These days’ artists need to be more than musicians.
Within the beat scene no one embodies this trend more than [offbeatninja]. Creating not only the most eclectic beats out there; but also vibrant videos and unique pieces of visual art. With a rapid release rate and undeniable skills, [offbeatninja] has quickly risen to become a dominating force. Fresh off the back of not one, but two releases over the summer (with another on the way), we took some time to talk to the shinobi of bumps.
So I wanted to start by asking about your latest project, the ‘Afro Samurai EP’. It was with done in collab BigRayTheRapper. How did that partnership come about?
I met Ray at a free style cypher. I was playing some beats and he asked me if I wanted to collab. I liked his wordplay and shot him some beats and boom!
Do you approach beats differently for rappers than purely instrumentals?
Nope it's completely random really. There is no strategy behind it. Haha
Ha I feel you. The concept for the album is based on Afro Samurai. You also draw from anime for a lot of your videos. How does anime influence you?
I’ve been influenced by anime mainly through Toonami and Adult Swim. When I was little I always wanted to make bumps like that. So like in 2011 I started making beats to get that feel. Of course I still watch anime so it stays influencing me. One day I would like to score an anime.
What was it that drew you in? Like was it the stories, the art style?
The vibe really, the whole feel of the anime really.
So your last instrumental project was Side A of ‘Same As It Ever Was…’ Which you have said you will release in two parts saying you weren’t done with it. What was the thinking behind that?
It was mainly due to depression to be honest. I was feeling lonely at the time, so that's why it was more a lo-fi sound for this project. Honestly it was really moody, but I started making art to counteract that feeling. But I'm almost done with side B so it's all good.
Was the decision to split because you felt it was affecting your art in a way you didn’t like? Or was it that you simply had to stop?
I just felt like it was made for someone out there going through the same thing.
I get you. Like if someone hears that it might help them?
Yeah something like that.
Your discography is vast in general and every day seems we see a new drop from you. What’s your process?
Well I kinda slowed down really haha. Back in 2013-2015 I was constantly dropping something every day on Soundcloud.
Oh wow for real? If this you’re slow then fact must be crazy!
Haha yeah I'm balancing art and music now.
So talk me through it. What sparks an [offbeatninja] tune? What’s the start and end point?
The start is like a crazy sample that doesn't make any sense; it's like a weird journey that has no stop. I listen to the beat like a lot of times until I get sick of it. Sometimes beats take me 4 hours and sometimes it takes 30 minutes haha. The end is when I can groove to it or freestyle over it.
I’d say your sound is a bit of a subgenre melting pot. You have lofi, boom bap even a bit of vaporwave and synth disco elements in there. Who or What influences you musically?
Daft Punk, Nujabes, Madlib, Dilla, Frank Zappa, Flying Lotus, Moody Man, Damu The Fudgemunk. This list will go on forever ha. Also, German Funk, Soul and Rock.
What draws you to those kinds of artists?
Their individuality. They dare to be different from most. They strive not to be normal. Normal sucks, who's want to be that? Just get weird.
Absolutely feel that man! So as well as music you also work in the visual arts, with collages and other visual works all over your socials. What came first for you?
Music for sure but I didn't want hire anyone to make my album covers so I took it on myself to do so.
So it was born out of necessity and just grew?
Pretty much. I just started making physical art this year! Haha!
Oh wow really?! It seems so accomplished already! Where do you find inspiration for these pieces?
My love for music, when I go shopping for material I'm trying to tell a story. Most of the records I use, no- one knows them. I'm basically recreating in a different medium. It's like a form of sampling in a way.
Do you think it adds to your music outside of covers?
I don't know really. Never really thought of it like that.
That’s cool. It’s nice actually to have art that stands on its own.
Yeah I feel you.
You also make T Shirts on teerepublic. What inspires your T work? Or is it an extension of what you normally work on?
It’s just an extension really. Many people asked me to make some of my covers into t-shirts, so before I'm done I save them as a PNG so I can make other things out of them.
Do you think this diversity in skill or output is necessary for artists these days?
Well it's really different strokes for different folks, but it's always good to have more tricks up your sleeves. Don't want to be a one trick pony. Yah know?
Feel that. You also work a lot with videos and video art. How do you create the right videos for your music?
I just go with the how the vibe of my tunes fits the video. Like it’s always music first then video.
Is directing or animation something you would like to get into?
I got my bachelors in Film-making, so one day I would love to make my own music videos.
So with all these irons in the fire, what’s next for [offbeatninja]?
Fashion. I wanna start a clothing line to make my audience my canvas. Basically they become the art.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us man. Where can we find you?
IG is the best spot to reach me, @datoffbeatninja. But all my social media is linked together so you can find me on all platforms.
Listen to [offbeatninja]’s latest here: