Kim Lajoie's blog

Composing for Kick Drums 2

by Kim Lajoie on July 16, 2009

Sparser Kick Drums In general, sparser kick drum patterns will be less energetic. As with the First and Third pattern, a sparse approach is generally useful for leaving space for other instruments. Taking this approach, the kick typically only emphasises the first beat of the bar, and sometimes a secondary beat (secondary in importance – […]

Composing for Kick Drums 1

by Kim Lajoie on July 15, 2009

Kick drums. Where would we be without them? They are the foundation of the rhythm section. In most dance music, the kick drives the rhythm and groove of the entire song. Even in other genres, the kick drum provides a grounding. It marks the most important beats in the rhythm pattern, it helps us understand […]

Drum programming – Expectation and Excitement

by Kim Lajoie on July 9, 2009

This post is about drum programming, but these prinicpals apply to all aspects of rhythmic composition (including basslines, melody, etc). Additionally, these principals are applicable to drum patterns of arbitrary (any) complexity, but for simplicity we will be primarily concerning ourselves with the four-on-the-floor kick drum pattern often heard in popular club music. A little […]

Reversed cymbals and the like…

by Kim Lajoie on May 18, 2009

Every time I see someone asking about reversed cymbals, my first reaction is that of disgust… and then I realise that I use them too. I occasionally find them useful for some songs where dramatic changes between sections are appropriate. The key word here is dramatic. Reverse cymbals (and reversed drums in general) as section […]

Approaching mixing

by Kim Lajoie on May 7, 2009

Often there’s quite some discussion about understanding individual techniques or dealing with particular sounds in mixing – how to use compression, how to process drums, how to saturate bass, etc. While an understanding of techniques is essential, it’s just as important to see the bigger picture – how to fit it all together, how to […]

Processing snare (in a drum kit)

by Kim Lajoie on May 6, 2009

Those who come from the world of electronic music and samples may experience some shock when mixing a real, live drum kit! Traditionally, sampled drums have been mixed with one sound per channel. There might be a kick channel, a snare channel, a hihat channel, and perhaps more channels for cymbals, toms and auxillery percussion. […]

Compressing kick drums

by Kim Lajoie on May 4, 2009

Just a quickie to say that the choice of compressor you use for kick drums is more important than the actual settings you use. Kicks are a fickle beast – a few ms or a few db can make a huge difference in how the sound is perceived. This is also where a lot of compressors […]

Thoughts about coherent drum kits

by Kim Lajoie on November 19, 2008

The solution is equal parts creative direction and technical skill. In other words, this is like most issues in the home studio[1] – you need to know what you want AND know how to get it. On order to create a coherent kit, you need to know what a coherent kit sounds like. As an engineer, this […]

Balancing kick and bass

by Kim Lajoie on July 4, 2008

A kick drum can be loose, tight, deep, percussive, hollow, tubby, thick, light, etc. Do you want it to hit you in the stomach? The chest? The face? Likewise, a bass could be rough, smooth, deep, throaty, thick, etc. Bass often also has the potential for emphasising the higher-register sound of upper overtones. A bass could […]