Number 4: Killer Bee

If you know me then you know how much I love the movie Like Crazy. If you don’t know me and you’ve never heard of this movie then watch this trailer:

In the last 30 seconds of that trailer, Felicity Jones starts this poem about how she thought she understood love but all she really understood was the “pink-slippered-all-containered-semi-precious eagerness of it” without the “gorey bits of you and gorey bits of me.” Her understanding of love was all roses and perfect compared to the reality that everyone is an individual with problems that can cause relationships to divide if you don’t work through/prepare for someone else’s character traits. I say all this because a couple months ago I stumbled upon this song called “Luvsick” by Killer Bee that samples that poem. I lost it. That movie means so much to me. Here it is on Spotify:

I listened to the rest of his music and it is magical. He does some of the best sampling I have ever heard. Tons of 90s hip-hop, awesome drum beats, random anime samples that I don’t understand but make me feel something, etc. His latest album is called Lnr_(01). Favorite songs off that album are: “Eating Dango in the Park with U” and “Dwn 4 U”.

Honestly, all of his albums are awesome. Check out Venus and Otaku (which has the dopest album cover I’ve maybe ever seen). I reached out to Killer Bee and did a little interview with him. He went above and beyond and answered everything with plenty of detail. I think that there is something about having personal contact with an artist that makes their music even better. The full interview is below, read it:

1. Where exactly are you from/originate?

I was originally born in DC, but moved to north NJ when I was about two or so. I never really felt that attached to my hometown since I went to a prep school 20 minutes away from it. Plus it’s suburbia, so the music scene is virtually non existent here and that’s why I usually say I’m from NYC or the metro area (which is true). Since I’m a train ride away from NYC I would visit often with friends to see concerts, and thus have always considered myself as being adopted by the city. Especially right now as it has a really rich beat scene in the BK area.
2. What inspired you to get into producing beats?

I’ve always made music ever since I was a kid. I began with an acoustic guitar and my dad’s laptop and steadily upgraded from there to Garageband on my own computer. One day my friend and I were just messing around and remixing Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” and I was slightly impressed by the finished project. Having never really made a beat before, it came naturally in part to my history of recording drums for alternative rock tracks. It just kind of took off from there and I would work on beats as a hobby. I didn’t take my music seriously until Junior year in college though.

3. Are there any places where you live that you go to for ideas/inspiration?

I don’t know if I would say I actively seek inspiration because I try to make music everyday as a habit so I can produce even if I don’t feel inspired. That being said, I just try to consume art and ideas naturally on my own or try to procrastinate in a somewhat healthy way by directing myself towards websites or artists that inspire me. I think Tumblr is a really great place for that. I’m a big fan of the “aesthetic” on there and vaporwave images in general. You can really tailor Tumblr to continually give you dope ideas and help inspire/shape a sound. I also frequent websites like Dazed’s art+culture sections, Art Nau, Colossal, Juxtapoz, etc. for inspiration towards a specific song or album. In terms of music, I usually just scroll through a lofi playlist I have with artists like ohbliv, knxwledge, tuamie, ewonee, sleepyeyes, jinsang, J Dilla, Nujabes etc. Recently I’ve been really into the Beatles. Stuff like Rubber Soul, Revolver, the White Album. It’s crazy. I want to make music that sounds like that, but for beats.. if that makes sense haha. Anyway, it recently inspired me to scrap half of my new album I’ve been working on and approach things differently. I’ve been trying to think outside the box with my new music.

4. How do you pick your hip hop samples? / Where did the Japanese samples for “strwbrry”, “eating dango in a park with u”, etc. come from?

I’m really picky with my sample choices, which is probably why it takes me a while to make an album I’m truly passionate about. I don’t want to put my name on a major release if I don’t think it sounds good. I do like 30 mixes of a song before I’m satisfied haha. Besides that, there really isn’t a template for my sample choices. I like all genres as long as it sounds good to me. I go through probably 200-250 samples a day and sometimes it takes me a week to find a sample I like. In terms of the anime samples, when I’m not eating or making music, I’m watching anime. The strwbrry sample is from ‘Bleach’ which I’m a big fan of, and the eating dango sample is from ‘Orange’. So I try to watch a lot of slice of life animes because I know that it’ll have romantic scenes, which make for great samples. They’re also just dope in general and a good switch up from the action ones I usually watch. Recently I watched “Anohana” and “Toradora!” which are both dope. But yeah, my advice is to just to always be in the mindset of sampling and naturally you’ll find yourself picking out scenes from which to sample in everything – anime, tv, movies, etc.

5. One of my top 5 favorite movies is Like Crazy so my mind blew up when I heard “luvsick” for the first time, are you into that movie or just like how that poem sounds?

RIP Anton, man. I love that movie. I also think it’s pretty underrated, Anton and Felicity both kill it. They have great chemistry and the whole movie feels genuine, especially if you’ve experienced a long distance relationship. And yeah, I think the poem was really pretty and fit perfectly with the mood I was trying to convey with the intro/tape. The whole movie reflected nicely with the song as well.

6. Do you use any synths that you think are underrated?

I’ve definitely been trying to incorporate more synths into my music as I’m still a noob to it but I think using synths in lofi hip hop in general is underrated. I primarily use Massive which isn’t underrated, but the features that you can achieve with it might be. Taking the time to learn what each knob is worth it, and the results can be mind blowing. I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg myself, but that goes for all of those plugins too – sylenth, serum, absynth, etc.
7. Where do you think you’ll be at, musically, in the next 5 years?

That’s a tough question. Hopefully still progressing sonically and making more complex albums. Hopefully each album to come in that time outshine the last. I want to be signed by then or have some financial backing that will allow me to produce full time. I’d like to have played in various parts of the world like Japan, the UK, Europe, etc. I also would like to have collaborated with a few big names at that point as well like Dev Hynes and Frank Ocean. And who knows, maybe nominated for a Grammy? Time will tell…

Thanks for reading, follow me on stuff. And Killer Bee too.

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