How I Built a Lo-Fi Hip-Hop Groove With Outdoor Samples

Bridge the worlds of theory, improvisation, and jazzy hip-hop, and improve your piano chops with Grammy-winner Kiefer in his course, Kiefer: Keys, Chords, & Beats.

What’s up people, it’s Carter here!

I’m the host of Soundfly’s podcast, “Themes and Variation,” where I interview guests and break down songs we picked based on a weekly theme. I’m also a Soundfly Mentor, where I work one-on-one with students to help them achieve a music learning goal.

Recently, I hopped on Twitch to entertain Soundfly subscribers with a start-to-finish full song creation livestream in the form of a lo-fi hip-hop beat. And we had so much fun with this one in particular that I decided to share the highlights with the rest of the world on our YouTube channel.

In the above video, I put together a drum beat using some recordings I made around the house — smacking a flip-flop, flicking the top of a Zippo lighter — and brought a full song to life with a simple, groovy chord progression on the keys with some Dorian flavors, a synth lead, and a doubled up bass part, using bass guitar and bass synth in two different ways.

I walk you through my thought process — how I approach building out a song, starting with choosing a preset, playing around with some piano chords, building a framework for my drum beat by starting with a snare hit on beats two and four, and filling it all out with a Thundercat-inspired bass guitar, some bonus field recordings and a bass synth.

If you’re enjoying this video and you’re looking to make more tracks like this yourself, we can help with that! Here are some ways to get started:

  • First of all, students who join our subscription get access to so more than just courses — wonderful exclusive things like this livestream happen within our subscriber community every week!
  • Explore the Dorian mode, and deepen your knowledge of theory (specifically catered towards electronic producers) in Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords.
  • Learn, basically, everything about synthesis (subtractive, FM, wavetable, sampling) and build custom synth patches and sound design in Advanced Synths and Patch Design for Producers.
  • Learn the ins and outs of building hip-hop beats in various sub-genres, with a range of techniques, and how to mix all that heavy low end with crystal clear vocals in The Art of Hip-Hop Production.
  • If you’re interested to learn more about how to harness the intersections between jazz, improvisation, and modern music like hip-hop in your own music, you’re going to love Soundfly’s newest course with jazz pianist and beat producer, Kiefer: Keys, Chords, & Beats.
  • Or, if you’ve got a production or songwriting goal that’s a bit more specific? Work one-on-one with a Soundfly Mentor in a four-week session customized to your needs.

RJD2: From Samples to Songs

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