How to make Pendulum-style 'live' DnB drums

Pendulum are proving to be a big draw on this year's festival circuit, and it's easy to see why. Their marriage of drum 'n' bass beats and rock stylings is putting audiences in a frenzy – we're going to show you how to reproduce their powerful drum sound.

Pendulum drums

Step 1: Pendulum are an interesting lot. Their latest album, In Silico, features their hallmark stadium rock-style DnB programmed beats, alongside heavily processed live drums from Paul Kodish. We'll be using XLN Audio's excellent Addictive Drums plug-in (click here to download a demo) to emulate Pendulum's live drum sound.

Pendulum drums

Step 2: Set your sequencer to around 175bpm – the face-ripping speed of DnB. Program a kick and snare pattern to get you started. Go for a fairly standard DnB pattern, or just copy the one we've made here.

Pendulum drums

Step 3: Browse Addictive Drums' library and pick an appropriate drum kit. Scroll through the available options while playing your kick and snare pattern back. You're looking for a kit that sounds tight, yet convincingly 'real'. We've chosen the Great Plains preset from the Rock category.

Pendulum drums

Step 4: Pendulum's tunes often feature the heavy use of cymbals, which plays a big role in creating the energy. In your MIDI editor, put a cymbal on every beat. In AD's interface, click the E on the Cymbal pad to bring up its editor. Tweak its compressor, so that it's less overbearing.

Pendulum drums

Step 5: Still not convinced? Addictive Drums has its own well-performed MIDI patterns, if you'd rather choose from their selection. Click Beats to bring up the menu. We've picked Song 001 – Rock (All). Drag and drop it from the list into your sequencer's arrange window.

Pendulum drums

Step 6: If you're going to use one of AD's drum patterns, you might want to cut the MIDI down to the first few bars, so that you have a shorter loop. Add Pendulum-esque cymbals if you're going for that splashy, high-energy sound.

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