Do You Believe In Magic (Drum Rooms)?

If you've ever recorded live drums, then you know how important the actual room is to the finished product. Small, carpeted rooms with additional acoustic treatment will have a super "dry" sound, due to the lack of sonic reflections, while big rooms with high ceilings, hard surfaces (like concrete and dense wood) will produce a much more "live" drum sound due to long decay times (aka natural reverb).

 

But here's the crazy thing.... One of the most iconic drum rooms in history was never even meant to be a drum room at all. The live room at Sound City Studios was originally built as a factory for Vox amplifiers in the 1960's. With it's parallel surfaces (an acoustics 101 no-no) and square, "boxy" shape, it technically should sound horrible. But it doesn't. It sounds like hit records.

Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Rage Against The Machine, Metallica and The Red Hot Chili Peppers (just to name a few) have recorded some of their most successful albums in this very (unconventional) room. 

What are your thoughts and theories on drum rooms? Please leave your comments below!

Sound City Studio Dave Grohl

VIDEO: The Early Days of Sampling

These days, most of us (including myself) take sampling for granted. We have our MPCs and MASCHINEs sitting right in front of us, and it's just a matter of dragging and dropping a file and you're good to go.

 

But that wasn't always the case. In addition to technically being more "work" to get the audio into your own track, early sampling was often "lifted" from copyrighted material, causing a firestorm of legal battles between content owners and those using their audio.

This video is a great look into where the sampling world was back in 1988, both legally and technically.  Also, I'm pretty sure that's a young Saul Goodman at the 7:45 mark.

Fairlight Sampler

 

June 08, 2017 by Ryan Gruss

VIDEO: We Are The World (Behind The Scenes)

Ok, this is pretty fascinating. Sit back, and enjoy this rare, behind-the-scenes footage of one of the most iconic (and top-selling) songs in music history, 'We Are The World':

 

This particular video is from the final night of overdubs at A&M Studios in Hollywood on January 28, 1985. The sheer amount of "pop stars" in the same room is a bit mesmerizing... Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall and Cyndi Lauper, just to name a few.

Watch them work out the vocal harmonies and the bridge section, and take special note of their "mic technique", as they are all gathered around several AKG C 12 mics. This recording session was truly history in the making.

 

The Ultimate Guitar Demo?

It's no secret that different styles of guitars have different sounds, but it's amazing to sit back and watch one of the world's greatest guitar players demonstrate the unique sonic qualities of a Stratocaster, Les Paul, a resonator and an acoustic.

 

Enjoy this video of Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) playing a variety of guitars and explaining how the different tones and timbres of each of them inspired him to write some of the most popular songs in modern history.

What's your favorite guitar, and why? Let us know below in the comments.

 

Bootsy Collins Explains Playing On "The One"

In funk music, there's often a lot of talk about playing on "the one", but what does it really mean??

In this video, legendary bassist, Bootsy Collins, explains how James Brown taught him how to play (or not play) on "the one" and take funk to the next level.

Bootsy gets into more detail about the "Funk Formula" in the video below:

This is a great reminder of how the "less is more" approach can have a huge impact on the feel of music. Get out of the way, stay funky and always remember "the one". Thank you, Bootsy.

Bootsy Collins

 

May 02, 2017 by Ryan Gruss

Could This Be The Best Drum Groove Ever?

One of the most iconic drum grooves in history is the halftime shuffle on Toto's hit song, "Rosanna", performed by the late, great Jeff Porcaro.

The internet had blessed us with this isolated drum track (along with isolated previews of all of the other instruments) from the original 1982 recording session. Sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy one of greatest drum beats ever recorded.

BONUS:

Here's Jeff Porcaro breaking down the Rosanna drum groove and giving a little history lesson about the source and inspiration:

April 26, 2017 by Ryan Gruss

"Let's examine this word, 'reggae'..." - Stewart Copeland

In this 1981 interview with Jools Holland, Stewart Copeland gives us a quick history lesson about the backbeat of drums in popular music, starting with early jazz, to Motown to funk.

Taking things a step further, Stewart demonstrates how reggae music uses the backbeat and completely flips it "upside down", placing it on beat 3 with the kick drum.

Not only is this a great primer for the basis of reggae drumming, it also gives an inside look into how Stewart's own "style" has been heavily influenced by the music of the West Indies and South America.

Stewart Copeland

April 10, 2017 by Ryan Gruss

The Loop Loft All-Stars - Live At The Blue Note NYC

A few weeks ago, The Loop Loft All-Stars gathered at the legendary Blue Note jazz club in New York City for one night of incredible music. Here are just a couple of videos from that night:

fd

 

 

 

This stellar musical collective featured Mino Cinélu (Miles Davis, Sting), Mark Kelley (The Roots), Nate Smith (Dave Holland, Chris Potter), Bob Reynolds (John Mayer, Snarky Puppy), David Cook (Taylor Swift, Björkestra), Doug Wamble (Wynton Marsalis), Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors) & Eric Harland (McCoy Tyner, Joshua Redman) and special guest vocalist, Shayna Steele.

Recorded live at The Blue Note NYC on February 20th, 2017.

12 Amazing Isolated Vocal Tracks

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite singer’s voice sounds like in its purest form, the musical sub-genre of isolated vocal tracks can offer a clue. Here are 12 videos of popular songs stripped of everything but the vocals—some of them strange, others eerily beautiful.

1. “HELLO” // ADELE

Adele - Hello (isolated SNL live vocal feed) by dailyvariations

Adele’s vocals for her new hit single “Hello” are even more powerful without the background music.

2. “SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT” // NIRVANA

Nirvana kicked off a new era in rock music in the 1990s, but can “Smells Like Teen Spirit” be as powerful without the driving guitars? The song feels more eerie than hard-hitting with only Kurt Cobain’s haunting vocals.

3. “BEAT IT” // MICHAEL JACKSON

One of Michael Jackson’s most iconic songs seems less urgent without the music behind his amazing vocals. Something is lost without Eddie Van Halen’s killer guitar solo, too.

4. “FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL” // THE WHITE STRIPES

Even without the heavy guitars and feverish drum beats, “Fell in Love with a Girl” is still a catchy tune.

5. “BEAUTIFUL” // CHRISTINA AGUILERA

Christina Aguilera’s isolated microphone feed vocals of her live performance of “Beautiful” prove that her voice is just as impressive without the music.

6. “BLACK HOLE SUN” // SOUNDGARDEN

Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” is a haunting song. Even without the benefit of music, Chris Cornell’s vocals are just as stirring.

7. “WONDERWALL” // OASIS

Noel Gallagher’s lyrics and his brother Liam’s vocals for Oasis’ “Wonderwall” seem even more sad without the backing music.

8. “LOSE YOURSELF” // EMINEM

“Lose Yourself” won Eminem an Academy Award in 2003 for “Best Original Song” for 8 Mile. He probably still would’ve won the Oscar even without the music behind his intense rhymes.

9. “NO ONE” // ALICIA KEYS

Alicia Keys’ performance of her hit song “No One” with her microphone feed isolated proves that she’s a genuine talent.

10. “GOD ONLY KNOWS” // THE BEACH BOYS

The acapella and isolated vocals of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” work just as well as the studio version with musical accompaniment.

11. “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY” // QUEEN

Freddie Mercury’s vocals and harmonies for “Bohemian Rhapsody” are awe-inspiring. The video also highlights Brian May’s amazing guitar work.

12. “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” // QUEEN

This stripped-down version of “We Are the Champions” proves, yet again, what made Freddie Mercury one of rock’s most iconic vocalists.

 

 

November 03, 2016 by Ryan Gruss

Learn How To Program Classic Drum Beats With Funklet

Ever hear a drum beat and wonder how to recreate it on a drum machine or sequencer? Fortunately, Funklet is now here to help you! Click below to see (and hear) how to create the classic drum groove from Steve Wonder's "Superstition":

 

Want to learn the grooves to other iconic song? Click here to see everything Funklet has to offer!

 

 

 

August 22, 2016 by Ryan Gruss