Interview: M.Simp of MSXII Sound Design

14 Dec


First off, thanks for doing this interview, it’s been a while since we’ve grilled anyone over at The Drum Broker Blog.

Man, I’m honored bro.  Thank you for reaching out and having me.  Most definitely has been a while!

MSXII has grown over the last few years as a sound design and production team landing some large contract jobs with companies that include Native Instruments. Your product catalog and scope has expanded exponentially since your early projects.

1. How did MSXII make the transition from producing (making beats) to creating sample packs for other beatmakers (sound design)? 

I really think the demand and feedback helped initiate the transition.  I wouldn’t say we’re not producers anymore by any means, but the focus is sound design most days.  The sound design definitely influences the production.  We’ve always liked to create the tools that we were interested in using in our own music production.  I guess thats the reason the catalog expanded…the many musical interests and things we want to explore individually.  Naturally, what you’ll find in our catalog is the stuff we initially had interest in creating for our own use. 


2.  You guys recently created a Maschine Expansion pack for Native Instruments called Sierra Grove. How did the relationship with Native Instruments come about?

The relationship with our friends there began a while back.  The industry is actually pretty small once you get to know a few people.  Next thing you know, so and so knows so and so, and introductions get made.  The guys at Native are really dope people.  It’s been all love over there from day 1.  I think one of the things I’m most grateful for is the amount of trust they gave us with a project like Sierra Grove.  Being able to dive into Maschine and accent what we feel are it’s strengths was a goal of ours.  It’s such a great platform that can definitely get a lot done with ease once you pop the hood.  Native gave us the autonomy needed to express ourselves in it.  Thats a big deal and we certainly don’t take it lightly.  Looking forward to building some great things for many years to come with them.

3. Does MSXII’ have a sound design philosophy? That is to say, what is your overall approach to creating sample packs? Do you have specific users in mind when you’re creating products?

We don’t really have a ‘philosophy’ so to speak, but we certainly have an approach.  There are a few things that should be in the DNa of every product we offer that answer these questions; Is it dope?  Would you use it? Does is feel authentic? Will it be relevant 3, 5, 10 years from now? 

Subconsciously we all create from this standpoint.  Like I previously stated, being producers first, we’re always looking to create things that meet our own personal standards.  If we’re confident of that, we hope with consistency you’ll dig it too.  So with that said, there isn’t a specific user in mind while creating.  What’s in mind is a vibe, a feeling, an aesthetic.

4. You can’t satisfy everyone’s needs and desires when it comes to creative endeavors and product design. Who are MSXII’s products NOT for? 

Haha, no you most certainly cannot.  However, our products are not for scammers, sharers, pirates, or other designers that would like to use our material as their own.  Unfortunately, thats a large part of the market, but those are losses we’re willing to take!

As The Drum Broker, I field pitches for drum kits and sample packs on a daily basis. They range from terribly unprofessional to exquisite. It seems like everyone wants to do a kit or create a sample pack now. I’m observing “the hustle” shift from selling and leasing beats to exploiting drums and samples to turn a short term profit. This has resulted in the inception of really dope products and brands, but there is also a load of shit seeping from the pipes of the Internet. It’s obvious that not everyone has a long term vision for their product or brand.

5. What’s your take on this phenomenon? Where does MSXII fall within this emerging category of hybrid producer-sound designer?

Man, you said a lot there.  Just like anything else, once people find out something can be profitable, here come the masses.  Some would argue this even happened with rap music very early on.  There are some pioneers that simply aren’t credited properly due to the exploitation of it during it’s infancy.  While I don’t think there is anything wrong with free enterprise, I really wish more would consider everything prior to jumping out into the field.  I see so many doing “drumkits” & “sample packs” with no viable means of fulfillment.  Websites that still have the hosting site’s name in the url. No follow up system or even a means to combat pirating.  These are just a few of the things I can name off top.

While all these things aren’t necessarily needed, I do think it speaks to your thoughts on it being unprofessional and very short term.  So many of us live for “now” so it’s hard to see past next week—much less plan that way.  We really need to create the separation between one-off producer kits & drumkits/sample packs that have been designed for use by music makers. 

While producing, I may have a set of go-to sounds & drums that I’ve pulled from numerous years of collecting, stock libraries, and off vinyl.  Collecting these from my sessions and sharing/selling these means that this is a producer kit, in my opinion.  I don’t think anything is wrong with that.  However, this has been hyped to no end and now you see everyone doing it.  The problem is, eventually, the same stuff begins to circulate and cause issues.  I think we need a BBB of drumkits/sample packs out here!  So much more to say on the subject, but I’ll leave it there.  Haha!

There is a couple cliches and cultural memes perpetuated by beat makers and producers that I disagree with. One of them is that you can “never have too many sounds”. I tend to disagree with this statement because too many tools, features, sounds, and options can be a roadblock to creativity and detracts from the creative process. However, some people disagree and think it lends to endless exponential creativity with no limits.

6. What are your thoughts?

Well, I kind of go back and forth on that.  I do agree that having way too many tools can certainly stifle creativity.  It happens to me personally from time to time.  During those times, I limit myself to creating with only a set of amount of tools.  I may only rock with sounds from 2014, all analog & no vst’s, or even go back into only using Reason etc.  I usually end up finding that I have more than enough to get busy with and stay in creative mode much longer. 

However, as a sound designer, I can also argue that you can never have too many sounds/tools!  We work from the standpoint of you hearing me today is much better than hearing me 3 weeks ago.  My material is always fresh because if I’m working everyday, I’m getting better.  So…you can never have enough sounds because you don’t have my latest sounds!  I hope that makes sense.  I’m a bit biased in this case, but I can definitely speak from experience here.  My advice is to do whatever you think is necessary to fuel your creativity…sounds, gear, tutorial, and information wise. 


7.  Sampling has always been a critical part of hip hop and electronic music. With most things that change, there is always going to be resistance and pushback . Many people gawk at the idea of paying for compositions and drum samples. These same purists stand on the moral high ground and scream that everyone should create entirely from scratch. If you wanted to change someone’s mind about the benefits of buying samples, what would you tell them?

It’s an interesting subject now…especially with the rise of cats taking their music careers into their own hands and caring less about a label situation.  I’m kind of lost on the notion of being in hip-hop & creating from “scratch.”  Sampling is at the core of what we do…so, from “scratch” in most cases usually involves a starting point or idea of someone else’s work.  Should the original creator not be paid and compensated? I think so.  The worker is worth his wage. 

Exceptional composition creators make the process of finding good instrumentation easier for the budding producer (serious or hobbyist) that maybe works full time, has a family, or simply doesn’t have the time to dig.  Even if you’re outside of those parameters, but you still enjoy making music via sampling, this is great.  That, to me, is a valuable service.  Too many us want to enjoy the services of others for free.  Where’s the value in that?  Where’s the integrity in that?  We wonder why everything gets so watered down and less potent in our niche…that is entirely whats wrong out here. 

Now, to be fair, us sample creators should be legit on our own software and other tools used TO create.  We certainly can’t be hypocrites in the matter.  It definitely goes both ways.

We’ve been flooded with emails from customers who don’t understand why they have to pay for a sample pack and then “clear” the sample down the road. As the distributor we understand this doesn’t apply to every customer, but some clarification would be awesome. 

8. Can you explain MSXII’s position on sampling your compositions? Help our audience understand exactly what “master clearance” guaranteed means and when clearing a sample applies to them specifically. 

My position on sampling MSXII’s compositions is that it’s great!  Seriously, it is.  We’ve worked hard to create a reputation that makes it easier for a producer, label, publisher or anyone else to speak directly to us regarding clearing, rights, usage, publishing, royalties, splits, etc.  Our work is original and it sounds great.  Let me try an outline a hypothetical scenario for you:

First, you, a budding producer, purchase one of our composition packs, from or one of our distributing partners such as The Drumbroker.  Your payment is simply your price of admission to download the project legally.  You want to hear the work to potentially use it?  You need to pay for it.  Not pirate it or share it.  Especially if you call yourself wanting to go somewhere with your music.  I feel this way about everyone providing these options out here.  Pay these guys the price of admission for their work.  It’s not outrageous by any means!

Secondly, you flip one of the samples (from scratch, haha!) and land it with a dope artist who will do numbers who happens to be backed by say Sony or Universal or some other giant.  Now, because that sample is not your original work, technically it will need to be “cleared” for use.  Here’s where the term “hassle free” comes in on our end.  We’re going to help you get where you want to be in your career regarding this record.  We will clear the sample for you and your use.  However, that does not come without a cost though.  You’ll make money (provided) your paperwork is right on the life of that work.  Without our original sample, would this be the case?  Most likely not if you’re using it in the first place.  This is where a negotiated split of those profits come in. 

Usually, anything serious will be handled by the label.  They would be the party releasing (or publishing) the music so they take on the responsibility of clearing the samples. When your label representatives reach out, we will work with them to make it happen for you. 

Now, why this matters is because not all samples you snatch off these records will clear if you find yourself in a situation of doing some cool things.  Do your homework and you’ll find the stories out there.  I also don’t want to be naive; you can do whatever you want out here.  Put music on soundcloud, youtube, etc and never plan to make money off of it.  This happens. However, if you find yourself in a big situation, but refuse to go about it the right way just know you operate at your own risk. My advice is to cover your bases. 

9. What should we be on the lookout for from MSXII in 2017?

Excellence.  2017 will be an incredible year for us.  More great products & ideas.  Super cool physical items.  Great partnerships to be revealed soon and more building/engaging with those that believe in our brand.  We’re super thankful for those that have given an ear to anything we’ve done.  You’re the reason we can continue to do this.  Big thanks to the Drumbroker team for such an unparalleled service to the music production community.  Thank you for the honor fam. 

Peep our catalog here w/ The Drum Broker:

Give us a shout & we’ll follow on Instagram/Twitter: @MSXIISound

Stop by the website:

Gatekeeping your best distribution channel: Music Software Piracy

10 Dec

I ran across an interesting Reddit post today:

“I sometimes wonder if the reason Reason is getting less popular is because they piracy-protected it so well. I mean, FL is probably partially popular because 90% of its users can just torrent it. They’ve protected it so well that kids can’t download a recent version, therefore are not easily going to pick up on it, not create tutorials, not tell their friends etcetera. Not sure about this theory, just wondering. Wondering what you guys think.”

Why is this interesting? The Reddit poster poses an interesting theory where Propellerhead Software, the developer of Reason has stunted the proliferation of Reason as viable music production tool due to its Draconian licensing practices. This posture seems reasonable if you consider a few things. Not all software users are participating members of the profit driven licensing model. Many FREE tutorial and instructional videos available on YouTube are created by younger users without access to the funds or means to legally purchase (license) software and plugins. The best informational resources may be developed and distributed by these non-paying users.

The idea here is that the non paying, pirating users of Reason would make Propellerhead’s most effective street team and increase the software’s popularity and user base. Of course, this idea isn’t limited to just Propellerhead Software but extends to many types of developers and non-software distribution models (think about your own music). It’s a fact that many of us beatmakers and producers start out using pirated software and eventually purchase it at some point during our careers. This is becoming easier, more affordable, and enticing with subscription based software and plugin licensing.

What are your thoughts? Do you think piracy serves a greater marketing purpose? Are some developers too restrictive and draconian with their licensing?

Marco Polo – Pad Thai Vol. 4 (Destroyed Akai MPC2000XL)

28 Nov

Drops December 2016 at


Propellerhead Reason 9

26 Nov


Propellerhead’s Reason 9 Holiday Special! Get $430 in plugins for FREE

Get it here:

Action Bronson Instrumental – Wiretap (produced by Alkota)

22 Nov


!llmind – Stranger Loops! Stranger Things inspired samples

19 Nov


Download Here: !llmind – Stranger Loops

“80’s synthesizers are some of the most textured and powerful instruments that still have a significant impact on modern music. When I first heard the music on Netflix’s hit show ‘Stranger Things’, I was inspired, excited & moved. So much so that I’ve created a set of original samples that draws from those textures. Moog bass, arps, thick synthesizers, lush pads, big chords and inspiring melodies that draw on many different emotions. I’m really proud of this set, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys. Whether it’s pop, trap, boom bap, electronic, EDM, house or any genre, this set of samples will instantly help to create your own personal masterpiece. It’s like having access to an amazing set of 70’s/80’s samples from vinyl, the only difference is, all of the audio stems are included!” – !llmind

  • 12 Completely original and unique compositions (ranging from 1:30 to 4:46 in length!), ready to be looped, chopped & processed to your hearts desire (3.02 GB 122 items worth)
  • All samples are in full song format with many change ups, not just loops (there’s some bonus drum sounds too!) OVER 36 MINUTES worth of samples, not just short loops
  • Audio stems for each sound set are included! (pre-tape & completely dry)
  • All sounds are original compositions, entirely created by !llmind
  • Gear used: Prophet 8, Arp Odyssey, Mini Moog, Fender Rhodes, Grand Piano, Emu Proteus 2000, Acoustic Guitar
  • All audio recorded on 1/4″ Reel To Reel Tape LYREC PTR-1 aka the “Frida” for warmth
  • Instant digital download
  • Comes in stereo WAV 16/44 formatting
  • Compatible with any DAW (Protools, Reason, Logic, Ableton, Fruity Loops, etc)
  • Master clearance guaranteed *

* (Meaning, if you place a record on a MAJOR LABEL using the sample(s), you will split the publishing with !llmind fairly & Co-Production credit (CONTACT: if this is the case). NO sample clearing hassles at all. If the sample(s) are used on any NON MAJOR LABEL platforms, you can do anything you’d like with them (upload to Soundcloud, sell the beat to indy artist, include on beat-tape, etc etc).

Bullyfinger – Cake

19 Nov


Download Here: Bullyfinger – Cake

Cake is meant for acoustic and synth drum emphasis, reinforcement, texture and experimentation. All analog and digital hardware based.

Drum layers- Sub kicks, pops, clicks, snaps, thumps, misused percussion, odd, contact mic & Foley layers

Bare 808 snare- The classic 808 snare at every setting (decay, tone & snappy) without noise. Add your own from the noise folder to make hybrid 808 snares!

Noise- Analog, Digital, Filtered, Lo-fi sampler, Home keyboard, Carbon mic, Metal, Electromagnetic, Chiptune, Distorted, Grit, Bit-Crushed, Foley, Modular & Contact mic layers.

Vinyl and tape wear – add the sound of worn vinyl records or mini cassette to your drums. Perfect as a textured alternate noise source.

About 1700 wav files, 24/96, 1.7GB Unzipped

Peep the demos:

Jake One – Swish and Chips Vol. 2

19 Nov


Download Here: Jake One – Swish and Chips Vol. 2

A brand new, all original sample library from renowned Super Producer & Hip Hop Legend, Jake One.

Enter ‘Swish & Chips Vol. 2’ (Compositions & Stems)

Both Seattle natives, immortal world renowned super producer legend Jake One and his budding young musical collaborator and all state swimmer Swish team up to bring you their second installment of the sounds of the cosmos, fulfilling all your sampling desires. Swish is a multi instrumentalist who has worked with the likes of Macklemore, Wiz Khalifa, Drake and Nipsey Hussle among others.

Instruments and Gear Used:

  • Roland Juno-6
  • Rhodes Chroma
  • Sequential Circuits Six Trak
  • Yamaha CS-50
  • Moog Memorymoog
  • Roland Super Jupiter
  • Oberheim Four Voice
  • Roland RE-501 Chorus Echo

All sounds recorded through authentic vintage Neve 1073 pre-amps into Pro Tools | HD software to ensure the highest quality sound.

!llmind – Claps on Fleek

19 Nov


Download Here: !llmind – Claps on Fleek

“Crunchy, animated, snappy, dynamic & colored are a few words to best describe ‘Claps On Fleek’. Finding that perfect clap is an on-going challenge for us music producers. To help solve this probelm, I’ve created & molded a collection of claps with BIG personality. Every clap was created from scratch, using a combination of live clap performances + various analog equipment with intense sound design. I take pride in creating sounds and textures you’ve never heard. This is no exception. An absolute must-have.” – !llmind
  • 55 claps (all created & molded by !llmind using analog hardware)
  • Processed through an Ensoniq ASR-10, Akai S20, AMS RM16, L480 & Baldwin Amp
  • All sounds peak slightly under “zero” on the master fader, no nasty digital clipping
  • Comes in stereo WAV 16/44 formatting
  • Compatible with any DAW (Protools, Reason, Logic, Ableton, Fruity Loops, etc)
  • All sounds are royalty-free

!llmind – Hard A$$ Breaks

19 Nov


Download Here: !llmind – Hard A$$ Breaks

“Drums, drums and MORE drums! As producers, we all know drum breaks are one of our main sources of inspiration. Those moments when the needle touches the vinyl, you hear a song, and all of a sudden, a solo drum performance happens! The dirtier & more texturized, the better. Here, I’ve created a set of drum breaks for my fellow producers to loop, chop, eq, layer, hack & draw inspiration from, as I do. All 30 drum break loops are played by me, using a combination of live drum sets, transient effects & hardcore audio design & sound manipulation to deliver true punch, grit & vinyl DIRT. I even used techniques to make some of these sound like they were made on old school analog drum machines! These drum break loops are sure to become a dangerous secret weapon in your drum arsenal.” – !llmind

  • 30 Completely original and unique drum break loops, played on live sets & treated by !llmind.
  • Drums treated with warmth, depth & vinyl crackle goodness.
  • All audio recorded on 1/4″ Reel To Reel Tape LYREC PTR-1 aka the “Frida” for warmth
  • All drum samples completely Royalty-Free with no sample clearance required
  • Instant digital download
  • Comes in stereo WAV 16/44 formatting
  • Compatible with any DAW (Protools, Reason, Logic, Ableton, Fruity Loops, etc)
  • All sounds are royalty-free