Get­ting re­al­is­tic fills

What’s the best method for adding nat­u­ral-sound­ing fills to my drum tracks?

Future Music - - ADVICE -

Drum­mers play fills nat­u­rally, but pro­gram­ming them in DAWs can re­quire care­ful plan­ning. There are a few use­ful meth­ods for adding hu­man-sound­ing fills to more static loops. The first is by fin­ger drum­ming and con­vert­ing the au­dio to MIDI – most DAWs have this func­tion, along with the in­evitably nec­es­sary quan­ti­sa­tion. Al­ter­na­tively, make some loops, have fun play­ing in fills us­ing soft­ware or hard­ware drum ma­chines over the top in MIDI or au­dio, then cut out the best bits and sprin­kle them through your track. Here are some ideas…

Af­ter you’ve made your main loop us­ing a soft­ware drum ma­chine, du­pli­cate that track and kit, then sim­ply hit record and play in fills in real time at key points in your track us­ing the same sounds trig­gered via a MIDI key­board. Quan­tise if nec­es­sary af­ter record­ing.

If you have a box such as Elek­tron’s Dig­i­takt, you can use the fill mode and the Con­di­tional Trigs func­tion – sim­ply let the se­quencer automate where the fills oc­cur in the track for vari­a­tion. Some drum ma­chines have fill or vari­a­tion but­tons that can help.

If us­ing a box such as an MPC for drums, you can make your main drum loop se­quence, then du­pli­cate it, shorten or lengthen it, then add or sub­tract dif­fer­ent sounds from it. Then, you’ll got sev­eral fills to drop in at var­i­ous points us­ing Song mode..

If you aren’t in the mood for fin­ger or pad drum­ming, record your main loop to au­dio in stereo and then sim­ply chop out sec­tions and process us­ing dis­tor­tion, fil­ters, EQ and FX. Al­ter­na­tively, use your DAW’s track au­to­ma­tion to drop ef­fects and EQ changes in and out.

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