Exclusive Interview: Kobe Banks Patiently Embraces Lo-fi Culture

Updated: Sep 15

Straight out of South Carolina, Kobe Banks, is staying busy during the quarantine by crafting his own blend of nostalgic lo-fi. His newest project, Internal Excursions is low-key popping off. Out from the depths of Soundcloud's underground, Banks is holding onto a treasury of steezy instrumentals, don't sleep.

Over the past five years, Banks has really honed into his craft. Another hip hop head itching to get his own groove out into the universe. With a unique palette for samples, Banks cleverly finds ways to spice up his beats with smooth strings or dusty drum loops. With cloudy bops like "Heavenly Lo-fi is Hi-fi" to greasy slappers like "Hidden Lair", Banks has anyone fiending for their next head knocker fully covered.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Kobe shortly after the release of his most recent project.

Here's what he had to say:

Q: Could ya give us a bit of your background as an artist? You’re from South Carolina right?

A: Yeah, I’m from Greenville, South Carolina. I’ve been making beats now for probably around five years. I was uploading music to Spotify and other streaming services under the name Banks at first, but then the bigger artist BANKS had contacted me, asking me to change my now. So I had to delete all my music and start over again. 

Q: Did you have to change the style of music you were making at the time, or was it more of a name change?

A: No, I just had to change my name, but then again what came with that was I couldn’t re-upload the old music I had. Yea, they were probably gonna sue me or something like pay an amount of money, so I just avoided all that by deleting it. 

Q: Is SoundCloud currently where you release most of your music?

A: Nah, the main platforms I use are Spotify and Apple Music. I just use SoundCloud to upload other fun stuff or to see what tracks are popping enough to upload to Spotify or Apple Music. 

Q: Have you been able to collaborate with many people by using Spotify or Apple Music?

A: Yea, I collabed with a guy on my last beat tape named DJ Grumble and he makes a bunch of lo-fi hip hop music. It’s like 90’s style boombap hip hop. It’s really fire. Also my buddy Grant who's also from South Carolina, I collab with him a lot. But yeah, that last collab with DJ Grumble was a banger. 

Q: Have you been able to play any concerts yet or do you mainly consider yourself more of a bedroom producer?

A: A bedroom producer (laughs) I usually just produce in my bedroom at home or in my dorm room when I’m at college. 

Q: So what initially drove you to become a producer?

A: Back when I was in high school, I was probably 14 or 15 years old and I was listening to Logic a lot and 6ix’s production... a lot of his beats, especially “The Incredible True Story”. So yeah that somewhat got me into production, but then I listened to Jaeden Camstra and his debut EP, Nimbus

That really got me into lo-fi music and then I downloaded GarageBand on my iPhone because that’s all I had at the moment. I was cooking up beats on that until I got a computer and downloaded FL and all that. 

Q: Did FL cause any sort of creativity explosion when you first got it, or was it a learning process?

A: Oh yeah. At the time I thought I could only make beats a certain way, but once I got out of that mind state I started making a lot more beats since I didn’t burn out of creativity. I just forced myself to make beats different ways and it helped a lot. 

I’ve done that all through quarantine and I’ve probably made around 50 to 100 beats just by switching up the variety of how I actually tackle the creative process. Yeah, I’ve been doing that from March until July. 

Q: Do you like experimenting with samples or do you like making your own Midi patterns?

A: Oh I always use samples, but sometimes every now and then I’ll experiment with Midi. I usually always roll with samples though.