I do a lot of sampling in projects that I am a part of. Whether it's my solo electronic project A New Normal, writing background tracks for my band Urban Rescue, producing songs for singer-songwriters, or composing scores for films, I really like using real-world sounds and making weird/cool noises that make the track stand out.
I want to share a couple different examples of how I've done this in the past.
First is a tune from the A New Normal album Raison D'etre. It is track two entitled "Typewritten". This song started out when I had just purchased an Avalon 737 channel strip and wanted to test it out on some stuff. I was working at a camp at the time and had borrowed a typewriter to write some letters to a couple friends. When I was writing one of the letters I thought to myself "what if I sampled the typewriter and created a beat out of the sounds???". So the next day I proceeded to record a bunch of different things on the typewriter (one letter at at a time, pressing the space bar quickly, holding the space bar down, hitting the return button, etc.). This is the beat that ended up being used on the track:
Now here is the song (the beat comes in around 0:23):
In the past I have also sampled different sounds to use as textures in the background of a song. In the most recent A New Normal EP (Taize ) I sampled the ambient sounds of people waiting for a service to begin in a Catholic church. This track is called "Nous Et La Paix" (French for 'us and peace') and it is the last track on the album. The song itself is very peaceful and quiet, and I wanted to fill the space in the background with something not too obnoxious or annoying. I really like the use of it because you hear a lot of really quiet noises but nothing to crazy. I also really like the idea that the people are all waiting for something (in this case, for the service to start). I want the listener to also feel as if he or she is peacefully waiting for something. I want the listener to feel expectant.
Here is the sample:
And here is the song:
For the sample of the church I used a Sony PCM-M10 stereo field recorder. I purchased this about 6 months ago and it has been really useful. Instead of having to lug around a computer, recording interface, and a mic (not to mention finding power), all I need to do is bring along this small field recorder. It records in high quality WAV files and is perfect for recording things that could be used as background effects or beats.