Today I wanted to show you how you can quickly cook up a tune by starting out with a sample and then flipping it completely. Feel free to just watch the video above if you want. Meanwhile, I'll go more into detail with regards to the different steps and actions of the production process below!
The Sample And The Sampler
So our sampler of choice today is the Novation Circuit Rhythm, which is a very affordable entry level sampler. It basically functions as a standalone, so you won't need any DAW to connect with your PC. Aas you can see I'm going to start and play the sample here that I'm going to work with today, which I recorded earlier on my PC on my midi keyboard using FL Studio.
I already recorded the drum loop too. What I like to do when I'm making a sampled beat is already have that drum loop there. Usually when I would make a beat from scratch I would start with the actual melody but since we already have the sample, I like to get that feel and get that tempo in already before we start sampling. So that's why you'll hear the kick and the snare drum already here. Very easy, very straightforward hip hop drum pattern.
So what's great about the Circuit Rhythm and most other samplers too - like the more high-end stuff such as the Maschine or MPC - is that they will allow you to slice your sample into into several sections. So, that's what we're doing right here: we're getting that loop in and we're trying some stuff out in order to reflect that sample.
Basically what we're doing here is just going around and putting in some slices. After I recorded my sample loop, I'm going to go to the effects menu right here. The Circuit Rhythm actually offers you to change the reverb and the delay. Since the sample cut off is a bit abrupt I try to increase the reverb and delay here in order for it to to sound a bit more natural and overlapping.
So now that we have our basic sample loop resampled right there with those slices, we're going to add some more drums. We're going to start with the hi-hats, which are always good good to come along with the basic drum kicks and snare that we already have of course. Then after we're also going to work with saome snares and percs, just to give the track a little bit more identity and body.
Creating The Bassline
Now let's move on to the bassline. So for this one I'm using a few pre-recorded samples that I loaded straight into the sampler. As you might know, you'll be able to find many sounds online (either free or paid). There's a lot of good free stuff out there, I can really recommend the Lunch77 kits for example.
So once I picked my bass sample I'm going to start and play around with that a little bit, going to try what's working and whatnot. The bassline that I like here is pretty simple, basically coming down to two different notes following each other up and that's going to be a huge part of this track, because of course the bassline is going to give our track its groove.
Now let's go back into effects again and play around with the the sample effects a bit. On the Circuit Rhythm you can do this for any sound that you created in any pattern. You can add some distortion there, change the filters a little bit, the cut off time, the length of the sample, etc.
Coming Up With A Counter Melody
So I don't just want to finish the track right here. I mean, we could - there's a lot of hip hop 90 style beats that are pretty straightforward and just using one loop or one sample loop to create the whole track - but actually I'm going to go back into those same sample slices and I'm going to try and create a counter melody.
We're going to use those exact same sounds from the sample that you heard earlier and then going to play around with the sample slices a bit. What I always try to do with counter melodies is to have them fill in those blanks that might still be there after the initial main melody, so we can nicely fill those up without overlapping the main melody too much. That's why it's called the counter melody after all.
So now that I have my actual counter melody sample idea, we're going to go back into reverb and delay once again just to make this sound a bit more natural and less abruptly cut off. Then lastly we're actually going to record the counter melody, a simple four-bar loop again, just like the main sample melody.
Finishing The Track / Final Thoughts
And that's basically it! The track is mostly done now. The Circuit Rhythm as most samplers will allow you to play around with the sequencing, so I'm just going to remove some elements of the track, build it up a little bit there, play with the master filter and just going to drop our track one more final time, so that you can listen to it as a whole.
Well, there you have it. I think this video shows that it's pretty easy to, in a matter of minutes, start with a sample and then build your track around it by resampling and slicing that original sample loop, and then adding other elements like the drums and the bass to make things complete.
Some of the next steps you can take from here are to actually export this to your DAW of choice, arrange the track completely, and do a proper mixdown and mastering to complete your instrumental.
Hope that was helpful for you and see you in the next one!