In this video I want to show you how we can create a kick drum from hitting a cooking pan. As you watch the video you can follow along with the text below for a description of what's happening.
In this case the cooking pan is the drum so we need something to excite it with. While hitting it with my hand works okay, hitting it with a drum stick works much better.
A regular kick consists of two elements. The transient, and the tail. The tail contains the bass and sub frequencies while the transient is the initial hit containing a click. With this in mind we can create a kick from almost any sample with very simple tools.
In this video I use the Elektron Digitakt, which is a drum computer and sampler. The tools I will use to create a kick are:
The Digitakt has no EQ so we cannot get surgical, but these tools are enough to get a good thumpy kick going.
We’ll begin with the bass and sub part of the kick. After that we layer the high part of the sample on top of that bass to retain some of the qualities of the original recording.
1. Tune down the sample. If needed tune it down as far as you can, then resample it and tune it down further afterwards. Tune it down until you hear and feel a solid sub bass.
2. Using an envelope to modulate the pitch, or in this case a one shot LFO, we can create a nice thump. Pitch modulation is an important part of a kick and it’s used in well knows kick drums like the one from a Roland TR-808. I like to use the exponential curve for this purpose most of the time, but a linear curve can work as well in some cases.
3. Set the LFO mode to one-shot and depth and speed to your taste.
4. Now cut away some of the high frequencies with a low-pass filter so that there’s room for the click part of the kick later on. You can also experiment with the filter envelope to give some extra sub or thump. Make sure it doesn’t boost the sub frequencies in the tail too much as it will make the kick less snappy.
5. Use a bit of overdrive if you want
6. Optional: resample this sound and tune it down further and use pitch modulation again
Now let’s move on to the click. Design this while listening to the tail sound to hear if they sound good together. Sequence both tracks together and hit play. First let’s use a hi-pass filter to remove a bit of rumble from the click sound. Tune the click to your taste.
Now comes the tricky part as we need to adjust multiple things until both fit together:
the filter and filter envelope, the amp envelope, the overdrive, the bit reduction, and the LFO for pitch modulation or to modulate the drive or bit reduction for instance. Experimentation is key here. Experiment with increasing the attack of the amp envelope of the tail part. This way the click will have more room without making the transient too loud.
That’s it. We cooked up our first cooking pan kick. Of course you can put these principles to use with other samples as well.