Drums On Demand, Vol. 1
Review by Jimi Yamagishi, Director, The Songwriter's Network

This review took way longer than it was supposed to, because I had too much fun & couldn’t stop using the thing! Drums On Demand is exactly that. If you’ve ever played with a good drummer, you know how it goes: “Dude, put a fill in here…more ride, more rock ballad-y…faster…no, slower…”

Drum loops have been around for years & are a big a part of the top 40 landscape, but this is different.
Real sounding, useable & practical loops have been carefully crafted with hits & grooves, intros & outros all sonically matched to cut & paste seamlessly, even across tempo & groove changes.

If you’re used to hip-hop/DJ style drum loops, at first glance it looks like the bits & pieces are too small to make any sense. But once you start putting it together, it makes all the sense in the world. Single measure samples allow you to work in any time signature, and by using the copy / repeat-pasting features of any digital recording system, building great sounding useable drum tracks is as fast or faster than programming your favorite drum machine. And a whole lot faster than mixing & miking a real set while waiting for your drummer to show up. (Sorry ‘bout that).

Graphically, it looks the same across all platforms, just a bunch of files on your drive. No waiting for fancy looking virtual control panels, graphics & logos to boot & waste your drive space. This is straight-up no nonsense, as a good professional drummer would be. For an absolute neophyte a simple tutorial would be nice at this point, but then again, if you’re running ProTools, DP, Cubase, Sonar or Logic, you should already have a rudimentary knowledge of what to do next.

Open a file (Songset), categorized by tempo & genre & subfiles open up. Drag & drop as an audio file to your recording program, highlight, copy & paste, maybe 3 bars. Drag over a fill for the 4th bar, now copy & paste the block 3 times, drag over a second, different fill. Repeat the whole phrase a couple o’ times & your 12 bar blues drum track is done in less time than it took you to read this. Be daring. Grab a loop from a different genre & paste it in.

Granted, the sounds themselves & equalizations are a little different between genres, so some things don’t match perfectly, but you have lots of flexibility, and being .wav based means you can take those samples & modify ‘em yourself if you need to get spacey or run metal grooves across your orchestral ballad. But with over 800 (!) STEREO loops & samples to play with, odd are you’ll find what you need, easily & quickly, due to the logical & intuitive labeling & arrangement of files.

Drums on Demand is easily the most versatile & easy to use loop-based drum program yet. It sounds great and works on all wav-based platforms, Mac & Windows. Costs about the same as feeding your drummer after a couple of typical gigs. After you start using this, you’ll never touch your drum machine again!
Feeding your drummer, well, that’s a different issue.