> Step by step
7. Making a jigsaw DIY bootleg
1 A bootleg is essentially an unauthorised remix. Once you’ve identified the track you’re looking to bootleg, grab a high-quality copy of the original, then listen through in your DAW and cut out any sections you feel would work nicely in your bootleg. Auditioning through a filter can help with finding good parts that would work after some EQ.
2 You might be surprised to learn how many well-known tracks use samples in one form or another, and the internet is a superb resource for finding out where any given track took its samples from. Websites like WhoSampled are a great starting point, as are discussion forums like Reddit – or even just a Google search.
3 If you’re bootlegging a track with vocals, finding the acapella will open up a ton of extra possibilities in the production process. For older tracks, some success can be had by looking on Discogs for a CD or vinyl single with an acapella version; and YouTube can be a winner for finding a rare or newer acapella that’s not been commercially released.
4 Establishing the BPM of your original track is helpful when bootlegging. If you’re lucky, the track will have the BPM in its metadata, but most DAWs can calculate the BPM from a one-bar loop. Once you’ve worked it out, turn your metronome on and make sure the parts you’re using sit in time with the click.
5 To make the production process as fun and straightforward as possible, it always pays to assemble the material you’ve earmarked for use before bouncing it all as audio to a new folder. Then, when it comes to actually making the bootleg, you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips, all expertly edited, timestretched and ready to roll.
6 With everything prepped, you can construct your bootleg, taking care to piece things together nicely while fitting them to a new tempo. If there’s anything you like in the original that you couldn’t cleanly sample (a riff or drum fill, perhaps) then why not try recreating it from scratch? Adding layers to beef up the original parts can also work well.