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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.

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Carter Lee

Carter Lee is a bassist/educator/producer. He is originally from Edmonton, Canada and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to leading the hip-hop group, Tiger Speak, Lee is the music director for the bands of both Shea Rose and Moruf. He is also a sideman for countless other artists. Carter brings his wealth of experience in many different musical situations to the Soundfly team and is eager to help any musician who is hoping to better their band. Check out his course Building a Better Band on Soundfly today!