Age: I’m 21 years old
Where are you from? Richmond, VA
“New beat from valley tapes vol.2”
Who did you grow up listening to?
My dad was always playing music around the house, so basically whatever he was into. It was classic rock and jam band stuff mostly; the Stones, Grateful Dead, Clapton, Hendrix, Floyd, etc… My dad started taking me out to concerts pretty young too. I remember going to see Widespread Panic play when I was in 6th grade or something. It was awesome.
When did you start getting into music and when did you start producing?
I was given a guitar by my uncle when I was in 5th grade, and started playing bass for concert band at school in 6th, remaining involved in band and orchestra until graduating high school. While I didn’t always enjoy myself, I largely credit my understanding of music theory to the time I spent in the band room. After being in college for a while studying business, I felt a desperate need to bring music back into my life, so I picked up producing. I originally wanted to make more complex music utilizing live instrumentation but sort of got hooked on making beats as stress release. And it skyrocketed when I bought the Roland SP404sx last summer. But I only started using FL studio and actually releasing shit about a year and a half ago.
“Definitely one of my favorites. I wanted to find a way to appeal to a larger audience.”
When did you start getting into lo-fi music?
As far as hip hop, I guess it really started when I heard MF DOOM. I loved the grittiness to it and had always been into the boom-bap stuff. With DOOM also came my introduction to Madlib, which was when I started to realize just how influential a great producer really could be. I started quickly getting into instrumental hip-hop; guys like nujabes, dilla… I was a huge knxwledge stan from day one. I fell in love with watching producers develop and grow their own unique styles. A few years later, I wanted to learn how to make this kind of music and stumbled upon an online community dedicated to the more obscure instrumental hip-hop production. The forum, titled lofi.hiphop, opened my eyes to many sick producers in the underground community, and helped me in developing my own style as a producer.
Can you explain the difference between lo-fi as a general term and lo-fi as a subgenre of Hip Hop?
In general terms, lo-fi means low-fidelity. Low-fidelity aspects in music can include poor recordings, excess white noise, unmixed instrumental tracks; basically anything that wouldn’t be left or allowed in the traditional sense of professional quality. As far as lofi hiphop, the term was simply coined by the name of the forum mentioned earlier. Many producers from this community including myself prefer to use samplers as opposed to a DAW, which while being way more fun, often results in a dirtier, crispier sound. This style of production is also heavily sample based, and with older and rarer vinyl sometimes comes worsened sound quality. On the other hand, there are producers from lofi.hiphop whose music actually don’t contain any low-fidelity aspects at all. The rise in popularity of instrumental hiphop on its own has led to the creation of a larger “subgenre” known as lofi hip-hop which may involve producers not related to the forums at all. Think of those “chill study beats” streams on youtube.
“Newest beat tape and second with the 404. Just a short little grimy one.”
Who are your biggest musical influences?
One huge one is Kevin Parker (Tame Impala). Tame Impala’s studio albums are largely solo projects conceived, written, recorded, produced, and engineered by Parker. To me this is the ultimate form of musical expression; having a hand in every process allows you to make the final product as close to the way you want it. I feel the same way when listening to DOOM’s sprawling, self-produced concept albums. I can say these are some of the guys that not only inspired me to begin creating my own music, but to also learn how to engineer my own songs completely and to the best of quality. Many of the most prolific rappers right now are producing their own music. While most producers don’t want to spend as much time on the mixing and mastering side, it really is what sets you apart.
Can you speak on the division between underground and industry and the effects profit incentives have on the art?
Man, it’s really tough. For some indie artists who manage to do what they love for a living, profit is certainly a key factor. There’s nothing wrong with a little hustle, and putting food on the table while working through their passion. The problem begins, in my opinion, when major labels are involved. All of a sudden your hustle is putting just as many dollars in the pocket of some old guy across the country as it is yours. And that label doesn’t see you as an artist. You’re one of their assets. The moment your returns go down, you’re dropped. Most labels don’t give a shit about “musically innovative”. The worst part is, as an individual artist, the decision to sign to a label is almost always perfectly rational. Who is going to turn down 100 grand up front when you’ve been a starving musician for 5 years? I would probably sign too. There’s just a lot of bad deals going on. New rappers are getting hooked into 360 deals where the label leeches money they make off of advertisement and basically anything non-music related. It’s a system of people making money off the talent and image of others.
On a side note, selling reposts and features is so corny, especially when you’re still far from famous. Don’t do that shit! Collaborate for the sake of making dope music.
“This was the first tape I made with the 404. Probably my favorite beat tape I’ve made so far. I was out of school for the summer and really had a lot of time to craft a concept for this one.”
Who are your favorite current producers, in general and local?
There are so many. As far as big names go, Knx, mndsgn, and dibia$e always kill it. Always been a big fan of the Boiler Room. Then you got lots of heads in the scene who are lowkey super talented and make dope music. Knowmadic, slr, bsd.u, a.bee, ottr, space gang, xJk, radicule, j a r j a r j r, zeus the elevated, oxela, APO, bob le head, dweeb, brother mynor, RSNZ, K le maestro… I really could keep going on. Locally there’s no shortage of talent either. All of the mutant academy & satellite syndicate producers are dope, especially BSTFRND and ZARK. Mutant Academy just linked with Tuamie too and Panama Plus is crazy. Can’t forget the father Ohbliv either.
Can you speak about the work you’ve done with fellow VA producer Yancey Mills?
It’s actually crazy because he was the one who taught me how to use FL studio like 2 years ago. Yancey touches the track and instantly turns it up. He’s like a young metro boomin. Collabs between us have resulted in some pretty chill sounding bangers. Porsche / rari by 2k was one of the first tracks we made together. It was just me adding and chopping a sample over some of his drums, but that track turned out to be a fan favorite. Be on the lookout for more production by us on 2K’s debut mixtape No Idols, and a collab tape featuring Lebong Flames & Big Fletch.
“My first beat-tape consisting of a collection of beats I made early this year.”
What are your interests outside of music?
Snowboarding, watching sports and reading.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Apple Music: slyme