Loop Dreams: Nothing_neue

Loop Dreams returns as the New York producer talks about being inspired to make beats by A$AP Rocky's debut, being in metal bands, his monthly beat showcase called (in plain sight.), and more.
By    October 22, 2020

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Max B came off the ark from the flood where RZA’s basement was wiped out.

In the beat community, no word is more contentious than “lo-fi.” An amorphous subgenre, you could describe it derisively as soft, third-rate Dilla with manufactured grit (e.g., added hiss) accompanied by organic instrumentation (e.g., acoustic guitar). The soundtrack to a koi pond screensaver. Gentrified beats. Starbucks slaps.

YouTube channels, streaming services, and labels have made lo-fi a commodity, culling new (and too often white) artists for streams, playlists, and compilations. Intentionally or no, they are pushing out and ignoring the pioneers of beat music, the people from disenfranchised communities who bought SP’s because they were once affordable, the people who make beats that knock you out cold instead of lulling you to sleep. Even though their music might not fit the lofi bill, some talented producers have (understandably) adopted the tag for a wider audience.

29-year-old producer Nothing_neue has never labeled his music lo-fi. Earlier this year, though, he agreed to release his latest album, Amani, on Dust Collectors. The Boston label touted itself as a lofi label, but they had some respect in the beat community. Neue felt they could push Amani to a broader audience. Then, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Dust Collectors forged donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. The label’s performative wokeness mirrored the country’s optics-only approach to its centuries-old systemic and racial injustices. For the beat community, it highlighted the lo-fi contingent’s lack of investment in and concern for beatmakers of color. When Nothing_neue heard the news, he had just returned from a protest in his native New York. There was only one thing to do: pull Amani from Dust Collectors and self-release it.

“This is an album that’s supposed to be a representation of Black dreams, of Black hope and finding light,” he says, speaking from his home in Brooklyn. “To give it to a label that doesn’t even closely align with where that album stands and where I stand as an artist, I thought it was necessary to step back and keep that to myself.”

Amani never needed a push from anyone but Nothing_neue. Released in July, it remains one of the best beat albums of 2020, as cohesive as it is diverse. This is West Coast synth-bounce that’s more smooth than funky, a collection of sophisticated Quik-esque grooves that pull from the open, experimental beats of Afta-1. There are also flashes of neo-soul on tracks like “Bloom” and “Changes.” The expansive and evolving suites also find a balance between subdued, downtempo synth melodies and dynamic drumming that nods to the beat scene as much as it does metal. Neue plays nearly every drum here; no samples and no two patterns are the same. They hit like haymakers, smack too hard for Starbucks. 

When we speak on the phone, Neue has spent the morning watching The Great Hack with his partner. Due to COVID, he can no longer plan for (in plain sight.), the burgeoning beat monthly he founded two years ago. And, like too many people this year, he lost his job (graphic designer for KORG) amidst pandemic cutbacks. Fortunately, he’s been able to get steady work doing freelance music production for various clients. Over two hours, we spoke about his idiosyncratic influences (e.g., heavy metal, Battlecat), his gear, and how he composed Amani before, during, and after work. Equally important, we discussed the Dust Collectors fallout, lofi, the state of the beat community, and the importance of respecting/learning from your forebears.

How did growing up in New York impact you musically?

Nothing_neue: My whole upbringing musically is like a big puzzle piece from different communities, different sounds. My mom moved from Philly to Brooklyn as a punk rocker, so she brought that into the house. And my dad was like a bassist from Jamaica, so he brought a lot of the singing and reggae element in it. They were both playing in bands together all over New York and ended up moving in and playing in one band and rehearsing in that space in Brooklyn, where I was growing up. Then you would have hip-hop playing all over the area because that was the new thing coming around. You heard it out of people’s radios, you heard it at block parties across different neighborhoods. Growing up post-9/11, that whole thing kind of shifted. I think because of where people were mentally the music started getting angrier across the board. That kind of coalesced around the same time that I was getting sick of playing along to my parents reggae music, and really not connecting with hip-hop. So I ended up being a part of like, the hardcore metal scene for a bit of time. The melting pot of New York itself is really what influenced my music, and my musical upbringing.

What was the first instrumental and/or instrumental album that made you want to produce?

Nothing_neue: I guess it was that very first A$AP Rocky album [Live. Love. A$AP]. I had been keyed into Adult Swim. I didn’t know what was going on with the beats, but I thought they were crazy. I’d listened to Nujabes from Samurai Champloo like a lot of people did, and I had Madvillain and College Dropout, but none of that really made me want to produce. Then that A$AP album. There was something about how ambient space was that really made me think, “Yeah, I kind of want to get involved in that.”

I assume you’re a big Clams Casino fan.

Nothing_neue: Yeah. [laughs] I’m big on Clams.

I love Clams, but I think the beat on that record is Ty Beats’ “Peso.”

Nothing_neue: Yeah, “Peso” was the very first introduction that I had. Ty Beats really did go crazy on that beat. The bells, the reverb, the vocal on the hook—it was big, but it was still intimate. It was crazy.

In terms of beat music, who are your greatest inspirations?

Nothing_neue: Afta-1. Of course Flying Lotus, but Afta-1 was huge on just understanding how you can use effects and processing to really create a different space altogether. I know he’s made rounds in the beats in the beat scene in LA. It’s hard to explain where he fits in musically, but he’s got boom-bappy sounding things and more experimental sounding things. That’s really what made him an inspiration. He created one sound and was able to take it across different genres and subgenres.

Outside of hip-hop, which genres or artists do you draw most of your inspiration from?

Nothing_neue: Yussef Kamaal and Kamaal Williams. I’m huge on the melding of hip-hop and jazz. In that vein there’s also Hiatus Kaiyote. But they’re all hip-hop adjacent. So further from it, there’s bands like Animals as Leaders and Misery Signals, those are the two that rank the highest for me in terms of inspiration, their melodies, their usage of chords. The way metal music moves is always exciting. There’s not too much focus on staying in one musical idea for too long. And that’s had an effect on how I make beats. I try not to make too many just short loops or loops that go on for a while. I try to paint a story with every beat.

Did you have any musical training when you were young?

Nothing_neue: My dad played bass, and my mom played guitar. If you want to be able to practice your own songs, it’d be to your benefit to teach your kids the missing elements. So my brother learned piano, and I learned the drums. I first learned from my dad, who kind of learned from teaching himself, and then we had a teacher come in. The teacher taught me what he knew, but he was like a drunken wedding drummer. He taught me a bunch of things that kind of messed with my forum. Then I went and did marching band drumming for a bit. That didn’t help correct anything, but playing in metal bands and seeing how fast and technical other drummers were inspired me to go back on YouTube and start training my rudiments. When I started getting into hip-hop, I could really start diving into people like ?uestlove, Chris Dave, and Karriem Riggins. Seeing them play, and coming from the technical metal thing, I was like, “Okay, they’re really just doing the same technical metal playing but they’re letting go of a lot of the in between beats and landing on ones that are interesting. It changed the way I wanted to drum. That’s what’s really made me focus these days.

What instruments do you play now, or what instruments would you consider yourself capable of using in your music?

Nothing_neue: I am number one proficient at drums and Ableton Live. I can make my way around the keyboard, and I’m taking piano lessons now. That’s really elevated my game. But I’ve always had an idea of melodic passages. My ear has been trained from being around music all this time, so I can figure out things just kind of by playing by ear and doing it one chord at a time. But now I’m getting a little bit more fluent with it.

You mentioned playing metal bands. How long did you do that? Was there a metal scene in New York?

Nothing_neue: I went to the High School of Art and Design in New York City. There was an eclectic mix of people at that school. I started meeting people that played guitar and had a fascination with metal bands, so I got involved with them. Once I had graduated high school, after spending a couple years playing that music in my mom’s basement, we decided to take that and try to become part of the scene because we knew it existed. That was from 2008 to 2016.

You made your earliest beats on an iPhone 4 on NanoStudio. What did those beats sound like?

Nothing_neue: They were things that I would think, “You know, if I had an end with A$AP Rocky, I could send this beat to him.” Around my fourth beat I put it on Instagram and did album artwork for it. I got a random like from Freeway, and I thought, “This is it. My career is going to take off because Freeway liked an Instagram post.” But what ended up happening was I needed a laptop with Photoshop on it because in school for graphic design. When I bought one off of Craigslist, it had Ableton and Logic on it. Those things collected dust while I was fiddling with NanoStudio. Right when I reached its limits and realized I wanted to take it to the next level, I opened my computer to Ableton.

If you could change one musical element of your earliest NanoStudio beats, what would that element be?

Nothing_neue: [laughs] I would change how dense those beats were, the composition. It’s something that I still struggle with to this day. The NanoStudio stuff was a lot worse because there wasn’t a lot of processing power and I didn’t know how to mix. It would just be these beats with different musical ideas on top of each other. They weren’t sequenced into things that made sense. No one thing was the highlight. I would definitely choose the composition as my musical element.

I’ve seen your studio on Instagram. How did your personal studio evolve over time? Did you move from digital to analog gear? I think there’s a fair amount of gear in the studio.

Nothing_neue: When I was making beats on my phone and on Ableton, all I really thought to purchase was a set of monitors and a MIDI controller. At the time, I wasn’t very good at sampling, and I knew I could figure my way out over keys. Those are the only things I needed for a bit of time. Then a friend I worked with put me onto Maschine just for the sounds. So I picked up Maschines recognized I really like drum pads and the ability to play the drums in real time. I liked the ability to play the keys in real time, so I thought I should stick with more tactile devices. From working at that store, I ran into this guy who owned a studio. He was looking for a pair of boots to do construction while he was expanding that studio space, and we got into a conversation, and I ended up interning with him. Through that process, I really began to take an interest in physical gear and hardware.

There’s VST’s named after real life instruments like Rhodes and things, but they’re spelled differently so they don’t get copyright infringement or whatever. So you don’t really know what a Rhodes is until you sit in front of a Rhodes and hear it. You don’t really know the value of a synthesizer until somebody brings a Moog out gets to those low octaves that you wish your VST could get to and still maintain clarity. Even VST signal processing—you don’t get an appreciation for that aspect of production just out in the void. You go into a studio and see it happen and see how sound begins to develop with analog gear and all the little nuances that come with each piece. Because no piece is exactly the same.

So what equipment is in your studio right now?

Nothing_neue: My very first synth was a microKORG, so that’s there. I have the Moog Minitaur running my bass. I have a [Roland] Alpha Juno, which I found in my mom’s basement. She had bought it years ago, and it was just collecting dust. I used to work for Korg, so I had a fair amount of ins there. They would sell things that they discontinued so I have a Micro X, which is like a baby Triton. That’s all over Amani. and then I’ve got the SV-1 and the Prologue carrying my Rhodes and pad sounds. On top of that, in terms of physical things, there’s a bunch of drums. I collect percussion the same way a lot of people collect the records. I dig for what made what sound on which record or TV show.

What DAW do you use today? What’s appealing about it?

Nothing_neue: I still use Ableton. I’ve worked in Pro Tools and Logic, but Ableton is fastest for me in terms of signal processing. With Pro Tools, I feel bogged down a lot. I might have negative memories of Pro Tools from being in studio sessions and having to adapt quickly. Logic is amazing for recording live takes because it has take folders. But with Ableton, whenever I want to manipulate a sound, it’s there and quick.

Do you play all of your drums, or do you sample any?

Nothing_neue: It’s been funny existing in a community of producers that make drum kits. A lot of people will send me drum kits to use and I’ll be like, “Damn, I like your drums a lot,” but the thing that’s fun for me in this whole process is making the perfect set of drums for what I’m doing. I don’t ever have to go to libraries of drums. I’ll generally record either synthesizer drums or live drums while I’m working because it’s the fun part for me.

You don’t ever dig for drum samples?

Nothing_neue: Not really. The only drum samples that I’ve used consistently are Ewonee’s Break Takes. I’m not really digging for anything, because he sold them like that. They sound amazing. They sound as good as any break you would find on the Internet or any other recording, so why stray from it?

You’re the founder of monthly beat showcase (in plain sight.). Can you walk me through the beginning and the evolution of it?

Nothing_neue: (in plain sight.) is me, Kinda Relevant, Thomas Piper, and Spazecraft. But it was my idea to launch it. It started as a live stream. Beat Haus in Brooklyn had an Open Aux event, and I’d been going to the previous functions for the last couple months. I remember going to the Open Aux event and saying, “This is my chance to kind of get on and get noticed and keep playing shows and share my music with people.” I got my set together, did my 10 minutes set, and it was great. But I got off stage and didn’t know where else to go for shows after that. I got the bug to want to play more shows, and coming from like a punk and hardcore background, I took the DIY route. I went to Kinda Relevant and said, “Let’s get in contact with some of the people that did Open Aux with me, and we’ll do a live stream at my house in the living room and see what happens.” A couple people were down, so I designed the flyer… We threw it up on Periscope and people were excited about it. And people want to know when the next one was, so we did another one, and another one, and another one.

Then I had the chance to curate the music for the block party that my black would normally host during the summer. They’d always been asking me when my band was going, and I would tell them, “I’m never taking this metal band and playing it out on the sidewalk. It’s not happening.” But when I was fully involved in the hip hop stuff, I was like, “I can take some of these beat makers and some of these DJs that I’ve met at other shows, and we can put together a show here.” We invited a bunch of beat makers that we met through the live streams and the Internet, and I borrowed a PA system from KORG and drove it to my block in Brooklyn. We rocked for like eight hours. After that, we really stayed steady at Father Knows Best in Bushwick for two years [on the third Saturday of every month]. Then some new neighbors moved in, and they didn’t like how loud we were. So we parted ways and found another place to relocate to, but that was for two shows before the pandemic hit.

How did having a place and a community to share your work shape that work?

Nothing_neue: It’s the concept of iron sharpening iron, you know what I mean? Prior to that, I was making music in a vacuum in my mom’s basement thinking that the only way people were going to hear my beats was with a rapper on top of it. And then I thought, “No rapper is going to want to rap over this weird stuff that I’m making.” It wasn’t until I found Beat Haus that I recognized that there was a community of people really doing it. That gave me a chance to compare myself to someone. “This how weird I can take it. This is how far left I can take it. This is how traditional I can take it. These are all the different directions that you can take music and there’s all these people that are constantly trying to get better at the same thing that I’ve been trying to get better at.” Hosting shows and bringing people making this music in from all over the country and out of the country really kept me focused. It meant that there are people outside of my general scope of people that knew what was going on with this culture, that were devoted to pushing it the same way I’m devoted to pushing it, and that want to see themselves and their peers you know be at their at their best and keep that short sharp at all times.

You originally planned to release Amani on Dust Collectors. I know the backstory here, but, if you’re open to it, would you walk the reader through your interactions with the label and why you decided to split and release the record independently?

Nothing_neue: I trusted Dust Collectors with Amani because I had been releasing music independently and didn’t feel like I had the right push or distribution to get the album to the next level. And I knew it was an important album to share with people. Dust Collectors seemed to have the right connections to help build my fan base and connect to other people. I had my own hesitations, but I tried to trust the process. Then it was May, and we’re in the middle of the aftermath of everything that had happened with George Floyd. Protests were getting ready to happen, and I was preparing to go to one with a few friends of mine. On that day, I’m getting text messages asking me if I really rep Dust Collectors or cosign them. I’m really not trying to think about any of it because I’m focused on going to these protests. It was electrifying and powerful. We came back with a different sense of determination, and really self-determination, a different sense of who we are and how we stand and things. When I get back from this protest, I finally look at my phone and find out that Dust Collectors had been forging donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund on the heels of criticizing other “lofi” labels and distributors for not doing enough for racial injustice.

I’m looking at it and it’s making me sick. I’m already in a place from the protests, so I was like, “Nah, I can’t stand.” This is an album that’s supposed to be a representation of Black dreams, of Black hope and finding light. To give it to a label that doesn’t even closely align with where that album stands and where I stand as an artist, I thought it was necessary to step back and keep that to myself. I decided that if I’m going to do an album based on Black dreams, perseverance, self-determination as a whole, I can’t do this with somebody that doesn’t stand for who I am. I pushed it for myself as a testament to what it means to stand up for who you are and what you stand for. I had other entities ask me if they could be a part of it or release it, and I said, “The most you can do is share my work when it’s out. You can retweet it, if you want to retweet it. You can post it on your socials, if you want to post on your socials. But I’m not doing a deal for this album.” They respected it, which was surprising.

Dust Collectors positioned itself as a “lo-fi” label. What are your thoughts about that classification?

Nothing_neue: I am not a fan of “lo-fi,” the genre classification. It has nothing to do with the sound of it, but everything to do with the rewriting of hip-hop history and the erasure of people that really brought forth that sound. The stuff that we now have the luxury of making low fidelity was made on powerful tools that people got their hands on, samplers and things that added that dust and bit reduction. People either spent time working or hustling to gain access to these tools. Calling it “low fidelity music” is already kind of offensive. And then you watch people who really lit the torch for making beats that sound the way they do now get erased.

You see people arguing with 9th Wonder or Dibiase on Twitter and understand that people don’t really respect the history of where this music comes from. As a result, it lacks that finish and meaning. It’s upsetting because there could be a lot of talented people involved in lo-fi—I’m sure there are—but when you’re too stubborn to study who’s come before you, you forfeit the advantage that you would otherwise gain. By researching, understanding, and appreciating what these people have done, you know why the rhythms felt the way they did, you know why the textures felt and sounded the way they did, you understand the purpose of what a drum can do or what a pattern does or where the pattern even comes from. There’s studying that needs to be done musically, and I find that with the lo-fi community on the Internet so far, it’s been less that people haven’t studied and more that people reject studying.

A lot of the producers that I revere talk about “lo-fi” as being the gentrifier of beat music. Do you think that argument holds water?

Nothing_neue: In literal terms of gentrification going on in cities, you’ve got historical family-owned businesses and landmarks being torn down in exchange for highrise condos and chain restaurants that offer a knockoff of what really existed. With this gentrified “bro-fi” thing going on right now, you see a lot of people discrediting and talking poorly about people who really pioneered things that they take for granted. They don’t understand the groundwork that goes into learning how to produce. As a result, you get the ukulele loops, 70 BPM lullabies, and beats that don’t have bass or low end. They don’t knock. They don’t slap. You get acapellas dropped over beats, and they don’t align with what the beat is doing. You get all these things that don’t make sense to anybody who’s done the studying. The people who’ve done the research, or the people who’ve come before us, will try to correct this and say, “Hey, you know, here’s somebody that did this before you. This is why they did it, and this could help your game come up and make you more talented.” The lofi community, a lot of the time, rejects when an OG comes in and says this stuff. That has a negative impact on how the music grows, and that’s how you end up getting this echo chamber of people who sound exactly the same.

It just so happens that the general public really just started understanding their value for beat music, and that coalesced around the same time that Spotify playlists were getting big and putting emphasis on these people that didn’t do any of the research. They’re able to justify their lack of research by saying, “Well, I’ve made X amount of money in streams,” or, “I’ve have X amount with Twitter followers. What have you done Mister OG person? You’ve been here for X amount of years and still haven’t been able to do what I’ve done.” That kind of disrespect continues to damage the community.

How long did you work on Amani before putting it out? Was it all recorded in Bushwick?

Nothing_neue: “Abundance” and “Bloom” were written in 2016 for a whole different person. Those beats sat there because he never used them. I showed them to a friend when I was living in Bushwick, like, “These are some of the beats that I made a while ago for a record with with a rapper.” She was like, “These are really good. You need to put them out.” In an effort to put them out, I realized I need to have something that surrounded that sound and created a similar atmosphere. So I got to work from early 2019 until January of 2020. I was just writing. Sometimes that would be in Bushwick in my apartment, sometimes it would be on the bus going to work because my car broke down. Sometimes it’d be at my desk on lunch breaks [with my laptop, my hard drive, a little MIDI controller, some good headphones]. I was just like always working for a year.

Did you play every sound on here, or are there any samples?

Nothing_neue: No samples. The only sample is on “Acceptance,” where I used an Ewonee drum break.

There’s a lot of synths on the record. What synths did you use? Are they all analog synths?

Nothing_neue: There were no VST’s. I think the majority of it was the Micro X because it had so many different world instruments. The guitar emulation was really good. On “Eternal” there’s a guitar solo at the end, and that was all played on a Micro X. The Moog really handled the low end. Other than that, it was those two and the microKORG. The Alpha Juno played a smaller role in it.

There may be a coastal bias here, but the record has a West Coast vibe to me because of the heavy synths. Is that a fair characterization? Do you reject that?

Nothing_neue: That’s a really fair characterization. I remember the first time I heard “Cali Iz Active” in a video on MTV. There’s so many synthesizer sounds. It stuck with me for a really long time. When I was studying production more in 2016, I found a video of Battlecat putting together the instrumental for “Cali Iz Active.” He was playing all these synth sounds, and that really had a strong influence on how I compose with synthesizers.

I also hear a bit of neo-soul influence on tracks like “Changes.”

Nothing_neue: Yeah. I grew up on WBLS radio in New York. That was hip-hop and R&B, but between that Hot 97 it was more of the R&B station. I remember growing up hearing a lot of neo-soul songs on the radio. And my mom didn’t really have us listening to too much hip-hop growing up. So the main radio was like smooth jazz radio. I was getting hip to Chuck Mangione and Sade at a really young age. I was starting to understand jazz elements. They played “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck over and over. Those melodies and the neo-soul melodies really stuck in my head.

The drumming can be very high energy but the instrumentation can feel very mellow, sedate. There’s a dissonance there. I’m thinking of a track like “Vibrant”. How does that evaluation sit with you?

Nothing_neue: Dissonance is the word. Coming from metal, one of my favorite things that would happen is that you’d get a really heavy, distorted passage, like a breakdown with lots of screaming, lots of down-toned guitars, lots of double bass happening. And it’s just aggressive. And then it would switch into clean guitars and ambient spaces. Sometimes they’ll put somebody singing over it. That play, that contrast became something that I looked for in everything that I wrote. It was important for me to always create this push and pull. That’s what really got me into the swing of the beat. A swing is really the contrast of something being on versus something being super far off but still just on enough for you to not notice it.

That whole thing became my thesis with making beats: How can I create this tension and release, this high-energy drum atmosphere with loud smacking drums, playing in this atmospheric ambient kind of space, this mellow, relaxing space? And it wasn’t until I started playing shows live that I realized the effect that that had on both me and the audience. For me, I’m focused on the drums, and that’s why my stage presence is as energetic as it is. I’m hearing the drums and the bass. For the audience, they’re hearing the overall presentation. The lightness of that space, the mellow feeling that space has, gives a lot of space for the drums to be hard and for the drums to be aggressive. The melody takes up spaces the drums don’t need to in, and the drums take spaces that the melody doesn’t need to act in. They’re working together in that contrast and dissonance.

To end more broadly, what are your feelings about the beat community in the US?

Nothing_neue: It’s strong. There’s a lot of talented people, and there’s a lot of growth that’s happened over the last couple months because of COVID slowing things down in the United States. We’re able to focus on music and matters that are important to us, which is good. But I’d like to see a separation from everything that’s been previously presented to us, be it lofi, be it having to be underneath a rappers voice, be it instrumental hip-hop as a genre. Electronic music and hip-hop production are the only genres of music where you can be any band, any sound, at any time. You’ve got complete control over what you’re doing. You can be a hip-hop beat maker that makes a jazz album. You can make a hip-hop beat maker that makes an indie pop album. It’s all the same tools, just used differently. So all I really want to see is more freedom in the experimentation and more separation from what the norm is and what it means to make beats.

It’s bigger than that don’t I mean? I think we weightless with low end theory and with flying lotus and kaytranada is how, how far you can get with instrumental music. But I think now is the point where we can turn and say, all right, so we control that lane, our lane, we make this music and it has ever been presented in music. Like, I thought that if I didn’t take off doing music by 25, I would have to settle down and get a day job. But I’m fully invested in this music thing now at almost 30 years old. So that whole thing that comes with hip hop that says you need to be, however years old. On a real scale, is removed. When I just label myself as an artist, as a decision.

Do you think beat music needs broader coverage?

Nothing_neue: Absolutely. And I think it needs more coverage on a level that disregards the whole lo-fi instrumental thing. That lane is so small, and it keeps so many people out because they don’t make that type of music. It just needs to be covered from a grand scale. It’s obvious that Kamaal Williams and all those cats in the UK doing jazz are influenced by what’s going on in beat music, and what has been going on in beat music. Those two things should be in the same conversation.

What do you think needs to change about the coverage that currently exists? Present company included, if you want.

Nothing_neue: I think it needs to be more regular. And I think there needs to be more peer to peer coverage. There needs to be more public conversations between artists discussing each other’s work. That’s the only way there will be ground level conversations about what’s actually going on. Otherwise, we have to wait until there’s a breaking point. And that’s no fault of a writer or an editor, it’s just that there’s so many people making this music that it’s impossible to focus on everyone that’s involved.

But everyone that’s involved has a computer, social media, and contacts with somebody who’s making the music, or a friend whose work they admire. Being able to hold these conversations and share them with people in the way that a magazine would really gives space for people who don’t know what’s going on to get further involved. If I know I have a follower in the UK in a town where nobody’s doing this, and I share a conversation between me and Ewonee about each other’s albums, now he knows about me and Ewonee. From there, they can dig deeper. And these kinds of conversations also breed natural inclusion. There won’t be so much time devoted to figuring out diversity in these publications because we won’t be focused on that on a ground level. Because we share space in such diverse communities by default there’s going to be people that look like us.

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