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THE PROFESSIONAL – Austyn Moffat (aka Coldbrew)

Photo Credit: YouTube
Words by: Brian Capitao

 

Austyn Moffat, professionally known as Coldbrew, likes to play by his own rules. 

Preferring to chart his own path, he’s eschewed the corporate way of doing things in favor of  a far more laid back approach. Initially starting out making dubstep beats, Moffat found himself overwhelmed by the stress of the creative process, often producing multiple tracks, sometimes nearing 200 for a single song.

“Props to all the people that breathe that style of music. It’s crazy,” the producer tells CONE, reflecting on the early stages of his journey. 

After a year, he traded the high-paced bpms of electronic music for the mellow vibes of  lo fi hip hop, a subgenre he finds more intuitive. Coldbrew spent years mastering  various  instruments from guitar to drums, fueled by his childhood desire to immerse himself in his passion. His intuition previously led him to feature prominently on some of Spotify’s most coveted lo fi playlists. 

In conversation with CONE Magazine, he talks about his journey and his laissez-faire approach to making music providing insight into his unique creative process. 

 
Walk me through your music evolution, how did you first get involved in music? 

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in music over everything else. Nothing interested me aside from music. So, I knew I was going to do something, but I didn’t know what. 

I took guitar lessons from age 5 to 11 and, my guitar teacher, was the leader of the band ‘Other Lives’, which was not even a band at the time. They went by a different name. So it was cool, because I got to see him go from giving guitar lessons to eventually opening for Radiohead and having his music on tv shows like Sons of Anarchy, The Blacklist, and all these different placements. Getting to see that from a young age definitely set me up for having more of the mindset being like, “I can do this.”

 
How do you bring your own unique perspective to music?

For me, it’s definitely like a ritual. It’s a meditative process. I do it every single day, like going to the gym early. I go in every single day, because I feel better whenever I make something. If I made something in the day, then that’s a good day. I barely go in with an intention unless I’m working on a specific project. Usually, I just do what feels right.

 
You’re someone who’s made it into popular lo fi playlists. Do you create beats with getting into a playlist in mind? How do young artists gain commercial viability? 

After I started making a living doing music, there was definitely a point where you feel like you have to cater to what editors want to hear and things like that. So, I definitely used to make beats having a specific playlist in mind to pitch it for. But now editorials on Spotify like that are virtually non-existent.

 
How do you package your music for sale usually?

I actually only like doing collaborations. I don’t even necessarily sell a beat. I’ll just split everything 50/50 with the artist. Like I’ll split the marketing costs, and whatever else we agree on, out of everything. We put it out as a collaboration together. And, I just package my beats monthly. For May, I have a list of artists and I send them my pack and I’m like, “This is all the beats that I made this month. Tell me what you want.”

 
You named your debut album, “Childhood”. What do you think are the parallels between childhood and the act of being creative? 

I think there’s a lot of parallels there. They’re one and the same. Whenever you’re a kid, you don’t have these constructs of the way that you think things should be in life. You have no idea about anything. You have to learn about these rules and boundaries of things you’re supposed to stick within. I think that hinders the creative process. 

 
Your work seems to explore themes of nostalgia. What about that sentiment is appealing to you? 

I just like the feeling. It feels like it’s infinite. Whenever you’re listening to something, it makes you reminisce. It allows the listener, especially with instrumental stuff, to create their own lyrics, so to speak. There’s no lyric guiding where you’re going to go with your thoughts. You can think and feel whatever you want to as the music is moving you. It’s kind of like a backdrop for your thoughts.

 
What can you tell me about your lo-fi label, Kind Brew? 

Kind Brew is a lo fi beat label. Right now, we just do seasonal compilations and then very select albums and EPs from artists. It’s just something that I started after I had worked with 30 different labels. I saw a bunch of things that labels were doing right, and I saw a lot of things that they were doing wrong, especially in the beat community. A lot of people, especially  major labels, they don’t really know what the culture is like and how instrumental music-makers operate and the way that we like to communicate and get things done. It’s like a whole different world. It’s not corporate at all. It’s very relaxed, low key.

 
What is the most challenging part of carving out a lane in the music industry these days? 

I would say content probably. The hardest part for me is trying to figure out ways to make content that doesn’t take away from the creative process. I mean with social media like Instagram Reels or TikTok, or short form video content to promote your music. That’s really the main way to break through in those “For You” algorithms. So it’s really hard to balance. I don’t like interrupting my creative process to film a video about the creative process. 

 
What do you find to be the most effective way for you to engage with and cultivate your audience? 

I posted this Instagram Reel recently that has been doing really well. People really like the swing on this sample chop over the top. So as an artist, you got to notice when people are gravitating towards a specific thing. Like the way that I chopped that sample, something clicked, like, “let me make some more tracks where I chop things like this, because I also enjoy that sound.”

This is something that I struggle with and I’m sure most artists struggle with throughout their career, even now. But I think that the center point is just doing things that you think are cool and are having fun doing, because there’s going to be other people drawn to that.

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