Bloomer’s beatboxing blossoms

Bjorn Hunstad, aka Bloomer, approaches the top of the new school beatboxing scene

Beatboxer Bjorn Hunstad, aka Bloomer.

Bridget Bennett

Beatboxer Bjorn Hunstad, aka Bloomer.

Emily Eveland

At various points in his life, Bjorn Hunstad of Moorhead, Minn., has been an actor, a photographer, an artist, a drummer, a pianist, a violinist, a snowboarder and a model. But above all, the 20-year-old Hunstad, aka Bloomer, is a beatboxer.

Last Wednesday, Bloomer invited A&E to his new St. Paul apartment, which he shares with his longtime friend and rapper Joshua Evans Turner, otherwise known as Dem Atlas.

Atlas and Bloomer met through high school speech tournaments when Hunstad went to Moorhead High School and Evans went to Eagan Senior High School.

“Bjorn had this dorky blonde streak through his hair in high school, and I thought that was really cool,” Atlas said.

Throughout the interview, Bloomer nervously played with his cellphone, flipping it over in his hands as though seeing it for the first time.

“Oh crap, I just have to text my dad quick,” he said in the midst of explaining the local beatboxing scene. “He’s mad. I’m supposed to call my bank.”

Bloomer spent the next few minutes texting his father back, mouthing the words under his breath. “Being … interviewed …”

For a kid who’s experimented with almost every possible artistic enterprise, he remains refreshingly humble.

“He’s not walking around with a big head like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got this,’’’ Bloomer’s friend and mentor Carnage the Executioner said. “He’s actually willing to practice.”

Bloomer said he practices beatboxing about six hours per day, but Atlas swears it’s more. Some said he even beatboxes in his sleep.

In the daytime, Bloomer is a delivery driver for American Apparel, which means he’s basically “getting paid to be a beatboxer.”

“This cat is always practicing, day in and day out,” Atlas said. “When it’s silent, it’s not really silent, because Bjorn is beatboxing.”

 

Beatbox beginnings

It all started with a book called “Mouth Sounds.” Bloomer’s father gave it to him when he was 9 years old with the words, “Here, annoy your mother.”

As time passed, he began mimicking sounds like the sizzling of frying pans and laser beams. Then he gravitated toward America’s favorite anthropomorphic duck.

“I used to have a slight obsession with Daffy Duck,” he said.

 Bloomer remembers having his picture taken with Daffy at Disney World, throwing a Daffy-themed birthday party and wearing Daffy Duck shoes in his youth. Most importantly, he mastered Daffy’s voice, which ended up being a common sound in beatboxing.

Bloomer starting taking drum lessons at age 10, which laid the rhythmic foundations.

At 14, he heard his brother’s friend beatbox and never turned back.

“I’ve beatboxed every day since that day,” he said.

 

Schools of beatbox thought

Bloomer considers himself a new-school beatboxer, meaning his style isn’t solely focused on hip-hop. Instead, it spans different genres like samba, trance and dubstep.

“Some of the people in the [new-school] beatbox scene — their lives aren’t even hip-hop at all,” he said.

The new school has become more popular with help from YouTube, which allows beatboxers from across the globe to connect and share their skills.

Bloomer said the videos he makes and sometimes posts online are like his sketchbook. He watches them repeatedly and looks for things to improve.

In 2012, Bloomer attended his first American Beatbox Championship in New York. Two months later, he competed in the Midwest Beatbox battle but lost his first round.

In May 2013, Bloomer and Dem Atlas took second place in the American Human Beatbox Festival in New York. Most recently, he made it to the quarterfinals in the 2013 Midwest Beatbox Battle, which he said was the biggest beatboxing battle ever in the United States.

“I had literally gone from one week knowing two beatboxers in person to knowing like 80,” Bloomer said of the competitions.

He has no plans of stopping anytime soon — his mind is set on ranking even higher this year.

But Bloomer is focused on more than his own success. Since graduating from Moorhead High School in 2011, he’s put a lot of work into building a stronger Twin Cities beatboxing scene.

At his last house, Bloomer hosted beatbox jams in his basement every other week, usually featuring four to five beatboxers a night.

“I’m trying to get those people to have an outlet,” he said.

 

The Bloomer flow

In just a few years, Bloomer has risen to the top of the local beatboxing scene, joining the ranks of old-school masters like Carnage the Executioner and DJ Snuggles.

“I think his development and the speed of his development is phenomenal,” Carnage said. “I foresee him being one of the great U.S. contenders in beatboxing.”

With time, Bloomer has made huge strides in developing his own style, which his friends affectionately call “the Bloomer flow.” He said his friends no longer notice when he’s beatboxing, because he does it so often.

“That’s the thing with beatboxing — you just walk around and have it on you,” he said. “It’s like my breathing.”

 

WHAT: Bloomer with DJ Indecisive, Minnie Blanco and Kudo
WHEN: 9 p.m., Thursday
WHERE: Nomad World Pub, 501 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
COST: Free
AGE: 21+