It has been another big – and busy – year for Sample Magic. 

Our goal for 2014 was summed up in one word: more.  More products, more formats, more courses – all created to cement our modus operandi of supplying high quality and inspirational content that goes the extra mile.  

Our output went into overdrive across all of the labels in 2014.  SM White Label continued to scour the underground for the hottest sounds, from Jack House to G-House.  SM101 delivered more essential production tools – most notably in the synth patches and MIDI department – with the likes of Big Bass Patches and MIDI Elements: Mainroom Drums all becoming chart-topping hits. And SM Studio staked a claim to the finest live instrumental samples in the business with releases like Disco & Swing Brass and Acoustic Drum Layers.

We pushed the envelope on SM’s main product line, too.  With releases like French House, Synthwave and Mainroom Deep House we went all-out to up the quality of the kind of classic BIG multi-format collections that we felt no-one else was.  Perhaps nowhere was that more evident than on SM43 Vinyl & Tape Drum Hits: 6,000+ of the finest drum sounds from the SM back catalogue were tracked to tape and cut to vinyl then re-sampled, meticulously cut and presented as five folders of rich, warm, analogue-soaked drum sounds that ooze character.

One of the biggest milestones of the year was reaching 50 releases on our flagship Sample Magic label.  When we released SM01 Funky House Grooves we had no idea of scale of the journey we were to embark upon.  But eight years on we’re immensely proud to reach the half-century mark.  And what a release SM50 Future R&B proved to be: packed with loops, hits, kits, MIDI and sampler instruments it was a multi-format zeitgeist-surfing collection summing up much of what has been exciting in dance music throughout 2014.  Here’s looking forward to the next fifty…

Sample Magic doesn’t operate in a vacuum.  As a company we’re hyper-engaged with the industry and our customers.  That’s why in 2014 we widened our product offerings to reflect the differing needs of today’s producers.  Enter our Magic Racks and Magic Maschine series.

With Ableton Magic Racks we set out to create powerful yet intuitive tools for use at every stage of the production process.  Whether it was racks for FX manipulation, to sculpt the key elements in any track or to aid mixdown and mastering, each one proved a hit: “top-notch”, “foolproof” and “a very good deal” were just a few of the praises sung by the likes of Future Music and Computer Music.

At the same time, we’ve always loved NI’s Maschine – which in 2014 finally gained widespread recognition for being considerably more than a beat-making tool. It’s this deep versatility we looked to reflect in our Magic Maschine series, serving up 10 full-track arrangements including MIDI, hits and patches.  Computer Music’s review of Found Sound said it best: “As well as the projects themselves being worthy of release as an album, the amount of quality sounds from them belies the low asking price. 9/10.”

If creating sounds and production tools was the only thing we did, we’d feel pretty damn lucky. But it’s the other stuff that makes SM different in our industry – and, we hope, specialEngaging directly with music makers old-school – face to face style – is hugely important to us: sharing knowledge, collaborating and being inspired by producers from all kinds of backgrounds.

Nowhere is that interaction better demonstrated than at our  Summer School hosted at Alchemea College in London – the annual five-day dance music production academy led by SM producer and Attack Magazine columnist Bruce Aisher.  As always, it was a hugely inspiring and informative week for the 12 fanatstic students who attended. Summer School graduate Nick Kapoor spoke about it better than we ever could:

“In the past two years I have paid engineers, studied courses and even been to university to learn music production; and every course gave me the same things repeated over and over again. But none taught me to actually write and make house music. Bruce [Aisher – our superb tutor] was top! He knew the answers to all my questions and if I asked a question about the creative side, he knew the answer and didn’t wander off talking about the technical side which a lot of people have repeated to me in the past. Having industry people talk to us as well allowed me to really open my eyes and understand it is more than being a DJ and music producer. There are many other avenues to explore… I felt the course was exactly what I needed and I’m excited to progress further with my music career.”

Building on the success of Summer School, 2014 also saw the first ever Production Academy – an intensive five-day studio recording course based on The Producer’s Manual by Paul White.  Led by Jon Olliffe (Daniel Bedingfield, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker) and with session from Paul White himself, the course – for those with a passion for mics, drums, guitars and all things studio – was a roaring success: “I cant praise the content and delivery of this course high enough, and I come from three decades -worth of courses and conferences!” (Barnaby Thwaites)

Both Summer School and the Production Academy return in 2015 alongside two courses: Ableton Academy and Music Business Academy.

Finally, Sample Magic continued with its commitment to the third annual London Electronic Music Event, a jam-packed two-day conference dedicated to all aspects of the dance music industry.  This year the event attracted over 400 attendees and speakers included Theo Parrish, Legowelt, Karenn, Ninjatune, Ableton and Korg amongst many others.  As always, LEME was a great opportunity to meet the people who use our products, listen legends of the industry talk first-hand and to generally get excited about the music and industry we love – we’re already counting down the days until LEME15!

And as we look forward to 2015 there’s plenty to get excited about: a new book, two new plugins and more courses are just some of the projects that will come to fruition alongside our ever-expanded sounds content.

Finally, a big “thank you” to has to go out to you, the SM community.  None of this is possible without your support and please do keep in touch with us as we move into 2015!