Tech House is among the most influential electronic music genres today. It’s known for having a powerful drum section, with the kick drum being one of the most prominent components. There are a number of ways and techniques to create that hard-hitting Tech House kick drum, where one works better than the other. In this post, we will teach you how to make a classic Tech House kick drum in a few easy steps.
We’ll construct the kick drum out of two separate layers to make it easier to manipulate and tune (one for the bottom and one for the top). In order to begin, we will create a new MIDI channel in our SoundBridge. DAW and this channel will be used for our bottom kick drum layer. On this empty MIDI channel, we will place a new instance of BazzISM by ICM which is essentially a kick drum generator that is implying a sine waveform as a base of the kick drum. On the MIDI editor, we will write a note on every ¼ beat.
When we open the BazzISM interface, we see a number of parameters to control, the most important of which is “fStart” and “fEnd.” These parameters determine the start and end frequencies of our kick drum and are crucial for tuning it. In addition, we will set the decay and sweep parameters and, finally, add some embedded distortion. Here is how our bottom layer kick drum sounds so far.
As this is the bottom layer of our kick drum, we won’t require the entire frequency spectrum. Instead, we’ll use low-cut filtering to remove the unwanted high and mid frequencies. As shown in the image below, we used the FabFilter Pro-Q 3 as a tool for this task, cutting all frequencies above 160 Hz. Let us hear the difference.
Now that we have a solid bottom layer of our kick drum sound, we can go to the top layer. We chose a kick drum sample that we liked and placed it on the audio channel below the bottom layer. In this case, we just need the initial transient of the top layer, which contains most of the mid and some high-frequency material. So we will shorten its length and add some fade-out, as shown in the image below. Let’s hear how our top layer sounds solo and the, after some initial mixing, together with the bottom kick drum layer.
The next step in creating a classic Tech House kick drum would be to add some additional processing for dynamic control and coloring. We’ll accomplish this by grouping the bottom and top kick drum layers into a new group channel. We’ll start by adding some saturation (Izotope 8 Exciter by Izotope) to the new group channel effect rack. And that will allow us to introduce richer harmonic content. After the saturation, we’ll use a compressor (API 2500 by Waves) to fine-tune the dynamics of our kick drum. Here is how it sounds now.