Song Starters

KSHMR released a pack last year on Splice.com called “Song Starters” - or something like that. Unfortunately there were several issues with the source of those samples and the pack is no longer available (at least at the time I’m writing this - correct me if I’m wrong and it comes back!)

This pack was full of really interesting loops that were practically ready to throw drums and bass on them and call them a full beat.

I love this idea of having these fully thought through loops that are ready for drums and 808s to be tossed on. It’s a really fun way to work - I get to spend time sampling and sound designing when I want to do that type of work. And then when I feel like finishing stuff, during a different session, I work on completing what I started with the song starters.

I’ve adopted this workflow for a lot of the hip-hop stuff I’ve been doing, as well as the collaborations I’ve been a part of. I have thousands of my own samples at this point, and I use them to compose these song starters. I follow these guidelines VERY strictly:

  1. 100% my own samples. If I don’t have a sound I want, I’ll go make it.

  2. 100% from scratch composition. Never throw in loops or pre-existing musical parts.

It may seem limiting, but it’s actually a very important part of the process for me and a lot of the people I work with - to make sure that the song starters are verifiably original and NOT going to run into any sample clearance issues.

I am going to collaborate more like this - giving specific producers a pack of my song starters and letting them run with it, maybe even tossing the session back and forth at that point.

How I Lay Them Out

I typically will create about 48 bars for each song starter. The first 16 will be the hype / fullest section. Then I’ll do a couple of 16s that strip it down and feature different instruments. Then the final 16 will be something that could be used in a bridge section if the final beat calls for it.

This makes it easy to chop it up and rearrange it to fit whatever song or vibe you’re working on.

I’ve only got a handful today, but I’m going to be making tons of these moving forward. My goal is to have 100 by end of March.