Sophomore finance major Noah Russo creates and sells his beats on SoundCloud. Russo’s published beats are categorized by mood and genre on the platform and can be purchased for $20-$50 dollars. Buyers can purchase the rights to his songs for $100. In a year, Russo has accumulated around 1,000 sales.
Q: As the owner of BeatsbyNo4h, why did you start making beats? What inspired you to turn it into a business?
A: I started making beats sophomore year of high school—which is why the intro track to my album is titled sophomore year. After I listened to Logic’s,
The Incredible True Story album—I realized you can communicate a story through sound. Whether that be through skits, sound design, or instrumentation, it can add a lot of emotion and I found that cool.
Q: Briefly, what is the process behind making a beat? Since you release a beat around once a week, how do you find such consistent inspiration?
A: I use FL Studio Digital Workstation, it’s standard, especially with how popular trap music is now—it is easy to use. In terms of inspiration, it can be as simple as hearing a cool song at the gym. Maybe I heard a cool synth in the song and felt inspired to replicate the sound. Or, sometimes I find samples of other songs online and manipulate it to my liking. YouTube has a wide array of producers in its community, so it’s easy to learn from them and be inspired as well. You don’t need to know music theory anymore,
because all the programs (today) help you choose what notes to use.
Q: Your album, which was released this past summer, is on Apple Music and Spotify and has over 1,000 streams on each platform. Tell me about the process of creating your own album.
A: The album was originally not going to be an EDM album, I wanted it to be more of a hip-hop album. It has my own sound, I put my own twist on EDM. Like the first track, for example, has an orchestra in the background. The second track switches it up completely—it’s more futuristic,
it has a harp and sub-basses, and stuff like that. Some of the tracks have vocals too.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the name
of the album, “Saw basses and Kick drums in the
A: It was inspired by 808’S and Heartbreaks by Kanye West. Saw Basses and Kickdrums are sounds I use in my music, and 808’S are a popular type of bass booming sound that Kanye used. Sky Lounge is a lounge on the fourth floor of Aquinas Hall—where I roomed freshman year.
I think the Sky Lounge represents potential and opportunity. I spent a lot of my time studying there and meeting people. I saw new faces every day. I spent a good portion of my time making the album in the sky-lounge as well. I’ve always been kind of shy my whole life, but the sky lounge was a place where I talked to new people all the time.
Q: I found your beat, “Interstellar,” to be quite different in sound from the other beats on the track list, tell me a little about the process behind making that song.
A: When I named the original file, I named it as space. It reminded me of space, the synths on it made it have this eerie, sci-fi sound to it. I
ended up naming it interstellar because that is
the title of one of my favorite movies.
Brian McMillan can be reached at brian.mcmillan@