Video: 5 Ways To Get Creative With Samples

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Pro sample sets samples
Last updated 11 April, 2018


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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