Lo Fi House, here to save Dance Music.
Dance music constantly spews up new genres and out of the hundreds that are dreamt up every year, one or two score big. If you jump on every single bandwagon, then sooner or later you’ll find yourself first to the party and nodding sagely while your friends finally say something about how you were into Clownstep first. Lo Fi House could be the next biggie and this week, we’ll show you how to achieve the Lo Fi sound as epitomised by artists like TRP, DJ Boring, Ross From Friends, DJ Sienfield etc. One of the problems in writing a satirical website in what sometimes seems like the end of days is that occasionally the things that are real, are funnier than the things we make up, and thus it is so with all these genuine artist names.
Who and the what now?
So to bring you up to speed, Lo Fi House was invented in Detroit, Chicago, or Berlin, somewhere like that probably. What does it sound like? Well Lo Fi House is a new genre with a twist, as it’s a new genre that actually sounds like an old genre – genius! So it sounds like old 90s deep house, but distorted and muffled, like its been sent through a valve EQ and recorded to tape. If you’re not a sound engineer then this just means it sounds a bit fuzzy, like you’re listening with cheap parmesan in your ears, underwater.
Have you heard of the Korg M1 Organ Preset?
So, first of all, get out your trusty Korg M1 Organ preset samples – don’t worry, that sound is in no way overplayed – likewise make some drums using some 909 percussion, and then stick in a few other pads, keys or samples, preferably in the same key as the other bits. To achieve the multi-textured aesthetic of the most evocative Lo Fi House, simple programme all these bits together in a generic house groove and then reach for your distortion, overdrive, valve EQ and tape emulation pre-sets. The trick here is to acknowledge all the subtlety and nuance available to you as a producer, then stick loads of distortion presets on absolutely everything. We’ve reviewed the Musty500x plug-in here, it’s pretty handy at messing shit up.
If anyone asks you why your songs so muffled and distorted, just tell them it’s a fetishization of how house music used to sound on cassette: slightly compressed with a lack of top end and, as such it’s a celebration of the raw, low fidelity roots of house music. They’ll believe you, people will believe anything these days. If they don’t, then try mentioning the multi-textured aesthetic again, it should do the trick.
Things not to say in the Lo Fi House scene:
“Have we really got to the stage when the only idea we have is to revive a genre that’s already been revived thoroughly, with the only difference being that this time we’re going to use overdrive and valve distortion effects?”
“Is this not just a marketing tactic for streaming companies?”
“Can you turn up the treble a bit please, this sounds really muffled?”
Want more studio tips? Then read In The Studio Part 2 – How to get that Nu-Folk Sound