Interview - Chillhop Records
Back in late 2015 I was midway through a battle to submit two essays that were due around Christmas/New Years time. Some of you can empathise, for those that don't, it's basically waking up one morning and realising you're going to have to actually do some work and then spend two weeks sweating over a few thousand words. I call it "Sweat Season".
During my 1st "Sweat Season" of University, I hit a wall and didn't know what to write. I had about 1K words left with about two nights left. Now there are many ways for people to get themselves going. Have TV in the background, throw a tennis ball at the wall, meditation, there's many methods. Mine is music. But for some reason my music wasn't working for me at the time. So I decided to look around for new music. That is when I found this 24/7 YouTube stream by a channel named "Chillhop Music". I was hooked, the music was chilled and different. I finished my work right on time.
Because of this I felt like I should reach out to the people that unknowingly helped me through some of my studies and give them some shine. So without further ado, I give you Bas, 27 years old from The Netherlands & founder of Chillhop Records.
CT: How did Chillhop come about? Origins, initial vision etc.
Bas: The idea started early 2013, when a friend and I were listening to a lot of artists with a chilled hip hop kind of sound like Nujabes, Blazo, Kondor and so on. We figured there wasn’t much to be found about those artists apart from Bob42jh (big shout out to him) working hard to distribute this kind of music. We joked about the word “Chillhop” being a good name for it, and I found out the domain name chillhop.com was still available so I decided to make a blog for this kind of music doing album reviews, interviews and so on. I had just gotten my International Business & Management college degree and had no idea what direction to go in, so I figured starting a blog would give me a lot of experience as well as allowing me to get a feel of what I wanted to do. At that point I didn’t know anything about web design, programming and so on, so I often spent more than 10 hours a day learning everything and talking to people involved in the music. It grew into a more audiovisual media oriented platform over the years, focusing more on YouTube and SoundCloud uploads rather than text posts on the website. After a few years of just sharing music, I felt like I wanted to do more than just promotion and get more involved in the whole, so since October last year we started Chillhop Records which is a perfect addition to our existing network as we have a good feel of what the audience wants and have a good way to reach people with our growing fan base. It also allows us to explore new ways to distribute the music, because with release on our label we actually have the rights for the music as opposed to promoting music not released by us. After a couple of years of doing close to all of the work myself, Brandon (Birocratic) joined the team as a Creative Director focusing on overseeing Chillhop Records releases, as well as Simon (Philanthrope) about a month ago. It’s a perfect fit as we have the same vision and I’m personally lacking the music technical expertise that they have. They are also just talented musicians with experience and just get it on a level that goes further than just the music. It’s been hard to find people who fit the platform in all aspects, but the addition of these guys has been a very valuable development for the platform so far and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the near future. We also have a team of moderators and volunteers that help keep everything on the road which is really helpful to us.
CT: How long did it take for Chillhop to gain a following?
Bas: I spent most of the time early on to connect with artists and get a feel of what they want and to set a direction for ourselves rather than short term numbers. That's pretty much why the growth started slowly but has been ramping up. We are able to do a lot of unique features cause I focused on building a relationship with all of these artists, which turned into a pleasant mutual respect and effective collaborations for everyone.
CT: You help many people get through their day with a simple 24/7 cafe on YouTube, I would know I'm one of them. How many messages of praise have you gotten since you began that stream?
Bas: Thousands. Might seem like after a while it doesn't mean much, but it's always good to hear people enjoy the stream and it especially is valuable to us because it helps us introduce the music in a fun way. For the stream, I hope people will look further into the music than just the stream and find the artists and show them support as that's what helps the artists develop and grow.
CT: You're label has begun to churn out music from the likes of Deeb and Biocratic. How did you form a relationship with those artists and all the others where you play their music daily?
Bas: As opposed to a lot of YouTube promo channels that upload music without any connection to the artists, I spent a lot of time linking up with the artists to create a personal connection with them which helped us get to the point we are at now.
CT: You've recently hit 100K subscribers on YouTube. You got a label on the rise. What's next for Chillhop?
Bas: I want to focus on creating a longer lasting and more original type of sound. Nowadays, you see trends come and go as you blink your eyes, with a large focus on quantity instead of quality. This comes with a lot of people making beats that solely rely on a sample just to be able to pump out beats often. I don't like that, and our focus in the near future will be to find and help artists that promote originality and don't ride trends.
Thank you to Bas for taking out the time to answer my questions. If you're like me and you need something to keep you level headed during your studies. Or you just want to see what Chillhop is all about and feel like listening to something new. Peep the link here and it'll take you to Chillhop Music's YouTube channel. They also have a channel for their record label, that can be found here. Enjoy.