As I dug deeper and deeper into the Los Angeles beat scene, I began finding more artists beyond those who tear the house down at the Low End Theory or are associated with Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint. In particular, I found the work of a young man who goes by the name of Shlohmo, a fitting title for a producer whose music sounds like it’s building on a slow-motion shattering of glass and drum sounds. And his latest EP, Camping, which was released on June 15 on Friends Of Friends, shows a steady progression of this San Francisco-by-way-of-L.A. producer’s sound. With a steady groove of low-end bass and nearly ambient drums, Shlohmo blends in glitched, droning 8-bit blips for a new spin on the ever-expanding subgenre of experimental hip-hop.
PIMB: You’re only 20 years old right now, so when the hell did you start making music and when did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
Shlohmo: I started producing when I was about 14, but I didn’t really get serious about it ’til about two years ago. I honestly still haven’t decided if this is what I “want to do,” but I know I’m gonna be making music forever, whether or not it becomes a job for me.
PIMB: What were you listening to when you began crafting your brand of lo-fi instrumentals? In other words, who are your biggest influences?
Shlohmo: All types of stuff. From lo-fi punk to a lot of super hi-fi electronic. My influences come from everywhere. But I guess my biggest influences in terms of what I’m creating now are the really cinematic electronic dudes like DJ Shadow, Amon Tobin, M83, Boards of Canada, and stuff like that. Those guys really opened me up to the technical side of things, as well as song structure and melody and all that shit. Later on I started getting into cats like Madlib and Dilla, and I think that opened my head to the rawness in beats. That dirty sample shit and, of course, that swing. But really, everything inspires me. I feel like I’ve taken just as much inspiration from sounds coming from out my window.
PIMB: Will we ever hear vocalists over your beats? If so, rappers or singers or both?
Shlohmo: Ya, hopefully both. I have a few really talented friends I’ve been working with and am definitely trying to do something serious with them in the future. I’m also really open to hooking up with some new cats, but I don’t want to do it just to do it. I always want collaborations to be with the folks who I click well with creatively.
PIMB: I know you just did those two remixes of Montell Jordan and Khia. What made you want to do those and do you intend on doing any more?
Shlohmo: I just had those a cappellas lying around and thought I could do something raw with them. I don’t know, it was just some fucking around.