50 minutes of beats to study, chill & drive to.
How did we release fifty minutes (eighteen tracks) of beats? It’s really a matter of how much new music I started with keyboardist Ian Evans. Through 2018-2019, we were in our recording studio in Housatonic, The Berkshires, MA, nearly every night. We were always starting new ideas. We were on a binge of creation. This phase lasted about two years. Ian and I work in a way that I haven’t experienced with anyone else.
When we sit down to start producing a beat, I open up Ableton Live and Ian instantly composes melodies, usually on his Yamaha Motif keyboard. I instantly record what he’s doing. We create a series of loops. I’m programming drum beats, playing drums and one-shots with the AKAI MPD218, and engineering. We’ve found a process to turn our ideas into music in an efficient and fun way. It becomes difficult to keep up with how much new music we start because of how much fun it is. Sometimes we bring in other musicians when we need something extra special.
We really dig collaborating with other musicians and adding live elements.
When the new ideas piled up and started overflowing, we pivoted. One day we both had the same epiphany: it was time to stop creating new ideas, and start finishing all of them. We organized every single session on my hard drive and discovered that we had at least three unreleased beat tapes, at least two albums, and multiple other projects that still need to be completed and released. In the Fall of 2019, I started releasing new songs every month. The Road Ahead, Vol. 1, while it’s a full-length album, barely lifts the curtain to reveal our inventory of unreleased songs.
This beat tape is the first volume of music that we agreed would be best as instrumental. This is the first full-length project that I didn’t put any vocals on. I have always been attached to rapping on almost every song. Letting go of that for this project allowed me to double down and grow as a producer.
We probably have enough music to release through 2022, both beats and songs. It’s finishing time and we have a solid release plan. Finishing a song is much harder than starting one. But, with a mindset of perseverance, music will continue coming out for the foreseeable future.
When all of the music was finished and The Road Ahead, Vol. 1 was scheduled for release, I went out driving with film maker George Cox (Outpost) and we attached a camera to the top of his Jeep. This became the visual for the beat tape/mix that we uploaded to Youtube. When we were filming, someone drove by and asked us if we were a Google Car.
George played a crucial role as creative director for all of the branding of the album and laid the groundwork for further volumes with The Road Ahead theme.
visual beat tape: Driving through the berkshires in the fall
The Road Ahead, Vol. 1 has been described to us as instrumental hip-hop, jazz hop, chill-hop, lofi hip-hop, trip hop, trap, downtempo, yoga beats, and electronic music. People have been using the music to dance, paint, study, work out, drive around, and hang out to.
We were inspired by channels and playlists like STEEZYASFUCK, Will Smith’s “chill beats to quarantine to”, Chillhop Music, Chilled Cow, Spotify editorials like Mellow Beats, and many others. The album is similar to a playlist.
The music was featured in some of the best independent Spotify playlists, thanks to a playlist submission platform for artists called Submithub.
We want to shout out and give thanks to:
SPOTIFY AND CHILL – Music to have sex to – Jaime Irles
Chillhop Nights – Electronic Focus
Lofi Afternoons [jazzy lo-fi hip-hop, chillhop] – Bastido
lofi hiphop beats to smoke and chill – Chilled Cat
Jazz Hip-Hop & Beats Only: Chillhop, Soulful, Jazzy, Jazzhop, Boom Bap (Instrumental Hip-Hop) – Sphere of Hip-Hop
chill lofi and jazzhop – @ontrackstudio
Bangers for When You Have the Aux – Creativeness
Lofi – Dream & Chillout Beats – Streamefy
Jazz Drip – lofi chillhop with Jazz Vibes – Chill Playlists – Sofa Rockers