When is a sample not a sample?
One of the bestknown samples on record isn’t actually a sample. Sugarhill Gang’s old-school hip-hop classic
Rapper’sDelight is based around a looped groove lifted from Chic’s
GoodTimes. It’s widely assumed to be a sample, but in fact the distinctive bassline was replayed by a live band. The simple reason why it was done this way is that it was a much easier approach than sampling back in 1979. Technically, it’s an ‘interpolation’ of the original, not a sample.
Despite sampling tech now being infinitely more accessible than in the late 70s, the process of interpolation still has uses. Replaying a sample as an interpolation lets you get rid of elements you don’t need – if you wanted to, say, sample a bassline from a track but not the vocal. As a bonus, you only legally need a licence for the composition; you don’t pay royalties for the original recording. There are even ‘sample replay’ companies who’ll craft you soundalike versions of samples, almost identical to the real thing.