Interview: Killa Kela

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We first saw Lee Potter aka Killa Kela live onstage at Fort Canning for F1 Rocks Singapore last year. The West Sussex native started beatboxing in his teens with the 360 Physicals and was discovered by famous DJ-producer Vadim not long after. In 2000, Killa Kela released his first mixtape called Antistatic Mouthwash with British hip hop producer and DMC Scratch Champion Mr. Thing. He then went on to become a member of the Isolationists, the Rock Steady Crew and The Scratch Perverts, and started sharing stage time with Pharrell, Justin Timberlake, Super Furry Animals, Prince, De La Soul and Plan B. Combining drum n bass, electro, hip hop, singing, MCing and vocal scratching with plenty of body movements and his own interpretations of popular songs, Killa Kela’s “multivocalism” technique makes him one ball of fire onstage. Rated as one of the best next to other infamous beatboxers like Kenny Muhammad and Rahzel, we dived into the opportunity to speak to the man himself before he hits the Zouk stage tomorrow night!

Hello, what were you up to last week?
Last week? I was on tour in the UK, plus in the studio recording with BabyDrum from the UK, Major Lazer from the States and LifeLike from France.

So tell us a bit about Killa Kela.
I make music with my mouth. I create magic in music. I also make real music and party crazy hard.

What was the one thing that got you into beatboxing?
Nothing really got me into beatboxing, I’ve been doing it since I was a child. I was encouraged by other beatboxers back in the day because it affirmed to me that it was a culture and I felt I could add an element to that world.

You released your third album Amplified in 2009. How’s it doing?
Great! As far as I know. I generally don’t ask as it can cause distractions. But as far as the fans go, they’re all pleased with it, which makes me happy.

How difficult is it for you to make that transition from beatboxing to mainstream multi-vocalist?
It’s easier nowadays. Beatboxing has become more mainstream and people use it more freely in production. Plus I’m 3 albums in, so it’s come a long way. A good song is a good song at the end of the day. People just gotta know them and sing along.

We were right up front during your set for F1 Rocks Singapore last year and man, that was some energy. What’s your secret?
My secret? I love the crowd and I love Red Bull.

Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?
Nah, fortunately not-yet. (Wink.) [But] We’ve had a few lighting rigs collapse on us onstage. My drummer Andy Show has had some major injuries lately on his hands and face from hitting the drums. Crazy!

Speaking of crazy, what’s the wildest show you’ve ever performed at?
Oh, loads man! F1 Rocks was great (check the video blog on Kelavision Episode 5 at [Then there’s] Earls Court supporting Jay-Z, the MTV VMAs 2008 with Sami Delux and Snoop Dogg, and so many more.

What’s the silliest thing anyone has ever said about you?
What you do, it’s not really music. (Laughs.)

What’s your favourite album at the moment?
I like my old skool rock and I’m listening to Iron Maiden’s first album right now. Cracking stuff.

Do you ever get starstruck?
Nah, not really … apart from the time when I met Prince. Tennis balls were bouncing around my brain when I first met him. That was good times.

Sum up your 2010 so far, Twitter-style (in 140 characters).
2010 has been a turning point musically and never have I had such a tighter show. I also live better. I’m slowly gettin’ my life together.

What can we expect from the upcoming Killa Kela show at Zouk on April’s Fool Day?
A show like you’ve never seen before. We’ve got a flying circus of an event: beatboxing, drums, DJ, beatbox battling, tracks for you to know to medleys of songs you know. It’s gonna be a lot of fun!

You’re not gonna pull off any tricks, are you?
(Laughs) Nah, no rabbits out of the hat. Andy Show, my drummer, may show you his banana trick on the stage if you’re lucky. (Wink.)

Killa Kela will be tricking it up at Zouk tomorrow night 1 April 2010 and no, he didn’t pull a fast one on us. Go say hi to him at

Image Zouk