Our team just talked to Shierro, the multifaceted, genre-bending LoFi artist and producer. He shared his valuable thoughts on music, creation and why this all matter what musicians do. It’s a worthy read with good ideas, so be brave and read on!
And while you are at it, listen to “Quiet Storm” by Shierro, it’s a good one!
Music Authentic: Welcome to Music Authentic! We have a site-traditional question: How did you sleep last night?
Shierro: Well, I just laid down, closed my eyes and waited…
Music Authentic: And what music did you listen to when you cooked last time?
Shierro: The last time I cooked, I pressed “play” on my “Underground Hip Hop” playlist, which contains some nice dusty hip hop tracks from artists like the Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Slaine, Sick Jacken and such. I just love those old school boom bap beats playing when cooking up some food.
Music Authentic: LoFi meets jazz in “Playground Bliss” and some orchestral music expansion like in the hero age of the late ‘60s in “Flames to Dust” bringing a totally different mood on. How did it come to give different characteristics to your songs and not just releasing for example ‘music for readings’?
Shierro: To be honest, I love lo-fi hip hop, so when I started to make music more professionally, I mainly focused on creating traditional lo-fi beats, which is all good, but I caught myself getting a bit bored in the creation process after a while, and needed a bit more of a challenge.
Still wanting to make beats, I am still using lo-fi hip hop as my foundation, but instead of using the classic (somewhat repetitive) patterns, I’ve tried to make my tracks to sound a bit more alive and dynamic, experimenting with different sounds, arrangement, transitions and approach.
I think there is already an evolution going on in the lo-fi hip hop scene, where artists are trying out different things, shaping more of a unique and distinct sound for themselves, which is pretty awesome. I listen to a lot of different genres of music and you know, when something sounds cool, it sounds cool, doesn’t matter what genre. So a lot of times I am just listening to music and think by myself: “How would this sort of dream pop song sound as a chill lo-fi beat?” for example.
Then I jump into the studio and try some things out with that particular song in mind, bending and kneading it, till I think it works. (or not of course). This approach gives me a lot of musical freedom and also excitement, as I don’t always know which direction a track will go, as there are no bounderies.
This way some tracks come out more “Bubblegum Lofi” like the track “Playground Bliss” which is very Jazz, Pop and Dance influenced. With on the other hand tracks like “Flames to Dust” which is way darker and more gritty, and is influenced by dusty 90’s boom bap and epic orchestral music.
This way, I hope, my music stays fresh and interesting for me and the listeners. I am very lucky I have found a label that is willing to release my more experimental tracks, as not every label is waiting for ‘something different’. Most of the time I just write music like I would paint a painting, visualizing it, trying to tell a story, using the drums or some chords as the first sketch lines and foundation, then using the sounds and melodies to colour everything, and then use effects and final arrangements as finishing touches.
And yes, “happy accidents” happen.
Music Authentic: Storytelling is usually done by words, you are telling them with instruments, arrangements and melodies – atypical of your genre. Have you ever thought of adding some vocals?
Shierro: I did, and there are a lot of tracks buried in my ‘beat graveyard’ that have vocals in them. But to be honest, it is pretty hard to get vocal tracks signed with labels in my genre, so the speak, as most labels are more instrumental orientated.
Knowing this, forced me to be more creative, and tell a story with only instruments, arrangements and melodies, just like you mentioned.
A bit of a blessing in disguise, as it definitely helped to shape my tracks as they are sounding now. But who knows, maybe one day I will dig some of these tracks up and do an indie release of a more vocal orientated album.
That said, I did release a more vocal track called ‘changes’ (feat. Eaup) and also produced some instrumentals for singers under one of my other aliases, so I think that would count a little, right?
Music Authentic: What about inspiration? People of planet Earth have seen just another period of struggles and tribulations, misery and maybe most importantly ignorance, wilful obnoxity seems to prevail in humans’ life, especially in the more privileged countries. Isn’t it hard to overcome all this as an artist and get to the creational plate?
Shierro: There is a huge amount of bad stuff going on, and lots of misinformation and ‘noise’ out there. I find writing music is a great escape from all that. It helps me to shut myself off from the world for a bit and focus on something totally disconnected. Hopefully my music helps other people cope with what’s going on better, but for me, the process of making music is my way to escape from all of that.
Music Authentic: Would you rather live in “Chill Ville” or in “Star Valley”?
Shierro: That is one hard, but amazing question…
I visualize “Chill Ville” as a more laid back place where the sun always shines and the people are happy and celebrating life with a smile, but on the other hand “Star Valley” is darker, has more melancholy in the air and the people there are more (comfortably) sad.
I would live in both for a while, but as the summer is almost over, I am longing for “Star Valley” now.
Music Authentic: The dulcimer-theme in “Quiet Storm” sounds like a lullaby. “Coffee Camino” is definitely for jazz-loving grown-ups. Who is your audience? To whom do you write more?
Shierro: When I make music I am not really keeping track which type of songs I write more, but I think my audience are people from all walks of life from all over the world, who just want to unwind from life, which I hope they will, when listening to my music.
Music Authentic: We all have daydreams, some much closer to reality some forever in dreamland. Have you ever thought to perform your songs live with a full band and/or an orchestra?
Shierro: Yes, I did, but that idea was thrown out of the window pretty fast, haha.
I tend to be more of an introvert, so I’ve rather stay a bit more low profile and don’t like to be in the spotlight that much.
Also I think my music is better enjoyed when being alone and in your own comfort zone, not in a setting where there is a lot of energy and other things going on.
Music Authentic: Your song “Weightless” could fit into a series episode; a thing, lots of artists are aiming for that. What about you, are you sending your songs in?
Shierro: My main goal isn’t to create music for television or movies, but I do get requests from moviemakers asking if they can use my music in their projects, which is pretty awesome. Also there are some discussions behind the scenes going on that might end up in some music from me being used in an episode of some popular show that is going to be streamed on one of the biggest video streaming services.
Of course I have to keep my cool, as it is still not set in stone, but still pretty exciting stuff nontheless.
Music Authentic: Let’s have some fun: you’re on your way to Mars and you’re asked to put a playlist together for daytime activities. Which artists and songs would you choose for sure?
Shierro: That is indeed a fun question…. So we are focusing on daytime activities here? Guess we need some energy for that. Let me think… Here is a very quick selection:
Metz – Drained Lake
Nirvana – Breed
Beasty Boys – Intergalactic
Roots Manuva – Witness (1 Hope)
Major Lazer, Pharrel Williams – Aerosol Can
Music Authentic: Now back to life: Can music heal?
Shierro: Yes, I think it can. I think it can heal your mind and soul, ease pain, pull you though bad times and lift your spirit when needed.
The positive effect on your mood alone could give someone improved results when healing.
There is even a whole science behind it also, but don’t let us get very technical about it, as we probably extend this read by 15 minutes, haha.
Music Authentic: What does it take to be a musician these days; what advice would you give to your younger self?
Shierro: The same advice I gave to my nephew (artist Roelo) when he started out making music a few years ago.
And that advice is to keep grinding. This meaning in a nutshell: keep practising your craft, level up, stay eager to learn, disciplined, keep an open mind, stay humble, that it is okay to be insecure about your music sometimes, take everything one step at a time and be patient, grab opportunities, try to figure out if someone is trying to take advantage of you or not, and most importantly try to link up and collaborate with other like minded artists (expand your network), respect their time and learn from them, whether it is something musically, technical, business wise or something else.
Music Authentic: Before we go: what are your plans for the future? New album, songs, EP, music video, concerts?
Shierro: There are already some new singles and EP releases lined up for the upcoming months (including some releases with Yestalgia, Azido 88, URCHN, Hoffy Beats, Roelo and more) , so keep an eye out for those. Also I am working on a lot of new material at the moment (also for my other aliases Kid Kio and Moon Ghetto), so it is only a matter of time these tracks see the light of day.
Music Authentic: At last, what are your encouraging and inspirational words to your readers, sympathizers, fans?
Shierro: I am not someone who likes to use and quote inspirational quotes or something, but I can truly say I am really thankful for all the people who are supporting me and my music. I am still a bit weirded out sometimes (in a good way) ,when someone sends me a DM/message and tells me how they like my music and what impact it has on them.
This is so cool, because it gives me a glimpse of their life and what is going on at that moment. It’s always positive and I can say that this really means a lot to me. So thank you all for your positive vibes and helping me keeping motivated to make more music.
Music Authentic: Thanks for your time and looking forward to hear your new songs!
Shierro: And thank so much you for having me here.
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