Video: 5 Ways To Get Creative With Samples

Our scratch tutor Steve Canueto spotted this video from DJ BrainDeaD. Firstly it's a great little controllerist performance using FX, filters, multiple tracks and genre changes to produce a compelling few minutes of music. Secondly, he shows some great techniques with samples here that we thought we'd highlight. As we're about to launch our How To Make Your Own Sample Sets video course, we thought this was a timely example of what can be done with samples on today's DJ gear.

DJ BrainDeaD's sample use deconstructed...

  1. Stabbing and filtering - He uses this right from the start; repeatedly hitting a sample while bringing a filter from hard low pass back to centre (for instance)
  2. Drumming - With synth and drums mapped to the pads (kick, snare, synth sound), he "plays" the actual rhythm using samples for a short section around the 30 second mark (the clap noise is actually on the track deck)
  3. Using preset sounds to turn your sample pads into a keyboard - "Playing" your samples ("juggling"), typically by having different notes of a riff matched to each pad. He does this right from the off, but memorably with the Coldplay "Clocks" piano riff, "raving it up" to great effect
  4. Having a whole loop on a sample pad - Most sample decks let you loop a beatmatched segment which you can then perform over. With "Clocks", he has the whole riff on Pad 1, then deconstructs it on the other pads, so he can "play the riff" as in the point above
  5. Combining samples and effects - Most notably in this demo, he has loop roll switched on (which lets the sample "play on" underneath what he does next), then he loops a tiny part of the sampled vocal. When he stops the loop, the sample remains in phase due to the loop roll function. He does this repeatedly, including with the Sting vocal

Preparation is key...

The biggest thing as far as sample use is concerned here is to note how much he has "pre-produced" the samples he uses - he's extracted, tightened up and most importantly of all, really thought through the samples he's used so when it comes to performing with them, they're all there literally at his fingertips. As the whole focus of our forthcoming "sample sets" course is on how to find, extract, prepare and master your own samples, we thought this was a great video to show just how far it's possible to take things once you have!

Do you use samples to spice up your DJing? How? Have you seen any particularly good uses recently? Would you like to be able to use samples a little bit more? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. DJ Clashy says:

    I have watched this video many times, this guy has got some serious skills. Will definately keep an eye out for the course if you make one (got the acapella course and its wicked)

    OFT: does anyone know which track the countdown at 3.00 comes from?

    //DJ Clashy

  2. That man is so far from braindead. I love when people blend genres that perfectly. Roxanne as considered a classic by many wouldnt normally be heard on today's dance floor. But he Got it to flow well.

  3. Mark Quest says:

    still my favourite DDJ-SX routine out there.. haven't seen anyone else come close to his creativity.. makes me proud to be a DDJ-SX owner.. now to get those skills 😉

  4. Peacemael says:

    I don't know how friendly your team is with DJTT, but they could definitely offer some insights as far as using samples to create remix/songs and just to mix in sets.

  5. Stavros says:


  6. boybrown says:

    that was amazing. i haven't even used the sampler on my vci-380 with Serato DJ yet lol.

  7. J Ballistix says:

    The amount i spent on my cdj 900s. Something like this would never be possible on them. Im tempted to go out and buy one of theese and put my cdjs next to it and use it as the mixer so i can also do controllerism. This mini mix blows my mind.

    • Digital vs old school.... 😉

      • Isaiah Furrow says:

        Thanks for posting that, hadn't found that video yet... I am new, and using Serato with a Mixtrack Pro 2... the SX and a pair of CDJ900s or similar is what I aspire to have/use someday... I am liking Serato and haven't found any controllers better than the SX for it, any others I should look into more?
        I'd love to hear more abut the samples mixing class, because I'm going to be preparing some samples soon, I'm practicing as much as I can, new baby as of 6-25-13, lots going on, but have a wedding party on July 20th... hope to be ready... might have to scrounge to get the "fast" course earlier than was budgeting for.... thanks so much DDJT, Phil, team, everyone.... pray for peace on July4th... WE LOVE YOU! Isaiah Moonshadow Furrow

  8. I really this video .. In fact this video give that little push that I need to grab a DDJ SX .. This is by far the beat video ever I saw for the DDJ Sx on the web.. Now time to spin and practice skills..

  9. DDJ-SX sales just went up another 20% thanks to this video.
    Pioneer need to put this guy on their payroll!!
    Perfectly executed routine - I loved watching it.

  10. Very inspiring one... Great job...

  11. Look forward to the course. DJ Braindead was the first DJ to inspire me to do creative mixes like this when I saw his live video mix he did for Radio 1, it's on his Youtube channel somewhere. I know this post isn't about video mixes but I would love to make videos mixes too but I can't do that with Traktor at the moment.

  12. I use ableton live to extract samples then warp them to make it perfect... especially those old tunes that are way off. When im done with my samples ,i export them to .wav then load to traktor. Beat grid is always spot on, no matter what the track is. Just make sure your warping is tight. Gotta lpve elastic gridding.

  13. DJ Poundz says:

    That was very inspiring!! I have been wanting to up my game as a DJ and have been practicing these techniques but feel my controller (Hercules 4MX with VDJ and a Pad Controller 16 pads)is holding me back a little. Hmm time to rethink!!

  14. Now what I'm really having a hard time with is finding samples... Anybody have good sites they use? I'm looking for full on synth note samples like he uses for the clocks track, but I can't find em anywhere.

  15. philmcneal says:

    omg that video made me regret buying my dj ergo and now I'm beginning to see the limitations of virtual dj :(

  16. I'm really impressed with this Video i mean it makes me feel like a real DJ .. I love this .. One love Phil From DJ YBX

  17. This mix actually made me tear up

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