Loops and guilt

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rbro
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Loops and guilt

Post by rbro » Mon May 15, 2006 3:51 pm

This doesn't really pertain to you DJ's out there, but for those of you that compose/create "original" music using Live, how do you feel about using loops? I'm talking about drum, instrument, vocal loops etc created by someone other than yourself. What's the rule of thumb wrt use of such loops in commercially released material? How prevalent is the use of such loops in commercial electronica (or other genres) would you say? I was feeling guilty about using some in some original songs I was working on, but then I got to thinking about writing songs in Live vs. writing them the way I used to as a guitar player in a band. In a band situation, I would typically bring chords and lyrics to a rehearsal, usually with some ideas of groove etc., but then throw it out there to the band and the drummer would create and play his own part. He wouldn't necessarily get any songwriting credit, he was playing drums, not me and frerquently his drum part would influence other arrangement decisions within the song. So what's the difference really? Drummer in a can, right? Then I started fishing through piles of Apple loops and adding them to a mix of an original tune and it sounds great. But now it's vocal, horn parts, ethnic instruments etc. and I'm starting to feel guilty. I have a feeling this subject has been debated to death on this board (?), but I'm still a newcomer to making music this way and I'm curious how y'all feel about using loops in your own music and how prevalent they are in commercial recordings.

sqook
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Post by sqook » Mon May 15, 2006 3:54 pm

I think when you're just starting out and don't have a big sample/loop bank built up, it's ok. But once you've cleared that hurdle, you'll find that writing your own material is much more rewarding. There's nothing worse than hearing a commercial track using factory loops (although, I admit, I've heard a few that did so quite well). If nothing else, cut the loop up and remix it; just be sure to give credit where it's due. :)

djadonis206
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Post by djadonis206 » Mon May 15, 2006 3:59 pm

The thing about a lot of loops you might sample off vinyl is those are loops of loops of loops of loops - processed flipped and dipped several times over

There's nothing wrong with using loops - really it's all about the end result and the path you take to get there

who cares if you use a loop from a sample CD, big deal if your jam is hot.

At the end of the day if the beats are smoking and you're happy with the results don't think twice about it.
Last edited by djadonis206 on Mon May 15, 2006 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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b0unce
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Post by b0unce » Mon May 15, 2006 4:02 pm

the age old debate...

prefab loops suck rotten eggs, in my opinion. I'd rather make 'crap' music that was my own. Plus if you allow yourself to use loops, you are stunting your aquisition of knowledge - if you hear a groove you like it is better to imitate it and learn in the process, then lift it and learn nothing more then how to organise your library of prefab loops.

my two pennies

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Mon May 15, 2006 4:08 pm

^^^^^ + 1.
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

siddhu
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Post by siddhu » Mon May 15, 2006 4:11 pm

b0unce wrote:the age old debate...

prefab loops suck rotten eggs, in my opinion. I'd rather make 'crap' music that was my own. Plus if you allow yourself to use loops, you are stunting your aquisition of knowledge - if you hear a groove you like it is better to imitate it and learn in the process, then lift it and learn nothing more then how to organise your library of prefab loops.

my two pennies
+2

djadonis206
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Post by djadonis206 » Mon May 15, 2006 4:16 pm

I'm obviously a big advocate of loops - the loops / beats is usually the least of what I worry about in a track though

I'm more interested in composing a funky bassline, leads, edits etc etc

But only we can have this discussion because most other people who enjoy music just do that - enjoy it. Whether you're in the record store on the dancefloor or in your car, most people don't stop and go - oh no, they used loops...I better stop dancing or god this record is slamming but they used loops, I better put it back on the wall :(

it's a personal thing - it's a personal thing only engineers and producers can have a discussion about because the rest of the music listening community could care less

edit: oh and guilt was a concept created by Gentils to make the rest of the world feel bad about not believing in Jesus...seriously


syke, no it wasn't
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pulsoc
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Post by pulsoc » Mon May 15, 2006 4:23 pm

I use loops, but always chopped or diced or smooshed to taste. I think it's fine, because as a "producer" you essentially have to do the work of 3/4/5 musicians, sound engineer, composer, arranger, blahblahblah, which is way more shit than I have time to really plumb the depths of. So I don't think using prefab loops is that big a deal. I mean, you aren't going to get a very interesting track just looping prefab stuff over and over again anyway IMHO. And since I am not a Qawwali devotional singer or didgeridoo player if I want those elements in a track - well, loops it is.

Hell, my latest track uses a bunch of loops all tricked out - you can check it here - http://pulsoc.com/slobotomy%20v1.mp3

Haha shameless self-promotion is awesome.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Mon May 15, 2006 4:29 pm

b0unce wrote:the age old debate...

prefab loops suck rotten eggs, in my opinion. I'd rather make 'crap' music that was my own. Plus if you allow yourself to use loops, you are stunting your aquisition of knowledge - if you hear a groove you like it is better to imitate it and learn in the process, then lift it and learn nothing more then how to organise your library of prefab loops.

my two pennies
I hear ya. Obviously if the question is: "Is it better (what does better mean?) to use someone else's music or create your own as part of an original composition?", the answer is to create your own. But again ,going back to my example of a drummer in a band during the songwriting process, how much of the music needs to be your own in order for it still to be considered original? I guess there's no definitive answer and it's really up to the individual. But I'm kind of trying to parallel it with the old school/traditional "rock band" composition and recording approach. Most commercial songwriters/musicians don't play every instrument on their records and give a certain amount of leeway to the other musicians in their band to create and play their own parts, so is it really that different?

ILTK
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Post by ILTK » Mon May 15, 2006 4:35 pm

I could care less about what others thinks about using loops, the reason I stay away from them is that everytime I use loops, I am working off something that someone else created, and not developing my own unique sound + I won't learn how they are created.

What I do is everytime I'm not in the mood to work on a song, I work on my own loop/sample library, creating drum sounds, creating loops from my own samples etc.. then when it's time to stick a loop in a song I grab something from my own stash, and those are loops/samples that only I have and I don't have to worry about clearing them and if they don't quite fit I can redo them so they work with the song.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Mon May 15, 2006 4:36 pm

pulsoc wrote:I use loops, but always chopped or diced or smooshed to taste. I think it's fine, because as a "producer" you essentially have to do the work of 3/4/5 musicians, sound engineer, composer, arranger, blahblahblah, which is way more shit than I have time to really plumb the depths of. So I don't think using prefab loops is that big a deal. I mean, you aren't going to get a very interesting track just looping prefab stuff over and over again anyway IMHO. And since I am not a Qawwali devotional singer or didgeridoo player if I want those elements in a track - well, loops it is.
It's an interesting debate, probably discussed to death on this board already, but new to me. When we bought a new Mac-mini for the family last year that came with Garageband, I showed my 6 year old how to play around with Apple loops, create tracks, export to iTunes and burn cd's. He had 4 or 5 albums done in a few days and some of it sounded better than alot of commercially released music. I'm not sure what that says about the loops debate, but whenever he hears me working on a tune in Live, he tells me his are way better and that I need more sounds like his stuff....

dj superflat
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Post by dj superflat » Mon May 15, 2006 4:36 pm

ok, just to get a rise out of the drummers here, can you really call what most drummers do in a band anything more creative than picking what loop to play? ever since a certain kind of inventive drumming went out of style (post police? post early 80s? whatever), most drummers just play a loop. and if you're really writing the songs for a band, you come in and hum what you want from the drummer anyway. so using a drum loop, particularly to get you started or in addition to drums you play on impulse or whatever seems like a no brainer.

melodic loops seem like a different issue. but i find that, even there, if used properly, they can seem more like writing than cheating, because you're throwing the string hit or whatever over something that changes the key of the line so that it's fairly divorced from the original. or you mangle it in some way so that it becomes your own. all this to say why are you even worried about this? if you're doing it, it's what you want or think sounds right, so go with it. or don't. but you don't need absolution from the patron saints of looping.

rbro
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Post by rbro » Mon May 15, 2006 4:39 pm

ILTK wrote: What I do is everytime I'm not in the mood to work on a song, I work on my own loop/sample library, creating drum sounds, creating loops from my own samples etc.. then when it's time to stick a loop in a song I grab something from my own stash, and those are loops/samples that only I have and I don't have to worry about clearing them and if they don't quite fit I can redo them so they work with the song.
Well here's the oter part of my question. What is needed legally in terms of "clearing them"? Aren't all these loops (Apple Loops, Live's loops) essentially "Royalty Free"? Does an artist who uses them need to get any kind of permission to use them in a commercial recording? Do they need to even give credit? I've always assumed that it's like using royalty free stock photo images in web design or something...am I wrong?

rbro
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Post by rbro » Mon May 15, 2006 4:42 pm

dj superflat wrote:ok, just to get a rise out of the drummers here, can you really call what most drummers do in a band anything more creative than picking what loop to play? ever since a certain kind of inventive drumming went out of style (post police? post early 80s? whatever), most drummers just play a loop. and if you're really writing the songs for a band, you come in and hum what you want from the drummer anyway. so using a drum loop, particularly to get you started or in addition to drums you play on impulse or whatever seems like a no brainer.

melodic loops seem like a different issue. but i find that, even there, if used properly, they can seem more like writing than cheating, because you're throwing the string hit or whatever over something that changes the key of the line so that it's fairly divorced from the original. or you mangle it in some way so that it becomes your own. all this to say why are you even worried about this? if you're doing it, it's what you want or think sounds right, so go with it. or don't. but you don't need absolution from the patron saints of looping.
I'm just curious what others think and how they handle the situation. In the end, I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do, but the debate interests me.

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Post by Comfy » Mon May 15, 2006 4:43 pm

Loops Floops.... who cares! Each to thier own. I think erveryone should spend more time making music (loops or no loops) and less time debating on silly issues like this.

Sorry bad day at werk

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