One of the many jobs our sound team takes on is churning out tons of free Loops on our Mix Editor for you to get creative with. But sometimes they get a little help – from some of the best producers around the world.
The latest Loop Pack to drop is courtesy of UK-based Drum and Bass producer, Kove. He brings his signature sound to an exclusive sample pack available only on BandLab.
Known for his detailed production and unique melodic vibes, BandLab caught up with Kove to talk about the new Loop pack, how he’s coping during the lockdown and what’s next for him.
Introduce yourself, for those who don’t know you how would you describe your music?
Hi, I’m Kove. I’ve been producing DnB for nearly 10 years now and have released music on labels such as DrumandBassArena, MTA, RAM and Viper. I would say my tunes lean on the melodic dance floor side of things.
How have things been going during lockdown?
Honestly, lockdown hasn’t been too bad so far. My normal days would be spent on my own at home working anyway, so the change hasn’t been that huge! Obviously the restrictions on live music and seeing friends and family are being felt but it’s far more important people stay safe and healthy so we can enjoy those things in the future.
Tell us about your new sample pack for BandLab.
I wanted my free BandLab sample pack to reflect my sound as much as possible. A lot of my sound is based around riffs and sub-bass rolling along, and I tend to use a lot of old-school bass sounds rather than polished sound design. I’ve included a lot of sine-wave wobble basslines and sliced bass-chops, perfect for putting together the building blocks of a drop.
When it comes to the drums, again, I like to keep things characterful and with that old school flavor, so there’s a lot of drum loops that can be used in harder or softer tracks. I’ve provided the drums almost as construction kits, however, these can all be swapped with each other to make your own. I tend to build musical ideas on drones or pedal notes, so I’ve included some nice evolving pads to kick things off. You may notice a lot of the samples are in F and Ab, this is intentional – you can’t go wrong with these keys for DnB!
Tell us some of the synths, tools and techniques you used to make your artist pack.
As I mentioned, a lot of my sound is built on Sub Bass and manipulating sub-frequencies in interesting ways. I use Spectrasonics Trillian for my Sub mostly, it acts as a sampler rather than a straight-up synth, so you can generate some great analog tones straight out the gate. I like pushing colorful compressors and channel strips, I use the Plugin Alliance bundle for this, the SSL channel-strip and a compressor such as the Shadow Hills compressor to get some harmonics and overdrive sounds out of the bass, rather than tearing distortion.
I also like to use a lot of tape emulation on musical elements to get some subtle movement and saturation on the sounds. For this sort of thing I like to use the Hornet Tape deck and Denise Bad tape for the more obvious ‘tape’ effects. Soothe2 also came into play a lot. This is my go-to plugin these days, an absolutely indispensable tool since the update, and reduced the need for EQ later on.
What advice would you give for anyone using the pack to get inspired?
Have fun with it! DnB is a great genre to be starting about with, as there’s so much cross-pollination between styles, much more than other genres I think.
If you think about modern DJ sets, DnB DJ’s will play across the board, a jump up tune here, a neuro track there, as long as it smacks hard on the dancefloor, DJ’s don’t get caught up in the name tag. There’s nothing to stop a growling bass turning up in a liquid track, so don’t be scared to experiment!
What’s been the biggest lesson for you in your career so far in terms of production and the music business?
Production-wise, I find the older and more experienced I get the simpler I’m making things. I think there’s a predisposition when you start out to make everything super complicated under the impression that makes music sound more ‘pro’. So you’ll do things like layering up 10 snares or 10 risers. It’s not needed. The less elements you have, the more you can get those elements to stand out in the mix, and therefore, louder. I find myself now taking that attitude even down to plugins on a sample, if I have to EQ a snare too much, I’d rather replace it and find something that fits better rather than forcing the sample to work.
…people form an emotional attachment to songs, not serum presets, so try to think of your tune as a whole, rather than the sum of its parts.
I’m also a big proponent of ‘finalising’ things into an audio bounce, rather than leaving as MIDI or a sample with 20+ plugins. Once it’s printed, you can’t go back and change it. If I could summarize into one lesson though, people form an emotional attachment to songs, not serum presets, so try to think of your tune as a whole, rather than the sum of its parts. Nothing is more boring than three and a half minutes of sound design with no riffs or emotion to latch onto – in my opinion, of course!
In terms of the industry as a whole, be nice to people, don’t be afraid to accept criticism and learn the basics of business to make sure you’re confident in your decisions.
How do you find inspiration in these strange times?
I’ve found myself working at different times of the day to usual, such as very late in the evening, which I’d never normally do as I’m much more of an early riser.
Also, I’ve found a lot of ideas by having the time to go through my hard drives and find old loops and bits I’d demo’d and forgotten about. There’s some really interesting stuff I’d forgotten I’d done and also a lot of stuff that should stay on the cutting table!
What’s coming up for you?
I’m just finishing up my next releases at the moment. I’ve had to change tack a bit with release plans under the current circumstances as there isn’t a huge call for dance floor rollers at the moment! Instead, I’m going to be releasing lots of musical uplifting stuff, I think people need a bit of positive music right about now.
What are you most looking forward to after lockdown?
A proper pint of beer! [laughs]. In all seriousness though just being able to see family and friends again will be huge for everyone I think. Hopefully, we can get live music going as soon as possible in a safe way, I know I can speak for many a DJ that we’re all missing playing out at the moment. The big payoff for anyone making music is seeing people engage with it, so the sooner that comes back the better.