Many songs can be identified by their drum beat alone, with the drums often a driving force of intensity and a constant rhythm, they are omnipresent in most styles of music. Getting your drums to become this iconic is no easy feat, beginners typically only know a handful of beats and it can quickly become apparent in your albums if you don’t have a pro behind the kit. This isn’t the end though, digital drummers can take over the duties, but you may want a more long-term plan for making your drums stand out. Try these tactics that will switch your drums up and may even inspire you to create something a little different.
This can be done subtly, or you can run with this idea and go as crazy as you like. Whether you want to add another full-time drummer, or simply whack in some percussion alternatives such as tribal drums, tambourines or digital drums, increasing your drums gives you more options and makes your sound more powerful. As you may know some bands have several drummers while others have a toned-down drum section, Travis Barker is renowned for his bare bones and has gone on to become a highly successful addition to several bands. Sometimes you may only need a simple beat to give space to other elements in your song, on the other hand pounding triple the amount of skins may be the way for you.
Though the art of sampling will always be misunderstood by the majority, what many of them don’t know is that sampling is a practice used by artists all over the industry and for good reason. Whether you want to utilise the skills of a long dead drum master or simply like the way a kick sounds, borrowing elements from others is a great way to build up a track (even if you don’t use them in the final mix). Loops and sampled drums help to make a fantastic ‘skeleton track’ to build upon that you can alter later or simply cut up several beats into chunks for a new sound altogether.
Try A Beatbox
A talent that is always mesmerising, being able to make beats with the mouth alone is something made famous in the hip-hop era and yet beatboxing can be applied in many other places. If you swap out your drums for a beatbox entirely it will provide you with a drastically different sound, for most though having someone with this ability at hand all the time can really assist in the variance you may be looking for. World renowned outfit The Roots famously used someone to provide vocal scratches, stutters and beats alongside their famous drummer.
Creating counter rhythms and off beats may be the very thing you aren’t capable of, however there are ways in which digital software can help. Drum machines are revered for their impeccable timing and can step in to help newcomers. Simple dance beats can also be learned quickly with online tutorials with most programs simply requiring you to drag your hi-hats into a new position, and just like magic you have something new you can work with.