Gaurav Gambhir, a.k.a D-Cypher, has been beatboxing for the past 10 years. He is a part of the iconic Hip-Hop Collective, ‘Bombay Lokal’, and will always be remembered for his work in Gully Boy’s ‘Asli Hip Hop’ and ‘Jingostan Beatbox’!
It was 2011 when Gaurav Gambhir, aka D-Cypher, saw beatboxer ‘Vineeth Kumar’, in an event and got hooked to beatboxing. Throughout the second year of his college, Gaurav explored this genre. After finishing his graduation, he worked in a Digital Marketing Agency for three years but then changed his mind and decided to make ‘Beatboxing’ a full-time career. In 2016 Gaurav and his rapper friend Shaikhspeare founded the Hip Hop collective ‘Bombay Lokal’, and did some amazing work with various artists. Later on, when Shaikhspeare was selected to do a part in the movie Gully Boy, the other members, including Gaurav, were called to play extra. But, then something unexpected happened that opened the doors of fame and opportunities for Gaurav.
“On day 2 of the shoot, I got the opportunity to beatbox and the crowd went crazy. Out of nowhere, suddenly Ranveer Singh came up to me and said ‘Tu Hard Beatboxer Hai’. The next day, Farhan Akhtar visited the set when Zoya Akhtar requested him to listen to the Beatboxing. So, I roped in my beatbox partner from the crew ‘BeatRAW’, and we performed together. After which Farhan complimented us and said ‘You guys were great“, remembers Gaurav.
This one performance was so good that Farhan Akhtar ended up giving them the opportunity to perform the two big hits, ‘Asli Hip Hop’ and ‘Jingostan Beatbox’ for the movie. “It was a great experience to be a part of India’s first movie based on the ‘Rap Scene’ of Mumbai. I never felt like I was on a movie set since it included us doing what we did in our daily lives, i.e Jamming with each other and performing for a large crowd”, he further adds.
Gaurav is indeed one of the first few and one of the most talented beatboxers in the country. His skills are on point, and definitely have the power to leave you in awe. He’s been the ‘Vice Indian Beatbox Champion’, in 2018, along with his crew-mate BeatRAW. Their duo is also something else and watching them perform feels unique and entertaining. Other than that, it’s also fun watching Gaurav perform with the other crew members of Bombay Lokal, which is the very first Hip-Hop collective from ‘Vasai-Nalasopara-Virar.
“I started meeting Rappers and Beatboxers every weekend since 2012 at a place called ‘Narli Baug’ in Dadar. There’s a group on Facebook called ‘Cypher Mania’ founded by a guy ‘Ashwini Mishra’, which rappers and beatboxers used to meet up. That’s how I met ‘Shaikhspeare’! Since both of us used to stay nearby, we stayed in touch and dreamt of founding a Hip-Hop Collective back in 2012. The crew was founded in 2016 once we discovered enough rappers, beatboxers, B-boys, and graffiti artists”, explains Gaurav.
There’s no doubt that Gaurav is a pro at his job. But did you know he did it all by himself and is a self-taught beatboxer? He would go to beatboxing battles to get the hang of how good other people were and used to take tips and observe them to improve his skills. “I realized that ‘Youtube’ was the source for everyone. So, I started watching videos of International Beatboxers and would imitate what they were doing. After a few years, my focus shifted to making my own beats/patterns and finding my own style”, he says.
It was challenging, but Gaurav didn’t give up. He continued and gave his soul to his passion. “I didn’t receive a lot of encouragement initially but never was I discouraged so I kept doing what I loved. Since I’m one of the first ones to do it, I will have always have to contribute to create a market for Beatboxing in India, which is still not very popular”, he explains.
Though Gully Boy opened doors for the beatboxers and rappers in India, Gaurav feels there’s still a lot of work that should be done. But, at the same time, he also is very hopeful about it becoming a mainstream genre. “It’s slowly getting the commercial recognition it deserves after featuring in a mainstream movie like ‘Gully Boy. I feel it will become more and more commercially acceptable as time passes by”, he says.
From listening to music on his father’s phone every night to randomly playing Dhak ( an instrument played during Navratri) to becoming a fine beatboxer, Gaurav Gambhir, a.k.a D-Cypher, has come a long way. Talking about how does he maintain his skills and how he prepares, Gaurav says, “I just randomly beatbox during the day whenever I feel like. So instead of going on for 2-3 long hours of beatboxing, I do it in parts every 15-20 minutes whenever I feel like”.
QUICK 5 with D Cypher
1. Indian beatboxers you look up to: DILIP, BeatRAW, Wah Da FU, MDM, Sebastian
2. Three tips for aspiring beatboxers? : Practice, Perform, Collaborate and most importantly have fun.
3. If your life was a song, it would be? : ASLI Hip Hop!
4. A city you would like to organize a concert in? : Mumbai
5. Your favorite spot in your city to enjoy live music: Antisocial, Famous/MEHBOOB Studios.