This past weekend, Justin Bieber emerged from his creative hiatus with his highly-anticipated album Changes.
Almost immediately upon its release, some listeners identified that a particular sound — the plucked synth chords that serve as the foundation of his Lil Dicky collaboration “Running Over” — felt familiar.
The reason why the sound was recognized is because it existed before the album’s creation on Splice Sounds as a royalty-free sample, and it didn’t take long for news of its placement to reach the sample pack’s creator, Laxcity. In the span of less than 48 hours, the budding Bristol-based producer went from first learning his sound was on Changes to receiving a thank you for his contribution from Bieber himself.
We got on the phone with Laxcity to congratulate him and hear what was going through his mind when he first heard the news, how he crafted the sample used in “Running Over,” how deadmau5 and Mr. Carmack inspired the original loop, and more – read highlights below.
When did you realize your sample was on Justin Bieber and Lil Dicky’s “Runnning Over?”
I woke up on Friday — I think that was when the album was released — and I look on Twitter and this guy, @Darby__Music, posts a video of FL Studio where he’s got the Justin Bieber song on the top and my loop at the bottom.
And I was like, “Oh cool. Okay, that’s happened. My sound is in Justin Bieber’s song.” I was like, “Oh cool,” but I was celebrating internally. I was very surprised, honestly. I rushed over to tell my parents. They’re very proud of me.
Laxcity recalling the moment he heard his sample on “Running Over”
What was the sound design process behind the loop? Do you remember what instrument you used?
I used Wasp, which is a stock plugin in FL Studio. The processing for it was straight away some OTT and EQing. The wavetable is a square wave, which is low-passed. It’s like a short plucked sound, and basically, I wrote the MIDI for it and then bounced the audio out. Then, I layered the bounced audio on top of the original, with the bounced audio going through some convolution reverb. And then I finished off the layers with just a normal sine wave that’s distorted slightly.
Laxcity shared a step-by-step tutorial with us that breaks down how he created the loop
What were the original inspirations for this sample?
The inspiration for the sound design of the plucks is deadmau5, but the genre I was going for was more of a fun Mr. Carmack-y thing, because he used to do something similar, but with hip hop beats in the background. He released this song called “Runner,” and that’s probably the track that inspired this sound the most.
What do you think made this particular loop compelling to the track’s creators, The Audibles, Poo Bear, and Bieber?
I think just how bouncy it is and how you can apply it to any kind of drums. You could probably put it on a four-on-the-floor house beat and it would still work, but I never really thought of this approach of trap drums and an 808. I didn’t think it could be transformed into a mainstream sound the way it is, and it’s just funny how they cut off the low end and chopped up different bars of the sample so it makes sense with the 808.
What do you think about royalty-free samples making their way into mainstream music?
It’s a place of inspiration, and if it inspires mainstream producers or A-list producers at all, then that just happened; that’s just how it’s supposed to be. I’m extremely honored and gassed that I made it in a Justin Bieber song.
Laxcity’s thoughts on sampling in mainstream music and having his sample on Justin Bieber’s track
February 19, 2020