Wondering where to get started with loops? Are you staring at your DAW, waiting for inspiration to strike?? Here's the good news: Loops are the perfect springboard for rhythmic and sonic creativity. They are the ultimate source material meant to be manipulated and molded into your own work of art. To help you get started with this process, here are 5 essential tips for creative looping:
Tip 1 - Shift The Pitch!
With a kick drum, snare drum, hi hats and cymbals all present in a single drum loop, you instantly have a palette of the entire frequency range to paint rhythm with. Our personal favorite DAW for using this "shift the pitch" method is Reason and their extremely powerful Dr. Octo Rex player. In this example, we're using a drum loop from our Dry Drums Series and using the "slice edit" mode option to shift the pitches of the various parts of the drum kit.
Tip 2 - Make It Dirty
Looking to add some extra bite, cut and aggressiveness to your drums? Dirty them up with distortion! Our "go to" software for this technique is iZotope's stellar Trash 2 plugin. Just load up Trash on your drum loop track and start previewing the presets to find that "perfect" amount of grime you're looking for. From there, adjust the dry/wet parameters to dial in the perfect mix of sludge and sublime.
Tip 3 - Layer Them Up
What's better than 1 loop? Multiple loops layered on top of each other! When Ableton entered the DAW market back in 2001, their clip-based approach to production opened the doors to quickly stacking and layering loops. In this example, we're using our Track Stacks series inside of Ableton, showing how you how it's possible to orchestrate an entire "drum ensemble" with loops.
Tip 4 - Mix With Multitracks
Want to take total control over the sound of your drums? That's where multitrack loops come in. With multitracks, you have the ability to dial in and process EVERY single element of a "live" (not MIDI) drum kit including the kick, snare, overheads, toms and even room mics. With multitracks you get the best of both worlds: the human, organic feel of a live drummer AND the ability to tweak the sounds of the kit to perfectly fit the mix and vibe of your production. In this example, we're working with 15 tracks of live drums from our Omar Hakim collection.
Tip 5 - Go Linear
Linear drumming is a style of playing where no two limbs hit at the same time. These grooves are typically broken up between the snare, kick, hi hat and toms, creating a unique, lilting feel. Using a DAW like Reason (again, utilizing the Dr. Octo Rex player), you can take "traditional" non-linear drum loops and strip away various elements of the beat to create your own customized linear drum groove. Using this method will open up a whole new world of beat making with your loop library.