Updated: Jul 14
Our first guest in our cozy lofi cottage is twill.beats, lofi producer since 2020 and a wonderful sensitive human being that can remind everyone that kindness still exists in people. Let’s get to know him together!
When asked how would he describe himself, twill.beats told us:
“Whether it is me as a lofi artist or as a person, I am a mix of so many different things. Kinda like a hodgepodge of tons of different stuff I love, which I think is reflected in my lofi music discography. If I had to pick 3 words to describe me in my lofi music or my personality, it would probably be chill, kind, and joyous.”
Some lofi producers find their way after trying a lot of musical genres, and others are drawn lo lofi from the start, like in our guest’s case.
Twill beats found lofi music when he was “in a pretty low place in life” and he felt that the music captured his feelings perfectly. After four years of gradually making lofi a part of his life by listening and learning elementary musical knowledge he decided to “buy a sp404 and give it a shot, turning real and fictional short stories into beats.”
We were curious to know about his starting point of his career so we asked about the first songs he made.
“My first releases in 2020 kinda tell a bunch of short stories that loosely link together. It was a way to take my bottled up emotions and express them in a creative, healthy way, in the form of making beats from stories I had held inside.”
Like any artist, twill.beats needs to get his inspiration from somewhere and since artist’s block is a big problem amongst creative minds, he shared his sources with us:
“Nowadays, I have a feeling of what I want something to sound like so I will find inspiration from old vinyls or cassettes.”
He even tells us a bit of how things changed in lofi music since he started on this path: “It's more about how it sounds now but when I started it was definitely about the message and story behind the songs, which came from life experiences and stories I wanted to share in a creative, non-complaining way. So, before the inspiration was about a real or fictional story in my mind, whereas now, the inspiration comes from a mix of the sample or melody I'm using and how I envision the final product to be. It's like I can see the finished track in my head a lot of the time and that's where the inspiration comes from, if that makes sense.”
But besides the artistic and symbolic part, lofi is also about the technical skills. We asked twill.beats about his softwares, tools and creative process so you’ll get an idea of what it actually mean to create music in more technical terms:
“I use Ableton 11 and various plugins like RC20, the physical gear I use are sp404A, sp303, a tascam porta one, and a M-Audio oxygen 49 midi keyboard.
My creative process goes something like this - browse old vinyls or cassettes for a loop, record it on my sp404, drop it into ableton and chop it up or not. If I'm making something from scratch, I play out a chord progression on my keyboard, find some drum sounds I think sound good, drop all that back into my sp404 and finger drum out a beat, put that back into ableton and refine it a bit. Once I got the skeleton of the beat and sample/melody, I do the arrangements in ableton before sending it through my sp404, sp303 and tascam for all the effects those give, specifically my favorites are the vinyl from the 404 the compressor from the 303 and the warmth of the tape from the porta one. Sometimes I'll record straight onto the tape in the tascam and then pitch it down to give it a different feel. That's the basic process but it changes from song to song honestly.”
However, being a lofi producers comes with its fair share of challenges. Burn outs, the learning curve, lack of inspiration and motivation, all these are obstacles that an artist has to face daily, but “regardless of what the challenge is, recognizing where you're at, where you want to go, and seeing what is needed to help you through that, is what I do to get through challenges. Like right now to overcome my burn out, I’m just relaxing and taking it easy to recuperate that creative energy. Skate, skate, glide, you know?”
It sure is a good idea to take some time to relax when everything feels overwhelming and gloomy. And who knows? You might find new sources of inspiration where you’re going.
When it comes to admiring and influence, twill.beats could easily name a few of his favorite artists that he is positive influenced his work and knowledge a lot, like Puar, [bsd.u], Jinsang, Nujabes, Mayaewk, saaaz, and eevee”.
“I've even got to work with a few of my favorite artists which was incredible and I ended up learning a lot. I think my fav lofi albums are 'CP3' by Puar, 'Lighter' by [bsd.u] and 'ep seeds' by eevee. I think these albums have been the most influential for me, as well as inspirational.”
Like any illustrator, lofi producers also have their own art style that even though it takes a while to be fully defined, it is quite distinctive.
We also wanted twill.beats to describe his own music style a bit and even though it puzzled him in the beginning he told us that the “overlapping drums that feel like they're rolling, and the real wobbly warm tape sounds”, but also that his music is a lot like his personality, all over the place (in a good way) and a hodgepodge of various styles and sounds he likes.
Another challenge we know producers face is trying to be innovative, while still sticking to lofi key characteristics, but twill.beats seems to have found a solution:
“Honestly, I feel like lofi in its very nature nourishes the pushing of boundaries and experimenting. I do try my hand at other genres for fun but afterwards when I come back to lofi I always find something new to create and do. Whether I use real punchy drums or a heavy bass or something, I feel like just running anything through my gear with the effects really helps bring out that low-fidelity that keeps it true to the aesthetic.”
He was kind enough to let us in a little secret, telling us that his favorite song is yet to be released! I
“It's called 'dreams.IV', it's the first track on my EP titled 'Akihabara' and will be released on September 15th 2023. I'm really excited for my releases in the coming weeks, I love all those songs a lot more than what I currently have out.”
We will sure keep an eye on his page to be the first to listen!
To end this interview on a productive and motivational way, we asked twill.beats to offer new lofi artists a piece of advice that he would’ve liked to have back at the start of his adventure. “If I could go back in time and give advice to myself I'd say "Be kind to yourself and just create, even if you think what you made is garbage, just make it and share it because there will be someone out there who really loves that song and it will benefit them in some way. Don't be afraid to explore, learn, and grow. Just keep creating and sharing. Drop any expectations and as long as the passion is there just keep it rolling. It comes in waves so ride them!”
We enjoyed talking to such a sensitive and kind person and we couldn’t think of anyone better to be our first guest here at The Lofi Cottage.
So, what do you think, lofi lovers? We sure learned a lot and got to see lofi from a different perspective for a bit. What other artists would you want us to invite to The Lofi Cottage?
Untill next time,