Last week we detailed a few ways in which you can use our sample packs to help you get started with music. Not simply by taking some loops and calling that a finished tune, but to learn more about music, about production, and about where you want to take your sound. They’re a great tool to help novice producers get a foot on the ladder of how to create and engineer music, as well as providing inspiration for more seasoned musicians.
So this week we’re going to look at how the Prime Loops arsenal can aid producers who have a good idea of where they want to go with their music, and perhaps have figured out how to put together a decent beat – but are now looking for ideas on how to take their music to a new level, both in terms of getting an original sound and interesting melodies. Because sometimes this is the hardest stage to be stuck at! Learning how to engineer a kick or synth is something anyone can do with enough work – but inspiration is a different beast altogether….
For now, then, let’s assume that you’ve got a decent groove going but are perhaps struggling to take it further. This is where you need to start pulling in different ideas and influences. To start, simply grab a dedicated sample pack catering just for synth lines and melodies. There are plenty of these out there – check our shop for some ideas – and you can start getting things moving straight away. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should just drop a loop in your track and have done with it; it’s often better to use packs as a starting point instead. Find some melodies that work in your track and set about recreating them with a synth of your own to personalise them; or, conversely, try to recreate the sound of the patches themselves – it’s a simple way to learn more about melody or synthesis.
Alternatively, one sure-fire way of creating original and interesting tracks is to combine different genres entirely. And this is where sample packs really come into their own, in this author’s opinion. Because you can grab a pack from an outwardly unrelated genre to your own, and create something entirely new. Drum & Bass producers have long been using minimal techno stylings in their tunes, and this is something you can get on board with easily; try pitching some of the loops from our ‘Minimal Synthesis’ or ‘Minimal & Tech House Drums’ up to around 170BPM and you’ll see what we mean – groove templates and riff ideas with a technoid edge that will spice up any D’n'B track.
Or you could take a closer look at some of the more melodic packs like ‘R&B Progressions‘ and ‘Urban Dreamz‘ – both of these contain loops and chord progressions that would slot neatly into any Dubstep (especially Joker-esque ‘purple’ sounds) or Trap tunes. But they could equally well be reinterpreted for a slice of current-sounding Deep House with some sultry vocals over the top.
Once you’ve got some ideas that are starting to come together you should look towards customising them some more. As mentioned, one way is to recreate some of the loops on your own synths. If you’re lacking in that department then don’t forget to check out primeplugins.com, where we’d recommend stalwarts like Rob Papen’s Predator, Camel Audio’s Alchemy or Cakewalk’s Z3ta+2. Indeed, if you’ve already got a decent synth don’t forget to check out our synth presets – bag yourself hundreds of new sounds for the price of a pint.
The other way to take things down a more original route is to use your DAW to mangle them until they suit your needs perfectly. We covered a range of high-end effects and sound-thrashing plugins in a recent article, so check that if you need any tips – but again, taking things and using them in ways they weren’t designed for is one of the cornerstones of originality in music production. So as well as throwing that Reggaeton bass loop into your D’n'B tune at double speed, by slicing and dicing it in Effectrix you can make extra sure that you’re creating something no-one else has come up with. And this will give you even more inspiration – whether to base a whole track around it, or use this as a starting point and take your track even further out there.
So it’s clear how using samples and sample packs in your tunes can help producers from all across the spectrum – whether you need a specific sound to do a specific job, or you’re stuck for inspiration and need something to kick-start the creative process back into action. They can be used wholesale, chopped up into bits, mangled out of all recognition or twinned with something completely unrelated to create something entirely new. It’s all down to you – and they can be as original as you are!
Categories: How to Use Prime Loops