Bronx DJ crafts beats from the sounds of the city

Devan Ibiza used his iPhone to record 20 minutes worth of voice memos of the individual sounds he heard at a Bronx subway station, brought them back to his family's Bronx basement studio, and then spent six hours editing them together to produce a beat.

"Stand clear of the closing doors, please," a familiar voice says, to open the track.

"Any unique sound I think is dope, in general, I just take it and when I get home I just use it," Devan said.

A DJ by age 11, spinning at Madison Square Garden by 13, producing music by 14, Devan started his How to Make a Beat TikTok franchise last December while cooped up at home during the pandemic, rifling through his family's kitchen for anything that made a sound.

"So like pasta sounds, knife sounds and all type of sink sounds," Devan said.

"Oh, that sounds like a beat right there," Devan says in the video, while the gas range igniter clicks repeatedly.

Dozens of videos and 20,000 followers later, Devan's built a library of New York City sounds.

"They're sounds that [listeners have] heard before," he said, "MTA, bodega."

"Let's go, Yankees," fans chant in Devan's Yankee Stadium track.

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Devan calls How to Make a Beat just a fun side project while he produces his sister and other artists and works in the studio to create his own music.

"How to Make a Beat has definitely made me a better producer, in ways I can't really explain," he said. "I feel like I have an ear for certain sounds that will probably go together."

And so, Devan plans to continue harvesting the natural sounds of the city we all recognize — its heartbeat, its breathing, its fits and exclamations — and showing us on TikTok how he puts them all together to make a beat.

"So the next one I'm going to do," he said, Wednesday, "exclusive here, I'm going to do Apple sounds, iPhone. I'm going to go to the Apple Store."