Video: Recreating Prince's "Kiss" LinnDrum with an Acoustic Kit

Prince (1986). Photo by: Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer, Getty Images.

Electronic drum hardware began to take off in popularity back in the 1970s and '80s, working its way into lots of pop, R&B, and hip-hop hits of the time. Instrument manufacturers, like the Roger Linn-helmed Linn Electronics, were releasing innovative new machines like the LM-1 Drum Machine and later LinnDrum.

Prince was a much bigger fan of the original LM-1, for reasons explained in our article "Prince's Drum Machine: How His Use of the Linn LM-1 Heralded a New Age of Pop Rhythm Creation." However, Prince's 1986 hit "Kiss" began with a beat programmed by artist and Prince-affiliate David Z on the LinnDrum, and it's that drum machine's sounds we sought to recreate.

In a previous interview we conducted with Roger Linn, he spoke about the impact Prince using his machines had on his career. "[Prince] was very important to my success. He didn’t just select a stock beat and press ‘play,’ but rather used it in unusual and creative ways, from detuning the drums to no longer sound like drums to the unusual beats he programmed to how he featured it in the mix."

In the video above, drummer Jessica Burdeaux and engineer Noam Wallenberg team up to see if such a feat is possible, using only a three-piece acoustic drum kit and some special processors. Check it about above, and click below to explore the gear Noam and Jessica used.

To learn how each mic signal was processed, click through the gallery:

As Norm says, it's certainly not as easy as using a LinnDrum sample pack, but by having a drummer play an acoustic kit, you can retain a more natural feel in the playing, even as the sounds are processed into an over-the-top homage to the '80s. However, whether you elect to use such acoustic LinnDrum tones in your own recordings or not, hopefully this exercise can help inspire you to create some of your own unique tones in the studio.

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