I’ve built up a pretty extensive pile of sounds over the years. Before the days of easily accessible libraries available for cheap (or free) download, unless you wanted to just use clean, sterile preset sounds, you pretty much had to roll your own from scratch. I’ve spent a lot of time sampling my own analog synths and buying vinyl records for breaks and isolated sounds to use. At one point I would even refuse to use the same sounds twice, starting each new production with a completely blank canvas. Having all this stuff sitting around, I’ve often toyed with the idea of releasing my own sound library, but haven’t really found the right situation to make it worth the months of work it would take to do it right. Fortunately some of my peeps have made the plunge:
Count Bass D is a bit of an underground legend, putting out a number of critically acclaimed albums and working with a who’s who of indie hip-hop (MF DOOM, Edan, Madlib, etc). We’ve done some tunes over the years and been record shopping together a gazillion times. Dwight has always been a competent drummer (both acoustic and drum machine), so I was happy to discover that he contributed to some of Toontrack’s EZ Drummer libraries (Twizted and Claustrophobic kits I believe). You can find EZ Drummer for pretty cheap these days and the add-on libraries are all a la cart. Trust me it’s going to sound a whole lot better than buying and trying to record a real drum kit yourself.
Speaking of homies from back in the day. I’ve known the BeatKangz (Rev and Aja specifically) for well over 10 years. In addition to producing a gang of folks, they have continuously been grinding their way through the musical instrument industry culminating in the release of their own virtual instrument and hardware drum machines. I actually contributed some sounds to their first project, the Zoom SB-246 drum machine aka Streetboxx. If you walk into a Sam Ash or whatever and see one on display there’s a factory preset named “coolout kit” that has my sounds.
Once they started putting out their own products unfortunately there was some very aggressive marketing (shit talking basically) that caused a fair amount of controversy and detractors online, but anyone would have to admit…they’re doing something that no one in hip-hop has equaled yet. I mean…yeah Dr. Dre has his own electronics company but he’s just selling overpriced earbuds and headphones. It’s not like he’s developing his own gear and giving away his signature drum sounds. I think these guys deserve much more props.
King Britt is a world renowned DJ, Producer, and Remixer and one of the few guys here in Philly that I can sit around and just geek out with. He’s always on top of music tech, past and present with a lean toward the experimental side of things. As a heavy Ableton Live user, King has been featured (under his Saturn Never Sleeps partnership with Rucyl) on the Ableton site and released some of his sounds in an Ableton sound pack. He’s also featured in the 2012 Ableton special issue of MusicTech Magazine that should be in Barnes and Nobles next month.