5 creative ways to use Create mode

Have you tried using Create mode on Splice?

Create mode is an AI-powered tool that provides a way to build musical ideas comprising up to eight layers (a.k.a. Stacks) using samples from the immense Splice Sounds catalog. Once you have something going that inspires you, the stems in these Stacks can be saved and exported straight to your DAW for further editing.

While Create mode is undeniably powerful, it can also seem quite straightforward on the surface—keep generating new Stacks until you find something you like, and then rinse and repeat, right?

However, while it’s incredibly easy to get started with, you’ll find that the more you use Create mode, the more you’ll discover new and versatile ways it can complement your music production process. Below, we share a few potentially less-obvious creative strategies for using the tool that might be worth considering the next time you’re working on a track.

Let’s get started!


1. Capitalize on the different starting points

Let’s start off with an easy one—are you aware that there are multiple avenues for using Create mode on Splice? One is going to its dedicated page on Splice, where you can pick from an array of different genres and styles to create a Stack from scratch.

An alternate method is starting from a specific loop, which you can do by hitting the “Create a Stack” icon next to any eligible loop on Splice Sounds. This will generate a Stack that’s based around the loop’s BPM, in addition to its key and melodic and harmonic characteristics (if applicable).

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The key is understanding the unique benefits offered by each method. The former is ideal for when you want to start from a fully blank slate—it can be a particularly effective tool for overcoming writer’s block. Meanwhile, the latter is great if you already have an explicit groove, chord progression, etc. that you’re liking, and want to explore possibilities for how the idea could be developed in an arrangement.

If a particular loop is in the ballpark of what you want to build a Stack around but isn’t the one, you can also explore alternate sounds that share timbral and musical similarities by hitting the “Show similar sounds” button that’s right next to the “Create a Stack” icon.


2. Strip a Stack down and build it back up

Sometimes, you might find that a single layer in a Stack inspires you, but the other sounds aren’t quite what you’re looking for. If you encounter this, try muting or removing all of the other layers in the Stack, and then building it back up by manually selecting the specific sound types you’re looking for.

At 0:23 in the video below, you can see how veteran producer Devon Johnson puts this strategy into action to find sounds for a beat that’s inspired by Daft Punk and Justice.

“Most of Daft Punk’s samples came from ’70s funk and disco, so I picked Disco Fever for the genre,” he says. “I deleted everything and started from scratch with guitars. The first Stack really wasn’t doing it for me, so I started again—and immediately got magic.”


3. Take all of the possible avenues for sonic inspiration into account

There’s no rule that says you have to use Stacks as they are or in their entirety—and when you realize all the different and more subtle ways that Create mode can spark ideas, your creative horizons expand greatly.

In the video below, prolific musician and educator Andrew Huang uses Create mode to produce a track. However, while he does import a Stack into Ableton, he doesn’t stop there—instead, he separates individual layers into different sections, adds processing to transform sounds, and re-records certain samples himself.

“One way I actually find myself working with Create is not building up a full Stack that all necessarily goes together, but instead finding different things that are inspiring to me that could maybe layer up or be different sections of the same track,” Andrew Huang tells us. “I also just have things that I prefer to do on my own—for instance, I’ll usually play my own bass rather than use a loop, and that’s just my own preference and workflow.”

“And I’ll also take a lot of these samples and make them my own, either by how I manipulate them or by just replacing them, playing my own stuff that kind of bottles that vibe. It’s funny because a lot of the time, I’ll be playing something, and then after I’ve played it I’m trying to put effects on it or figure out how I can chop it up to get to a vibe. Using Create is almost the reverse; this is showing you a vibe, and then I’m like, ‘Okay, I can take that feeling and let it affect how I play and what I play, and come up with a part that is all my own.”

Andrew Huang uses Create mode to even inspire ideas like sound design choices—at 11:06 in the video, he uses RC-20 Retro Color to introduce some distortion and tremolo to his own performance, inspired by the timbre of a loop from one of his Stacks.

“I wouldn’t have necessarily put that effect on this piano if I had just come up with this part on my own,” he says. “I might have just said, ‘Yeah, I’m happy with that sound,’ but just having this idea from this other loop—not only of the type of thing I could play, but of the type of effects that could be on it—takes it to a certain place that I might not have considered.”


4. Use Create mode in conjunction with an instrument or vocals

This one comes straight from the greater music community—in the comments section of Andrew Huang’s video, many instrumentalists, vocalists, and lyricists expressed how Create mode opens up new possibilities for their musicianship and songwriting.

“As a bass player, it has been an incredible tool for practicing,” Melo comments. “Improvising bass lines, soloing, locking up to grooves, and overall making the practice process more fun than a metronome!”

“I can actually see myself using this to kind of emulate ‘jamming’ with a band for solo projects,” Dominic Allizzo replies. “Most certainly would not keep the original samples, but would definitely be a great way to kickstart a song.”

“Talk about an absolutely amazing tool for writing lyrics as well,” Levi Rand says. “I’m not a musician, but I love to write lyrics as a hobby, and doing so to a beat that is unique makes that process so freeing—just vibing with the beat and flow to get out what you’re feeling and thinking. This puts that at your fingertips in an instant and that’s so powerful.”


5. Bring Create mode even closer to your DAW with Bridge

And last but certainly not least, Bridge—the plugin that lets you preview sounds from Splice in the context of your project—can be used creatively to automatically sync a Stack made in Splice Desktop to your DAW’s BPM. This is incredibly powerful if you already have an idea going in your workstation, and want to use Create to add new elements to your arrangement.

See 6:54 of the video below to see how to set this up for yourself:


5 creative strategies for using Create mode: Conclusion

And there you have it! Hopefully this article helped spark some new ideas for how Create mode can better facilitate you in crafting some of your best music yet.

Do you have any cool tips on using Create mode of your own? What topics would you like to see us cover next? Start a conversation with us and a community of other music creators via the Splice Discord.


Find inspiration with our new sample discovery feature:

January 9, 2024

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and creates music as Namaboku.