Lo-tek - Ohio’s Acclaimed Beatmaker Is A Koala Lover
by David Hicks
The 10th guest on T.R.S. Is a Ohio native who found his workflow when creating neck braking beats on the iPad or iPhone. Thanks to Elf Audio and Koala Sampler, and mobile production apps, there is nothing he won’t do including, giving you a neck brace. Get familiar with the Koala Prince who goes by the monicker Lo-tek. Enjoy the read and consider becoming an Patreon-ish member here.
Episode 010 of T.R.S. Available Now! Featured sound wizard @lo_tekbeats Enjoy! ✌🏾🖤
Question #1: For those beat heads that might be sleep, please introduce yourself, tell us what your name means and where your from.
Whats up everyone I go by lo_tek right now at the current moment. As some of you may be aware there is a legendary producer and sound designer from down the road in Ohio who goes by the name of Hi-Tek. I’m from Dayton, Ohio; I make considerably lesser quality music lmao. That man is a genius and one day in the near future I’m gonna study and learn from him. While Ohio is considered my artistic home truthfully I’ve been a nomad my entire life. Growing up in an Air Force family I was raised primarily in the UK and Germany.
Question #2: When and how did your musical journey start? What was the moment when you realized creating music was your thing?
I started making beats 2 years ago after I graduated University and moved to Ohio. I was alone and didn’t have any creative outputs at the time. My brother suggested music production to me and later that month I got a copy of Cool Edit Pro and the journey began. Music really saved me looking back if I’m being honest. I was really dealing with some depression at the time and finding a positive outlet of expression was a lifesaver.
Question #3: Your an amazing mobile producer using Koala Sampler and other mobile apps. What is it about the mobile production realm that you like? How does it help you express your music creativity?
Wow, first off thank you that’s a dope compliment. Still getting used to the fact that anyone listens let alone supports my art. It’s extremely humbling; I’m just me in my mind but fortunately I got some amazingly talented friends and family who put me on game. Shoutout my koala sensei's Tvkii, Senz, and the Lordt Stxn. And I make 95 percent of my music right on the iPad finding koala has been a real blessing for me because I literally have everything I need right here in one space. Now after the update it's my DAW! I practically do everything that I do in both Ableton and Serato Studio. Thanks to the lessons I’ve learned my process on koala is mad effortless I really don’t think anymore. I’m able to make full tapes in a day or two given my ability to stack and dig for samples.
Question #4: The pandemic hit the music community hard but you still found a community of like-minded beatmakers to build with and participate in beat battles and Sample Rumble competitions. Can you explain how that’s help expand your skills and connect you to people you would have never connected to if you stayed local?
I was never on social media apart from an old facebook account I deleted lol so needless to say I had and still have a lot to learn about the internet and social media in general. Fortunately everyone that I’ve met has been cool; I’m not one for all the drama and like many of us I really try to monitor what I absorb and let into my space. My primary focus to this day is to help highlight others and their works apart from myself. Gotta spread and be about what it is you wanna attract towards yourself. And speaking for me I just want love; as corny as that may sound that’s what I want my life to be centered around genuine connections and love. With that mindset I’ve been very fortunate to some incredibly beautiful souls from all over the globe. Places and connections I’m planning on visiting and maintaining soon.
Question #5: You have 36 beat tapes and collaborative pieces on your Bandcamp site available for listening and purchase. With every project, do you feel like your creating music that will stand the test of time?
Damn 36 lol really!? And that’s not including some collaborative pieces (thank you for reminding me). Like I mentioned earlier I’ve been very blessed to work with some incredible artists. We got mad more pieces in the stash and in the works right now. I’m excited for the future and the coming months because I’m getting closer with each release to sharing my updated works. Recently, I finally listened to my manager the great and ever talented Roberto aka Stoopkid and he’s mixing/mastering all my future tapes. And we’re working on the marketing and promotion aspects, something I need to learn honestly.
Question #6. What is your chop philosophy for new producers who don’t know where to start? Do you have any tips for people that feel intimidated by the process?
Like I tell the students both Roberto and myself teach in my opinion it’s about getting in your reps. I look at it like building up that muscle memory almost like athletics in that regard. What better way to learn than by doing; we got some in depth koala tutorials in the works. And the whole koala community is amazing in regards to passing on new information and resources. We don’t have limited sauce over here lol we can give some away and still maintain and prosper. In my opinion there is room for everyone to carve out their own lane and succeed.
Finally, the Koala vs SP404 tape is out! All 38 tracks are 🔥, all proceeds go directly to the wonderful @igiveabeat organization - get it before bandcamp friday is over, so they get a bigger slice! https://t.co/dnzcc1qyiN
Question #7: Who are your beat maker superheroes and why? Not super producers in the main stream industry.
Well my introduction to hip hop culture is The RZA he’s always gonna be the goat to me. Then there's cats like Madlib, Dilla, Knxwledge, The Alchemist, Evidence, Hi-Tek, Easy Mo Bee, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Mannie Fresh. Man the list goes on lol. But to answer your second question; my friends are my major inspirations and they’re primarily the ones I listen to. Major shoutout and thanks to DistantStarr, Teedot, Blkgod9, Jetlag Trav, JayHill, Roberto, the whole Usra family. Peace to all my Cold Cuts Collective brothers as well; gotta say thank you to my brothers Risky Patterns, Gusto Shade, ILLDON, Taariq, JHersch, the whole We Like Chops crew. Big up my whole Raw[life] family as well some of the best producers, emcees out right now. Also I gotta give love to all my fellow Ohio creatives, if you happen to be familiar with my twitter account you already know my stance on how amazing the talent from our state is. Mark my words Ohio is gonna be running sh*t soon enough big up Pink Siifu & Sudan Archives for trailblazing for the new wave of artists. Also I gotta say peace to one of my earliest influences Dibiase who's been incredibly generous with his time and information. And before I play myself and forget I gotta take a second to say a special special dedication to Phoenix. She's an amazing artist and an even doper human being. If I’m real she’s been the inspiration for my progression. I doubt she’ll ever see this but let the record show it’s all love to New Jersey’s finest!
Question #8: What advice would you give to the younger you when you first started out making beats and how can the internets find you?
My advice to my younger self or me 2 years ago would be stay the course. Because I’m finding myself returning to earlier unreleased pieces lol. Also drink more water, tell your people that you love them while they're here in the physical. And get outside some more before the whole virus situation. Oh and probably most import remember to eat and read some books Zak!