I recently received this question from Fe Do / Felix, who some of you might know though the Studio Scratches Facebook group.
I have asked him if I can answer publicly for the benefit of other people wanting to know the same thing. He said yes so here we go…
Hey Short E, Friend of you Dj Fedo here…
So you know i really like your Style and all you do. Specially scratching and Beat Making… I got Maschine since 2 Days…
I never had building Beats or something like that before…
So my Question is: do you take a sample, and slice it, for every beat you did ?
i search but i cant find good sample to slice it up…maybe i am not creative enough for this :S also my Drum Pattern doesn’t sound as good like yours… u have any tips or things that would help ??
i tried it to making a beat… maybe u check it out….
i havent found a better sample…. and only add some drums and change the sample with eqs to get a baseline?! i dont know what i did there…was just experimenting….
so please help my out short e !! give me tips and thing like that…maybe u also could send me a maschine file so i could look at the project and understand it. i dont wanna copy something, just understand and get in that thing. i would really like to start to beatmaking…
I really love the Maschine and i need your help. i dont only want to make standart beats. your’s are so funky and cool. there is really a big talent in you. much greets, felix.
What a huge question and subject to deal with! Here are my thoughts, I hope they give you an insight.
Beat making is an artform in it’s own right and so it is essential to do your research – go back through the history of hip hop and learn how beats were made. Understand the limitations and constraints that made hip hop what it is. Think the art of sampling and the equipment used. I’ll aim to give you a brief overview and introduction here.
Sourcing samples is perhaps the greatest element of making hip hop beats and one that cannot be taught as it depends on your own feeling and vision.
Have you heard the term “digging in the crates”? This means looking and listening through old records and finding samples. Have you seen scratch the movie? There is a great bit with DJ shadow who talks about it.
What I would advise is to think of your favourite hip hop tracks (my influences are from the golden 90s era) or think about producers like J Dilla, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Prince Paul (too many to list here) then go to the website “whosampled.com” and then you can find out the types of artists those producers sampled to make tracks.
It is usually records around the years 1970 onwards. But you can use any song that sparks off creativity in you.
Try and link up with people that make beats and go digging for samples. You will learn a lot. Watch their process. Ask questions in between the listening.
There is a new form of digging on the internet now – digital crate digging. You can search YouTube or places like Spotify with streaming music for older songs. You can then listen through tracks until you hear something that you think “ah ha” I can flip that sample.
I have listened to your beats and I actually think for the time you have been making beats they are pretty amazing!
One of them sounds very DJ Shadow like.
I think the next steps for you should be to explore sampling real drum breaks and learning how to chop them up to make your drums sound more organic.
In order to achieve the raw organic sound that you seek, it is essential to understand that much of this comes from the equipment used to make beats. The Akai MPC 2000 XL and SP1200 have played a massive part in this. They produce an inherent, gritty, full sound and you will hear many people say that the quantising or swing the MPC produces is impossible to match on other devices or software. The Maschine does have an MPC engine to try and emulate this. You can be the judge of how it makes your beats sound.
In terms of sourcing drum breaks, try digging or you could try the following sample CD:
I use that for my drums sometimes.
Maybe experiment with making your drums sound a bit more human by experimenting with swing and quantising. EQing can take a whole lifetime to master!
Other than that its all about putting the time in. They say it takes 10,000 hours to master something. That means many hours of of making beats and experimentation. There is no shortcut to getting good making beats or anything in life! You cannot rush art.
You could try and copy your favourite producers using the same samples they used to try and get into their way of thinking to learn then progress to making your own unique beats.
This video helped me a lot and i tried to copy it as a way of learning:
Sample = Earth Wind and Fire by Earth Wind and Fire.
See how he sliced up the sample and then added standard stock drums over the top.
“Still one question. Do you always use samples to create a beat or do you use the maschine library sounds too?”
I use whatever sounds good. Sometimes I use just samples, sometimes just the stock maschine library. Sometimes a mixture of the two. It’s all about what sounds great.
This video shows my basic process:
The process explained:
- Chop / slice the melodic sample
- Program individual drums hits – kick, snare and hi-hats. Experiment with quantising.
- Chop / slice the drum break (notice 2 sets of drums on this track – the drum break is organic and natural and the individual hits beef it up to make it sound fat.)
- Layer it all up
- Play with bass and EQ
My Recommended Resources
Beat Kings – Beat Kings is a 66 minute film that gives the viewer an exclusive look into the architects behind the rhyme. Hear it first hand from the musical legends that shine light on Hip Hop’s brightest stars like Jay-Z, Biggie, and Nas. Beat Kings brings the public into the producers private studios as they reveal the secrets behind making hit records. Mathematics interviews stars like Kanye West, Just Blaze, Havoc (Mobb Deep), Trackmasters, Swizz Beatz, RZA, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, Alchemist, David Banner, Easy Moe Bee, Prince Paul, and more as Beat Kings chronicles the history of beat making from its early beginnings into the 21st century.
BeatTips.com Check out the blog and also the Beat Tips Manual – now in digital eBook format.
Crate Kings – Another great site featuring: Hip Hop Samples, Beats, Drums, and Production News.
Did you find this article useful? Please leave your feedback in the comments below or contribute to the learning for Fe Do and anyone else learning about the art of betaking. Many thanks!
Happy Beatmaking! 😀