Inspiration / 3 September 2020

Behind the Loops: Joseph Yorke

Creating a Loop Pack on BandLab is no simple feat. Especially when you’ve limited yourself to a “rough and ready” set up. And that’s exactly what producer Joseph Yorke did to create his Roots & Dub Loop Pack on BandLab.

Hyped to find out more, we talk to Bristol-based singer, songwriter and producer, Joseph Yorke about his Jamaican roots inspired Loop Pack, his unique inspirations and techniques.

Roots & Dub Loop Pack on the Web Mix Editor.
Joseph Yorke’s Roots & Dub Loop Pack on the BandLab web Mix Editor.

Tell us about yourself, the instruments you play, your musical passions.

I am a singer, producer and composer. I consider my voice to be my main instrument, but I also play the guitar, Irish whistle and some keys. I’ve also recently launched my own independent roots, soul and dub inspired record label called Rhythm Steady, a platform and alias for my own productions and collaborations in this style.

Dub and reggae have been a passion of mine for many years and it has shaped many of my projects. Other influences include traditional folk, soul, electroacoustic music, dub techno, trip-hop, film music and punk.

Tell us about the process of making the sample pack and the sounds and styles that inspired it. 

The sample pack is largely inspired by roots and dub music from late-seventies Jamaica. Seven-inch singles would have often featured a song or instrumental on the A-side and a dub version on the B-side. I wanted my sample pack to mimic this, so I created ‘dub versions’ of some of the key loops which can be used interchangeably with the dry loops to create interesting arrangements. 

There are many aspects of Jamaican roots music from that era that I find inspirational. The style of playing, the subtle nuances in performance and the unique tones of the instruments. These cannot easily be replicated through ‘in the box’ programming. It was important for this reason that I captured real instruments and musicianship. 

Joseph Yorke

I love the sound of the hardware and the experimental ways in which it was used, particularly in early dub. Osbourne Ruddock, aka King Tubby, provides an example of an engineer who found his sound because of his limitations. With the limited equipment he could get his hands on, he was incredibly innovative. Not only did each piece of hardware possess an individual character, but Tubby found inventive ways to modify and use this. Ultimately, this led to the pioneering of the genre dub. 

Following Tubby’s “use what you’ve got” mentality, I wanted to craft my own sound, using the limited equipment I could get my hands on.

What were some of the techniques and gear you used to make the Loop Pack? 

Following Tubby’s “use what you’ve got” mentality, I wanted to craft my own sound, using the limited equipment I could get my hands on. Aside from one studio drum session, where I recorded a drummer playing the full kit, we recorded everything in a bedroom environment. The instruments at my disposal included a Fender Telecaster, electric piano, Casio keyboard, tambourine and selection of hand percussion. 

In order to reproduce the “rough and ready” character of early reggae recordings, without a fully analogue set-up, I had to consider ways in which to mimic the artefacts. This included running certain recordings through plugins such as UAD’s Studer A800 and Soundtoys’ Radiator, to emulate tape and analogue distortion. I also tried re-amping certain sounds through my Fender guitar amp to add warmth and through my Roland RE20 space echo for dub FX.

Joseph Yorke

What do you hope people get from the sample pack? 

My hope is that the components of my sample pack will encourage and support the process of new creations. Even more so, I hope that in some small way, the pack inspires curiosity about the genre. 

What are your favorite parts of your sample pack? 

I’m very pleased with the drums, they have helped me speed up my own work flow. When I’m drafting a new track, it’s useful to have the foundations in place so I can build from the ground up. I like the “skanks” in this pack. When merged, the staccato, off-beat guitar and keys become indistinguishable from one another and create a new stand alone sound. 

Where can people find you on BandLab?

I recently joined BandLab – you can follow me @joeyorke! I’m currently also working on a new ambient vocal loop pack, featuring various progressions of chordal harmony. So watch out for that!

Joseph Yorke

We’ve got many other producers and professionals who have made Loop Packs available on the Mix Editor. You can read more about their Loop Packs on our blog here.

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