Chicago based artist Bess IV shares his chill lo-fi Hip Hop with his single “Temporary”. Hailing from Cleveland, Bess IV draws inspiration from staple musicians like; Kid Cudi, Tame Impala, Kevin Abstract, Earl Sweatshirt, and a variety of other artists on a broad spectrum. Currently studying at The Art Institute of Chicago, and specializing in music production, sound engineering, photography, video, and graphic design. Beginning to write at a young age to help cope with his mental health, Bess IV serves as a great inspiration to other aspiring artists, showing them a positive way to channel negative emotions.
“Temporary” begins with a psychedelic lo-fi beat, anticipating Bess IV’s chill and soothing flow. The production captures echoey and trance-like effects, letting the song drift through the listener's ear, and into a deeper state of mind. With complex vocal layering, he touches on topics like vulnerability, mood swings, and the effects of growing up surrounded by technology with the depths of the internet at our fingertips. The production provides an incredible ambiance, supported with catchy beat patterns and haunting ghost vocals. Bess IV creates music that deals with personal and relatable subjects, and we’re excited to see what he comes up with next.
Listen to "Temporary" by Bess IV here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Bess IV! We’re totally captivated by your chillwave sound, what made you take this path for your brand as an artist?
Thank you guys for featuring me first of all! For the most part, I think my brand is still evolving, but the central themes have always been there and are developing and dividing into new interests and subdivisions I guess. I think my music has always had a sense of escapism within it. Music has always been special to me for its ability to take me different places and allow me to feel different, otherworldly things, and my way of creating this sense of immersion is through very reverberant, lush and cinematic sounds. Artists like Kid Cudi, Tame Impala, Vinyl Williams, and earlier Toro y Moi are really good at creating these environments, and they help emphasize the lyrical and emotional content of the songs. Especially Kid Cudi, who not only is from Shaker Heights like I am but has been so influential to me in his ability to merge genres and introduce a sense of vulnerability that wasn’t really apparent or accepted in conventional rap culture. Similarly, a lot of my art, visual and sonic, has to do with the interplay of utopia and dystopia and fluctuations between different extremes, something that I think is very rooted in the current, hyperbolic landscape of the world today and also a result of growing up with the internet and my own experiences with depression and anxiety.
“Temporary” brings incredible vibes from the vocals to the production, could you share with us what inspired the track?
From a production standpoint, I remember the song “N Side” by Steve Lacy had just came out, and I was super into the laid back nature of it and the percussion was just one loop repeating the whole song, but it set the mood incredibly well and the sounds were perfect for the vibe and mixed really well. Even though I can’t play guitar, I wanted to make something that was in the same vein sonically, I didn’t really know if it was ever gonna come together into a fully fleshed song but it did.
Although the sonic tone of the song is laid back, the lyrics are pretty personal and vulnerable. I like to make a lot of stuff where the lyrics kind of contradict what the general tone of the song is, kind of like Kendrick on “Swimming Pools”. Anyways, I wrote the song during a time where from a superficial standpoint, a lot of things in my life were going really well but I still felt really numb and lifeless. I was in a good relationship for the first time in years, mentally I was seeking the help I needed, making strides with my therapist and on medication that was leveling me out, and I was doing well in school and feeling good about my practice. I think the medication contributed to the numbing, but in general, I was still just in a funk. I felt empty and devoid of feelings, emotions, and inspiration and was looking for something to break me out of this and feel less dead inside. It seemed as if I had to sacrifice my ability to feel anything in order to not feel depressed or anxious. This leads me to look for avenues to switch things up, I was doing psychedelics, writing in different places and reading for inspiration. The song sort of documents these different attempts to break out and the struggle of coming to grips with this emptiness. Eventually, after a lot of talks with my mom, who I’m extremely close with, I kind of just had to accept that this feeling would be temporary, and needed to keep things pushing in order to get out of it.
How has your writing process grown since you first started back in middle school?
Well, first and foremost, my writing has always been about catharsis and releasing some of my innermost frustrations and anxieties in ways that I’m not really capable of in other contexts. As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve realized how important and therapeutic this process is in maintaining my sanity. Even if it’s not lyrics, the simple act of putting pen to the page is really important to me. However, now that I’m producing all my stuff and can record in my apartment, the process is a little more interactive. Some stuff may seem good on paper but I can never know if it actually works until I record it. Also, because I have the luxury of recording everything from my apartment, sometimes I don’t even write, I’ll just record a few lines and then move to the next ones, which is really freeing and ephemeral, although most of the time I do prefer to write. Also, just by being able to record at home I use my voice as an instrument a lot too, so a lot of those little high pitched chops in the chorus of Temporary are actually me.
You’ve been pretty busy with your career and school, do you still find time to play some shows? Any in the near future?
I had a few shows in the fall, and have made some guest appearances on others, but no upcoming ones as of yet. Performing live is still pretty new to me, but I’m really hoping I can play more and hone in on that part of my practice within the next few months, I just haven’t had a ton of time to reach out to venue owners and do the legwork to get some spots, but I really want to do more!
Thank you for sharing your new music with us Bless IV! Tell us, what can your fans anticipate next?
Thank you guys as well! I flip flop a lot on what my next moves are, but I have a few different projects and things that I’m working on and thinking about right now. I have a really big, personal project that doesn’t really have a timetable, but it’s kind of my baby right now. That one I’m gonna take my time with and make sure it’s perfect. In the near future though, I’ve been dropping singles nearly once a month since October as part of this “Ever in Ephemera” series, so I’ll keep doing that for a little while longer. For the summer, I have a few singles planned and am currently working on a more electronic, house type of project that I may release under an alternative alias which I think will be fun. Additionally, I’ve been trying to collaborate with a lot of other artists too, so keep on the lookout for all of that.