Why I became a lofi beats & chillhop producer

lazyboyloops why I became a lofi beats and chillhop producer

Hey, I’m Aaron, also known as lazyboyloops. I’m a lofi beats & chillhop producer from the UK. If you’ve ever wondered why I decided to throw myself into the deep end of lofi, then you’ve come to the right place.

To answer the question of why I became a lofi producer, let’s dive into a bit of history: I’ve been making music (to some degree) since around 2002/2003 when I first picked up the bass guitar. I was just discovering the world of alternative music and the idea of starting a band with my friends at the time seemed like one of those life goals you just HAD to have as an early teen. This was way before the streaming boom and the only real way to get your music to the right ears was to have a MySpace page or to try and flog demo CDs burned on blanks with crudely-written Sharpie on the front.

The bands I found myself in did have varied levels of success, though ultimately they never really took off and I either left or they naturally just fell apart.

Fast forward to 2018, I find myself coming out of another band that just didn’t work out but still feeling the need to create music as well as find a distraction from a hectic work environment. After producing some god-awful “EDM” back in 2008 under a different moniker I had a familiarity with FL Studio, plus at the time I was finding myself listening to more lo-fi hip-hop music thanks to Chilled Cow (now Lofi Girl), and moving on to artists such as Jinsang, SwuM, eevee, and Idealism.

So, I opened up FL Studio and thanks to Output’s Arcade plugin giving me some pretty accessible ways to create melodies I started work on my first lo-fi beat.

That first beat didn’t really see the light of day, of course. It was bad – to say the least – and I was still trying to break out of the weird four-to-the-floor beat-making I was used to with my… other projects. However, I quickly realised that there was something in the music I was making, not only was I finding it pretty accessible in terms of creating something that fits that lofi vibe, but also experimenting with new sounds and learning music production was scratching that itch.

Producing lofi beats is pretty easy thanks to the vast amount of tools available to producers, whether that’s the aforementioned plugin, or whether that’s via the hundreds of sample packs available via Splice or other sites like Prime Loops, Cymatics, etc. For me, producing this music became something I felt I could do well enough to consider releasing and from around the summer of 2019 I did just that, with my first track Nonsense.

With my first track out into the world, I needed to figure out how exactly to get people to listen to it. This introduced me to the vast and never-ending world of lofi playlists and how there are active curators looking for new music to place on these lists. Subsequently, this taught me a lot about marketing music as well as producing music as these curators were usually other lo-fi producers and their feedback were vital in helping me improve my skills both musically from a sound design, mix, and mastering perspective.

Over the past few years, I’ve found lo-fi hip-hop and chillhop to be one of the best genres for new producers and artists wanting to get into the world of beat-making. This is due to the accessibility of the music and the minimal steps required to get ears on your music – provided you have the time to find and pitch to playlists.

It’s no secret that lo-fi beats rely mostly on playlists to get their plays, largely from passive listeners throwing on a study or sleep playlist while they, well, study and sleep. What this has created is an ecosystem of playlists for every conceivable mood and feeling, something that DSPs like Spotify have noticed too, creating their own collection of editorials for sleep, meditation, and studying.

Lofi and chillhop as their own genre are vast ones, too. This sub-genre within itself has sub-genres catered to all tastes, whether you’re into the more rough-around-the-edges instrumental hip-hop & boom-bap, whether you’d rather take a load off to some chill beats, or whether you’re looking to nod off to sleep with some sleepy beats. There’s something for almost everyone which definitely adds to the appeal of creating this style of music.

The community around chillhop and lofi can be fairly supportive too, with artists keen to support each other’s music whether that’s via playlisting or sharing new releases on social media. There are also various collectives that producers can get involved in bringing that sense of community to a more close-knit group of people, usually all with similar sounds.

Although not limited to just producing lo-fi and chillhop, creating music allows me to experiment with creativity both with and outside the music, whether that’s with playing with a certain sound or creating visuals and other material that could potentially grab the interest of a potential listener. There’s also so much room for growth as a producer in this scene, too, like learning the ins and outs of production techniques, or picking up hardware like the SP404 and challenging yourself to create something unique through hardware-only. I’ve also started to experiment with different sounds and branch out to new (and old) genres that I probably wouldn’t have touched at the start of this journey.

Finally, it can be a bit of a cash cow if you put the effort in, and that’s not me being facetious either. With a consistent release schedule and an abundance of lo-fi labels (with potential pull at DSPs and label-owned playlists) at your fingertips, you can seriously make bank with lofi beats – this might take a little more effort than just making a release and dropping it via DistroKid or any other distributor, but it’s definitely a path you can take.

I became a lofi beats & chillhop producer mostly as a way to distract myself from what was going on in my life at the time as well as a way to scratch that itch for making music. But I continue to be a lofi beats & chillhop producer because of the things I’ve learned, the community I’ve found myself in, and the creativity I’ve been able to express.

It also gives me opportunities to flex other muscles, such as building and maintaining websites, discovering and testing out new marketing techniques, and also sharing my thoughts on the scene via our Sunday Roast podcast. This genre has given me a fairly large and accessible stepping stone into the music industry which I couldn’t be more stoked about.

While my journey in music production is far from over I’m not sure I’ll ever not produce this style of music in some way, shape, or form. It has definitely evolved over the years, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this weird and wonderful journey in music production takes me next.