5 Ways to Get Creative With Organic Foley

It’s all too easy, when producing these days, to get stuck inside the box and, whilst you may have a dope tune on your hands, it can be missing, well, something...


There’s a natural movement to real-world sounds that even the best synths can’t recreate, and without this, your mixes can end up sounding lifeless and a bit static. This is where the art of Foley comes in; it can be a breath of fresh air in helping to elevate your mixes and add another dimension. And by Foley, we don’t mean it in the same way as used in film-making; where Foley artists attempt to recreate the sounds that need to be dubbed over in the post-production of a film. It has become a broader field and, with the proliferation of genres like Lo-Fi Hip Hop, which lean heavily on the use of reclaimed, old dusty, vinyl crackles, has swiftly become a staple of many producers' techniques.

Organic Textures

The general basics to this technique involve capturing raw field recordings; using anything from your generic iphone, through to a high-end field recorder. The results of which you can then edit into usable samples that you layer into your tracks. These sounds may sometimes be barely audible in the mix, but when you remove them, you will realise how much they add in terms of feeling and filling out the mix. You can even time-stretch, or speed them up to reveal interesting and unique rhythmic patterns that can replace the more generic percussion loops that you may usually reach for. This technique can be taken as far as you feel works for your track, and you can layer up sound after sound, for example, wind, rain and vinyl crackle can all sit together perfectly to encapsulate that warm and cosy, hiding-inside vibe that Lo-Fi Hip Hop often perpetuates. The longer your recordings, the more they will change over time, which also subtly helps to maintain a level of ongoing interest to your productions.

Foley Percussion

You can also use any particularly percussive elements that you have recorded to create your own drum hits. Anything can be used, such as the sound of breaking glass, which would be good layered with a snare to add more texture and, with a touch of reverb, an interesting tail end. Or hitting a steel drum with a piece of wood could generate a fat low end that could be blended with a kick to make it sound huge. The best thing about this is that you can take any old drum one-shots and make them completely unique and your own! Aside from the obvious, you are likely to find small rhythmic sections which, thanks to tools such as Ableton’s warp mode, can help you nudge things into time and, all of a sudden, you have your own unique fill or percussion that sits between your kick and snare! Check out Robot Koch making great use of this technique here:


Get Creative

The uses for Foley can extend way beyond these few examples and is only limited by your own imagination. Things such as a car flying by could be reversed, then used as a sweep, you could scrape a wooden spoon over a cheese-grater and then drench the audio in reverb and delay, then you have your own atmospheric SFX! You could even layer with a synth to add more movement and an organic touch to your sound. The key is, don’t feel restricted with what you can do with these sounds, just let your creativity run wild and experiment. Play with modulation, EQ, tranposition, warping, panning, the dynamics, saturation and more!

Sample Packs

If you can’t get outside to record anything at the moment, not to worry, we’ve got your back here at Prime Loops. Here are a few options to get you started on finding some organic sounds and textures to work with:

Unusual Percussion Samples

Over 200 extraordinary sounds & rhythms sourced from a surprising range of ordinary objects, including flower pots, shoes, keys, staplers and more!

Ambient Textures

A sample pack of absolute elegance and beauty. Each folder is bursting with melodic and atonal ambience samples perfect for adding a sense of calm, clarity and depth to your genre of choice. Nestled inside you’ll find heavy ambience loops and samples, expansive drones, processed field recordings perfect for side-chaining and warm synth progressions.

Related Articles

  • UK Grime Production Tips

    UK Grime Production Tips

    UK Grime has gone from being a small, DIY spin-off of Garage through a stratospheric rise to become THE sound of the last decade in Britain and beyond! The Birth of a Genre & nbsp; Its earliest conc

    Read More 2
  • Lo-Fi Hip Hop Production Tips

    Lo-Fi Hip Hop Production Tips

    Lo-Fi Hip Hop continues to go from strength to strength, especially with the emergence of YouTube channels such as Chilled Cow, ChillHop, The JazzHop Café amongst others. The question is, from a pr

    Read More 2
  • The Best Music Production Apps for iOS

    The Best Music Production Apps for iOS

    Sometimes a change is as good as a rest, and getting away from your desktop can give you a boost of inspiration and unleash your creativity. Mobile music production has come a long way in a very sh

    Read More 2
  • How To Make Better Music When Your Studio Is Your Bedroom

    How To Make Better Music When Your Studio Is Your Bedroom

    Unfortunately for music producers, few of us have the luxury of having round the clock access to a first-class recording studio. Everyone has to start somewhere though and for most budding producer

    Read More 2
  • 5 Music Production Habits You Need To Stop NOW

    5 Music Production Habits You Need To Stop NOW

    You might not be an avid church-goer, but still you probably know that around this time of year, people start talking about giving things up for Lent. Like chocolate, booze, or standing around in door

    Read More 2
  • Top Tips For Better Bass Lines

    Top Tips For Better Bass Lines

    Getting the perfect bass sound can seem like a daunting task when you’re approaching your mix. It’s a particularly crucial element as it anchors both the key of your track and works alongside the

    Read More 2
  • The Best Free VST Plugins You Must Have

    The Best Free VST Plugins You Must Have

    Getting together your own home recording setup can be expensive enough even without splashing out on expensive add-ons and plugins to your DAW. Thankfully, there are a whole host of free VST plugin

    Read More 2
  • DIY Production Tips For Home Recording

    DIY Production Tips For Home Recording

    Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the affordability of equipment, there’s never been a better time to create your own home studio, without having to worry about bankrupting yourself buy

    Read More 2
  • 5 Reasons Why Your Sample Pack Matters

    5 Reasons Why Your Sample Pack Matters

    Music sampling is becoming increasingly big business, with more and more commercial records throwing back to pop records from years gone by, crossing genres to borrow catchy hooks or reworking entire

    Read More 2
  • How To Get Your Music On Spotify

    How To Get Your Music On Spotify

    There are millions of music fans all over the world who are using Spotify, streaming music from millions of artists worldwide. Over the last ten or fifteen years, it looked as though the demise

    Read More 2