Virtual Riot Press Photo

Virtual Riot gives comprehensive tutorial on drum production

Considered one of the premier and elite sound design producers in the modern-day dance music scene, Virtual Riot is revered by fans and fellow artists alike for his comprehensive work and creative use of plug-ins and synths to achieve unique sounds.  While his style and level of talent are certainly difficult to achieve, he is kind enough to share insights into his workflow and production process, allowing producers to borrow from his bag of tricks.


Opening the tutorial, Virtual Riot begins by collecting samples.  Instead of just grabbing from sample packs or previously available items, he begins in his kitchen and records various sounds that will provide a percussive feel.  To do this, he uses a portable, handheld Sony recording device. Still, he does mention that there are many quality recording devices on the market, and even just using the speakers of a cell phone can work when collecting samples.


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For the next nearly two-hour walkthrough, he looks to synthesize, produce, and even manipulate the samples he collected, while giving comprehensive explanations of several key plugins and how he uses them in his own workflow.  After creating a simple drum beat for the sake of the tutorial, The German producer opens up the first plugin he will focus on in the tutorial, XO by XLN Audio.  This drum sampler comes equipped with preloaded samples and patterns while making it easy to load any drum sample desired, with a fun interface that is highly interactive for manipulating sounds.  With a few simple clicks, it is easy to change out individual sounds and samples, and even randomize the entire collection for further variance in the sound.


Next, he opens up the S-Layer sampler by Twisted Tools, which is a third-party plugin created within the Reaktor core.  Jumping right in, Virtual Riot goes through the controls and many features that allow for the manipulation of both the built-in samples, as well as ease of loading in new samples to play with.  He begins the explanation by simply walking through the parameters of the S-Layer, showcasing how to manipulate pitch, and, volume, while also being able to randomize the other samples layered on top.  While he walks through layering his own kitchen samples over the kick in the plugin.  Of course, this is just one way to utilize this very powerful production tool.


The last plugin that he focuses on within the tutorial is the powerful Kick 2 by Sonic Academy.  For those unfamiliar with Kick 2, it is a drum creation plugin that offers numerous controls and parameters for creating kicks, snares, and other percussive instruments, through the manipulation of filters, layering of samples, and the main pitch curve.  Virtual Riot goes through these functions and shows how he creates drums that will stand out in his own tracks and reveals some of the additional processing that goes into achieving a solid percussion layer.


While this is just a brief tutorial, the video is an incredibly in-depth journey through the mind and studio of Virtual Riot and a great way to learn some new tips and tricks before hitting the studio again.

Image credit: Virtual Riot (Press)

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Avid music fan, and avid music producer! Producer and songwriter for NOHC.

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