About two years into their existence, Chillhop Music also started a full-fledged record label. Which was a logical move, as Chillhop originally started out in 2013 as a passion project to support underground music—more particularly: the best in chilled beats. At first mainly through their YouTube channel (fun fact: Chillhop was allegedly the first in the game to launch a 24/7 lo-fi live stream), mixes, and a The Essenchills compilation series to support music by the likes of Aso., L'Indécis, Stan Forebee, and Brock Berrigan. While their community was steadily growing (that’s an understatement: their YouTube channel alone now reaches 3.2 million subscribers), a label was established to be able to support bedroom beatmakers to the fullest. Turning Chillhop into a mammoth platform for beats grounded in lo-fi, jazz hop & instrumental hip-hop.
Sampling seems to run through Chillhop Music like a bloodline of loops, chops, and textures. Originally inspired by groundbreaking sample-based music by greats like Nujabes and J Dilla, early beatmakers on Chillhop’s roster were heavily grounded in sampling themselves as well. “I guess sampling was a big part—if not the main source—to create a lo-fi beat when the genre started on SoundCloud,” says German producer Philanthrope, who handles A&R for Chillhop Music. “Since lo-fi beats have a muffled, less peaky overall sound aesthetic, especially samples that come from old records that get digitalized and already have a slightly poor sound quality when they get shared on YouTube or blogs, worked well for those type of beats.”
—Björn de Water (General Manager at Chillhop Music)
However, Chillhop Music’s rise to popularity turned out to be a double-edged sword for their sampling: rightsholders got wind of the successful niche-turned-powerhouse, with several clearance issues forcing Chillhop Music’s producers to focus more on live instrumentation and creating original compositions. “Of course we want all music to be properly cleared and to be fair to its original creators,” says Chillhop’s General Manager, Björn de Water. “That’s what made the collaboration with Tracklib like a full-circle to us: to finally be able to go back to the source.” Enter Tracklib: last year’s collaborative release of Timezones Vol. 1 - Saudades do Tempo themed around sampling South American originals, enabled the beatmakers to return back to their roots in sampling. Our full feature How Chillhop Producers Got Back to Sampling shares more on that.
Their new additions of all-original music (with multitracks!) to Tracklib takes this even further. Not just on a level of sample-loving producers getting sampled themselves. It’s bigger than just that: making dozens of masters available is a way for them to give back. “We really believe in a community feeling, so we really want to give back to the beatmaking community,” says Björn. “The difference now is that people can sample from new music from the last few years. It’s amazing to see people still dig into golden periods like the 60s and 70s for sampling—for example, personally, I’m currently working with samples from the 30s and 40s. Our music will never replace that. But why not add to that, to make sure people also have new sounds and styles? It all complements each other.”
The catalog includes a wide range of genre-defining chillhop tracks. From soul-drenched productions by Dutch producer Moods (who is also a signee to Kraak & Smaak's Boogie Angst label) to music from Chillhop’s celebrated seasonal compilations, to the most obscure chilled vibes from their roster.
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