MAKING OF RIHANNA CLAP

Would you like to take a glimpse in a loop making process? I was fortunate enough to make this clap loop that ended up used by a multi-platinum producer Pollow Da Don in Rihanna's song production "Fading". The clap loop can be heard throughout the song as an answering rhythmic pattern to the main drum beat. Hope you will enjoy this insight of the loop making process!

Listen to the song at 1:34, that's where you can hear the clap loop isolated.


Clap rhythm pattern 1

Firstly, I've built the main rhythmic 16th note pattern using just solo clap samples (Solo Clap 01...04). These are single clap hits which are going to maintain the main rhythm.


Clap rhythm pattern 2

The next layer is a pattern of small clap samples (smalllay2-20...2-32...1-15). The claps samples flams are short enough to match the loop tempo, we need to avoid the chaos of too many non-rhythmic sounds. The placement of these clap samples had to make a syncopated feel with the right accents to the whole main rhythmic solo claps pattern.


Clap rhythm patterns 1 & 2

 
Here is what we have at the moment. Solo claps group and small layered claps group together. The pause at the end of Clap rhythm pattern 1 & 2 played together makes it sound like a break, so we need to add another sample.

Clap rhythm pattern 3

 
For the next step I've added another clap sample (Mono Clap), which is built out of 5 clap hits and makes it flam longer. It appears right after the 4th quarter note hit connecting to the very last anacrusis clap appearing at the very end of the loop.

The living presence

 
This is one of the most important aspects of my approach to electronic music production. I always try to add a layer of reality into my productions. I would record a new audio layer of a live performance or re-record what you have programmed in your computer with additionally playing some musical or non-musical instruments. In other words, add some noisy element of a living presence e.g my hungry cat meowing over the beat). In this case, the last audio layer is a live recording of clapping which repeats the same main 16th rhythmic pattern. Clap with your own hands over the preprogrammed sampled loop.

The recording of the live clapping is made in mono so I've added a HAAS effect to it to widen it up. This way we trick our ears and make mono sound stereo.  I use "SuperTap 2-Taps Stereo plugin from Waves" - one of my favorite plugins of all time. Take a look at the screenshot above for the settings that have been used. The yellow tap (1st signal) is set to -45 in pan and the red tap (2nd signal) is set to 45 in pan. The Tempo section is set to "64ms" which means that the red tap (2nd signal) will be 64 milliseconds late.

That's it. If you are making your own loops, make sure you have high-quality samples and then you can layer anything on top. Once I've layered a clap with a recording of a spoon hitting a cup of tea sound (I guess I was running out of ideas that night) Then I heard that sample in Timbaland's "Marching On" song.