Create a variety of kick drum rolls and percussion fills [tutorial]
Kick drum rolls and percussion fills are an incredibly prominent part of electronic music, let’s discuss some techniques.
Kick drum rolls and percussion fills are a great way of creating movement into a new passage in a track, especially in genres like Goa-Trance where the focus is on creating momentum – these can really help drive the point home. You’re not limited to using these in Goa-Trance tracks, however they are a pretty integral part of the genre.
For kick drum rolls and percussion fills I like to use a sampler track for two reasons – not only can you easily alter various parameters of the sound over time using automation, but it also helps to create a separate channel (particularly with kick drums) so you can create some EQ or volume variations as to not create too much energy before the drop of the next bar.
If you’ve got too much low-end before the drop, it’s going to take some of the energy away from the drop itself, so a low-cut EQ on the sampler channel should sort that out. It also helps to remove the bass in parts where you have kick rolls for the same reason.
The snare and percussion fills…
For snare and percussion fills I generally use a similar technique, and when using a sampler track you’ve got much more immediate access to changing the velocity of each hit – as opposed to a regular audio track.
You can also apply pitch automation, filter automation and all sorts of other effects to vary the sound.
Cubase’s MIDI editing features are very intuitive for these applications, you can quickly drag the clip to half or double-time with the timing cursor (get this by pressing the number 1 on your keyboard twice – switch back to regular cursor again by tapping number 1 once). You can also quickly edit entire MIDI clip velocities with curves and lines or select just a few and edit those, so there’s almost endless possibilities here.
For an in-depth walkthrough on how I create these sounds, check out the video tutorial here: