Drum machines have no soul?


Junior Member
I was just playing some 80s house music mixes for a reality check.

Sure, if you just start playing a loop repetitively, as many people do, it sounds as interesting as a dishwasher. And Iain's raised some solid points.

Deep Purple had maybe four or five songs that I liked. Most of it didn't draw my interest or curiosity. By the late 70s/early 80s, there were a lot of rock bands, with real drummers, which could get professional recordings in top flight studios, but their output was intellectually weak.

What I heard over the hour or so of 80s house mixes was impassioned singing, mature lyrical content, a series of energetic keyboard solos and other musicianship, which overrode the drum machines with a dramatic flair. The DJs leant some more expertise to the finished product, splicing the songs together. So, drum machine be damned, some of these cuts clearly overcame the limitation.

I'm not recommending the drum machine at all, but merely pointing out a rationale by which it can be considered a useful tool.

From Ian Paice ~ Deep Purple:
Is there anybody you listen to now?
Well there's still a lot of innovation around but unfortunately it's not going on in rock and roll. Most of the guys playing now are going for the big sound. Its so technically generated. You don't hear any grace notes for example, all you hear is the bass drum and snare drum. They might sound great, but there's really nothing going on. It ends up making them sound like they have no technique. And also you can't tell who's playing, because when you take out those little bits, you also take away their individuality. You could always tell if it was Ginger (Baker) or John (Bonham) or Ringo (Starr) or Buddy (Rich). All those guys had their good bits and their bad bits, but they were their bits.
Last edited:


Silver Member
Without repeating the obvious, which has been stated, I think the main thing that sets any real musician apart from a machine is phrasing, the fact you are not perfect, the fact that you can play something a hundred times and it will never sound exactly the same, it is the little imperfections that make music sound real.