Garage Music typically consists of a characteristic light and bubbly drum track
supporting a strong vocal line. In the middle comes a subtle blend of 'pad'
sounds, filling out the mix yet still leaving it light and airy. You need to
know where you can get sampled garage loops, if you're lazy that is. Or you
need to understand the very precise nature of the individual elements of Garage
drum sounds. Don't think that this is easy. You also need to know how to get
the very best out of your vocalist. The sparseness of a typical Garage track
doesn't allow the possibility of using a second-rate vocalist, or even a first-rate
vocalist who isn't absolutely on top form.
You need to know how to manipulate drum sounds into something suitable for
Garage. Don't expect to get everything ready prepared for you on a sample CD.
You're making music not warming up a TV dinner. You also need to understand
the timing of a drum track. In Garage Music, not everything falls exactly on
the beat or an even distance in between. Hey, the 1980s are over now!
You need to know how to use your computer sequencer to 'massage' the rhythm
into shape. The subtlety of Garage Music is often such that mere quantization
won't do it. You have to get into the edit page and shift the timing of sounds
in tiny amounts to get the right feel.
The equipment you need…
You need a sampler for your drum sounds, and source material for you to manipulate
in a variety of ways, if you intend going beyond ready-made drum loops. You
need a computer sequencer – a hardware sequencer won't really allow sufficient
rhythmic subtlety, although you could get by if you are content to work within
a limited range of possibilities. A filter is a great tool for manipulating
drum sounds – make sure it has a sharp 24dB/octave cutoff and a resonance control,
otherwise it's just EQ. You'll need a noise gate too.
You need an audio recorder of some shape or form for your vocals, unless the
vocals are so brief they can be done as samples. Since a fantastically wonderful
vocal is almost obligatory, you'll need a good editing system to combine the
best bits from various takes. See the equipment pages for more info.