The Power of DrumnBass Drums

DnB Drums! Who doesn’t love them? Nobody that’s who! Whether it’s the funky shuffle of a funk break sped up to 172bpm or the fierce and chaotic rhythm of the Amen break smashing up the dance, nobody on this god given earth could deny the raw and awesome power of dnb drums!

At its birth DnB (or Jungle as it was known in the mid to late 90’s) was actually created at a slighty slower bpm then what we find today around 160bpm in most cases  and in some cases slower even still! However I don’t want to fill your head with the history of DnB, that’s for another article. You want to know about how to make these most powerful of drums of which I speak!

Its All About The Layers

First and foremost I think its important to know that it doesn’t matter what style of drum n bass you produce all styles use plenty of layers in there drums, and when i mean plenty, i mean PLENTY! Get used to it. Get used to hearing the term layers and get your head around the fact that in order to get your drums to sound right, your going to have to start to use layers. Now, I’ve written another article about dnb and layers here. So check that out when you can.

A Quick Note To Self

You can’t just go and rush off and layer up 13 different types of drum breaks on top of each other… it just doesn’t work like that! Careful selection of layers is crucial. I hate to say it but with time you get better picking which layers will go with what. Some people like to layer up different drum breaks by the sound of the break , their character if you will. Maybe a crusty floor funk break on top of a punchy drum machine style break perhaps? Which ever way you go about it, think about what you are trying to achieve first. Get used to using a Spectrum Analyzer when working on your drum breaks. My favourite as analyzer is called Span and its made by Voxengo.

Getting Busy With The Drum Breaks

There is  a few methods that I have personally tried when it comes to creating a break.

Method 1. All audio. Cubase is well known for its ability to manipulate audio and its real strength shows up here when it comes to creating tight beats. Cubase even comes with its own audio slicer tool built in. Very much gets the thumbs up from me!

Method 2. All midi. Normally load the breaks up into a sampler like Native Instrument Kontakt 3 or Battery 3 or Logic’s EXS24 and get cracking!

Method 3. Combination Style. Sometimes I’ll mix it and combine the two styles together. Mainly because i’ve got a huge collection of kicks, snares and hi hats etc to beef up any breaks that need “beefing” up.

Noticed i haven’t mentioned the word REX anywhere? Now, in the past I’ve been guilty of staying up all night “recycling” my breaks to the break of dawn. Its a practice i rarely do anymore. I’m really comfortable chopping drum breaks now in Cubase so by working strictly with audio it’s one less chore i have to do now.

Take your time whilst learning how to layer properly. It will take time my friends and that’s no doubt. Stick to one of the methods and check the results to see if that style of writing drums agrees with you. If not, then move onto the next method. Rinse and repeat. Oh and also, “have fun whilst your doing all of it! It’s meant to be FUN!”

Hope that helps.

Peace out

Dj Dauntless
If you get a chance check out the Snowball USB Microphone by Blue. I love it for recording podcasts and guitars or whatever.

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