drum variations


VIP Junglist
Sep 8, 2009
Slough UK
So what tricks do you have for keeping drums interesting?
I find i either change them too much so the tune has too much focus on the drums.
Or i dont change them enough - and then they sound repetitive .

guess it all depends on the tune - i know.

But any tips?

Im struggling to do just that on a tune im working on. Filter sweeps is deffo something ive used before.
Never tried distortion to change it up. Good shout logikz.

Sometimes I export my grouped drum bus and just chop bits out and shit in a serperate instance of ableton so it sounds a bit hacked up and glitchy, I find that a little tedious though.
bit crush distortion, modulate the amount,
switch to a different sounding break for a bar
chuck a high pass at it
remove the snares/ kicks for a bar

few ideas for you
Try making your drum sequence longer, for example if you have a 2 bar loop make it 4 and add some variations. Maybe through in a few random sound FX that do not repeat to often to add a new dimension to your sounds.

Also, don't keep everyhting snapped to grid, leave your kicks and snares but try to find a nice groove with the rest of your kit. Over quantized beats sound robotic and boring.

There is no rules though. Experimentation is the best IMO.
some great tips here thanks fellas.
yeah filter sweeps - i nornally screw them up and the sound goes wayyy too loud - limiter needed maybe?
distortion is a good tip - tried that once - got a nice sound to it - i should use that more often.
liking the hi pass ideas
yeah i normally put a bit o shuffle on hats/shakers
knew u guys would inspire me <3
Just using a new break and processing it a little to mix it with the track can be all you need as long as you use a really nice break sample! I like to look for any cool breaks I can find- dont have to be dnb necessarily either!
I find that if you have a break running behind your main drums it's always good to either throw in a different break at the end of every 16 bars to help change things up a bit. Or another thing I do with breaks is reverse the last half a bar on every 8th or 16th bar, really helps it move along. Maybe something as simple as adding an extra kick or snare every 16 could also be all it needs to sound fresh.
or just move the kick position, so if you got a standard two step rythm, just replace the kick so that it hits 4x4 or even just get rid of the second.

or you could always just put the first kick on the 0.5 aswell ;)

changing up the main hi hat pattern is also woth a shout.

experiment! and some good tipps in here =)
I don't like changing up the sound with distortion or filter trickery. What works for me is thinking like a drummer, and implementing fills and variations in the right places. Its important to build and show off a structure at all levels/bar lengths throughout the track. For instance, i like a kick pattern thats two bars long, and opening the hihat on a single hit at the end of four bars, and a minor fill and a crash at 16 bars, and a major fill at 32 or 64 bars, preferrably a 2-4 bar long fill or mini solo. Since I also play drums, this shows off the different length patterns I can keep track of, especially when there are still other changes going on like changing hihat ostinato during different sections. This approach results in the drums marking the position in a subtle way and can really propel a track forward when done right. Producing tasty fills and rhythmic breaks or variations is hard work, which is why most people get lazy and dont do it. Trust me its worth spending loads of time to get that fill just right. A tip is to sing or beatbox along with your baseline and record it, and try to rrecreate on drums. Lots more musical than just throwing on some stutter edit fx or randomly plopping down some shit.
good tips there.
wish i had more "drummer" skills tbh - after a few variations on my main beat sometimes i struggle for ideas/inspiration.
(which was the point of this thread)
nice one
im all interested now innovine, id like to hear some of your stuff, do you have anything online?

No, I haven't put anything online, because to be honest my timing is not tight enough for me to be happy with releasing tracks :) I experimented some with break choppage and drumfunky stuff on my MPC, but want I really wanna do is play live drums. I'm pretty happy with my beats, and the structure/arrangements, but I still need to play them properly :P
I posted a short clip in the new talent forum a while back though.
yeah we did that in a few tracks, but it is really hard to stay in the rythm.
So most of our drums are made in maschine.
but in our performances we use live drums on top of a dj set =)
Yeah its loads easier to play along with something than to keep banging out a dead steady groove. Dnb is really unforgiving! I have a td12 and I use an mpc1000 for layering some samples. I sort of like the feel of the vex kits as opposed to samples though, they can be very lifeless sometimes.
I mostly just jam aalong with mixes, or practice. I don't currently have the time to put my own tracks together.
Top Bottom