Israel has always been a beat freak. The guy loves nothing more than sourcing sounds, layering hits and making beats. So on the back of his recent MIDI Elements: Garage House Beats release, we took a visit to his LA studio to get the low-down on why he can’t do without his MPC60 MKII.
The MPC series has a legendary status amongst hip-hop and beat producers, but for those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about yours?
Yeah, it’s the classic 12-bit sampler that needs no obvious introduction. I’ve got the MPC60 MKII, which is the is the reincarnation of the first MPC60 released in 1988. It has all the same features as the original MPC60 aside from a couple of minor changes – the addition of a headphone output and plastic instead of metal casing. It was this unit which was very popular amongst the hip hop movement of the early 90s.
I bought it because I went through a phase where I was obsessed with 12-bit-and-under hardware. I bought the this, the Akai X7000 (also 12-bit) and the Ensoniq Mirage DSK (8-bit). I’d always wanted to own an MPC since I’d started making music and this was the first I bought (I now own two!).
So what do you use it for?
I personally use it for re-sampling drums. I tend to stay away from kicks, it just has a certain way of sampling a kick that does not really compliment the low end thump. Love using it with snares and claps. That’s probably been my main focus with it for my Sample Magic work. I’ve used a lot for making classic house and garage grooves too.
I usually do resampling and pitch sampling. I’ll down pitch some snare samples for instance then have the low tuned samples going into the MPC and then I tune it back up to a higher pitch and it gives it a certain gritty character that can sound really great. It works great for claps too and I did a whole load using the MPC for my Vintage Claps release.
I’ve also used it loads on Chillwave and Chillwave 2. A lot of the snares were from the Linn Drum, DMX, TR-707, TR-505, and Yamaha RX, which were sampled into the MPC then into Pro Tools for proper drum programming.
The unit is looking pretty battered – is there anything you haven’t used it on!?
It’s pretty central to my workflow but mine also has a broken disk drive which is frustrating. It means once I turn it off it totally resets, so I have to make sure I get all the samples out of the MPC and into Pro Tools before I switch it off at the end of a session. And yes, I have been dumb enough to accidentally turn it off in the middle of a session, losing hours of sampling in the process!