Music

Chordandjocks Talks His New EP Luxuriate, Lo-Fi Beat Making And Upcoming Plans

Chordandjocks (Jordan Cox), is a lo-fi hip-hop beat maker from North Little Rock, Arkansas currently living in Conway. The idea of sounds coming together in harmony and time quickly became an obsession. His environment played a part in shifting his interests.

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Chordandjocks (Jordan Cox), is a lo-fi hip-hop beat maker from North Little Rock, Arkansas currently living in Conway. Growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, it was easy to spark an interest in music. As a child, he dreamed of  playing the drums, but due to the noise he’d make in the house his mother said no. Still determined to play an instrument, he signed up for baritone in the sixth grade, but due to his slim build, his mother suggested he switch to trumpet. Practice wasn’t much of a thing for Jordan at the time, but he somehow became pretty good at it.

The idea of sounds coming together in harmony and time quickly became an obsession. The well known, Guitar Hero hit the market, and the chord structure of many genres of rock changed his perspective on music. His environment played a part in shifting his interests. Working at Hot Topic, playing in local rock bands, and being a music education major are all part of what has led him to where he is today. Jordan says, “I finally found the satisfaction of effectively communicating to people without words. That is in instrumental lo-fidelity hip-hop.”

Most creatives are multi-faceted in their gifts. Photography and beat-making being two components of your artistry. As of late, you’ve been dedicated to creating satisfying lo-fi hip-hop beats. At what point did you begin making beats?

I started making beats about a year ago. I played with other groups educationally, and for fun. With that, it still didn’t satisfy my idea of creating a full sound. In producing, I have the opportunity to do everything on my own. It is my own authentic voice speaking to people through ideas. I chose lofi because it takes influence from literally everywhere and makes it listenable. I sample from old jazz, 90s Nintendo games, and even some artists popping today. It is a human sound, not something completely polished like a good trap beat or something. I did pick up photography as a hobby a couple of years ago. My favorite shots to take are in landscape honestly. Portrait photography was fun, but much harder. I actually lived off portrait photography for a while. I just got tired of it pretty much, having to work with people once again to create a fulfilling piece of art.

When in your beat-making state, what are your essentials/tools? Describe the setting, your process and must haves for you to get in your zone.

My state must be peaceful for sure. I love working in open spaces like coffee shops, or just places that look nice. At my house, my studio is always set up by windows. I appreciate natural lighting and seeing what’s going on outside. My creative juices really flow, no matter what the weather is. A candle/incense burning on my desk is always great too. Gotta set the vibe ya know? I wake up early most days, so I take the time in the early morning/afternoon to make beats.

Why lo-fi hip-hop beats?

There is just something about lofi hiphop that makes me feel something. The genre has been around for decades, but is slowly beginning to take off. There are producers with songs played in Adidas commercials. The funny thing about the genre is how much hate it gets though. Recently, a few publications decided to cover the craze “lofi hiphop beats to chill/study to” the 24/7 livestream from Chillhop Records. They pretty much critized the idea of people enjoying what they thought is background music. When you look around, the instrumental chill/lofi sound is everywhere. I was in Newk’s Eatery a few weeks ago and guess what was playing? Go to any modern coffee shop. I even saw a guy say a lofi track was played during the superbowl before a commercial break. I like the genre because it’s more than you just getting lit to it. The drums will do that for you naturally sometimes, but I feel like the listener can connect with it more. Years ago, I actually released a project on bandcamp that was an instrumental post-rock album. I always liked the idea of people being able to relate to my music without words. Anyone can turn on the radio and hear Adele or Bruno Mars and be able to relate to their lyrics, (theres nothing wrong with that at all, they are both extremely talented), but to be able to relate to someone by speaking through music is something special I think. Lofi has a human element to it. It isn’t over processed.

Like most industries, beat-making (particularly lo-fi beats) is an oversaturated area. How do you set yourself and your sound apart from those who are also in the realm of creating lo-fi hip-hop beats?

That’s a tough one. Ya know, I just really try to put all of me into my beats. I don’t go for what sounds popular I guess. It bothers me sometimes because I start to wonder if I’m still even in the realm of lofi HipHop, but I think that it is part of the beauty of the genre. There are a lot of producers that sound the same in the game. Everyone uses the same samplers, plugins, everything. I taught myself how to create this style and genre based on listening to my favorite producers and feeding off of their ideas of what they interpret the genre as. I just want people to hear my beats and recognize my sound.

Let’s talk your EP, Luxuriate. What was your inspiration for the project itself, the artwork and arrangement of beats?

I was honestly in a rut for a long time creatively. One day, I was trying to create my own samples to trigger and I just wasn’t liking the sounds I made. One day I found the piano sample for “So What” and really liked the pattern I came up with. I managed to create a full track with it, and I thought it bumped. I then found the flute sample from “Chillin” and decided to film myself playing with a loop I created with the sample. The response I got from the video was crazy, a lot of people reacted to it positively, even some of my favorite producers. I then decided to keep looking up compositions from Piero Umiliani, a famous Italian film scorer. I came up with those songs and decided an order. I really wanted to focus on songs that are listenable in a chill setting. I found a very relaxing theme to keep in each song structure-wise. As far as the album art, my wonderful girlfriend Macie Lummus (mlartco on Instagram) was doodling one day and created that painting. I loved it and asked her If I could use it, thank God she said yes. So many people have said they loved it, I think it captures the chill and relaxing theme of the EP. It worked out perfectly.

Which body of work are you most proud of?

I would definitely say Luxuriate. I keep digging deeper and deeper into the genre and techniques on making my beats sound better. I’ve been really trying to work on developing my ear and defining my sound, and I think my latest body of work shows the current level of my talents. I only hope to improve as I continue.

Describe your sound as if it were a painting. Consider the mood, theme, colors, balance, texture, etcetera.

I always want my beats to be soothing, with a touch of grit to give the listener chill nostalgic feelings. I love the color teal. It’s so soothing and always reminds me of calming waters. I want my beats to be heavy, but soothing enough to get an emotional response out of the listener by putting them in different places.

What can we look for in the future in terms of projects, collaborations and growth?

I want to wait to put out another full length project through a big label in a year maybe. I would like for my next lengthy project to take a long time to create. As for now, I will be dropping singles almost every month for the rest of the year, some alone and some with other great producers who I listen to a lot. I’ll be dropping a slow jam on September 27 via urbanundergrounds, a great label based in Germany. I will also be putting out an EP sometime later in the fall with urbanundergrounds. I’m also playing a beat set at Farewell to Death Fest on July 13. Be on the lookout for other content and merch drops also.

p.s. I’m gonna be going a bit outside my regular genre also soon. I would like to dive into house/synthwave-ish type stuff soon

p.s.s. Huge shout out to Black&Gifted and Terri for interviewing me! It’s an honor, it’s hard reaching anyone on a local level, and I’m thankful for someone believing in me and showcasing my creative ideas.

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