Still one of our most requested genres, this instalment of Beat Dissected focusses on a future garage beat constructed from drum machine hits, live samples and energetic percussion hits.
Beat Dissected is a regular series in which we deconstruct drum patterns, showing you how to recreate them in any DAW. Just copy our grid in your own software to recreate the loop.
Here’s the beat we’re building today:
To download the samples for this beat, click here. The samples are provided on a completely royalty-free basis. They may not be sold or given away, either in whole or in part.
SoundsA mix of acoustic drum samples and drum machine hits.
Start with the kick, a layered sound with a nice rounded low-end but also some high-end presence supplied by blending in a clicky hi-hat sample. Note the velocity variations, with the first two kicks sounding at full volume and the latter three slightly lower. Note also that swing is applied manually to the third hit, moving it off the 16th-note grid; this is a swingy beat in classic garage style and you’ll find lots of off-grid hits as we move through the beat. Experimenting with different amounts of swing and looser timing will change the feel of the beat and give it a unique groove.
Next in is a reverbed rimshot and a short, spritely snare hit. Note the tuning of both, relative to the kick drum and each other. The tonal interplay here is important, with each hit playing off each other for that intricate forward momentum that so many garage beats deliver.
The two hi-hats help pull the beat together. We’ve gone for a fairly busy beat here – ideal if the melodic elements elsewhere in your track are sparse. If there’s more going on in other parts then you may want to simplify the rhythm a bit. Hat 1 is a very short closed hat, while Hat 2 is slightly more open but still with a relatively fast decay. The short envelopes of the sounds help to avoid the beat becoming overly cluttered.
Time for the details. First is the ‘perc1’ hit, mixed low but given enough mid-range presence to nudge the beat forward. Again, note the swing manually applied to this hit by moving it off the grid. Next is the ‘Big Perc’ hit – a heavily reverbed hit that fills out the otherwise sparsely populated final beat of the first bar. Finally, there’s the very subtle ‘FX Layer’ – a slice of atmospheric noise buried deep in the mix to supply a combination of glue, depth and sonic interest to proceedings. Garage beats are notoriously dynamic so even if you normally reach for a bus compressor at this point to pull the constituent beat elements together, tread lightly. The aim should be to subtly tie things together rather than to squash them all into submission.
To download the samples for this beat, click here.
If you enjoyed this tutorial you might find our book ‘The Secrets of Dance Music Production’ a helpful resource for similar tutorials.