Just recently Liveschool teamed up to create a competition with Studios 301, Korg and Ableton, and the idea was:

  • Download the Liveschool and Studios 301 Korg Volca Drum Rack.
  • Make a great beat using the samples.
  • Tweak and make a killer drum rack using the samples.
  • Win a Korg Volca Beats for the best beat, or an Ableton Voucher for the best rack.

The competition was hosted and made interactive via new beta-phase platform Blend.io.

The winning project comes from Parker Grones – aka Dharma Burner – an Ableton user from Minneapolis. Parker’s project received the most pulls and likes, so he bagged himself both the Korg Volca and the Ableton Web voucher! You can preview and download Parker’s Drum Rack here. While you’re at it – check out his tunes over on SoundCloud.

Parker on his winning Drum Rack

We had a chat with Parker about his great Drum Rack, and how he went about mangling our samples. Here’s a little from Parker about how he went about building the winning Drum Rack.

“My thoughts going into the contest revolved around trying to make something within the constraints of the project, but also something that might stand out. I figured creating melodic and harmonic material from the Volca samples would be a good way to do that. 

My Drum Rack is fairly simple – two kicks layered (one subby, one with more punch), some claps and snares, an arpeggiated hi hat, and arpeggios and chord stabs created with the Volca’s tom sounds.  There is also a Reverb and a Filter Delay in the returns for some ambience, and a fair amount of the cells have compression sidechained to the subby kick.

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For the arpeggiated sequence I ran the hi toms thru my guitar tuner and brought the pitch close to an absolute pitch. From there I just created two cells with one with an arpeggiator and resonator based around a C Min chord and another based around a C# Maj chord. For the chord stabs I took pretty much the same approach but instead of the Arpeggiator MIDI device I used the Chord device and threw an Auto Filter that reacts to the envelope for the stabby type sound. Both sounds have waveshaping Saturators for added upper harmonic richness and EQ Eights to tame some of the boominess of the tom sound. There is also a really quick arpeggiated sequence built from the low toms using variations on the same process but resulted in a different sound.

Parkers Drum Rack

A look inside Parker’s winning Drum Rack. And that’s just the Hi Tom chain!

My approach to this drum rack is really focusing on the components of sound I want to create. I ask myself – Where does this sound sit in the frequency field? What are the characteristics of its attack, release, sustain, decay? How saturated and how wide do I want the sound? Is the sound going to be modulated over time? Really just trying to examine the sound I’m after. You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. What’s so fun about using Live is it’s so modular in nature and you really can’t do anything wrong and can experiment freely.”

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted their project to the competition, it was a lot of fun hearing what you all came up with! And thanks to Studios 301, Korg, Ableton and Blend.io for getting involved.


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