If we were to talk about different genres of music, one of the most unique genres nowadays which pop up is Lofi type of music. Lofi is one of the alternative music sub genres that has become quite popular nowadays. The word Lo-fi stands for low fidelity, which means that the quality of the recording process of the sound is quite low standard and imperfect if compared to normal music or we can call it DIY music from our own home.

A photo of a home studio

It’s so easy to make music now you just only need to have one computer and a program such as Logic Pro or Ableton etc. People might be wondering but it is a low quality of work, why would it be so popular. These low quality type of music was intended to be low quality and this is the interesting and charming part of lofi. It creates a catchy sound and creates unique warm vibes which completely introduced a whole new experience of listening to music. The music is kinda a mix and blend between old school rap hip hop and jazz music. Mixing it together and it totally creates a new type of sound. 

How to make a song lofi

The word “Lofi music” was first used back in the 90’s from an underground artist. The music is not really complicated compared to classic pop or R&B(rhythm and blue) types of music. The process of making lofi songs is easier than we thought, kinda like homemade versions of music. Most of the lofi music there won’t be a singer or any lyric in it, just pure instrument looping back to back and some sample of sound in the background. Many lofi artists use samples of chords, melodies and beats from old funk, soul, jazz and hip hop in the 80’s and 90’s.

The song mainly uses piano and rhodes for the sake of making it sound lofi. It consists of only four chords and continues looping these four chords for the whole song, this is the part where people might get creative and try to put a catchy melody and nice chord progression into it. Most of the chords used in the lofi are the seventh chord which creates a jazzy vibe and sound.

Then we start adding some drum beats and chop it into patterns that best fit the song, the sound of the drum can be a mix between old samples or modern drum beats and then we use EQ, which is an audio effect to make a drum sound vintage and classic. And next we add a catchy bass line which fits perfectly into the music mostly the bass line will be from the chord that is used in piano, then one of the most important steps is we add an effect to the song.

The key of making lofi is make it sound “nostalgic” adding a sound effect to the song makes a song to be very lively such as the sound of an old vinyl or a cassette tape to make it sound old and classic and feel a little nostalgic. Adding some foley or sound effects such as old speech from an old movie, or even environmental sound like raining outside the street suddenly creates certain vibes for the song particularly. Finally the last step mixing and mastering, unlike the normal high quality music Lofi music requires minimal of mastering.

The thumbnail of the video

As we can see most of the lofi music will have the same style of background like a looping anime video or GIF or something that makes it look so aesthetic and beautiful. In the thumbnail the character will be either hand drawn or taken from some classic anime or even looping a part of anime from Studio Ghibli. And the question is why does it oftenly use anime pictures? There is no real answer for this question, but most of the people said in the same word that anime pictures offer an aesthetic point of view which others couldn’t.

What I mean is that we can see that the graphics and the visual from anime look very lively, beautiful and aesthetic. Even the classic anime offered us old vintage vibes which perfectly fit in a nostalgic mood from a lofi song. And also the lofi music also offered us aesthetic sound and quite unique vibes which can’t be found from an actual cinema movie and completely create a whole new world of music’s experience which has never been offered before. 

The growth of lofi song

The audiences of lofi songs have been increasing more and more over time. At first most of the song can be listened through soundcloud, but nowadays we can listen to lofi songs from almost every platform such as youtube, or even playlist on spotify. The songs were even played repeatedly at coffee shops. This type of genre even grew in popularity among the people who like old school rap hip hop and even jazz listeners.

During the pandemic of Covid 19 the lofi community has been rapidly growing like it never was before. With the social distancing policy people would definitely go from offline to online and this increases the chance of people to find out these communities exist. Channels like Chillingcow(Aka Lofigirl) and Chillhop music which offered a live stream of lofi music have gained more followers and subscribers from the past year.

One of the advantages of the channel which live stream lofi music is they have a live chat community where people would come in from different places around the world and have a little chat. This really helps the lofi community to grow even more. It also suggests that most of the lofi listeners are teennager and workers, because these types of music help us to focus more on our work and help us feel relaxed and reduce stress. 

Why lofi music is so good for study and relax

Nowadays there are so many channels on youtube that offer a one hour straight or even more for lofi music for studying and relaxation. Firstly the lofi music is a wordless music. We often see that lofi music doesn’t have any lyrics in it, but only a looping instrument and sound effect. It is totally perfect for study because without the lyrics. Most of the people tend to sing along the music which has lyrics and will often cause lack of focusing but with lofi music you could concentrate and focus more on our activity.

A channel ChiiledCow which livestream lofi music

Our brain will pickout the difference of sound and turn our mindset to focus. Further research also suggests that with the looping instrument our brain can easily predict the subconscious level of how the sound will continue and turn attention from the sound and make us focus on our task.

With the background of the chord of lofi that sounds so jazzy, listening to smooth jazz can calm the nerves and mind of people which can make people reduce stress and make people relax. Our brain creates a certain brain wave which leads to a better function of the brain.

And with the slow melody and relaxing sound of jazz chords in lofi music, it makes people feel calm and relieved from stress. Also the sound effect of natural and vinyl sound make us feel relaxed because based on the research while listening to these types of sounds our brain releases a specific chemical substance which helps us with the feeling of relaxation. This is why most people listen to lofi songs for the sake of chilling. 

Some artist whose music inspired by lofi

As we all know lofi songs are oftenly wordless music but not every Lofi song needs to follow these patterns. This is why music is one of the most beautiful things, it is an open area where you can mix anything together to create new stuff. Lofi also opens up new areas for people to try new things too.

There’s so many new face artists whose songs are based on lofi such as FKJ and one of the hottest rising stars Keshi where both of the artist styles are based on lofi.

Not only new faces, some famous artist’s work are also inspired by lofi, the song sunflower from Swae Lee and Post Malone are one of the biggest hit songs on chart, which the vibes and instrument were made from a mix between dream pop, old school rap and especially Lofi unique vibes. The song Paris in the rain from Lauv is also inspired by lofi song which totally created a whole unique “Falling in love in Paris vibes” perfectly. 

Music is a borderless space with no limit of creativity, it gave the producer a freedom to try new things and sometimes they even created a masterpiece out of it. Lofi are one of the subgenres which were created with the mix of different types of genre and through the creativity of the world of music. Lofi doesn’t just introduce us to a whole new world of music, but it also hooks up listeners from different genres to create a diverse community of music. This is why lofi music is pretty unique and stands out from others.