Austria probably isn't somewhere you'd immediately think of when discussing the global indie hip hop but that is changing by the minute.
Producing deep, lo-fi hip hop, Philanthrope has been consistently supplying the new generation with a nuanced repackaging of classic boom-bap bangers. The epic resurgence of underground chillhop has been quite interesting to watch as it continues to spread throughout academic study culture and independent film via streaming services and YouTube.
In this interview we discuss the lo-fi renaissance, ChillHop Records, and he graces us with an exclusive mix.
Prox: Let’s hear a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you initially get into hip-hop?
Philanthrope: Hello! I grew up in Germany in a small City close to Frankfurt am Main. I think I got into Hip Hop around the time I was in primary school because a friends cousin who was 6 years older shared some German Rap LPs with us and I instantly liked it. When I started Skateboarding around 12 I was listening to all the stuff that was played in the Skatevideos so I also got in touch with Punk Rock, Metal, and Psychedelic Rock but Hip Hop was always present.
Prox: Austria isn’t somewhere you typically think of when you think of hip-hop. Could you describe the scene in your area and how the environment impacts your sound?
Philanthrope: You’re right. Austria is not really a country you connect with Hip Hop. Innsbruck is a cool city to live but there's no actual music scene going on which is good and bad at the same time. It’s good because you don’t get distracted too much so I could always focus on creating “my own sound”. Sometimes it’s a bit lame when you don’t have people to talk about music and production with in person, but with Skype and all that it is not that necessary anymore these days.
Prox: A lot of your work seems to be influenced quite heavily by jazz as well. What’s your relationship with the genre from a listener’s perspective? How do these sounds manage to consistently find their way into your beats?
Philanthrope: Since I didn’t really learn to play the Piano or anything I got into Jazz through sample based Hip Hop and then I really got into all that Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Stan Getz type of Jazz and got soaked in more and more. Now I really enjoy listening to Jazz in general. These Days I try to get more into playing all Instruments myself but sampling Jazz will always be my first love.
Prox: You have a very professional sound despite not using any hardware outside of your Macbook Pro. What are some techniques you’re using inside of Logic Pro to achieve an MPC like sound without one?
Philanthrope: I don't think I ever really tried to get a “MPC like Sound”. I really appreciate the MPC for what it is and the Influence on the Hip Hop Culture but these days it is just not needed anymore and everything takes way too long.
Also I never really used any hardware controllers or Keyboards so I’m just not used to this type of workflow. In the end it’s about the final product no matter what type of gear or software you used to make it.
Prox: It seems like jazzy, lo-fi rhythms are becoming a fan favorite in the underground. What has contributed to this movement in your opinion?
Philanthrope: It is hard to say because there are several ways as a listener to get into this type of music. I think a lot of People found out about it on Youtube and treat it like background music for studying or working. It is really accessible because most times artists use harmonic loops from old jazz records and add some lofied drums underneath it.
You can’t really go wrong with this but the problem to me is that the music itself gets repetitive and generic, because everyone is doing the same thing just because it works these days on platforms like Spotify, Youtube and Soundcloud. Then there are listeners that really enjoy listening to it actively because of the sentimental/nostalgic vibe. This is also the reason why I like listening or producing lo-fi related music. You can just let your mind do it's thing and connect the music with situations in your life.
Prox: With the success of your projects and Chillhop Records, where would you like to go next with your music? What do you feel like your resume is missing?
Philanthrope: My next step is moving to Rotterdam to work and live in the same city with everyone that is involved in Chillhop Music/Records. In terms of music I got a bunch of Projects in the making that will get released throughout the next month. I just try to stay creative and always improve my own sound.
Prox: Any artists, creatives, intellectuals, musicians, or movies/shows you’d like to recommend?
Philanthrope: This is hard to say since there are so many great artists around. I don’t want to forget someone important so I skip this question.
Prox: Is there any information you’d like to share about upcoming projects and releases you have in store for us?
Philanthrope: I work on Projects with Nohidea, Benaddict/Psalm Trees, Kupla and Obijuan. Most of them are in the final Steps so I guess all of them will come out in the first half of 2018. In the mix connected to this Interview I will preview some drafts.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Philanthrope: Don’t overthink everything. Also something I have to work on.
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