boy eats drum machine
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boy eats drum machine

Band Alternative EDM


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"press quotes"

"Quarky indie rock in the vein of Barsuk Records (think John Vanderslice) gets a 10-count pin-down on the electropop dancefloor. a juicy mélange"
-village voice

"Poison control officials discover faint traces of Portishead, the Strokes, Peter Gabriel. Amazingly, nobody hurt."
-chris richards / washington post

"11 tracks of pure heaven"
-northwest noise

"unique and mesmerizing"
"something new and truly great"
-willamette week

"Pleasure is a big, complex electro-pop rocker with drums that skate between hiphop and post-rock while shifty bass slinks down booze alley, and singer Jonny Ragel's soulful, dead-serious voice switches between a gravely croon and a great, tremulous falsetto"
-portland mercury

"not only will you have it permanently stuck in your head — you’ll be happy about it"
-portland tribune

"crisp beats, searing riffs and bouncy, infectious melodies"
-pdx magazine - various

"Boy Eats Drum Machine Dec. 3 at Doug Fir"

Portland one-man band proves to be more than two turntables and a microphone.

BY AMY MCCULLOUGH | amccullough at

Boy Eats Drum Machine
[ELECTRO-POP] When a band starts its first show by sheepishly telling the crowd there's extra equipment on stage because some of it might not work, it doesn't fill listeners with high hopes. Add to that the fact that this Saturday appearance at the Doug Fir was Boy Eats Drum Machine's first live performance and the crowd would be forgiven to expect a disaster. But when the local one-man band cum three-piece broke into its dance-heavy pop with opener, "Eunuch," BEDM proved that it has more to offer than just, as the song claims, "A turntable and a Casio."

That's pretty much where BEDM started. On record, BEDM is the voice and instrumentation of Portlander Jonny Ragel combined with a number of borrowed beats, many from Bridgetown Breaks, an album of drum tracks created by some of PDX's most talented drummers, including Talkdemonic's Kevin O'Connor and Menomena's Danny Seim. Ragel's eclectic self-released full-length Pleasure is speckled with these drum tracks manipulated to suit his own sonic preferences, intriguing vocals and clever, if sometimes silly, lyrics that result in an infectious bass-heavy dance-pop.

Attempting to translate that album into a live show, Ragel could have simply employed an iBook, singing over premixed tracks and coming up with a live show without much life. Instead, Ragel relied on his DJing skills to re-create the complexities of his recording, and brought on two more players to turn the project into a three-piece band. Between his vocals, two turntables, keys, drums and guitar, BEDM not only re-created Pleasure but made it interesting to watch.

BEDM's "Pleasure Theme Song" was all it took to get the relatively small Doug Fir audience—waiting to see headliner Princess Superstar—up and bouncing, while the Snuggle Ups-like, ridiculously danceable "The Taste of Your Mouth" kept it going. And it wasn't just Ragel's adroit mixing abilities and his band's energy and confidence that sold the songs. Ragel also possesses a unique voice, transitioning easily from a shaky falsetto to deep, soulful crooning and adding yet another layer to his complex compositions.

It all seemed so simple when Ragel delivered his charming white-boy-with-soul panache on BEDM's synth-heavy singalong "Let's Get Lost Sometime." But behind the guise of this pristine pop, BEDM is creating a sound that's unique and mesmerizing, whether it comes from three people or its original source: the heart and soul of one boy who ate the drum machine. - Willamette Week

"Artist Breaks For Pleasure"

Boy Eats Drum Machine teams up with some of Portland's best drummers, and they didn't even know it.

BY MARK BAUMGARTEN | mbaumgarten at

The one-man band was once the occupation of the odd and eccentric. A brother to the 13th-century village idiot, this musician literally bore the burden of a full band on his back, lugging a woodwind section, bass drum, banjo and whatever else he could loop and tether onto his body. He looked ridiculous and the music inspired a sense of the novel, which, after a song or two, gave way to pity and a small donation.

The novelty of the one-man band is once again fading in the early 21st century. As more musicians figuratively bear the burden of a band on their backs in their own personal studios, though, that novelty is giving way to awe-inspiring compositions of complexity and beauty. This, at least, is the result of Boy Eats Drum Machine's latest, Pleasure, a crisp and powerful solo outing of experimental pop by Portland's Jonny Ragel.

The evolution that led to Pleasure started more than 20 years ago when DJs discovered something that would make the one-man music maker's job a little less taxing: the break. A break—and don't worry if you didn't already know this—is a single snippet of a song that is sampled (or recorded) and played over and over again to create a seamless beat for a new song. Whether it was a funky James Brown drum track or a quirky Kraftwerk synth line, the repetition did something amazing: It took the burden of the beat off the musician.

Twenty-some years later, the break has been used in dance music, played with by pop musicians like Moby and reinvented through the mash-up by artists like Danger Mouse on The Grey Album. But there's something about the breaks used by these one-man shows that's still a little novel, or, at the very least, nostalgic. Most of their breaks are recognizable. Whether it's one of those James Brown beats, an old soul sample or a looped George Harrison guitar line, these breaks bring cultural baggage with them (and, to the delight of radio programmers, an identifiable hook). The old one-man band might have had an unsteady rhythm but at least his music sounded original.

In this sense, Boy Eats Drum Machine is closer to that guy with the bass drum strapped to his back than he is to Moby. When contemplating the creation of his next Boy Eats Drum Machine album earlier this year, the 31-year-old Ragel was turned on to an album of original live drum tracks called Bridgetown Breaks. The album features drum lines by Talkdemonic's Kevin O'Connor, Systemwide's Josh Skins, QuiVaH's Charles Neal and Menomena's Danny Seim. It also features a message: take these tracks and use them however you wish. Which is exactly what Ragel did, looping and manipulating six of the tracks to create a record that has a background of Portland's best drummers, but, to the listener, will sound like a wholly and mesmerizing original work.

Ragel is not bearing the burden of a full band, or wearing the weight of his cultural predecessors. Rather, he is being lifted up by Portland's drummers, carrying with him a sonic culture and adding to it with his passionate baritone vocals and distinct and instrumentation to create something new truly great. Not bad for a one-man band. - Willamette Week

"1/11/06 at berbati’s"

(Berbati’s Pan, 10 SW 3rd) With its groove-heavy, funked-up beats and yowling howl, Boy Eats Drum Machine is the Prince—as in “Purple Rain”—of Portland IDM. And maybe someday it’ll be its prince—as in crown prince of ‘em all—but right now the potential royal is still an up and comer. Which is why the group fits perfectly in a Mercury Up and Coming! (See how this works?) Their CD Pleasure is a big, complex electro-pop rocker with drums that skate between hiphop and post-rock while shifty bass slinks down booze alley, and singer Jonny Ragel’s soulful, dead-serious voice switches between a gravely croon and a great, tremulous falsetto. AG - Portland Mercury

"1/11/06 at berbati’s #2"

[ELECTRONIC ROCK] Boy Eats Drum Machine sounds like a heroic, feel-good cybernetic story (think Small Wonder), but no actual drum machines are harmed in the making of this one-man band turned trio’s music. Its triumphant songs deftly blend DJ turntable mixing—courtesy of Portlander Jonny Ragel, who recorded BEDM’s self-released Pleasure all by himself before enlisting two additional members to help with the live show—with the energy of a live show, resulting in an exciting and refreshing sound. Vocalist-turntablist-guitarist and songwriter, Ragel applies his bevy of talents to achieve catchy pop anthems that never sound like simple electronica or standard rock alone. DAVE CLIFFORD. Berbati’s Pan. 9:30 pm. Cover. 21+. - willamette week

"12/23/05 at tonic lounge"

By BARBARA MITCHELL Issue date: Fri, Dec 23, 2005
The Tribune

Boy Eats Drum Machine

Just one listen to “Let’s Get Lost Some,” off Boy Eats Drum Machine’s latest album, “Pleasure,” and not only will you have it permanently stuck in your head — you’ll be happy about it. Bouncy, bubbly electro-pop, it actually does make you wonder if this is what it would sound like if DJ Shadow produced Neil Diamond. Other tracks call to mind Portishead and the Postal Service — sometimes at the same time.
Although the album is the work of just one man (and a turntable, a Casio and a microphone, to quote another BEDM song), the live show is fleshed out by two additional members and extra instrumentation for maximum impact.
9:30 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 23, Tonic Lounge, 3100 N.E. Sandy Blvd., 503-238-0543, $5 - Portland Tribune

"bedm interview 1/14/06"

Boy Eats Drum Machine

MG: How do you think your live performances fare when compared to your recorded material?

JR: live is better. you're in the room where the sounds are actually being made. so it's likely to sound more impactful and possibly be exciting on an interactive level. live sounds offer more for the senses. we're hoping that's the experience people have, at least.:)

MG: How were you exposed to the music that has most influenced to you?

JR: the beatle's records leftover from my dad's collection were big. I grew up on top 40 radio (michael jackson, devo, madonna). my first cassette was psychedelic furs 'midnight to midnight'; my second was beastie boys 'license to ill'. I really loved runDMC 'Tougher Then Leather' and LL Kool J 'Bad'. when high school came I was getting into U2 and classic rock. now I like everything. pretty much.

MG: What do you feel was your greatest success with Pleasure?

JR: getting it started! I had put off doing a 'for real' solo outing for several years. it was liberating. I now believe I can go down into my basement and do art whenever I want. and that's empowering.

MG: What approach do you take to writing your music?

JR: think of hook. or key phrase. or feeling. work in beat. write words down. don't look at them again.:) synth bass. etc. finish words. sometimes the process is completely in reverse (finish words first).

MG: Do you ever make an attempt work specific elements into your writing?

JR: generally I work off of 'feelings' and use the words or music to discover what those feelings are and how I'm responding to them.

MG: Does being from Portland change the way you write your music, do you think?

JR: yes. it helps me try a little harder to stretch creatively. portland has alot of variety. alot of very good artists. you aren't penalized for being different, so I find it to be a good atmosphere for innovation.

MG: What drives you to make music?

JR: self discovery---and the desire to be the center of attention for a few minutes.:)


"nightcrawler (4/7 towne lounge)"

Friday, April 07, 2006
Tip-top tempo: The headline says it all: Boy Eats Drum Machine. Except it’s not a comical medical scenario, it’s a band. A Portland band to be precise, consisting of “Bridgetown Breaks” creator Jonny Ragel, Peter Swenson and Ben Rickard. While the latter two were assembled to help bring Ragel’s solo work “Pleasure” to life, the addition hasn’t gone unnoticed. Fans of Ragel’s sample-laden electro-pop have been turning up in increasing numbers, dancing and grinning as “Pleasure” is translated from disc to stage. 10 p.m. Friday, Towne Lounge, 714 S.W. 20th Place; $5; 503-241-869 - oregonian A&E

"Boy Eats Drum Machine"

“I’ve Got A Turntable and a Casio…”

Sitting in the crowded confines of The Towne Lounge on April 7th, 2006 with Northwest Noise creator Tim Germer, I wondered what I was doing in a venue as big as my bedroom, waiting patiently to watch a musically inclined artistic creation I had just became intrigued with only a few weeks prior. The band carrying all this mystique is Portland, Oregon’s own electro/pop rock groovers Boy Eats Drum Machine.

One-man turntable master Jonny Ragel (vocals, turntable, guitar, synth) is now conjoined on the stages of venues all over the northwest with Ben Rickard (synth, guitar, vocals) and Peter Swenson (drumkit), creating a trio who is gaining notoriety within the northwest as a band on the rise who can get an audience out of their seats and out on the dance floor bobbing and weaving during their set.

What I really enjoyed within the bands live performance as well as their 2005 release Pleasure, is that Ragel and company bring some actual emotion embedded in the lyrics of one of their musical masterpieces. Listening to Boy Eats Drum Machine makes me realize that a DJ can control a crowd by not only getting them to groove to their turntable talents but also keep them focused through fun and often thought-provoking lyrics in the tracks performed.

Appropriately titled, their album Pleasure is just that, an incredible pleasure to listen to from start to finish. The release boasts 11 tracks of pure heaven where one unlistenable track cannot be found. I love listening to this record when I’m in the car or even when I’m trying to relax at home. Songs like Introduction B are hauntingly eerie while tracks like Eunuch and The Taste Of Your Mouth will have you bobbing your head in a way that’d put the Roxbury guys to shame. Other favorite tracks are the quirky Let’s Get Lost Sometime and the vocal gem Sometimes You Wanna Go Where Nobody Knows Your Name. Within the album, the blending from the worlds of pop, electronica, rock and a touch of funk are brought together in a very tightly woven package that should appeal to people of varying musical tastes.

Within a given day, there are many routine tasks we as humans must do in order to keep on going and survive. Making sure you include Boy Eats Drum Machine in your daily music-listening routine will ensure that you’ll musically survive day after day. I’d also highly recommend attending a Boy Eats Drum Machine live show at your local venue when they’re nearby as well. I’m glad I made the trip to The Towne Lounge to see the trio tear up the stage in song. It was one of the best live shows I’ve seen in recent memory, and the album Pleasure was a definite gold mine.

As the grail knight in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie said, “You have chosen wisely.” Perhaps the grail knight somehow knew of Boy Eats Drum Machine, my eventual purchase of their record and my long-awaited evening of seeing the band perform live. Now YOU go out and buy the record and see a show from these independent musical marvels. You wouldn’t want to disappoint the grail knight, would you?

To find out more about Boy Eats Drum Machine please visit their website and you can also purchase their album at CD Baby or buy the album through the Itunes Music Store.

Band Members:
Jonny Ragel – Vocals, Turntable, Synth, Guitar
Ben Rickard – Synth, Guitar, Vocals
Peter Swenson – Drumkit

By Jason Gears | - posted Apr 11, 03:34 PM in Band-Brief | - Northwest Noise

"3/16/06 at ACME:"

Boy Eats Drum Machine
Acme Bar
March 16, 9pm

BEDM's first release, 'Pleasure', is just that. Recorded and mastered in Jonny Ragel's basement space and hand packaged on his kitchen table, the album spans a wide range of genres including indie-rock, IDM, and hip-hop. Upon carrying out all the "studio" work, Ragel enlisted two friends to fill out his live operation. On 'Pleasure', Ragel serves as turntablist, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter. Ironically enough, the group is void of an actual drum machine. The variance between live show and album is evident, but not overwhelming. Both productions bestow the audience with crisp beats, searing riffs and bouncy, infectious melodies.---AD

March 2006/ 41 - PDX Magazine



pleasure (2006)
boy eats drum machine (2002)


Feeling a bit camera shy


boy eats drum machine is tasty.