Alex Banks on processing drums to create your own breakbeats

DnB Weekend: He's already told you about his favourite classic breakbeats, and in the video above, you can see DnB producer Alex Banks of E-Z Rollers fame explaining how you can process your own drums to make them sound authentically vintage.

Alex also took time out of his hectic schedule to give us some in-depth insight into why drum 'n' bass and breakbeats are such easy bedfellows.

Why are breakbeats such an important part of DnB?

"When samplers first came out, your beats would either be from a drum machine like a 909 and 808, or nicked off a record. There are many types of breaks: rolling breaks, steppy breaks that you cut up for kicks and snares, splashy breaks that we high-pass... It's the style and emotion of the breaks when they're originally recorded and played that we use to encapsulate the sound in our own tunes."

What is it about the classic breakbeats that makes them fit so well?

"It's the way that they sit in the mix - if you speed up an Amen, it just works; if you stretch it, it just works; if you edit it all out into individual samples, it just works. It's the same with Apache and Think - Think can sit well above the gnarly sounds, pad sounds, keyboard sounds... Apache can give such an aggressive and punchy breakbeat sound."

What is it about the recordings that made them work like that?

"It's something special that happened on that day, when they recorded that man on that drum kit with those mics in that room. Compression has a lot to do with it. There's a classic trick where you slam the overheads and mix in the kick and the snare and the individual hits. When I listen to the Amen break, it sounds like that's what's happened: the overheads were smashed with a compressor that had a very slow response - I say slow in comparison with modern terms.

For more drum & bass tutorials, samples and pro producer videos, check out Drum & Bass Focus 2014 from Computer Music, with almost three hours of full exclusive video masterclasses from E-Z Rollers, State Of Mind, InsideInfo, Tyke and more. Plus, there's a free exclusive sample pack from E-Z Rollers, and a free Rob Papen distortion plugin!

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