Do you ever feel like your drums are too sterile, lacking some sort of an organic touch?
Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter J.Views is a master at breathing life into his tracks. In order to gather sounds for “Organic Electronics 2” (his second sample pack), J.Views traveled across the United States and captured recordings in the countryside, the city, and the desert. Using the diverse sounds that he collected as examples, J.Views shows us how he layers foley with samples to enrich his drums.
Our starting point
“Organic Electronics 2” contains several samples that are made with the specific intention to serve as supplemental layers. These sounds are a producer’s secret weapon – they’re designed to bolster your existing sample library and work alongside your main drums by giving them extra depth, crunch, punch, and glue.
For this post, we created a basic beat and added these samples on top of it. We’ll do a step-by-step breakdown in a moment, but let’s first listen to the basic beat that will be our starting point:
In order to add life to these drums, we used samples that can be placed in one of three categories: sounds that add air, sounds that serve as alternatives, and “helper” samples.
1. Sounds that add air (taken from the “Countryside” repack)
These sounds should be tucked in the background of your mix – they simply add a gentle texture to your beat, making it sound as if it’s ‘pushing air’ – this helps make the bedding for your production a little less lifeless.
For our beat, let’s try layering this recording of crunched leaves as a backdrop.
Listen to the leaves on their own:
Hear how these sorts of sounds can serve as a bedding for a beat:
2. Sounds that serve as alternatives (taken from the “City” repack)
Foley and other recordings can also serve as organic substitutes or alternatives to a beat’s core components. This can add a world of rhythmic color to your beat.
For our purposes, let’s use this clockshop hi-hat alternative to serve as a substitute for our beat’s hi-hat.
Listen to the hi-hat alternative on its own:
Hear how it can add a groovy rhythmic energy to the beat:
3. Sounds that serve as “helper” samples (taken from the “Desert” repack)
“Helper” samples are unique sounds that blend with and add new timbres to existing elements in your drums. To use these sounds, start by aligning them to your main sample, and then simply tweak their Track Delay until they start to interact with the main sound in an interesting way.
Try using sounds like this snare helper to add a natural timbre to your snare.
Listen to the snare helper on its own:
Hear how the sample adds extra timbral interest to our snare:
Even though our starting point was very basic, in just a few minutes we were able to add dynamic depth and movement to our beat. Now all we need is a few chords and some toms, and we’ve got ourselves a solid song starter.
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May 13, 2019