LAKIM on iOS Beatmaking, Soulection, Web3 & NFTs for Music Producers
Posted on 02 February 2022
Hailing from Virginia, LAKIM has steadily made a name for himself in the electronic scene. Bridging the gap between dance and hip-hop with style and finesse, his sound is an ever-shifting blend of crisp drum patterns, dreamy synths, and lush vocal chops. Following several years of independently self-released projects, LAKIM made waves in 2012 when his stellar remixing skills caught the attention of the renowned forward-thinking beat collective, Soulection. We chat with LAKIM about his recent dive into iOS music production using our apps, Lo-Fly Dirt & Fly Tape 2 amongst others. We also discuss Web3, NFTs, and what's on deck for the DJ/Producer...
1. Explain for our audience who LAKIM is, where you're from and how you got your start making music.
I’m LAKIM. A Virginia native but now based out of Long Beach, CA. I represent the Soulection family and I also run my own record label, Tufcat Recordings. I’m probably most known for my DJ sets & remixes (Banks, Janet Jackson, etc.) but
I’ve also produced for a handful of artists including Lil Baby, Logic and Wale to name a few. As far as getting into music, my dad actually made beats so I was first inspired by him. In addition to that, my grandfather was a radio station DJ in my hometown for 25+ years so it runs in the family. I was literally born into this and didn’t ever think of wanting to do anything else.
2. You've been known to use FL, the MPC, and other pieces of gear...but can you explain the love for iOS? How are you currently incorporating it into your music?
Man, it’s really limitless. I love having these tools at my fingertips at any given moment. If I have an idea that’s brewing, I don’t have that fear anymore of losing it before I get back to my main setup.
Everything is right at your disposal. It’s incredible. If I start projects in iOS, I try to fully realize them as much as possible before I airdrop the files into either FL or the MPC software to fully flesh them out.
I’m leveling up xp crazy rn. pic.twitter.com/1aJJk3UyIr— LAKIM | lakimisalive.eth (@LAKIMisAlive) January 19, 2022
3. We've seen you on numerous occasions post beat snippets on Twitter using our app Fly Tape 2! How have our apps opened up your production? What other apps are you currently using?
I think the Koala, Fly Tape, & Lo Fly combo is crazy! It’s just like having a SP404 that you can carry around in your pocket. All of the onboard effects on of the apps do a really good job of replicating those beloved features that people look for sound-wise.
It’s definitely a cost conservative option too if you’re just starting out and want to learn out to make beats without spending too much money.
Here’s an extensive list of apps that I currently use on iOS -
4. Recently you've posted a beat on Twitter using Fly Tape 2 & Lo-Fly Dirt amongst other apps. Talk to us a little bit about that track & it's process...
nah, this really crazy pic.twitter.com/Xs0uEnLYoF— LAKIM | lakimisalive.eth (@LAKIMisAlive) January 6, 2022
I always loved the original sample. I had attempted to tackle it a few times before but didn’t get the sound I wanted. I had tried across all of my gear without trying Koala so I figured I’d give it a spin and it turned out wonderful. I started by screen recording the sample and drums from YouTube and importing them in Koala. After cleaning them up to my liking, I laid down the kick as a guideline for the sample chops.
After I got those sounding good, I removed the kick and added a filter by holding the effect and resampling it onto itself so that I’d get back a clean low pass. After that, I programmed the drums and sequenced all of my different patterns into one while keeping a sequence with just the sample open for doing drops. The Lo-Fly Dirt and Fly Tape 2 apps are the icing on the bake. The final a-ha moment!
5. We've also noticed you use our app Lo-Fly Dirt. Tell us what you like about it & what are some of your favorite presets...
I love the grittiness of it. As someone who’s tested and used a lot of hardware gear of the years, it’s pretty close to emulating the real machines sound modules in digital form. The hardware will always reign supreme but it’s good to know that you can get that crunch you want without the enormous price that’s usually attached to vintage gear. Some of the Lo-Fly Dirt presets I tend to use the most are “a cold piece” and “vintage tape.”
6. These days do you lean more toward a traditional production environment (studio, desk, hardware, software vsts, etc) or has mobile music really changed the way you approach your music?
I think that the more traditional setup won’t ever leave my workflow but it’s amazing to see how music can be made using just an iPad if you wanted to. Ever since I started making beats, it’s been wild to see the technological advances that’ve been made within the past 10-15 years. I’m even more ready to see what game changing tools will be thought of in the next ten years to follow.
7. What are some of the strengths & limitations you're currently finding on iOS? How are you using or getting past them to complete your work?
I don’t necessarily believe in anything having limitations. The only thing that can really limit you from getting the idea you want out of an app is you, yourself. Of course, some apps do things better than others but with all of the interconnectivity of devices, you can start projects on apps like Koala and dump stems to yourself and clean it up in the DAW you use to fully realize it.
If you’re using just apps, that might be more difficult but it pushes you to be even more creative I think. There’s never a dull moment in music creation if you really love doing it.
8. Do you fully trust your iOS set up in a live setting?
I’m not sure to be honest. When I play live, it’s generally confided to strictly DJ sets on controllers or CDJs. I’m sure if had a need to incorporate my phone or iPad into the setup, it would be a welcomed addition. But like with anything, shit can happen and sometimes can go wrong mid-performance. You always gotta give things proper test runs!
9. How would you personally describe the "LAKIM" sound? Where did the house/dance influence originate from?
It’s really a hodgepodge of everything. I started out making rap beats but eventually wanted to tap into the other genres of music I grew up listening to. How I describe it is it’s electronic but soulful with a splash of hip-hop. I think those influences come with being from Virginia too. We didn’t have a traditional soundbed to follow even with absolute heavy hitters coming out of the state like the Neptunes, Timbo and Nottz among others. None of their music ever sounded the same so I think it led to people that grew up listening to them following suit.
That also comes with dance music too I feel like. Since we have so many navy bases back home, we had early access to records from overseas sometimes months & years in advances. The first time I heard a Daft Punk record was thru my friend’s older cousin that brought over a 12” when he returned from tour. It’s kinda wild to think about it now but all of those experiences shaped my sound into what it is today.
10. Talk to us about your thoughts on web3 & NFTs for music. How do you see that helping artists & producers?
Web3 is a game changer for artists. It allows creatives to see their worth in real time. All of the hours and sacrifice that go into releasing work for it to not be profitable or received the way you want it to can be soul crushing.
I feel like NFTs can rectify that to some degree but it’s still in its early stages. We’re probably a good 5-10 years away from this being the standard as which we go by but it’s amazing to be involved in it at the ground level and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
11. What has Soulection meant for your career and beat production culture in general?
Soulection is everything! It’s allowed me to get noticed by people all over the world that walk in but most importantly to form a camaraderie with everyone involved within the crew. It’s been an amazing ride watch it grow and expand into what it’s become. I’m grateful to be apart of something bigger than just myself.
12. What new projects are in the works for you? Any upcoming shows? Where can we find you online?
I’m working on finishing a new album this year alongside some physical and web3 releases. I always have DJ gigs that pop up every month but I’ll be putting on a tour to support the project as well! That and one offs can be found here - https://www.lakimisalive.com/
for everything - https://linktr.ee/lakimisalive