drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

User avatar
oceanblood
audio school graduate
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:04 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by oceanblood » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:44 am

Hi all,
I was recently surprised to learn that Andy Wallace used a snare sample to feed a reverb (he called it "ambience sample") on Nevermind (back in 91)

For some reason, I assumed that the use of drum samples to beef up live drums on rock and metal records was a much more recent phenomenon, at least a post-millennium thing... Now I'm wondering how far back this practice goes?? Does anyone know when this became common practice? For example, are there drum samples on Master of Puppets? on Voivod's Nothingface?? I always thought all the amazing records that came out in the 90's were 100% sample free, for sure the 80's stuff, but I'm starting to wonder now how much drum samples have contributed to the sounds of some of my favorite heavy albums... Tool, Neurosis, Melvins, Primus, Mastodon, Opeth, Soundgarden, Dream Theater, I'd actually be kind of disappointed to learn these guys were using drum samples on some of those records. Honestly, I consider many of Andy's records to be amongst the pinnacle of great sounding heavy music (RATM, Meantime, La Sexorcisto)... and triggering a verb with a sample is one thing, but perhaps it was the gateway drug to the excessively triggered snare kick and tom sound of much of modern metal stuff...? Anyways, any and all insight into this phenomenon would be well appreciated, cause I'm kinda having a mental breakdown about it.

Also, if triggering samples is really so ubiquitous, does anyone out there have a record they can point to that they consider the gold standard of heavy, in your face rock or metal drums, that has zero drum samples... ??

thanks !!

(ps.. this is on my mind because I'm mixing a metal record at the moment, and I'm dead set on not using any samples, which is apparently not the way its done..)
i7-5930k
32GB ripjaws DDR4 @2133
Windows 7 Ultimate
Sonar X3
firepod

MoreSpaceEcho
zen recordist
Posts: 6301
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 11:15 am

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:07 pm

I'm 99.9999% sure there's no samples on MoP, and to me, that's one of the last metal records where the drums sound like more or less normal drums.

I don't think there's any samples on AJFA either, but you don't need samples when the drums are that stupidly loud in the mix and there's no bass.

I'm pretty sure there's kick and snare samples on the black album, I feel like they're in there for added attack and 5k presence, because the diminutive Dane who runs that show was already deaf by 1990, and if the guy signing the checks wants the drums sounding all crazy, you make the drums sound all crazy.

kslight
resurrected
Posts: 2443
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by kslight » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:20 pm

I mean I suspect they have been used to some degree (layering?) since samplers came into existence. There have been numerous archaic samplers and sample playback modules that would simply trigger by audio if you wanted, predating the modern DAW.

Ministry and NIN/etc since basically forever...the downward spiral is to my knowledge almost all samples. More mainstream rockers, unsure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of those studio tricks long before it was standard practice.

User avatar
vvv
zen recordist
Posts: 8477
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 8:08 am
Location: Chi
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by vvv » Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:38 pm

From personal experience (I think I mentioned this here recently), the late, great Phil Bonnet used snare and kick samples to augment drums onna demo my band did at Solid Sound back around '88 (coulda been '87) ...

And I cite this because we paid ourselves, for a 3 song thing to get gigs, but while that was the first time I ever heard of it, we did it onna mere demo.

As I recall, he triggered samples from the audio track; as well, he offered to "fly in" backing vocals when the jug wine and smoke got to me at the end of the session, (altho' I drank a buncha water and recovered so we didn't actually do that), using the sampler. For some reason, a rack mount Ensonique thing is what I think I recall ...
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; Geronimo Cowboys;
blog.
I mix with olive juice.

User avatar
losthighway
deaf.
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:02 pm
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by losthighway » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:35 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:07 pm
I'm 99.9999% sure there's no samples on MoP, and to me, that's one of the last metal records where the drums sound like more or less normal drums.
I totally see what you mean in terms of classic metal, and the typical genres (black metal, death metal etc), but I like all the artsy stuff that doesn't do this. At least I think most of it doesn't:

Big Business, Graveyard, Neurosis, Russian Circles,

But none of that sounds like Metallica.

Also Steve Albini did a Zao record once. Not a huge fan, but it's refreshing to hear a more natural take on something like that. I wonder what went into those Deafheaven records that won so much acclaim.

But I digress... I seem to remember everyone talking about some sample trick you could rig up on a Yamaha SPX90. When was that thing invented 85? Forgive me if I'm way off, I was 3 years old at the time.

User avatar
vvv
zen recordist
Posts: 8477
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 8:08 am
Location: Chi
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by vvv » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:59 pm

Re Andy Wallace - whose work I love (check out his total bombasticy on The Cult records)- I recall reading somewhere (mebbe in TOMB?) about all the sophisticated stuff he did, what might be called "artifice".

For example, he would use chorus or delay or similar in parallel (sometimes left and right) on bass to give it "motion". I took that one to heart, and I typically record bass on two tracks through different pre's and compressors, to get a little of that.

I also recall that Nirvana - particularly Cobain - so disliked Wallace's approach that they insisted on Albini on their next record, and the record company's response was to insist onna more pop mix on some songs ("Heart Shaped Box"?) by, I think, Ken Scott. Compare the drums between tracks on on that album ... Also, alternate "original" (Butch Vig) mixes of Nevermind are available - I have 'em on a "remaster" from a couple years ago.
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; Geronimo Cowboys;
blog.
I mix with olive juice.

MoreSpaceEcho
zen recordist
Posts: 6301
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 11:15 am

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:01 pm

vvv wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:59 pm
by, I think, Ken Scott.
You got the Scott part right, but it was Scott Litt.

I'm not too into the sound on "Nevermind" but I love Andy Wallace's work on SY's "Dirty", sounds great and more importantly, it's really FUN to listen to.

User avatar
emrr
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 787
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:21 am
Location: NC
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by emrr » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:33 am

I was definitely hearing about drum sample replacement as a standard in the late 80's at some studios around here. Grab a bunch of samples of freshly headed drums, and put them into rotation in a bank of hardware samplers.
Doug Williams
ElectroMagnetic Radiation Recorders
Tape Op issue 73

User avatar
vvv
zen recordist
Posts: 8477
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 8:08 am
Location: Chi
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by vvv » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:22 pm

BTW, I messed up above: The Cult was mostly Bob Rock, altho' Wallace did do Electric, what I do love, but that was a weird Rubin thing, too. :oops:
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; Geronimo Cowboys;
blog.
I mix with olive juice.

User avatar
oceanblood
audio school graduate
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:04 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by oceanblood » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:39 am

vvv wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:38 pm
From personal experience (I think I mentioned this here recently), the late, great Phil Bonnet used snare and kick samples to augment drums onna demo my band did at Solid Sound back around '88 (coulda been '87) ...

And I cite this because we paid ourselves, for a 3 song thing to get gigs, but while that was the first time I ever heard of it, we did it onna mere demo.

As I recall, he triggered samples from the audio track; as well, he offered to "fly in" backing vocals when the jug wine and smoke got to me at the end of the session, (altho' I drank a buncha water and recovered so we didn't actually do that), using the sampler. For some reason, a rack mount Ensonique thing is what I think I recall ...
Dang! Drum samples on a 3 song demo in '88... this is indeed a fascinating bit of information... Sooooo... Now I'm thinking there's definitely samples on most of the early death metal stuff.. Perhaps that kind of inyourface snappy/huge drum sound is just an impossibility without them??
i7-5930k
32GB ripjaws DDR4 @2133
Windows 7 Ultimate
Sonar X3
firepod

User avatar
Brett Siler
resurrected
Posts: 2486
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:16 pm
Location: Evansville, IN
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by Brett Siler » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:21 am

It's not impossible but sometimes in extreme metal genres it sometimes actually sound less fucked up sounding to using multi velocity samples than heavily gated and compressed close mics. Some people will use a blend of the two. Supposedly Converge's "All We Love We Leave Behind" has zero drum samples or amp sims.

I'd love to read a real in depth article about the history of drum samples, but from what I read it was pioneered by Roger Nichols's work with Steely Dan. Also the Linn Drum samples were all over the 80's.

Here's a pretty in depth video analyzing Andy Wallace's mixes. It's pretty interesting. Spoiler alert: He most definitely uses samples, and pretty much the same ones on a lot of his mixes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F916ioSWdts

User avatar
losthighway
deaf.
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:02 pm
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by losthighway » Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:28 am

Brett Siler wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:21 am
Supposedly Converge's "All We Love We Leave Behind" has zero drum samples or amp sims.
I'm pretty sure Kurt Ballou has never used drum samples on any of those Converge records and they all sound AMAZING.

User avatar
Brett Siler
resurrected
Posts: 2486
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:16 pm
Location: Evansville, IN
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by Brett Siler » Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:49 pm

I know for a fact he blended in a few on kick and snare on the newest full length. He used samples from his new drum programming software that came out. I know this because I watched a 6 hour long video on how he mixed a song off the new record. The samples were maybe only like a quarter of the kick and snare sound if that. He still used very strategic mic choice and placement, eq, compression, and mutiband compression on them. Some plugins, some outboard gear, also using room mics and overheads for some of the sound too. The dude is a beast.

User avatar
losthighway
deaf.
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:02 pm
Contact:

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by losthighway » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:26 pm

Brett Siler wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:49 pm
I know for a fact he blended in a few on kick and snare on the newest full length.
I know it doesn't really matter, but this disappoints me. I liked be able to point to him as a beacon of organic authenticity in a genre(s) filled with synthetic contrivances.
Brett Siler wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:49 pm
The dude is a beast.
That is still an absolute fact, regardless of my puritanical nonsense.

MoreSpaceEcho
zen recordist
Posts: 6301
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 11:15 am

Re: drum samples in heavy music: When did it begin????

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:57 pm

He's a nice guy as well.

Link for that video?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 34 guests