My friend Neema Vedadi liked the newer BipTunia stuff a lot. He asked me what my approach to drums is. We had a text chat that’s probably worth sharing. Here is my side of it:
Basically I use a mixture of 808 VSTs + samplers that sample real drums. On almost every song I use both.
Sometimes I use built-in patterns for drums, and sometimes make my own with my antique MPC. Sometimes I even use drum MIDI tracks on synth tracks, to get repetitive bass patterns. I did that on “Dance of the Hedgehog“, and many other songs.
I use some, but not lot, of compression and reverb on most drums.
On albums 13 and 14, I sampled kitchen stuff, that’s used a lot on “Dance of the Hedgehog” and other songs. Download the kitchen samples I made.
My fave is playing the plastic top of a big can of coffee with drum sticks.
They’re one-shots. I use the sampler I made, “Simple Microtonal Sampler” to play them on different notes. But you could use any sampler. (though mine works microtonal.)
I do one track for one sample, another track for the other samples. One track for each sample.
The track where I’m actually playing notes instead of using pre-made drum tracks, I record 2 or 4 bars, (or record 8-16 bars, but pick the best 4), then quantize, then loop.
I also cut them in and out a lot, but often have one drum beat solid under all of it through most of the song also.
For actual drum sounds I use Addictive Drums. It has great real drum sounds, plus about 300 built-in beats. I just pull them into a Midi track and fuck with them. sometimes I use them with other drum VSTs, like 808s. It’s 170 bucks.
Oh, I also use this, MT Power Drum Kit 2. It says it’s free, but requires a donation, I think 9 or 10 bucks is the least he’ll take. PC, also for Mac too.
It’s kind of like a baby brother of Addictive Drums. Not quite as real sounding, but great, and also comes with a bunch of beats. Also kind of has its own sound, different from the ultra real Addictive Drums.
I often alter existing beats, but not always.
I often turn down the cymbals, or drag the cymbals to remap a wood block or tom.
I don’t like cymbals. They hurt my tinnitus ears. Plus one of my fave records, the Peter Gabriel album with “Biko“, has no cymbals on the drums. That song and that album also inspired me to use 808s and 909s combined with real drum sounds on the same track.
Most of the VSTs I use are free.
I also make a microtonal drum VST, haven’t released it yet, I use that occasionally. May release it someday. I really don’t use it that much though. Since actual drum kit drums don’t really have a discinct actual note, it doesn’t matter much if a song is microtonal but the drums are not.