Groove foundations for dramatic scenes, soundscapes and songs.
The Action Drums MIDI pack presents a collection of unique and unconventional grooves designed for use in any dramatic or action-packed scene, soundtrack or songwriting context.
“My aim was to come up with slightly unconventional grooves and rhythmic structures that would serve as a foundation for high-intensity compositions. Having said that, the intention was to deliberately think out any other percussive elements, making each groove stand on its own. I wanted this to be a collection of full drum set grooves that could work as a starting point in a musical piece rather than a complement,” says drummer Norman Garschke.
This is the perfect palette of drum foundations for any broad scope writer for film, TV or energetic music in general. Be it grooves for an action sequence, an intense breakbeat-inspired theme, a throbbing electronic track or a raging rock riff, you’ll strike a match.
“I think these grooves work great with close to any type of drum sound – from classic acoustic to modern electronic and from tight and small to big and ambient.”
Expect one of the most all-encompassing collections of grooves yet. Start writing!
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This is a pretty different collection of grooves compared to what we have released before. What was the inspiration and aim behind the pack?
The basic idea behind the pack is to have a big variety of typical grooves that would work in what is commonly referred to as action scene settings. Think of movies, audio-books or even documentaries etc., when the atmosphere gets energetic and fast. When there’s a lot of movement and action, you need music that supports this kind of vibe and energy. Drums and percussive elements are pivotal for that, and that’s the kind of energy that we wanted to capture. Of course, in motion picture scores, orchestral percussion is very common, but for this collection we wanted to focus on regular dum set grooves in order to provide something that could work as in a regular songwriting scenario as well as across all our available sound libraries – not just single-instrument patterns. So, the aim was really to provide unique, energetic and quite different grooves that had a certain twist and that “movie” feel to them.
You mentioned that you wanted the grooves to be based around a standard drum kit so that the grooves could be used as foundations for songs and ideas as opposed to just rhythms. What was the though process behind this decision?
Well, if you focus only on the percussion or a single instrument pattern, the material will eventually be more or less limited. There’s of course nothing wrong with that at all as such, but it might not be too flexible in the context of a typical MIDI pack. Most importantly though, we wanted the grooves to work on regular drum sets to make it possible for the user to apply them in any creative songwriting context, not only strictly limited to the typical instruments. A great thing with Superior Drummer 3, though, is that you can single out all the groove parts and use them individually. This means that you can easily extract any part of the groove and come up with all-new and unique variations, making each groove a bottomless well of opportunity. When I recorded and ultimately compiled the final version of this collection, it was incredibly inspiring to listen back to the MIDI with some of our more “untraditional” sound libraries like the Dream Pop EZX, Claustrophobic EZX, Electronic EZX and, of course, the brand new Action! EZX.
In music in general, the groove plays a huge role, but in scoring and soundtracks possibly even more so. For tension and build, tempo and rhythm have a tremendous impact on the dramatic effect.
Absolutely, just think of some of your favorite movie scenes and imagine how they would feel if there was no music at all, or maybe completely different music. Imagine a romantic and long awaited kiss in a love scene to a boogie piano or a death metal track! Or on the flip side, imagine an action scene with a slow love song! For action scenes in particular, rhythm, groove, tempo and especially the creation of percussive tension play a huge role in supporting the emotional content and statement – the way the drums play create, define and intensify the thrill we feel when watching the scene. The typical car chase or super fast runs in movies like Bourne Identity or Mission Impossible are great examples of this.
Your earlier MIDI titles span genres from jazz to pop, disco, funk and AOR. How does the Action Drums MIDI pack differ from a creative standpoint compared to your earlier MIDI releases?
It’s actually a quite different approach compared to the other packs I already did. Most of the earlier packs were been completely dedicated to a specific genre or decade. So, the approach for these were always about diving into the music of that era, getting inspired by the classic songs and artists of the genre, trying to extract all the aspects, techniques and individual feels of the drummers that defined that style with their unforgettable grooves. The material in this pack, though, is much broader and not limited by the boundaries of a specific era or genre – the only given creative requirements I gave myself were that the grooves should work with a standard drum set and should be suitable to support energetic and action-driven material. It was very exciting and a lot of fun to be able to come up with ideas so freely and really just start from a clean slate.
Do you ever run out of ideas?!?
Haha, how can you EVER run out of ideas when behind a drum kit? There’s so much interesting and exciting things you can do! I am pretty sure I’ll never run out of ideas. In addition to my experience as a live and studio drummer, I think what really helps me a lot in this process is my classical training and my jazz studies. My ambition has always been to learn as much as I can about very different genres, drummers and styles. I always try to dive as deep as I can when analyzing individual drummers to really understand what makes each musician unique. I think my classical and technical training help a lot in being able to express this and use it creatively to come up something new every time. Of course, it always takes a lot of research and planning before I finally sit down to record. I usually listen to countless recordings, different drummers, try to find and watch every bit of information I can find on live performances, micro-analyze feels and peculiarities in timing etc. It’s quite an undertaking, actually. But I love it!
Since we’ve touched on the subject of films and soundtracks, give us your “top five” list of movies where the soundtrack is just as classic as the movie itself!
It’s almost impossible to narrow it down to ONLY five, but I’d say definite favorites are the soundtracks of the Lord of the Rings series, Rain Man, Blade Runner, Jaws and Taxi Driver.
Name: Norman Garschke
Location: Konstanz, Germany
Norman has collaborated on several drum MIDI packs over the years, spanning all kinds of styles. Below is a selection!