Bradlie Jones: How I Use E-drums

Bradlie Jones (aka Jelie) was recently crowned champion in the beatmaking category (18+) of the Hit Like A Girl contest. E-drums are at the core of her work, and she shares her gear thoughts here:

I’m a rapper, producer, engineer and YouTuber. I rap and produce as Jelie and my YouTube channel is called Kickback Couture.

My music is a mix of Hip Hop and R&B. My channel consists of music production tutorials and music software reviews.

I combine various unique and experimental sounds with my intricate wordplay and often dabble in contrasting flows, resulting in Hip Hop-cantered fusions that are still firmly stitched together by emotive undertones.

My overarching ambition is to empower people through my musical gift.

I use a Push 2, an Akai MPK61 and a Roland TR-08. I use a handful of DAWs depending on what I want to accomplish. These include Ableton Live, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Soundtrap, Reason etc.

I don’t play acoustic drums, so e-drums allow me to program all of my rhythm sections. New technology also allows me to generate rhythm ideas I normally would never have thought of.

I think it’s important to manually experiment as well, considering a lot of modern music uses the same patterns. We have the ability to finger drum or even add swing to a performance after the fact. You can quantize by a set percentage to keep a human feel.

I usually prepare production sessions by curating what I want to use in the tracks beforehand. That includes samples I want to chop, one shot drums I think sound good together and synth presets I want to create melodies or chord progressions with. Often, I’ll do a sound design session and build the sounds I want to use based on the style of production I’m going for.

Technology has made it so that computer-based musicians don’t have to know how to play every instrument they want to use.

My advice to other drummers is firstly to learn the DAW! The more you know, the more you can manipulate the tools to get the results you want.

You should also learn audio terms! If you don’t know what compression means or you don’t understand the purpose of limiting, etc., you could potentially lose out on a lot of time and money. If we don’t understand what our devices are doing, we don’t know if it’s making it better or worse.

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