So, this week we’re still pretty hyped on the release of ‘The Sound Of Sinden‘. So hyped, in fact, that we caught up with him for an interview about his music, his move to LA and of course the pack itself; you can read it in full HERE. But we figured you might also appreciate a few tips on how to use sample packs in your own stuff. So let’s go in with a few helpful hints!
Use Them As Starting Points
One of the most popular uses of a sample pack. Take a full melodic synth loop, and base your track around it. It doesn’t need to be the main focus of what your tune eventually becomes, it could end up buried beneath a ton of other musical lines. But it will give you inspiration, a creative spark, and could get your track moving when you’re stuck for ideas.
Use Them As Tools
This is, of course, the opposite end of the spectrum. But it’s just as useful! If you’ve written a track that you’re largely happy with, but that needs a little extra tweaking, sample packs can be invaluable. Does your kick not quite cut through the mix? Do you need an extra little percussive loop to fill out the beat and add a touch of funk? Need a few well-placed FX sounds to bring a spot of detail here and there? These last, finishing touches are where sample packs really come into their own – find the right sound, drop it carefully in the right place, and it could make the difference between a solid demo and a really polished track.
Chop Things Up To Sound Unique
You don’t have to use samples in their full glory. Chop half a bar out of a two-bar percussion loop and you’ll still get of the funk and tone from the whole thing. Re-Cycle a bassline to arrange it into your own version, or timestretch things until they’re barely recognisable. It’s all about creating something new and original, and the more fun you have playing with the samples, the more distinctive you’ll sound!
Try Sample Packs That aren’t In Your Style
A real Pro Tip here. Some of the best synth sounds come when you use a synth in a way it wasn’t intended for, and the same can apply to samples. One big-name producer I know writes a lot of technical neuro-funk D&B – and swears by minimal techno sample packs. It makes sense – they’re tightly edited, techy, synthy, and still retain some of that swing and groove when you pitch them up to 170. So try it – get a pack of hip hop sounds and use them in your deep house tracks, jungle basslines in your trap beats, whatever you can think of! The possibilities for creativity and originality here are endless.
Be Early (and Good)
You’d be amazed how many of your favourite tunes use great big loops lifted straight out of sample packs. We’re probably not allowed to say which, although Valley Of The Shadows back in the 1990s was a particularly famous one. The point is, when people use a big sample in an obvious way, it kind of makes the sample somewhat ubiquitous. So keep up with the latest packs, and get in there first – if you want to use a loop wholesale, get in there quick!
The other side to this is to be very, very, late indeed. If you want to write something with a bit of a retro flavour, where’s the best place to look? Why, the packs that the original producers used of course! If you want the classic sound of 90′s house, try and dig up a 90′s house sample pack. Sorted. Of course, many of the old packs aren’t as good as the ones you get these days; they don’t have Apple Loops, Recycle files, and they’re often a bit smaller. But they’re certainly worth checking out.
Categories: Basic Production