Kallee Bernish-Good How I use e-drums

Monday, 16 November 2020 8:38 am

Kallee Bernish-Good won the Beatmaking category (under 18 years) in the recent Hit Like A Girl contest.

I’ve been producing music since I was in the fifth grade. My interest in beatmaking and audio production began when I discovered the glorious app GarageBand. I would make beats on my phone all the time and by high school, I got serious and became a student in the Fort Hayes Audio Production Career Center.

I’ve been performing at local bars and festivals since I was about 15. This was an awesome way for me to make some money and get my name out there. I also played charity gigs where I would raise donations to send young girls to Girlz Rhythm and Rock music camp. Unfortunately, all of my live performances were put on pause due to the pandemic. But that hasn’t stopped me from using this newfound free time to make music and work on my first album.

On top of regular production and beatmaking, I love live looping. If I’m doing a live loop performance, my go-to MIDI controllers are my Akai MPK Mini, the Ableton Push and the Novation Launchpad X. My software of choice is Ableton Live because of its amazing live session set-up. Controllers like the Launchpad and Push are super great for Ableton because I can control my live session through the controllers and not have to rely on my laptop. This allows me to get into the performance and avoid the risk of accidentally closing my software or accidentally cutting all of my tracks. The Launchpad and Push are also great because of their high number of drum pads. This lets me create beats without any constraints. I also love using them as beat sequencers to make quick and complex beats on the fly.

When I’m just recording and not playing live, I love using the Akai MPK Mini. It has eight drum pads and 25 keyboard keys. This lets me record electronic drums and synths, keys, etc. without having to switch controllers.

Ableton Live is also my DAW of choice when it comes to recording and producing. It’s super intuitive and has a really good creative flow. I don’t feel hindered or overwhelmed by it. I prefer using GarageBand or ProTools for recording acoustics or vocals because of the more straightforward set-up and superior audio processing capabilities, respectively.

As for drum samples and VSTs, I love using Ableton Packs and Battery 4. Packs have really high quality drum samples. They’re super convenient because you can download a ton of them for free and they work seamlessly with Ableton. My favourite Pack is Chop and Swing. All of the samples have so much texture and combine an acoustic/electronic feel. I was introduced to Battery 4 in my Audio Production Career Center. I love the workflow and it has an incredible drum sampler that you can’t beat.

When I’m producing a song, the drums are so important. I spend a lot of time adding effects and finding the perfect samples to get the end result I want. Personally, I love combining acoustic drum samples with electronic synthesized drums. It creates a really interesting, dynamic quality that adds another dimension to my beats. Although I primarily produce all of my songs with just a MIDI-controller and maybe a guitar here and there, I really love creating an acoustic, real-life drum sound. That’s why drum samples are my go-to when I’m creating a beat. I love using sample packs or taking old drum recordings and chopping them up and making samples myself. By using samples, I can play rhythms or create fills that I couldn’t even come close to playing on acoustic drums.

Using a MIDI-controller to create beats is also really cool because I can intentionally be out of the pocket in all of the right ways. I love unquantized drums and by using samples, I can easily offset the kick or hi-hat a smidge and create the perfect loose feel without the whole beat falling apart.

Gear List:

MacBook Pro

Akai MPK Mini

Ableton Push

Novation Launchpad X

Shure SM57

Audio Technica AT2020

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Interface