An imagined Q&A w/ myself about this, that hopefully answers your questions:
-What is this?
It’s a (mostly) daily newsletter that sends you music recs. The recs are for ~chill~ music to hear yourself think to, while you’re cooped up in your house with your kids, gf, bf, partner, wife, husband, loud-ass roommates, etc.
There are usually little to no vocals in the songs unless I specify otherwise.
-Doesn’t this kind of thing already exist?
Yeah, there are playlists and newsletters, but I have my own music taste that I personally like more than what’s out there. I also don’t like how some of them tend to focus on enhancing productivity. This is not a blackpilled, neoliberal project to make you a more effective worker for your boss, it’s good music for whatever you want, relaxing, suffering less if your job is shitty, napping, studying, working harder if that’s your thing, decompressing from your anxiety over the coronavirus. Whatever you want.
-Are you doing this indefinitely, or is this only during coronavirus social distancing/quarantine/lockdown?
I don’t know. Like everyone else, I have some more time now, so it’s definitely for at least that long. This is something I had been thinking about and started working on before it was clear we’d be in this situation, so it’s not some illy contrived quarantine idea.
-How are you qualified to do this?
I’m not. No one is. Before I started writing about politics and technology, I was a music journalist. I spent a lot of time poring over artists over the years and still do. It just so happens that I listen to a lot of music that some people like to use as background music.
-Why is this called Balenciaga Beats?
It’s funny to me and it gets even funnier if more people sign up and have to get a newsletter called Balenciaga Beats in their inbox every day.
-Is your goal for this to get a cease and desist letter from Balenciaga?
I met Lofty305 once in the Lower East Side like seven years ago. I was supposed to interview Spaceghostpurrp, a rapper from Miami who is the pioneer of Soundcloud, internet rap, for a music blog. Lofty was a part of Spaceghost’s crew who were hanging around the venue before his set. I missed Spaceghost and my phone died, and he and his publicist weren’t where they said they were supposed to be for the prearranged interview schedule, so I wasn’t able to meet up with him. I hung out with Lofty and Spaceghost’s friends instead and we roamed around Manhattan. The part I remember most clearly was them buying 40s from a bodega, wrapping them in plastic trash bags, and then everyone circling up in a park as they passed around blunts and the 40s. It was like 5 or 6 pm and still light out.
Lofty et al. gave me shit for being a square, which I fully deserved, but were still kind and welcoming. They were all wearing all black and vintage Oakland Raiders gear, which made sense since they were affiliates of a collective called the Raider Klan. At some point, while we had all crowded into a tiny McDonald’s, they (a group of mostly black people) got stoked when they found out I was half-black, which was nice. Chippy Nonstop, an Oakland rapper originally from Canadian, also showed up at some point. You should definitely check out her music too if you like rap at all.
Closer to the show starting, they slipped by security on their way to the green room. Security wouldn’t let me go with them. My phone was still dead and I never got the interview with Spacehgostpurrp.
Besides making his own instrumental music, I think Lofty produces for rappers too. If you’re interested, here he is on a song with a D.C. rapper I really like, WifiGawd, and Dretti Franks, who I’ve never heard of.