Building a family is hard. Keeping one together is harder.
But over the last year and a half that’s exactly what More Beats>Less Sleep has done. From their humble beginnings as a Facebook group promoting innovation, fusion and support; the group has grown to almost a thousand active contributors whilst keeping those core ideals alive. Now on the cusp of a major expansion into the music world, we sat down with founders Reasone, Blak Moth and Chameleon Sessions to see what’s next.
So first off what is More Beats> Less Sleep?
Reasone:It started off as a Facebook group to share music and for people to get to know each other. It's turned into more of a collective where we focus creating projects together and putting out releases, dive into the community and have a platform to be heard on.
When did it all get started?
R: I think it's been about a year and a half now. We started off with a group called Hip Hop Beat Maker Spot haha. That brought in a lot of the wrong crowd. A lot of rappers trying to get free beats and the like. Over time we started to evolve and got people in who were staples of the community. We decided to change the name to something more relatable to what we do. Which is not sleep and make music instead haha.
How did you guys all meet?
Chameleon Sessions: It's all been through the internet man. Originally Reasone reached out to me when I posted a beat on Instagram. I've always been outside of the MBLS world, like an acquaintance. I didn't want to go in and look like a chump if they accepted me! But Reasone reached out and explained it and I was like 'No shit! Of course I know what that is! I'd be humbly honoured to be part of the group!'
Blak Moth: It was pretty much the same as Chameleon man. I was looking for a little collective to join and I came across the group on IG through the artists on there. I started to listen to them like 'Who are these guys?!?!' So I joined the group and again Reasone hit me up about it and it was just like 'Of Course!'
So Reas, what attracted you to these guys as admins or co-runners of the collective?
R: It was a combination of their music and social media presence. They both had a professional look and dope songs. Their beats were dope, the videos were dope. They just stuck out to me because of the quality of their work. Instagram's like the doorway man.
Why did you create the group? Like what was the catalyst?
R: With the groups already out there everyone just felt like a nobody? Like everyone was putting out this dope music but nobody was recognizing it. There would be post after post and no one was paying attention. I saw that and thought I want to do my part so other people can hear them.
So it was a situation where you saw dope music fall through the cracks?
R: Yeah. People were sleeping on them. I wanted to start a group where people could share their tracks but that wasn't the only point. I want the group to be a community where you can post your music but people really care about it and that in turn keeps everyone engaged. It was really building a network within the community that wanted to take it deeper than spam.
What would you say the mantra of the group is?
BM: I'd say it's a community. It's like a family. It's a place for everyone to share and be heard as well as getting feedback. I'd be posting on FB and I'd get a few likes here and there but I wasn't seeing the response I am now. Like I got 500 friends on FB but not one clicks on my music haha. Since I joined the group I'm getting that feedback now, especially from people who are in that 'world'. Commenting like 'I like that snare' or 'why did you do that, this way?' You can vibe off each other and grow.
CS: That's pretty much it to a T. From being in More Beats>Less Sleep I have a whole other FB profile just for music. I've got far more support because I'm around lots of other likeminded people. The whole group is like nothing I've ever seen before and I've been involved with others in the past but they never had the love, support and potential for growth like we have at More Beats.
We have seen lots of examples in the last year or so of collectives really taking centre stage and driving the culture. Why do you think this is happening now?
R:I think it's partly because record labels aren't really necessary anymore, you know what I mean? You work better with everyone working together and that's the kind of attitude we have at More Beats>Less Sleep. We wanted to get a bunch of people working together to get music out there rather than conforming to a particular labels opinion of what music should be. In a collective you all work together and submit ideas but the individual still has full creative control. There are good record labels, don't get me wrong, but unless you’re working with a major, top 40 outlet, there isn't much money in it for people and a lot of work.
I guess it gives you a certain amount of creative input too. As opposed to strict lines between label owners and artists. I mean you may have to do some spam control every now and again but you can still be creative too.
R: Yeah. These are all things we are still thinking about because I didn't really expect the group to blow in the way it did. Two months after the group started I almost shut it down but we did our first compilation project, called Headnodders, and I got like 50-60 tracks sent to me! From there it just naturally took off. The whole progression was organic from the passion our members have.
Tell me about a few of the projects. What can you tell me about the 'Korembei Tapes'?
R:So this project was almost a challenge in a way. Trying to get people to do something a bit more experimental rather than just lo-fi or boom bap. We wanted to try to harness the weirder side of what we do, the experimental side. I thought we would get 5 or 6 people wanting to do it but I think we have 15 up now? Also it was another way to let people know 'I wanna hear your music'. A lot of times you will work real hard on a beat tape and you don't even know if anyone’s gonna hear it. This was a way to let you know you’re working for something. Almost like a comfort that their effort would be appreciated and heard.
CS: That's kind of the root of what the collective represents. You're trying to gather these people together and then push them out there and inspire them. Someone could be out there working on a project for us and hear a tape from the series which will inspire them to continue. Everyone vibes off each other. Also for the audience that diversity keeps collectives interesting. It's like a sample platter at a restaurant.
I feel you. Your newest comp, 'The Acoustic Sessions', dropped this month. What can you tell us about that?
R: I just love acoustic guitar man. It was also part of a larger release planned where we focus on a certain instruments. Like this one’s acoustic, but the next one’s piano or violin or something. It gives comps unity as well. You may not know that the specific producers used acoustic sounds if it wasn't labelled like that. We also had another member, Ephemerel, do the album art and it looks so dope. Like 1970's hippie album.
Some of the proceeds from this project went to help the victims of Hurricane Irma too right?
R: Yeah. The hurricanes started happening and we just thought what we could do. I mean we got a ton of people from the group in Florida right now that were affected. Some of the songs were even behind the deadline due to Irma so we thought this was the best way to give back a little.
You also collabed with LOFI Dreamers (another FB group) on a tape too. This is kind of unprecedented. How did it come about?
R: I like the idea of unity man. Like it's not our FB group vs his haha. I reached out to him because we are all about creating a community. I noticed that that we had a lot mutual members so we decided to mobilize the two groups. Ashley Kafifar, who runs LOFI Dreamers, is really supportive of the community. He never posts his own music and he's always promoting everyone else's. I like that and wanted to do something to benefit both sides.
Do you think that FB is the best place for these types of projects or innovations coming together?
R: Yeah I think it is. That's where we do everything. We actually have few projects like that coming in the future. I know Blak is working on a tape with Tape A Day for example.
CS: Facebook is a good place to keep a community together. Not only can you have the posts but you can drop files on there or put notes on things. People can learn from posts and build from there, whereas on IG it's more just viewing. I think that's why More Beats>Less Sleep has grown so well, because you can post something and it gets shared from group to group. Your reach is better.
BM: For any type of community you need dialogue and FB gives you that opportunity.
So the group's incredibly diverse but do you see one type of Hip Hop get posted more than others?
CS: Ah man it's so damn broad! If you want to lump in into a particular genre it’s definitely Hip Hop but it is very broad. There are a lot of different styles and we are starting to see more of a fusion of sub genres mixed together. In real time you are seeing an evolution of Hip Hop just within this collective. I think that's severely dope.
What do you think is attracting so many young producers to that diversity in sound?
R: It just sounds so dope man haha
BM: I think it provides artistic creativity. You get so many people that get locked into genre. I almost did that! But you have people saying 'this is hip hop' or 'this is lofi' and then everyone locks into that and ends up sounding the same. After a while you get tired of hearing that. With More Beats, the group is taking bits they like and being creative with it. It's new. It’s genre less right now.
CS: We all have different influences and this give artists an opportunity, without any filter, to express their influences in their music. You don't have to worry about someone knocking you down because it's not 'right'.
R: I think Chameleon nailed it. There's a fusion going on. Like people doing lofi house, which I had never heard before. It influences me too. I never really made a lofi beat until like a year ago when the group took off. I grew up on boom bap but it can get repetitive. The styles we are doing now; the drums can be so spacey and stretched out but still sick. I think quite often it’s the drums that defines a style.
Has it always been a goal to cultivate that 'throw anything in the pot' culture at More Beats>Less Sleep?
R: Exactly! People come to the group and if they think they aren't good enough they will message one of us. We just tell them 'Dude just post it!' It's awesome to see a guy post a tune in January and by September, be making something totally different just because he put himself out there.
CS: That's how I was. I've been making music for a while and I wasn't really posting it because it was so far outside of defined genres that I thought people aren't gonna like this. But as soon as I joined the group everyone was like 'Man that's dope!' People do fall into that trap of what you’re 'supposed' to sound like.
R: We have had a lot of people come in and hate on us for our sample sources. Personally I don't care if you get it from YouTube, from vinyl or if fucking aliens gave it to you! What I care about is what you do with that sound. I love sampling from vinyl but I don't always have the time or the record to use. So now I'm starting to move into creating my own sounds and compositions. That has been influenced by these two guys but also the group as a whole. I think that's a direction a lot of people are going right now.
BM: Yeah I was talking to the Mrs and I was telling her about how Reas was getting into making his own sounds and synths and all that. I was like people are gonna flip like 'What's going on?' What with us being admins or whatever. She was just like 'Well you’re called More Beats > Less Sleep. Not More Lofi or More Boom Bap' and that kinda sums up the whole thing haha! It’s all about beats!
R: Wives always put us in check man haha!
So the group's been doing amazingly but recently you have been moving onto other platforms and expanding. Why now?
R: I'd say it's mainly the amount of support we are getting. People are not only supporting the music but the merch too. You know throwing stickers on everything and stuff? This is the time to do it. We got the energy, we got the support. If people want more let's give them everything we can.
What does that look like? Like what’s the end goal?
R: I want this format of music to expand outside the beatmaker circle. I feel like most of the dope music is for beat makers. We don't really deal with rappers because if we start dealing with lyrics we have to start thinking about what people are saying and the levels of skill become far more apparent. It's a whole different ball game with rap. So we just deal with beats but most people that listen to beats are beat makers for the most part. I see this as a way to continue making dope, innovative beats but bring them to people outside that beat making circle.
What's the next step for More Beats>Less Sleep?
BM: Well I got the Tape a Day thing coming up. I've got another album coming soon through the collective. I want us to come up for something for Halloween.
CM: I'm working on LP 'Oenology of Children' which will probably be out in a couple months. There's gonna be a lot more material coming out on our YouTube.
R: We really just want to keep building our platforms. YouTube is heavy so we will be putting a lot more into that. Also we are gonna start curating playlists on our Soundcloud of our favourite tracks coming from the group. We also wanna get into physical releases.
Thank you so much for speaking with us guys. Where can we find you all?
R: You can find More Beats> Less Sleep on FB, Soundcloud and IG. Also you can grab all the music the collective has put out on Bandcamp.
CS: Yeah man you can find me on FB and Bandcamp too. Search ‘Chameleon Sessions’
BM: Im mostly active on Bandcamp. Just look for ‘Blak Moth’.
Listen to the latest from More Beats>Less Sleep below: