Some people feel like cheating when using loops. But is that really a creative dilemma?
In a band all band members are adding there own personality to the songs. When I hire a session musician, the feel, choice of notes and sound of that session musician is added to my music. Think about using loops in the same way. By using loops you’re adding color in sound and feel you would probably never be able to do all by yourself. Simply because you’re different, you’re not that other person, the session musician for example. You can only be yourself.
My main instrument is guitar. I am using some riffs and turn-arounds I have learned from blues players and guys like Johnny Guitar Watson, Leo Nocentelli of The Meters, John Scofield and many others. It is a nice thing to do, using such a lick, it can be seen as a compliment, a little quote. It’s almost as if you’re using a loop; a great little 1-bar thing which simply fits like a glove.
Some popular loops are used in many songs, the Amen Break for example. It is used by all sorts of artists, Squarepusher for example has used it in several totally different compositions. Sure, he tweaked the heck out of that loop, but the source remains to be that loop many artists have used as well. It doesn’t sound like cheating to me and it doesn’t make Squarepusher sound like somebody else. I can hear lots of Jaco Pastorius in Squarepusher’s music, but he’s not at all cheating because he creates some wonderful new music. Something I or Jaco have never heard.
Here’s a very interesting video about that famous Amen Break:
Also think for a moment about the fact that when you’re trying to compose and record everything yourself, you might end up sounding one dimensional. Sure, it is cool if you can play all instruments by yourself, it is great if you’re a great programmer, it’s great if you’re a sound expert. Yeah, it is great to be able to do all this stuff by yourself. But is that really important to music, that ego thing? Or do you think that music simply should sound right, whatever that ‘right’ does implicate? If you open your mind, anything can work, you’ll see. Just try it yourself!