Photo: Leonardo Serra - aka Daruma

Daruma's Lofi Hip Hop - Interview


Italian producer Leonardo Serra, aka Daruma, recently joined Cremacaffè Records, and we will be releasing most of his music projects on both our webshop and Bandcamp page.
We worked hard on the remastered versions of several beat tapes, to bring you a pure Hi-Res LOFI music experience.

Go ahead and get to know him better ☕✨
• Daruma's Music on

1. How would you describe your creative flow?

LS: Most of the time this is driven by my own mood and emotions. Making beats for me is definitely something therapeutic; I feel so caught by it that everything else just disappears. Turning the way I feel into music is my creativity boost, and it must be a joyful moment; no high expectations or rules to follow, just pure and simple fun.

2. Your favorite musical instrument and why.

LS: Definitely the SP-404; two reasons:
First of all it is about the nature of the instrument itself, the way it’s built and meant to work. There is no big screen packed with a lot of information to get lost in, the bright pads are pleasant to the touch, plenty of effects to shape your own sound endlessly, an immediate workflow right out of the box, no dead times waiting for projects to load, just pop your SD card in and start sampling! Of course its hardware is quite limited and that is why most of the people end up using it either as an effector, or as for myself, as a full beat making machine. I try to build my own sound and be creative in overcoming its limitations, which is challenging and rewarding at the same time.

The other reason I like it so much is because of its workflow, and the freedom it gives me as a one man band. I play a little bit of everything and being able to live perform and finger drum my own music parts, such as a guitar riff, a bass line or a piano loop, without the need of relying on other musicians (although I enjoy playing with others), it is unbeatable for me.

3. Your music influences?

LS: As a teenager I used to listen to old school US rappers along with Italian ones such as Fibra and Mondo Marcio. Later on I switched to metal music, punk and rock, starting my own bands as well. Since then I always listened to different music genres, finding something inspiring in each one of them; funk, reggae, drum’n bass, classical music. I love when I hear elements from all these influences in my own music.
For me as a beatmaker it all started a couple of years ago, when I stumbled upon a YouTube video by Le Mellotron. Khryo was using an SP-404 and I couldn’t really get what he was doing, yet it opened up a new world. Later on I discovered Ableton and so on…
Khryo, Tomppabeats, Flofilz, Dibiase are some of my references for Lofi and the SP-404 world. But there’s so many more I like, my list would get very long; Flux Pavilion, Zeds Dead, SBCR, The Prodigy, Low Kidd, Mr Carmack, Marlow digs, J Dilla… just to mention a few. There’s such a big beatmakers Community on Instagram you couldn’t believe. I follow so many of them, and you never know what will inspire you; you learn so much even from a few seconds’ video, it never ends!

4. New Projects?

LS: I just finished Urban Walks, a new EP entirely made on my MPC, which dropped on November the 2nd. This time it is Jazz Hop, and the inspiration came from my long walks around Bologna, with earphones on, always listening to music.

5. A tip for the young beatmakers out there in search of their own sound.

LS: Use music gear and effects the unconventional way, follow your instinct, take the experimental approach and make your own rules. Don’t overthink what you would like to sound like when you’re making music, it shouldn’t feel like a competition, just have fun doing whatever you like. Ask for feedback on your music only after it’s been released.

6. Artist’s Block. How do you handle it?

LS: I must say it doesn’t happen so often to me, but if it does, I never force myself to achieve anything I’m not in the mood for. I usually do something else instead, whatever comes to mind as a distraction; whenever I feel like making music again I just get back at it. I believe I don’t feel that kind of pressure because what I do, I do it only for myself, and if it makes me feel good then I like to share it with the world.

7. Anything else you would like to share with us?

LS: I’m good :) Cheers!

Related links:
Winner of the SP-404 Donkey Kong Beat Challenge
• Daruma's Music on
• Daruma's Music on

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