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Sampling etiquette and “rules”


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I searched and couldn’t find anything, but I know we’ve talked about this before and it’s probably a thread:

Reading the harmony thread and several others on here about “rules” and all those pesky little standards we all have regarding them got me curious. 

What are all your opinions of sampling other artists work- rules, etiquette, what should or shouldn’t be, etc. Not trying to open the whole “is a dj a musician” debate at all- I’m only specifically talking about making a “non-remix” track, or whatever. Your original work- how do u go about deciding what’s off limits or not. No judgement at all, just curious about everyone’s process.

Personally, I draw the line with sampling things that I like, which are “too close” to the artists I may consider in the same field as me. And this can affect the way I like music too. Examples: can’t stand listening to Front Line Assembly or ltj bukem sample afx. I still like those artists a lot, but those tracks I can’t really get into. The ideal sample for me is something like the background jazz music in a 70s instructional record or whatever- u know what I mean.

The crate digging archaeological aspect has always been what I am into. What I dig. But that doesn’t mean I don’t listen to plenty of stuff that has no rules. In some ways I feel restricted, but I can’t escape my rules. I do like dj shadow, or fsol, who have both sampled things that would have been “off limits” for me. Bjork, tangerine dream, jean Michael jarre- I just think they don’t belong chopped up in my stuff. Again, this is no judgement at all- I really just want opinions on it. 

I read an article in grooves magazine once, years ago, where this guy was talking about sampling being like fast food, and it not satisfying you the same way creating something without samples would. He could have been talking about sample cd packs, tho. That brings up other concepts too- what other media is ok to sample (I don’t really have any rules with movies/tv etc)- I never liked the sample pack thing- but I have used them a couple times, really rarely and still trying to use obscure or outdated ones from cds or whatever. Amen, think, Apache- these are all ok to me because they have been sampled to shit. Idk- just wanna know your thoughts on it!

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I wonder if this had to be OK'd?

 

edit: just noticed it uses drums from another fuji track, the one with beats only.. huh!

Edited by chronical
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like anything else, it’s what you do with the material. there’s bits of hip hop tracks buried in autechre tracks. ached has sampled a good amount of stuff. 60% of squarepusher is the amen break. luke covert samples luke covert now as far as i can tell. if you can take something people know and put it in another context then that’s great. if you can make it unrecognizable that can be even better. but if you just take a sample and loop it and maybe put some drums on top… we’ll that’s lazy and doesn’t really add anything to the conversation.

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The more popular the sampled track and the more garbage you make it sound the better. This is the only correct philosophy

 

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IMO sampling too many lines of TV/movie dialogue in a track is annoying and distracting. I want to hear the music, and not some random conversation from a movie. sampling a few words to include in a track here or there is ok, if they can be blended in and manipulated creatively so they match the vibe of the music. an example of this bad movie dialogue sampling that I can think of off the top of my head would be DJ Shadow cops and robbers mix of Stem, where he added a whole bunch of dialogue from the movie Heat. totally unnecessary.

vaporwave has been criticized as a genre of lazy sampling. find a random chill out CD with unknown artists from 2015, take a track from it, pitch it down, maybe loop a few bars, add some effects, and rename it as your own. IMO they should be crediting the original artist and calling their track a remix, but it doesn't seem to work like that. I like the end result of what they've done, but if I was the original artist, yeah, I'd probably be slightly pissed. haircuts for men definitely broke the sampling rule when he pitched down IZ-US and called it his own.  

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I'm of the mike p school of thought when it comes to sampling.. Just lift entire sections of other tracks and use them unchanged! Gigachad style.

"samples"

 

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Imo there is much more sampled stuff in Autechre's and AFX's work than people generally think.

*posts that one SAW track that's basically just a looped sample*

And don't even get me started with Luke Vibert lol.

But I got into electronic music in the heydays of FSOL, the Orb and the KLF so my views are pretty liberal on the subject.

Whosampled is a snitch.

 

 

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I kind of think that if there is creativity in it it's ok. Or at least then I respect it. Breakbeat chopping is an artform in and of itself because you can come up with beats no one would ever have dreamt up otherwise. I've been on an Amen Break bender myself for the last few months and I'm trying to ween myself off it, but the method of chopping is still something I'll keep doing.

Sampling whole songs and just throwing your shit on top is a little... eh. Although there have been curious cases in the past. Like for example, the Sugarhill Gang sampling Good Times by Chic, which almost felt like a collaboration through the ages. Good Times is a mediocre song with a great bassline and groove and having the Sugarhill Gang rap over it was just what it needed.

(Also, technically wasn't sampling but a recreation, but you know what I mean.)

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On 1/27/2022 at 10:09 AM, zkom said:

Imo there is much more sampled stuff in Autechre's and AFX's work than people generally think.

*posts that one SAW track that's basically just a looped sample*

And don't even get me started with Luke Vibert lol.

But I got into electronic music in the heydays of FSOL, the Orb and the KLF so my views are pretty liberal on the subject.

Whosampled is a snitch.

 

 

(was found by someone and shared on user18081971 soundcloud)

11 minutes ago, ArtificialDisco said:

I kind of think that if there is creativity in it it's ok. Or at least then I respect it. Breakbeat chopping is an artform in and of itself because you can come up with beats no one would ever have dreamt up otherwise. I've been on an Amen Break bender myself for the last few months and I'm trying to ween myself off it, but the method of chopping is still something I'll keep doing.

Sampling whole songs and just throwing your shit on top is a little... eh. Although there have been curious cases in the past. Like for example, the Sugarhill Gang sampling Good Times by Chic, which almost felt like a collaboration through the ages. Good Times is a mediocre song with a great bassline and groove and having the Sugarhill Gang rap over it was just what it needed.

(Also, technically wasn't sampling but a recreation, but you know what I mean.)

Good Times by Chic a mediocre song?

Get the hell outta here

its a supremely lush disco funk song

 

Edited by thefxbip
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I think distributors are wayyyyyyy more severe about it these days thats for sure. Copyrights have been taken a bit too far in that domain. Fair use should be a thing.

Success of a sampling imo is the new track being  at least as good or better than the original bit. 

A lot of Daft Punk are basically remixes. But pretty damn good remixes. 

If you use a sample because you cant write anything well its gonna eventually be known and its gonna show.

Edited by thefxbip
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3 minutes ago, thefxbip said:

(was found by someone and shared on user18081971 soundcloud)

Good Times by Chic a mediocre song?

Get the hell outta here

its a supremely lush disco funk song

 

Haha, ok, maybe I was playing it up for the point I was making. But I mostly meant that the song basically is the bassline and guitar riff - which are a masterpiece of course. I never thought the vocals added much, personally and when the Sugarhill Gang did it, it added a whole new dimension to it.

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On 1/27/2022 at 3:58 PM, zero said:

IMO sampling too many lines of TV/movie dialogue in a track is annoying and distracting. I want to hear the music, and not some random conversation from a movie.

The amount of times I've heard the tears in rain monologue from Blade Runner sampled in songs is insane.

Edited by milkface
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36 minutes ago, thefxbip said:

I think distributors are wayyyyyyy more severe about it these days thats for sure. Copyrights have been taken a bit too far in that domain. Fair use should be a thing.

I read an interview with DJ Shadow some years ago where he talked about how he can no longer get away with the level of sampling he once did after he got famous. when he did try and reach out to the unknown artists from the '70s he was going to sample for a new track, they either refused, or tried to get him to pay them way too much $$$. it really clicked for me when I read that as to why he went so downhill after Private Press. he started trying to come up with his own stuff instead of sampling, and that's not his forte.

Edited by zero
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3 minutes ago, zero said:

I read an interview with DJ Shadow some years ago where he talked about how he can no longer get away with the level of sampling he once did after he got famous. when he did try and reach out to the unknown artists from the '70s he was going to sample for a new track, they either refused, or tried to get him to pay them way too much $$$. it really clicked for me when I read that as to why he went so downhill after Private Press. he started trying to come up with his own beats instead of sampling, and that's not his forte.

thats when its time to take the anonymous lp dropped under an alias to random labels over tor route

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2 hours ago, zero said:

I read an interview with DJ Shadow some years ago where he talked about how he can no longer get away with the level of sampling he once did after he got famous. when he did try and reach out to the unknown artists from the '70s he was going to sample for a new track, they either refused, or tried to get him to pay them way too much $$$. it really clicked for me when I read that as to why he went so downhill after Private Press. he started trying to come up with his own stuff instead of sampling, and that's not his forte.

Yup, no more endtroducing.

Also, no more Paul's Boutique.

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On 1/28/2022 at 10:02 PM, thefxbip said:

Success of a sampling imo is the new track being  at least as good or better than the original bit.

I came to post this here basically. Just like with any creative move, you're eventually responsible as an artist to make it sound good. Like if you sample, and it sucks and it feels unoriginal, people probably will not magically switch to liking the song more even if you can prove that you did it "by the rules".

Sometimes it does feel like a sampled track done by a big name becomes greater than the original, even though it was just slapping 4-4 bassdrum and professional mixing-mastering on a track that was already 95% there. That's just tough luck really, and usually it still ends up with real music heads discovering and playing the original track.

Oh and I personally am super exhausted of hearing Timothy Leary or Terence McKenna or whatever pseudo new age enlighted deep spiritual quotes on top of tracks. They work really well when used sparingly, but at this point it's like hearing the airplane safety instruction spiel before takeoff. This has 99% turned me off from listening to any modern psytrance, psychill and related genres.

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4 minutes ago, MIXL2 said:

sampling???????

Sorry.. That wall of text was too much for me to read. 
I thought this was about etiquette in the terms of copying an existing song by A Sampling or B just recreate it.
What's the difference anyway if its sounds the same.. It has been copied intentional or unintentional. Peace 

 

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Great idea for a thread! Here are some random thoughts (just my opinion)

1. don’t sample artists in your same genre (agreed)

2. don’t sample things that are already sampled

3. don’t sample lossy sources

4. don’t sample SEX SOUNDS. Way worse than blade runner samples, y’all. SO MANY electronic tracks ruined by sexy lady sounds. Ugh

5. don’t sample rappers rapping more than a few words

6. don’t sample other people’s versions of breaks

7. don’t sample other people’s 303 linez

8. DO sample the 808 state loon sound

9. DO sample the hoover bass sound

10. DON’T sample reggae (hot take here)

11. DON’T sample the door opening sound from Doom (distracting, makes me think I am playing Doom)

12. DON’T sample Autechre or Boards of Canada. Just don’t do it

13. DON’T put an annoying sample in your tracks just so people know it’s you (looking at you Terror Danjah)

14. DON’T sample video games (looking at you Burial)

 

EDIT: oh yeah 15. DON’T SAMPLE VINYL CRACKLE. WE GET IT

Edited by ascdi
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