely changed a lot of, of the past couple of years. And, when I talked about, when I was teaching all the time in the Bronx, I wound up, I was in the subway 30 to 48 hours a week, just in the subway. And it took a huge toll on my body. I got really sick, I was in the hospital for like over a week and it really affected me for like the following months.
Mark Martin: 01:21:15 So it was like, you know, we're like what we're doing, but this may not be the best place to do it. So we just kind of were back and forth on Denver because were like, essentially for what we do, it's either LA, New York, Nashville, and like, we don't really, like La. Nashville didn't seem like the right place, but with Denver, with the kind of like funky EDM scene, you know, it's progressive, it's growing. It seemed like this would be, you know, the next big place to, to head to. So we literally just packed up all of our stuff into a U-haul and drove, you know, it took us four days to get my Volvo V70, from New York City to Denver. And that in of itself was a huge eye opening experience. You know, I've toured all over the US before, with a group that I used to tour with, but this was a much more personal, you know, like day day three was just Kansas, which was a crazy inexperienced ended up itself, but it was cool. So really went through the, the golden ticket here.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:22:19 Wow, that's awesome. That's awesome. I, I've done that commute. I've done that commute from back east cause I moved here from back East too. So I, I know the, I actually went to school in, University of Tennessee and moved out here from Knoxville when I finished school and with a couple of my best buddies. And same thing with the dream of music. And you know, it was actually when the dance scene was actually kind of in its early booming stage here. And I originally moved to boulder myself, right. And then then moved here to Denver, but yeah, I mean it was very progressive. Even back then, you know, just very progressive area. But now is really coming into its own, you know, similar to like Austin and some of those other cities that are, you know, Atlanta. I mean, Geez, Atlanta is like completely evolved as well, and Nashville has, like you mentioned, I mean that place is completely evolved from what I remember it back in the day and now it's kind of the popular place in Tennessee over Memphis as far as, you know, culture and music and arts. Well I know you have a couple of things coming up that are really exciting. One thing I'm actually planning to attend, which is the thinking outside the beatbox. That's another TEDx event that you're doing. It's actually here in Denver for any of you guys listening that are local. Can you talk about what that's going to be like? And that's on February 21st, I believe.
Mark Martin: 01:24:00 Yes. February 21st. So it's going to be actually a crash course in beatboxing. We want to introduce, you know, the actual, you know, we've talked about it plenty, but we want to introduce you to some of the foundational aspects and tools and games of it. Uh, it's really show you that you have the ability to do it. That's what we constantly see would be boxing, is it? A lot of people put this kind of, Oh, you have talent or you, you're special, but it's actually super universal. You know? I always use examples. So if someone's like, oh, I can't beatbox. I said, well, how'd you learn how to speak English? You just babbled until it made sense. And then you got really good at it. It sort of, um, and that's exactly what we're gonna do is we're going to start out babbling. And by the end of it, you'll have a foundational understanding and approach to be boxing that you can take anywhere and everywhere.
Mark Martin: 01:24:50 You know, I, I said my real goal is spreading the gospel of beatboxing. And one of the most important truth of that is that we all have the ability to do it. And I mean that in a very real way that you can do it. You have your own sounds, you will develop your own style. You, you're not going to sound exactly like me. You're not going to sound exactly like anyone else. But within the beatboxing world, no one sounds exactly like anyone else either. And that's the whole fun part. You're going to come up with something new that I've never done before. That's exciting to me and it should be exciting to you too, and that, that's what we really want to do instead of just talking about it. Let's do it. Dig In, have fun, be a part of it, and tell other people, you know, that's a big part of what we really hope for is to find the, you know, we have communities in New York and other places in the world, but we really want to cultivate the community here in Denver of people that get it. People that say, I, I see that it's more than a party trick. This is a real tool for communication. You know, like you're saying, you've done it your whole life. I've done it my whole life. A lot of people have done it their whole lives, but they've never been in a room full of people doing it together, and it's really transformative. It's really transcendental too. When you're in a group of people. I'll be boxing together and making this crazy subtract like it. The feeling is just incredible. You know, there is something really, as a little reference for that.
Mark Martin: 01:26:10 It's something that I always love is, you know, acapella music. People are like, oh, acapella means without instruments, but acapella means as in the church, because in the old Christian Church, instruments were considered sacrilegious only. The human voice was a truly spiritual, uh, you know, mode of communication with God. And you know, whether you're religious or not, the effect of vocalizing together with a group of humans is a spiritual experience. However way you frame it as humans were meant to communicate and connect with other humans. And this is one of the raw ways that you can do it cause it's not about being perfectly in tune. It's about finding your place in the sonic texture, which is a really powerful metaphor for life. You know, how do you find your place in this world when people say, what's my purpose? For some people, you might be a shaker for other people, you might be the baseline for other people, you might be, you know, the snare drum for other people, you might be a fly on the wall.
Mark Martin: 01:27:18 You know what? But that's the thing is, is finding your place. There is a place for you, and I, that's what I like about beatboxing is that you, you find your place. If you, if you listen, you will find your place, so it is a very human human thing, you know, rather than dictating and saying, well, I'm going to be this. How do you listen for fine? What, what the community needs. You know what, there's, there's no, there's no trap horn or you know, there's no air horn. I can be that air horn, like, you know, finding it and filling it. You know, it goes back to the flip mentality. It goes back to innovation and creativity when like whatever your job is, when it's replaced by computers, what are you going to do? You got to look for what, well, what do people need? You know, and that's a mentality rather than, well, I'm always going to be the shaker. I'm the shake and shake and shake and shake and shake and shake her man Chicka Chicka Chicka Chicka chicka shake your man until someone has a better shaker then you know, and it's like either you work with them or you find a way to adapt or exactly that. How do you evolve constantly to be a part of the conversation?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:28:30 I love it. I that was one of the things I really enjoyed about your TEDx talk was when you had the entire audience and I immediately lit up and was like, yes, he's going to make a spoon. So you know, you like pick the different sections and we're like, you're going to be the snare and you're going to be the high hat, you're going to be the kick. And I was just like, this is so fucking awesome. Like it was because you showed you showcase your talent, but then seeing hundreds of people then learning, I just loved how you, you also gave us that little tease of teaching beatboxing to people. And I just was like, like my wife was with me for the event and she just like got this huge smile on her face because she knew I was just like, yes, you know, and uh, and just like seeing people.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:29:19 But it was awesome because she also jumped in and did it and didn't like feel like, oh, it's my thing. You know, it was like our, all of us there, to your point, you know, we all have our own voice and I was so excited to see her jump in and do it, you know, and like embrace her own sound as you were, you know, promoting to people to have your own voice, you know? And, and I love that. And that, that's actually part of what I say in the opener to this show is around giving, you know, helping people or sharing people who have their voice with people to help them find their voice. You know, in this world filled with noise. You know, there's so many people out there like us that are creatives that, that, that, that may not have tapped into that, that tone or that sound that they have and who they are.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:30:11 What, who that what that, you know, like you were talking about that unique sound that we all have that you, you know, the, the key stone that you will love to find. And you know, that's part of why I want to do this is to showcase people like you who are out there helping people do that, you know, and help others. But listen to this show, get inspired by this, you know, and get excited. Maybe want to do this. Maybe they are like, man, I like making sounds. I didn't know this was actually like a thing, you know? Or maybe they, they, they, they, you know, like you were talking about they, they do it but they didn't know they could actually help people with it. Like you guys are doing, you know? And I think that was what was so moving to me is that I love creativity with the, with on the, with the Lens of purpose, you know, where it's taking creativity and saying like, I don't want to just be master my craft. I want to master my craft, but then pay, pay it back, pay it forward to people and like pay it back to the community. And the, even on the flip of that, you're not just doing that, but you're helping people be able to like communicate, you know? And that is just super powerful. So again, I just thank you for your work, man. I love it. Another thing I wanted to bring up is you have a big beatbox battle coming up. Can you talk about that?
Mark Martin: 01:31:33 Yeah. So, the Grand Beatbox Battle is going to be in Poland this year. It's the biggest, like the world's biggest invite only battle. So it's literally the top of the world. Your hand selected to be in the battle. So competing with Kaila as a tag team. So this can be I believe like eight or nine different tag teams from all over the world, and it's a showcase case style battle, which means that each of the teams that we're going to have four minutes to showcase our, and then the top four teams are going to battle it out. So battles usually are a AB AB style minute, 30 minutes, 30 minutes, 30 minutes, 30. Uh, and then if the judges can't decide, there's usually an option for a 32nd overtime. So we actually were in, we had entered this Grand Beatbox Battle in 2015 I believe, or 2016 and we didn't make it to the battle, but we did get really good feedback. A lot of people told us that we were their favorite, but part of it was our style. We have like a more kind of theatrical musical style, the necessary like a battle style, so that's something that we're excited about this year is to really step up, you know, to still be ours. Cause that's like a big, kind of cultural difference that we see in styles like in Europe versus America. Europeans are much more technical focused and about like cleanliness and perfection where a lot of Americans are more about style and presentation and like our feel and like the raw feeling of it, so we're excited. You know, most of the judges are European. It's a definitely a European based, battle, but that's part of also, you know, our, our goal is American beatboxers is to represent the communities that we come from, what we've learned and you know, the roots of what we do. It's, it's a huge part of, of what influences us. You know, growing up in the, in the New York City beatboxing, you know, the hip hop teen learning from those people that have been doing it since day one, has been a huge part of our motivation. Why we do what we do is to bring that aspect of style and individuality to the battle.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:33:47 Love it. So one of the, one of the things I wanted to ask you is before I got like a few, like quick sort of rapid fire questions, that I like to do at the end, but one of the things I was wondering is like how can people support you and what you're doing with light ship? Yeah.
Mark Martin: 01:34:07 So a lot of what we're, you know, we're, we're so building out what it is that we're doing as far as our educational platform, but, you know, just getting us in contact with schools all across the, you know, the country or the world. We really want to connect with the schools. We can do assemblies for, you know, we're still very much in the stage of just getting people aware of what it is that we're doing. So yeah, we really appreciate, you know, connecting us. We've had success with so many schools in the past, and it's usually what I'm saying is when people see it, they go, oh, that makes perfect sense. But when you describe it to them, it's kind of hard to understand. So that word of mouth just, you know, that hey, these people are doing something.
Mark Martin: 01:34:49 It's powerful and transformative for the kids. You know, getting it as contact with those people. We want to, you know, tour more, you know, as you know, going schools, we want to hit, you know, as many states as we can as many counties. Another thing too is that, you know, I teach beatboxing lessons, so if you or anyone you know is interested in lessons, that's something I'm super passionate about. I really enjoy having, you know, lessons with people and helping them find their voice. You know, we set up a whole program. We figure out what your goals are and, you know, develop that out to help you meet those goals. So yeah, anyone, you know, there's looking for students or anyone you know, who's looking to learn how to beatbox is appreciated. Same. Any schools or people that we can connect to, the people that you know, make decisions as far as assemblies, things like that.
Mark Martin: 01:35:38 You know, check out our stuff on Instagram. I'm @markmartincreative on Instagram. You can find Kaila @kailamullady. You know, the same with YouTube. We're building out our YouTube channels and they're definitely, since we moved to Denver, there's a lot more opportunities for us to develop our own creative content, but at the moment it's mostly, you know, with the education, you know, if you want to book us, you know, we really just want to get the word of beatboxing out there. That's our, our big kind of focus, cause we see time and time again is the branding challenge of beatboxing is what I say. I'm a professional beatboxer. It's going to go oh yeah, yeah. Like Oh, what did you teach each? Boom. You're like sort of, just the craft has evolved and is, you know, a sub, it's a subculture.
Mark Martin: 01:36:31 So we really want to just show people the power of what it is, what it can do and how it can impact your life. Love it, love it. And I'll have that stuff in the show notes too for folks as well. The link to, so some quick questions I had for you. What music has influenced your life the most? This is a funny, funny things. Something I was reading recently a book about kind of the whole Swedish musical powerhouse, talking about like Max Martin and Doctor Luke at all those guys. So I'm not Swedish, but I grew up in a Swedish church in Hartford, Connecticut. I'm Puerto Rican and Jewish, but I grew up in a Swedish church and one that had a third largest organ on the east coast. And this Oregon was massive. I mean, when the dude, like, he would, if I like the low basis where it's just like any bass head concert you go to, we're just the place rumbles.
Mark Martin: 01:37:29 And I realized that for, you know, most of my life, I was going to church. I was, I, I wasn't really a practicing Christian, but I would, you know, sing along with the music and I would, you know, what I heard, I realize now is a huge influence on my musical, my musical DNA, because there's apparently, I didn't know this, but like a Swedish tradition of like melody writing, uh, you know, we'd sing all these old songs. I learned how to in Swedish, and that was definitely a, I realize now, like a huge influence on my life, just my attentiveness to sound and frequency and feeling and vibration. And then from there growing up as a jazz musician, that was, yeah, that was what really opened it up. That allowed for the conversation and you know, music as a conversation cause that's what you were doing in jazz.
Mark Martin: 01:38:18 You're always communicating and speaking to each other with rhythms and lyrics and you know, trading. It was always that aspect of communication. So I feel like that was kind of my American synthesis was this growing up in a Swedish church, you know, people talk about like church music and stuff, but I Swedish church, but then growing up as a jazz musician, that was for me the perfect storm, because at that point that's when I started singing acapella music where I was singing and playing the same thing because I was used to playing bass. But then I would sing the base. So I was constantly going back and forth on, you know, being the instrument, pretending to be the instruments, singing the line, harmonizing, you know, all these complex time signatures and things like that. So that, that really was my musical Maelstrom as it were.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:11 Wow, that's awesome. So grew up in a Swedish church but you're half Puerto Rican and Jewish.
Mark Martin: 01:39:20 Yup.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:20 Wow, that's awesome. Super diverse. I love it.
Mark Martin: 01:39:24 Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:39:27 Do you have a quote that you live your life by or that you kind of think of often or kind of guide you?
Mark Martin: 01:39:35 Hmm, I'm going to say yes, but not off the top of my head there. I mean there are a lot of like tidbits or kind of quotes here or there that it really helped me I think know thyself has always like since like learning about that it's that go for self identity. Like just knowing your own motivations I think has been one of my biggest motivators. As far as my searching for understanding, cause it's easy to get lost in external meaning. And I think a lot of people go through similar path or you're, you're looking for the truth, but then you realize that external truth is completely subjective and that there are so many conflicting and contradictory narratives. They, you're like, oh, context that's just the, that's definitely been one of the things that's transformed my life is really embracing context as a, as a tool for searching for meaning.
Mark Martin: 01:40:35 Like what is true in this context can be very false in a, in a different context, and that kind of relativism. Once again, just to bring it back to my own perception, like my truths change. And I think that's a beautiful part about being a human, something that I may have believed for years in my life. It doesn't necessarily mean that it's true or that it's true any more. I think especially in such a quickly changing reality where information is changing and there's fake information and all these layers of information, you know, your perception of these things are as much a part of the truth as the truth itself. So giving yourself that kind of everything with a grain of salt and willingness to question, willingness to ask, I think it is just a super important part of being human. Whatever you think you believe, if you're not questioning it, it could be that's the thorn in your side that you, you know, just, Oh yeah, like this thing that I've always believed, that's what holds me together.
Mark Martin: 01:41:38 But maybe it's the thing that that prevents you from being yourself. You know, we'd like to hold out the, you know, I think a great example, if you ever get like a broken bone or something, you know, you, you want to kind of hold it in place and don't touch it, you know, I don't want to deal with it, but that's exactly the thing that needs to be dealt with. So also embracing failure has been a huge motivator for me in the past couple of years, especially once I started really getting into teaching because you'd see these young kids getting frustrated over simple things that they can do. And, and it's always one kind of what our favorite moments when I'm teaching someone to beatbox and they don't get it the first time and they get discouraged. And I'm like, I've been doing this for 20 years.
Mark Martin: 01:42:21 If you got everything perfectly right the first time, imagine how that would make me feel. You know, like that. It's just so funny that there's this fear of failure and, and it just looking back at myself so many times where I got frustrated with something where it's just like, Geez, like let yourself grow. Like it's okay to me. Like that's the only way to actually grow is to make mistakes. That's how you actually learn, and you know, our school system, this is one of the big reasons I want to work in innovating education is because our school system trained me to fear failure. You know, I used when I was a little kid, I was super curious. I was, when I was like four years old, I was memorizing the Latin names of body parts. I was so curious about biology and chemistry and all these things.
Mark Martin: 01:43:09 But once you can be wrong at something you don't want to try anymore because you don't want to be wrong, and a huge book that was a huge breakthrough on that was the art of learning a highly, highly, highly recommend this book. It's about a young man who was a world chess champion before he was like 16 and in less than two years became a world champion martial artist. So he talks about all the tools and techniques that allowed him to translate what he knew about being world chess champion into a martial arts champion. Then the whole conversation about fixed versus growth mentality. You know, the idea of I'm smart because I'm smart or I'm because I work hard and how it just breeds, you know, this, this, this blockage that if your fixed mindset, you know, I'm smart because people tell me I'm smart, I'm talented because people tell me that I'm talented.
Mark Martin: 01:44:05 That's what holds you back from ever really being amazing because you never want to risk not being amazing. So, I mean that's definitely, if there's something I wanted to share, it would read that book art of learning. Because once you realize that you can embrace failure, you start making different choices where you can actually look outside yourself and be okay that you're a flawed human being. Cause we're all flawed human beings, and, and once you, and this ties in with the know yourself. If you know that there's something you've got to work on, you can work on it. But if you never admit to yourself that you could change or that something needs to change, then you never will. Unless something else pushes you to do it. But for me, that's my motivator is I'm a human. I've made mistakes and I want to keep learning and growing and being a better person; not because I feel like I'm not good enough, but because I feel that that's the human game. That's what's exciting. Like why would I want to plateau when I could just, why wouldn't I want to be a better beatboxer? Cause that's also a motivator. I see them, I get my students, you know, showing them I'm working on something is just as powerful as being a master at that thing, you know, so that's my, my big motivator.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:45:28 Wow. I just want to call out again, where can people find you online and connect with you on the inner webs?
Mark Martin: 01:45:35 So the best places to reach me, at Instagram, you can reach me at @markmartincreative, so it's mark with a k. You can also check out my website and markmartincreative.com and there you'll see it. Contact pages, you'll see tabs for beatbox education. So a couple of little breakdowns on some of the things I do, and shoot me an email. You know, I love having conversations, you know, I I really believe that'd beatboxing is a very personal things. If you have any questions or if there's something you want to learn in particular or you're looking for communities near you, just shoot me an email. You know, you can find all that contact information on my website.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:46:13 Love it. Mark. Thank you so much brother. This has been a phenomenal conversation. So many little nuggets of wisdom and some really great things for people to think about. And Myself, I, you had me, I was drifting off there for a minute when you were just speaking because I was like, God, that really is some great advice. So thank you so much. Thank you for the work you're doing. Good luck to you on the Grand Beatbox Battle coming up in Poland and I will be seeing you soon at Thinking Outside the Beatbox for TEDx, and yeah. Thanks again brother. Keep up the great work.
Mark Martin: 01:46:51 Thank you man. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:46:53 Last thing Mark, I'd love if you could just give us a little sample of your beatbox wizardry, man.
Mark Martin: 01:47:01 Everything that you're about to hear hear hear hear is coming right from my mouth... I love the way you smile. I love the way you move. I love the way you love me. Love the way we groove. I love the way we groove. [beatboxing] I love the way we groove. I love the way we groove.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:48:04 Damn! Do you hear what I'm talking about? My Gosh, that is amazing. I am so glad that I'm able to share that with you guys. I hope you've enjoyed it. I hope you enjoyed our conversation and I hope you have an amazing day and this reminds you of the power of you! And with that...
Gabe Ratliff: 01:48:30 Well, that's it for this episode. This is your first time listening. Thank you so much for being here. I really hope you enjoy the show. The Vitalic Project podcast comes out bi-weekly and is available every other Thursday for your enjoyment and all links and show notes for this episode can be found at vitalicproject.com. If you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show and leave a rating or review on iTunes. If you'd like to be a guest or know someone, that would be a great fit, please go to vitalic project.com/guest if you want to follow us, you can find us online by searching @vitalicproject and thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep being vitalitic!