Interview: Five Minutes with rocomoco

As seasons come and go and trends in the music industry change, we believe one thing remains the same: lo-fi music is where it’s at. Take rocomoco, for instance: the Berlin-based duo who are easing souls around the world with their latest single, ‘Grooveshop’ with the Danish producer Hoffy Beats coming along for the ride. The single was inspired by endless moments in Mediterranean bars, where the only thing to call you home is the gentle sunburn that’s warming your cheeks in the evening. 

Stream/ download: ‘Grooveshop (with Hoffy Beats)’

Aside from building inexplicably good moments in time, the duo are currently working towards the release of their upcoming LP Into The Blue which will be made public on the 29th of October via Aviary Bridge Records Ltd. Take a dip into the two creative minds in the exclusive interview below, perhaps you’ll get an idea of what to expect.

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

We don’t know exactly what moves us. We are addicted to music. Music allows us to communicate, process, and structure feelings in ways language can’t. 

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Mostly it’s the sound, sometimes a vibe or rhythm of ambient noise. It’s like diving into the ocean hunting for treasures. We always create unintentional into the blue and layer ideas over ideas and then cook them down again to the core of the track. To make it a “rocomoco track”, the music always needs to resonate with personal memories, moods or pictures.

Does your material feature any collaborations?

There is a lot of collaboration going on in the lo-fi producer scene. It’s great and inspiring to develop music with people all over the world. With Hoffy Beats from Copenhagen, we have already released the single “Falling Apart” in 2020 and for the album, “Grooveshop” was a due following. With Devon Rea from Fort Worth we released “Dawn” earlier this year on the french lo-fi label HipDozer. Devon helped us a lot to bring our most complex album-track Djeep on point. Sidenote: we have worked on Djeep more than 10 years… We also got in touch with Bastido, Harry Hawaii and Tabi for the album as we love their vibes a lot. Not to forget our long term friend and collaborator The Hidden from Southampton, who also contributed for Into The Blue. 

What’s on your current playlist?

Find out yourself on our Stay Awake Lofi Hip Hop Playlist:

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

We hope for good parties in small clubs, bars and chilled venues in the future.

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

Ableton Live is our go-to DAW. We love to experiment with a wide range of plugins and software instruments and we are also developing our own software instruments in Ableton Live like an SP404 EFX simulator or a lo-fi kalimba sample instrument. Here you can learn more about our self-made tools and you can also find a link to a free download:

Playing “real” instruments and other interesting and sounding objects is important as well for self-sampling purposes. Not to forget our Tascams we use for our field recordings.

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

It only takes a laptop, a soundcard and some good earphones, so basically, our studio is everywhere. It’s travelling with us. Everything is stored on our shared cloud server, which is a good thing, as we don’t live in the same place. That’s why a day in a studio, besides working on our music, also includes zooming a lot and chatting in multiple WhatsApp groups with our collaborating artists.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

We have always made music but never released anything because we felt that the internet is a cold and infinite space. In 2017, we fell in love with the vibrant lo-fi beats scene. Everything we heard was so beautiful. The intimate nostalgic vibe, the strong and dusty drums, the sample-driven production. We came from leftfield downbeat and trip-hop so our own music wasn’t too far away from that. Then we read Budi Voogt’s SoundCloud Bible which is about entrepreneurship in the digital age. That book was very encouraging and it contained a lot of practical advice. We thought OK, we can do that. And started rocomoco on SoundCloud.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Yes, you should give Bastido, Chenice and Tabi a listen.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Focus, fun and friendship.

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

OMG, that would be a long list. Let’s name a few we often use: The Noire Piano, the Fender Rhodes, the semiacoustic Gretsch guitar, the SP 404 sampler and the playground for infinitive possibilities, the NI Guitar Rig.

Any side projects you’re working on?

Right now we are working on an album with The Hidden called  “Paradise” for the Aviary Bridge Zodiac Edition.

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

As we want to stay in control in each production step our biggest priority was to develop our production skills. It was a lot of trial and error, checking tutorials, workshops and courses. You can hear the progress when you compare our first songs with the sound of the album Into The Blue now.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

We have detected two paths of interest: First to incorporate more vocals in our productions and second to produce an EP in five days from the scratch with a jazz musician.

Famous last words?

Streams are my reality.

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