Pueblo Vista arrived at lo-fi hip-hop in a rather roundabout way. The Innsbruck, Austria resident was a vlogger, searching for royalty-free music to accompany his videos. He often turned to lo-fi hip-hop and quickly found that he could produce this kind of music quickly, efficiently and all with headphones – a must for any musician with a newborn baby. .
Fast forward a few years and Pueblo is among the preeminent producers of the genre. His list of collaborators is long but thoughtful: he is always on the lookout for musicians who can bring something to the table that he cannot. His collaborations are all about knocking out something that is both high quality and done quickly, or, as he puts it, like a ping pong rally with only one serve and one return.
Pueblo Vista’s instrumentals are lush and complex, filled with layers of synths, guitars, and vinyl crackles. He prefers easily digestible drum grooves and rarely calls on vocalists. (The data has shown that most lo-fi songs with vocalists are skipped.) The result is something extremely precise but never frozen, perfect music to relax in or music to nod your head on. In this interview, we spoke with Pueblo about some of his tracks to get a feel for his production methods and processes.
“Close your eyes my little angel” from Am epos am ergon
“About 80% of my music is composed by myself and about 20% is based on samples,” says Pueblo Vista. On a song like “Close Your Eyes My Little Angel”, Pueblo created a melody by playing on his keyboard and began to loop the melody with some tempo drums and some subtle synths. The warm crunch of vinyl envelops the track, giving the song a warm core. “Usually the melodies come at random,” he explains. “It’s something good that I would try to play or hum.” I have a two year old daughter and I try not to sing to her because I don’t know too many baby songs. I usually test my melodies on her by humming. I could pull out my phone while I’m humming something, record my voice, then try to duplicate it on the keyboard.
“Sleep in my arms” from Endelecheia
One of the most impressive things about Pueblo Vista’s songwriting style is how emotionally he can create his melodies and rhythms without relying on lyrics and vocals. While he says using his own voice would be “disastrous,” he gave serious thought to working with other singers to help get his message across. But on songs like “Sleep In My Arms,” that’s not necessary, especially while he’s still composing in the hip-hop lo-fi style. “We don’t see singing that often because that kind of music has a lot of passive audiences through playlists,” says Pueblo Vista. “The data shows that generally, when listeners encounter, say, a lo-fi or a track like one that includes vocals, they tend to ignore it. For Pueblo Vista, musical creation is a combination of pure artistic expression and rigorous data analysis.
Origins of production
“Girona” from Latenite seals 015
Pueblo Vista’s journey to become one of the foremost producers of lo-fi hip-hop has been long and developed from unexpected origins. “My production background comes from electronic music, progressive trance, progressive house and deep house. Note, not the deep house we know now that has evolved into EDM. I was in dance music which was moody and contemplative, but which could also get very fast and exciting, ”he explains. While his shift from club music to music meant for almost exactly opposite purposes was a natural evolution, he still includes many of his favorite styles of music in his hip-hop lo-fi songs. “Girona” features an elegant guitar line that sits somewhere between lounge jazz and old-fashioned funk. There is a subtle use of heavy cymbals, giving the song a unique depth. It’s lo-fi hip-hop, but it also exists outside of the genre.
While my child sleeps softly
“Airplane mode” from Last summer: MMXXI: Anthology
Unromantic as it is, a big part of Pueblo Vista’s decision-making comes down to convenience. Lo-fi hip-hop is a profitable industry and a style of music he can make at home, in his headphones, while his young child is sleeping. It wouldn’t be realistic for him to be in a metal band. Lo-fi hip-hop also more accurately reflects where it stands in life in general. The easy groove and neat guitar line of “Airplane Mode” is relaxed without ever being rough around the edges. It descends smoothly. “The excuse I have is that the older you get, the slower the BPM is as well. When you are young you go out and you really like to party, drink, dance and have fun, ”he explains. “Then you get a little older and you’re like, ‘Oh, my body hurts’ or’ I can’t drink that much anymore. I am a very limited social drinker. My music tends to reflect that.
“Just another day” of Latenite seals 017
Pueblo Vista attributes his sense of melody and melodic arrangement to his various musical obsessions growing up. He liked metal, various types of dance music, hip-hop and pop. His ability to conjure up ideas seemingly out of nowhere (he has no formal musical training) comes from an intuitive understanding of what sounds good and how it makes people feel. “I guess that’s an immediate influence I have from my days of progressive house and progressive trance. I’m not very good at making the beats themselves. Even the stuff that I do solo, you can easily listen to the drum lines, ”says Pueblo. “They are simpler. So I tend to focus on the melodies or, say, the process of “dressing” up samples or melodic skits. “Just Another Day” is a perfect example of this, which features an easily playable drum groove but a number of synths and guitar layers that give the song emotional complexity and depth, with enough space for it. ‘a listener can still space out while enjoying the rhythm.
“XO” from Latenite seals 019
Lo-fi hip-hop can often be a lonely process. The community is massive and dedicated, but the creative process is often lonely and lonely. Pueblo Vista enjoys collaborating both for the ability to work with another musician, but also because he can attack some of his perceived weaknesses through the strengths of others. “When I’m working with someone else, especially on boom-bap stuff I’m not as good at, I let the other person lead. When someone has a stronger background in hip hop or boom-bap, I let them show me the way, ”he explains. “I’m not the guy who likes to play ping pong between ‘Here’s a beat and there you go.’ I do something. I give it to you. You can use it, not use it, chop whatever you want. So for me it’s ready because I don’t want to get in the way of people’s creative process. If I choose to work with you on something, it’s because I know what you’re producing. I’ll give you my idea and then let you sprinkle your magic on it. Then I will be happy.
“I am waiting for you at Shibuya station” from Latenite seals 011
While many of Pueblo Vista’s releases are strictly lo-fi hip-hop, he has a taste for experimentation and a willingness to push the limits. “I have always experimented. I care about my audience, but I can’t think of them when I record, ”he explains. “I started with 100 listeners and now I have 1,000,000 listeners, it’s still the same for me. 95% of the time, I just make the music for myself and then take it out. I never really paid for ads. The numbers you see now that we have on all of our social profiles, it’s organic. His dedicated fan base has allowed him to stray from the core traits of the genre, and on a song like “Waiting For You At Shibuya Station” he makes a busier song than one hip-hop fans lo- fi are used to. The synths are playful and interact with a piano melody in a complex way. It’s still calming and relaxing music, but it also shows versatility in relation to Pueblo Vista’s mission.