The producer wages a “conflict on wack drums” together with his acclaimed pattern packs
Revealed Apr 07, 2021
Koal Harrison just isn’t the primary producer to hail Madlib as a ruler of rhythm and beats, nor will he be the final. However the Toronto-based musician, who information music as the Kount, can declare the excellence of catching his favorite dwelling musician’s ear together with his all-original sounds, which have obtained the revered producer’s stamp of approval.
Final November, Harrison checked his inbox to find that the hip-hop icon born Otis Jackson Jr. had bought a collection of customized drum pattern packs from his on-line retailer. Although initially uncertain if the title on the receipt was reputable, Madlib himself weighed in weeks after on Twitter, with two flame emojis confirming that Harrison’s beats convey the warmth.
“My sister framed it for Christmas,” Harrison tells Exclaim! of Madlib’s fiery co-sign, earlier than fastidiously taking an enlarged print of the put up out from behind his drum package, housed in an in depth gold body. It’ll assuredly quickly cling on his studio wall, ought to he commerce hand drums for a hammer.
From Madlib’s Beat Konducta launch collection, to the revered Madvillainy, to the eccentricities of Yesterdays New Quintet, Harrison cites the producer’s mixture of percussive pressure and really feel because the driving pressure behind his fandom. “He simply has the very best pocket and his drum sounds are so uncooked,” he expresses. “Some tracks are so overtly uncooked, simply nasty sounding. Then he’ll have one other observe with among the polished, crisp drum sounds you will ever hear. Simply unimaginable vary.”
THE KOUNT 🔥🔥
— Madlib (@madlib) November 27, 2020
The blessing of one in all music’s most celebrated beatmakers is a milestone accomplishment in what Harrison humorously calls “the conflict on wack drums,” a battle the artist helps musicians of all kinds and talent ranges wage within the title of creativity and neighborhood. The instruments are his collections of self-produced sound and pattern information, which have not too long ago appeared on Noname’s 2021 single “Rainforest,” Luna Li’s Jams EP, and Kid Cudi’s 2020 LP, Man on the Moon III: The Chosen.
As a burgeoning beatsmith sharing music by way of SoundCloud, Harrison recollects coming into the world of pattern packs not not like what number of have discovered his work at present: scouring the web for sounds distinguished producers swear by. “The Jake One, Illmind, Boi-1da kits have been the primary ones floating round that I’d purchase,” he shares. “As soon as I acquired a pack, I’d undergo and curate it, selecting sounds that have been versatile sufficient to make use of in several kinds.”
Nonetheless, Harrison felt the beats he was pulling from packs might be higher served. Whereas at work on a level in electro-acoustics in Montreal, he sought to place his sound design talent to the take a look at in growing his personal drum samples.
“I used to be getting actually into recording dwell percussion, miking my drums to have an natural high quality to my stuff,” Harrison explains. “You may get dwell drum packs, however they by no means slapped just like the lure kits did. Then you’ve got the lure kits, however you are not getting pure percussion, or extra textural, distinctive drums.”
Harrison’s SoundCloud presence would ultimately be a focus for Splice, a preferred music manufacturing market by way of which he would make his debut with The Kount Sample Pack in 2019. The success of the 132-file assortment, which options each drums and melodic devices throughout 69 loops and 63 single-strike sounds (generally known as one-shots), led to him to launch an online store of his own.
Right here, Harrison leaves little thriller to what producers can decide up, breaking down sound packs intimately and providing trial choices of samples for these curious about making an attempt earlier than shopping for. Packs might be bought for between $10 and $50, with many others obtainable for gratis. A freed from cost, fourth instalment in his latest Kount’s Care Bundle launch collection noticed proceeds go to native ladies’s group Sistering.
The sounds up on the market are most prominently featured in Harrison’s beloved beat movies, which provide a real-time have a look at how a Kount manufacturing comes collectively. The clips have been how Noname got here to search out the beat that will encourage her to jot down this yr’s “Rainforest,” selecting the manufacturing Harrison had first shared in January of 2020.
“I normally do not simply sit down within the studio and say, ‘I am gonna report a snare drum,’ ‘I am gonna make a kick sound,'” he reveals of his kit-curating course of. “I am going to simply begin making the beat, recording the sounds within the studio, and when the sounds are hitting actually arduous, I am going to pull the sounds out of that session and create a stockpile.”
From there, the person sounds bear “rigorous testing” in Logic Professional, Harrison’ DAW of selection, as he feels out how the sounds slot in new compositions. “I really feel like I am a perfectionist in relation to groove and the way issues really feel,” he presents. “I am going to sit for, like, 20 minutes enjoying a tambourine or a hi-hat, simply to ensure a bar loop is sitting precisely the place I need it to. I have a look at the larger image, ‘how does the observe really feel?’ ‘Does the beat get me excited?’ And normally, after I’m excited, I am like, ‘okay, it is accomplished.'”
Months earlier than Madlib got here calling, the producer moved his workspace from his basement condominium into a detailed buddy’s storage in Toronto’s west finish. Whereas the pandemic has dominated out an in-person go to, a webcam tour is sufficient to catch the Golden Hour solar shining into the warmly lit construction by way of a small entrance window.
Harrison rents the area — now correctly completed with drywall, insulation and paint — with the imaginative and prescient of it turning into a collaborative hub post-COVID, to not point out an area to create away from these not all the time appreciative of his course of.
Nonetheless gotta transfer in my stuff however yo… pic.twitter.com/3OyYga7N0c
— THE KOUNT (@THEK0UNT) September 18, 2020
“I used to be driving an upstairs tenant mad with the noise,” he admits. “I used to be by no means making beats at evening, however throughout the day, it was type of a relentless rhythm of bass looping — which I perceive may drive anybody mad. I had, like, 4 hours a day to work on music utilizing screens. I am not a lot of a headphones man.”
Harrison’s studio desk sports activities a pair of ADAM A7X screens and a Native Devices Komplete Kontrol keyboard, with which he triggers samples utilizing Logic Professional. Devices together with a C&C Customized drum package, Behringer Poly D, Roland Juno-106 and Sequential Prophet-6 synths, and an Akai reel-to-reel tape deck flank his workstation. Recording is dealt with with a Heat Audio WA-47 condenser microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett audio interface.
Beneath the desk lies a chest chock-full of auxiliary percussion, amassed from digging by way of Kijiji and vintage retailers. To his ears, these treasured finds “sound miles higher than something from Lengthy & McQuade.”
“Percussion is the hardest to purchase in case you’re new to it and do not know the place to look,” Harrison says. “I really like going to these odds and ends-type shops the place issues are strewn in every single place, the place it appears like the entire place goes to break down on prime of you. There’s all the time a very bizarre cowbell or one thing in there that sounds dusty and superior.”
When requested about his strangest sonic discover, Harrison brings a home made, staff-like instrument in entrance of the digicam. Two units of sleigh bells are connected to the highest of the picket put up with L-brackets, and because the webcam comes into focus, a set of strings and tuning pegs are revealed. Harrison notes that an orange demon face affixed to the put up, smiling away for adornment, has led studio guests to deem it cursed.
When it comes to an indispensable piece of substances, Harrison factors to a pair of ’60s-era Zildjian hi-hat cymbals plucked from Toronto’s Century Drum Store. “So long as I’ve dwell hi-hats, my life is a lot simpler,” he shares. “I really feel like after I work these in with programmed drums, I can approximate no matter type of drum loop or pocket I need.” Outdoors of the skins, it is his Fender Rhodes: “That sound is simply timeless, and it matches in virtually each beat that I make.”
Among the many ear and crowd pleasing instrumental stars of Harrison’s latest movies are a guzheng, a Chinese language plucked string instrument with moveable bridges, and a sitar that fellow Torontonian Sameer Money introduced again to Canada from a visit to India.
“It is thrilling to get a brand new instrument and be tremendous impressed with it,” he says of the previous. “If I could make, like, two or three beats with it, then it is definitely worth the value.” As for Money’s sitar, he jokes, “He hasn’t requested for it again so long as I hold supplying him with the bangers. I ought to bust that out once more. I have to tune it and it is an actual ache within the ass.”
As his sounds proceed to flow into, Harrison is more than pleased to assist his supporters march to the beat of their very own drum. Social media followers get to place their manufacturing expertise to the take a look at with the Kount Problem, through which Harrison presents up a drum loop to be used in a creation of their very own. After all, Luna Li’s “Kount Problem” from her Jams EP is the instrumental that captured the highest prize within the inaugural version.
“It is inspiring,” Harrison says of sifting by way of entries. “I like seeing different individuals work, too. ‘What you are doing appears to be like like enjoyable, so I will go try this now.'”
“Individuals might be fairly secretive with the plugins or gear. For me, I may inform you each single factor that I am doing, and what you make just isn’t going to sound like me. It’ll sound like what you are doing, and converse to what your influences are. I really feel like all that technical stuff is supposed to be shared.”
— THE KOUNT (@THEK0UNT) January 25, 2021