An interview with ModeAudio’s Niall McCallum on the fantastic samples, loops and presets site for musicians

ModeAudio offers a massive collection of eclectic sample packs and sounds for producers and musicians, and we talked to co-founder Niall McCallum on running such a vast and brilliant music resource.


What inspires you to create sample packs, loops, kits and more for electronic producers?

Primarily, everything stems from my love for music, plain and simple! For me, it’s one of the most important things in life and can offer so much to people in so many different situations, from humble entertainment to respite during a hard time – it’s modern-day magic if you ask me!

I want to help and inspire people to make music for this reason above all others, from the relatively small group of musicians who are lucky enough to be able to make money from their own productions, right up to the hundreds of thousands of bedroom producers out there just doing it for the love of it.

How do you go about sourcing and creating the awesome sounds that you offer in your packs, especially with such variety between each one?

Naturally, this is particular to the release in question but we’re mainly drawing on our selection of acoustic instruments, synths, field recordings, custom DSP patches and digital plugins, as well as anything and everything that might happen to be laying around in the studio, from cans of juice to cutlery and I even sampled a metal radiator for our latest release, Outlook!

Has music always played a big part in your life or was it something you discovered later in life?

It has been part of things for a long time, since I first started piano lessons when I was a kid. It wasn’t till I started playing guitar and drums at secondary school that music became an all-consuming passion, though, as well as the discovery of the first DAW I ever learned to use, Reason.

I’ve moved from my earlier Pop and Rock phases at school, through to Indie, Experimental, Ambient and Classical at university and since on to House, Hip Hop and everything in between – it’s pretty handy being into most styles of music in this line of work.

What do you think of the way that the music industry is transforming with the focus moving towards digital platforms and, in particular, the boom of music streaming?

Well, I think this trend comes with a lot of inherent problems – in fact I was just listening to Gerry Read being interviewed on Gilles Peterson’s [BBC Radio] 6 Music show a few weekends ago, where he talked about how he’s actually a butcher by day! I think it’s alarming that someone as talented as he is isn’t able to find a way to make a living solely from his music and I do believe that the low pay-out rates on streaming services is part of the problem.

At the same time though, for the listener, these services are nothing short of a revelation – access to unparalleled quantities of every conceivable type and flavour of music for free, or at most, a pretty modest sum would be a pretty unbelievable proposition to a kid growing up even 20 years ago. I think there’s more work to be done to make the deal fairer for artists but I think most would agree that it’s better than when P2P ruled all!

Whilst I’m sure you’re proud of every pack you have to offer, are there any in particular that you personally think really brings something unique and powerful to the table?

I think our found percussion packs offer something really interesting and unusual, such as Klang, Raw Material and Undercover, which can be used either as they come in the pack or warped and twisted into a beautiful new shapes with relative ease. Our ambient and textural packs are something I’m very proud of too, from Hover and Distant Echo to Pour, Remnant, Disintegrate and beyond, as again I think producers can get so much out of them either as they come or with a little extra processing.

As you say though, really I’m extremely proud of everything we release and think our packs offer consistent quality, flexibility and value. We leave it to our users to make the final call though!

What is your favourite music coming out at the moment, and does the music you listen to inspire some of the packs you create?

Absolutely – it’s the number one thing that inspires our packs in fact. There’s too much to mention here to be totally honest, though I’ll give a shout out to Bonobo’s latest album Migration and Kaytranada’s 99.9%, plus recent tunes from Knxwledge, Anderson .Paak, Thundercat, Radiohead, Tycho, Clap! Clap! and Leon Vynehall as particular favourites.

Finally, what would you say to all the aspiring musicians and artists out there using sites like yours to create great new music?

Keep doing what you’re doing! The only way to improve at anything is to practise, practise, then practise some more – use our loops if you’re starting out and build around them, or some of our samples into a sampler or apply some whacky processing to our synth drones and textures if you’re more advanced – there’s inspiration of some kind to be found in every millisecond!


ModeAudio samples packs sounds sample music production producer DJ

Head over to www.modeaudio.com now to claim a massive free pack and experiment with some entirely new sounds using a 10% discount code on the massive variety of samples and packs ModeAudio have to offer.

Discount Code: ROUTE10

“ModeAudio aims to deliver audio tools that sound incredible, are available instantly and that will integrate seamlessly with your favourite music software. To cut swiftly to the chase, as music producers and sound designers ourselves we really only care about sound quality and ease of use. To this end, we’ve packed as much of our musical and technical knowledge into each and every one of our packs as humanly possible – we hope our passion and dedication will be plain to hear and see. If a sound or preset of ours helps to inspire your music, then we’ll consider our job done.”

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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