Drum Samples, AMEN break, Nerd Rock, and a Touch of Originality

Published by Loop Community on

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a full orchestra at your disposal? To show up at your gigs with dozens of talented musicians who know their parts and can produce a wonderful, full tone. Too bad you probably can’t do that. You want them to know the parts, and you don’t want to spend 300% of your budget on them, but you’d be lucky if you could hit even one of those goals.

So you’re trying out loops instead. You’ve got some canned musicians instead of live ones. They can be a little difficult to work with sometimes, and you have to learn the equivalent of a whole new instrument yourself, but the computer always knows its parts and rarely ever messes up.

But then you come to one of the biggest conflicts of backing tracks: It doesn’t sound real. It’s so close, but your looped drums just don’t have that… something that a live drummer brings. Even when your loops sound better than your live musicians ever did, they just don’t sound the same as real instruments.

But then… why should they? Every voice, every sound that you add to your band contributes something to your overall tone. But who says that the sounds you add need to match what everyone else has done before? Sure, it’s important to have that percussive backbone to keep your band in time and drive the song forward, but who says it needs to sound like a drum set? Sure, it’s important to have something filling out the low end of the audio spectrum, but who says it needs to be a bass or piano?

That’s what the Regdar and the Fighters Vol. 1 sample library is about. It’s 156 percussive samples. It sounds a lot like drums sometimes. It can fill some of the same roles that drums do. Heck! Sometimes it even is drums, but it’s fundamentally different from what drums normally are.

Every one of these samples is a short loop of procedurally-generated percussion. Some of it is old video game noises. Some of it is assorted things I found around my kitchen. Each one was randomly-created using my ever-growing collection of personal samples. Seriously, I feed the samples into Regdar, the computer, and it randomly creates the beat. Some are weird. Some are hard to use. Some are probably straight-up unpleasant to listen to. But none of them are the same old drum beats that you’ve heard so many times before! Will it sound like drums when you use it? Unlikely. Can you replace your live drummer entirely? Maybe not. But you can add that something new and incredible to your loop library. You can play those sounds that make people pause and wonder what the heck that was!

Here’s an overview of some of the sounds that were used in this library:
Amen Break – We disassembled and reconstituted the classic Amen Break.
Beat Box – I don’t know how to beat box, but I do know how to make random noises with my mouth and let Regdar build beats out of them!
Bike – It turns out that you can make a lot of cool sounds out of a bicycle and a drum stick!
Toys – Lasers, finger cymbals, and a junior size drum kit are just some of the toy samples that Regdar and the Fighters use all the time in our songs!
SID – The SID chip from the beloved Commodore 64 was a huge milestone in digital audio technology. Can’t do chiptunes without SID sounds! (Unless, you’re more of a Game Boy person…)
Video Games – We sampled sounds from Blake Stone, Commander Keen, Cosmo’s Cosmic adventure, Diablo, Doom, Duke Nukem (the 2D one), Jill of the Jungle, and Prince of Persia (the 2D one) because you can’t make Nerd Rock without nostalgia!

Stephen Smith is a guest blogger, front man for Regdar and the Fighters, and creator of the sample library Regdar and the Fighters Vol. 1.
You can follow him @RegdarFighters or visit his website .