Grant Borland

Music for Storytellers

Composer for Film, Television, Advertisements 

March : Work Recap // What I Did This Month

March : Work Recap


I can’t believe March is already over and we’re nearly thirty percent through this year. Let’s talk about the things I worked on last month, and my approach with some new challenges.

On The Music Industry Side Of Things

March was full of new experiences and opportunities, from writing for new publishers all the way to tackling customs. To say this month was busy would be an understatement. Throughout this whole month i’ve been focused on writing music for some new publishers that had contacted me back in February. Writing for these labels hasn’t been easy because they definitely have very high production standards for their music so it’s been a back and forth battle of making adjustments to these songs based on revision notes. Nothing out of the ordinary for publishers though. I mean after all, they do want to feel confident enough with your music to pitch it to editors right? Aside from writing library tracks I did take on a couple of customs this month, and that experience has been different for me too. Most of my experience with customs has been to write an original piece of music that follows a certain reference in a short window of time, but this month I was asked to write trailer covers. Now I’m sure 99% of you reading this know what trailer covers are, but for the small majority that have no idea what i’m talking about. Trailer covers are when you take popular songs and rearrange/remix those songs to not only fit a trailer cue, but you also add trailer SFX to them trying to make them sound massive for the big screen. It’s a pretty popular trend right now to see covers within a movie trailer.


So for those of you interested in trailer covers, I’ll go a bit in depth to what the process was like. Now I don’t know what I am allowed to say, and what I’m not allowed to say - So i’ll keep it simple and I won’t say what songs were used or what trailers these tracks were being pitched for. Just better to play it safe so nobody gets in trouble.

Anyways, so I had to opportunity to make two different trailer covers this month and both customs where very different experiences for me. On the first custom I was given a track to trailerize for a pitch, and with this track I was also given stems to the track courtesy of the artist’s label. With these stems I was really able to dive into the track and split things up giving me more control over the piece of music I was writing. I was given the brief on a Friday and my deadline was by Monday morning which is a pretty lenient amount of time to write a custom. Most times you won’t have nearly as much time to write a custom, so it was a nice weekend project for myself. Ultimately I think my publisher was happy with what I had written, but they did mention that I played it a little “safe”, and that next time I shouldn’t be afraid to get a bit more crazy with things, but it’s all a learning experience and you’ll never know what could happen - Maybe I’ll get lucky this time around! I’ve been told that 99% of customs a composer writes will end up not getting placed in a trailer, but that 1% ends up being a very big win for publisher and composer. So I think it’s important to not get too caught up in the idea that your tracks will place - instead just focus on writing the best music you can with the amount of time you have, and learn from your losses. As cliche as it is to say, a failure is only a failure if you don’t learn something for it and that’s extremely true in this line of work.

On the second custom written, I didn’t have the luxury of having the stems from the record label. Instead I had to write a trailer cover of a track using only the full mix of the song I would be remixing. Let me just say right now that that process was a lot more challenging because you’ll feel way more limited with what you’d like to do - not to mention that the tempo for this track was completely whack. Pro tip for Logic Pro X users that saved me hours of time - If you’re dealing with reworking a track that has tempos that range all over the place, use the beat mapping tool to get the tempo adjusted. Use the “Beats from Region” option under beat mapping. This will analyze the track’s transients, and make tempo adjustments to fit the project you’re working with. It’s not 100% perfect, but it’s a huge time saver and gets you a lot closer to getting your work done. The deadline for this custom was less than a day so I’m very thankful that the beat mapping tool exists out there - I really hope most DAWs have a similar option!
Look how crazy those tempo changes are within a matter of a few bars of music!

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This month’s episode of The Thought Collective Podcast took place at the Epyon Royal HQ. Epyon Royal is a Detroit-based apparel company founded by Tim Bagwell, and has been in business for over ten years. I’ve known Tim for years now, and I was very happy I had the chance to sit down, and talk about his business’ growth over the years. This episode is the longest episode I’ve got so far, but I think there’s a lot of interesting things to hear from Tim. Not only do we talk about starting a company and keeping it sustainable, but we also talk about completely unrelated things such as scary movies, pogs (90’s toy), and the music scene. So I think there’s a lot there for everybody! I highly suggest you check this episode out (There’s a discount code hidden somewhere in the episode if you decide you’d like to buy something from

If you’re interested in listening to previous episodes feel free to follow the podcast on both apple podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify. Just click the icon to listen!

Inside Look at Epyon Royal HQ

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In Closing

March has been a great month, and I look forward to the work April will bring. I’ve been enjoying writing down short recaps of what I do each month, and I really appreciate those of you who take time out of your day to read these. In the coming months I’d really like to start working on some personal projects that I’ve been thinking about. Projects that I think could help this community in some way - with last month being so focused on sound design I thought it might be interesting to post short little tutorials on this website on how to make certain sfx. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in, I know i’d really want to bring value to you guys that take time to follow what I’m up to.

Thanks again for reading guys, I look forward to seeing you guys next month.



(click here to watch my youtube videos)

February : Work Recap // What I Did This Month

February : Work Recap


Ok - I know I’m few days late on this blog post, however I haven’t forgotten to write about what I worked on last month. February was a busy month, but things didn’t really start to pick up till the second half of the month when I decided to take on some new challenges. Let’s talk about what happened.


This month started out no different than most months for me; I was asked to write some custom music for a trailer by one of my publishers which was actually a lot of fun to tackle. The deadline for the track was roughly 4 or 5 hours which is such an adrenaline rush for me. When I first started taking on customs a four hour deadline really stressed me out because you overthink everything, but the more I work on customs the more I realize that overthinking is a luxury you just can’t afford as a composer. When deadlines are that tight you’ve often got to trust your gut and go for the first thing that comes to mind. There isn’t much time to waste scrolling through presets, or even making original sound design for a project. Often more times than not I’ll think of an idea and jump right into that without second guessing myself. I could see how having a template could be beneficial when doing work like this, but at the same time you never know what a trailer editor is going to want for their project and the sound they’re looking for could be completely opposite of the tools you have pre loaded. For this particular custom the publisher had a reference track for me which makes my life one hundred times easier because I’ll know what type of tone or setting the track needs to be in, and I can get writing that much faster.


As the second half of the month approached things began to get a lot busier for me as a composer because I started to setup some new goals for myself. I decided to dedicate most of February to sound design - specifically designing risers. I want to start getting some of my own SFX tools into the hands of publishers and editors to use, and creating risers was a great place to start. I set a goal for myself to make a minimum of 10 - 20 unique custom risers entirely built from scratch each day (I think that was an easy, realistic goal to set for myself… anyone can do that, and you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll build up a collection of SFX).

So I dove right into sound design sampling anything I could find around by apartment from bowed electric guitars, custom made synth patches all the way down to recording power saws and fans. The more material you have to work with the better. Get weird with it, not everything you sample will be amazing, but fiddling around with these sounds not only teaches you a lot about sound design, but it also teaches you a lot about production as a whole. The lessons I learned from sound design this month are going to help me when producing future tracks.

I made risers for 10 days, and by the end of it I was able to send 201 unique risers off to my publisher. Focusing on something specific like that helped me set new goals for myself as a composer.

Quick tip: If you’re looking for some new tools to use for sound design I highly recommend checking out the “Endless Smile” plug in by a company called Dada Life. I used this tool a lot when building this set of risers, and it really helped my sounds “get there” when it comes to making them sound extremely intense.



Aside from making music there are a couple of things I worked on throughout February that helped me move forward with myself as a composer during the slower parts of the month.

I wrote an article earlier this month titled “The Top 5 Trailer Libraries Under $100” that talked about some of my favorite tools to use when making trailer music that won’t break the bank. Here’s a link to that if you missed it.

I love reading people’s recommendations on new sample libraries to add to my collection, and I thought it would be a good idea to return the favor to the community.



I also uploaded episode four of “The Thought Collective Podcast” this month too. This episode has been my favorite so far because its the first episode where I brought on a guest to talk to, and let me tell you… This episode was much longer than previous episodes. I think it just feels more natural to talk to somebody rather than yourself. I think when you talk to yourself you run out of things to talk about a lot faster than if you were having a conversation with another person because you feed off the things each person has to say. This episode features by good buddy Donovan Kelley who goes by the name “Don”. He is a hip hop artist in my local area and recently put out an album called The Eviction Notice. It’s an album with 11 tracks aimed for fans of artists like Post Malone and Lil Uzi Vert. As a composer I think it’s really important to listen to different genres or music (especially with trailer music) because a lot of the music we write is influenced by pop culture music, and it’s constantly evolving to fit new trailers. If you take a look at some movie trailer that have came out over the past year or two you’ll see that some of them really have hip hop styled influenced tracks whether that be an original composition or a “trailerized” cover of a song, pop culture music makes a big impact on what we do in this industry.

Here’s a a video of the latest podcast episode for those who are interested (The Thought Collective Podcast is also available on iTunes as well so just search for it on the podcast app)!


This month I found out that I had 3 placements for various TV shows which is always exciting! All these placements came from tracks I wrote back in 2017 which was pretty cool too. I use a website called Tunesat to track my music placements, and I noticed that I had some music used in a TV show called Outback Truckers on DMAX. The thing with tunesat is that it doesn’t always catch everything so a lot of times you may have a track used, and won’t know it until your publisher lets you know. That was my case in this situation… tunesat only showed that I had one track placement this month, but my publisher informed me that there were actually 3 tracks for 3 different shows. A nice little added bonus at the end of this month i’d say.

Patience is the name of the game in this industry and sometimes it’ll take two years before certain tracks you write find a home somewhere. I think a big reason I felt like such a failure in the early parts of my career is because I didn’t have nearly enough patience when it came to placements. It’s easy to get caught up in things on social media when you see friends and other fellow composers share their placements when you don’t have any coming in. My philosophy and motto for 2019 and the rest of my career is to be twice and patient and work twice as hard. Placements aren’t everything, and I think what’s more important is that you love what you’re writing. That’s the type of thing that helps career longevity - There will be periods of time when things are going great, and placements are frequent and there will be other times when things are slow for you, and it seems like everybody else is much more successful than you are. Don’t overthink this kind of thing, just focus on writing better music, and ways to improve your craft as a whole.



February has been a good month overall I’d say, and I’m really excited for what March will bring. There are a couple of new publishers that I’ve started writing for, and I think that this coming month will be an even busier month than February was. I’ll let you know what happens! Thanks for taking the time to read this guys, and feel free to connect with me on social media as well.





The Top 5 Trailer Libraries Under $100

Looking for modern sounding trailer libraries that won’t break the budget? Here’s my top five libraries I’d recommend all under $100.


If you’re anything like me you’ll know that the search for great sounding trailer SFX libraries never really ends and that can get expensive for most composers today. While it’s hard to ignore the companies that put out great products on what feels like a daily basis, realistically there’s no way anyone wants to get caught up spending thousands of dollars chasing that modern sound. So what can we do? Creating our own sounds is probably the best method, but with tight deadlines approaching and lack of fresh, inspiring sounds, we find ourselves reaching into our wallets to find that perfect sample.

In this article I want to share some of my favorite libraries/soundpacks that not only saved my tracks, but also my bank account!

  1. AVA Music Group - INSTINCT ($99)

Starting off at number one, i’d like to talk about this sample library called “Instinct”.


Instinct is a trailer SFX library that came out about a year ago. The sounds within it are specifically aimed at trailer production including various hits, whooshes, risers, phrases, braaams, drones, loops, etc…. The reason a lot of composers will recommend this library is because of the high quality samples compressed into this sound pack. This library contains 100 samples which could be argued isn’t that much, but every single one of these samples is worth its weight in gold. Odds are you won’t be wasting time cycling through hundreds of patches finding a usable sound - with Instinct, you’re bound to find an extremely inspiring sound within a few clicks.


It’s extremely hard to choose a favorite patch because I use them all so frequently, but there is something about the whoosh bangs that really stands out to me as opposed to other libraries. QUICK TIP: If you’re finding that it’s hard to get the whoosh bang to line up on time with the rest of your track, bounce the whoosh bang to a WAV. file and drop it into your track. In doing this you will be able to see the samples’ transient which makes it easy to line up on the grid. Hope that helps some of you guys!

If you’re unsure about buying this library they offer a FREE version of it that consists of 20 samples extracted from the full library so you can test it out for yourself!


A quick look at INSTINCT below

2. Sampletraxx - Braams ($53)

The best way to find quick hook sounds, and larger than life braams.


To be honest, I wish I had heard of sampletraxx sooner. Braams was one of the first sample libraries I purchased from them, and It was love at first sound. I’d say more often than not, Braams is one of the first libraries I pull up when starting a new trailer track. There is just something that’s so right about the sounds in this pack. It’s like an instant “hook sound” Library to me, especially the designed braams patch. At $53 you really can’t go wrong. This library could be twice the price and i’d still highly recommend it to other composers. Ever since I started using Braams I’ve became a loyal customer of Sampletraxx, and have picked up many libraries from them (all of which are insanely affordable).

An additional bonus to this library is that it features an extra folder of single hit/impact, whoosh, passbys which are great to layer in your own sound design!

Personal Favorite Patch: BRAAMS_DESIGNED
While all the sounds in this library are phenomenal, the designed patch is by far my personal favorite. The sound design slaps you in the face, and is instantly ready for the big screen. The Braams Bass Patch is another honorable mention. Both of those are my go to patches when starting a track.


Formant: WAV + Kontakt 5.5 Full version required (FREE PLAYER NOT SUPPORTED)

Content: 820mb - 130 WAV files 24bit 96k with pitch information

7 Kontakt instruments dedicated kontakt GUI via Photosynthesis Engine



3. Sampletraxx - Bleed ($54)

Complete sound design madness - A trailer composers paradise!


Like Sampletraxx’s library “Braams”, Bleed is a sound design library that is ran through the photosynthesis engine designed for the full version on Kontakt. Where Braams’ focus is on deep brass sounds, bleed takes the route of sci-fi sound design which features hi-tech hits and impacts, stingers, sophisticated transition and passbys, visceral stutters, risers, etc…. I really enjoy this library because it’s an instant inspiration machine for me. In similar ways to braams, Bleed is a go to library when i’m first starting a trailer track. There’s just something about it that sets the tone for a lot of my tracks. This library has 9 different patches within it and is made up of 270 samples all recorded at 96k/24bit. (The size of the library is around 1.5gb)

Personal Favorite Patch: LARSEN

I think the Larsen patch is my favorite patch in Bleed because the sound design is so unique. The sounds within it are so nasty, but in the most beautiful way possible. If you’re looking to add some eerie sci-fi grit to your tracks this patch is made for you. It’s incredibly inspiring, and i’m positive you’ll hear it start to work its way into your trailer templates (if you’re into that kind of thing). PRO TIP: if you purchase this library DO NOT OVERLOOK THE HITDESIGN PATCH (I love using that patch almost as much as Larsen).



4. Epic Stock Media - Asylum ($69)

A sound pack aimed at all things horror!


While most of the products Epic Stock Media creates is aimed at sound design for video games, I found myself fairly surprised at how useful their library “Asylum” was for trailer music. They don’t market this sound pack as a “trailer sound pack”, and in a lot of ways this library really isn’t your typical hits/riser/braam type library, but I do think that it has been somewhat difficult to find really good horror sounds to incorporate in my horror-styled trailer tracks. This library features 504 samples all recorded at 192k/24bit. Some of the sound files include, “ Screeches, Drones, Stingers, Impacts, Dynamic Risers, Whooshes, Groans, Creaks, Psychotic Textures and Movements, eerie tones and so much more! At $69 you could consider this library a steal - Like all the libraries i’ve mentioned in this article, they’re a source of instant inspiration for the composer looking to save a little money.

One thing to be aware of is that this is a sound pack as opposed to a sample library, so it won’t run in an engine like Kontakt or UVI Workstation. When you download this you will have a folder with sounds you can drag and drop into your tracks. That being said, my favorite “Patch” or “Folder Category” would be the Textures folder. All those sounds are completely terrifying, and you can be assured that it will make any track you’re working on absolutely horrifying!



5. Keepforest AizerX Free Try Pack ($0)

Without a doubt the best free sound pack to ever exist.


Keepforest’s AizerX Free Try Pack is an absolute no brainer. These sounds are absolutely incredible and the quality of these samples is extremely high. If you want a modern trailer sound, get this free sound pack. If you’re a composer who is interested in getting into trailer music, start off with this set of samples, and you’ll definitely be able to get the sounds you’re looking for without having to spend hundreds of dollars with startup libraries. Keepforest has a series called AizerX which consists of 3 different libraries (at the time of writing this article) aimed at modern trailer sound design - these libraries are fantastic, but are over the $100 price point so won’t be mentioned here. However, 100+ of those AizerX samples have been bundled together in this “Free Try Pack” to use as a demo into the upgraded versions. Best part is all of these free try pack samples are royalty free!

The Free Try Pack consists of two independent parts: the Kontakt Library and WAV files to work with the samples directly. The Kontakt library might be a good place to start if you’re thinking of upgrading to the full versions because you can get a feel for how the AizerX engine works.

Favorite Patch: Tonal

Although I strictly use the WAV’s when I use this library, my favorite thing to do to is explore keep forest’s tonal samples - I’ve been using these a lot in my recent trailer tracks, and it’s a refreshing sound to me! Also…. the hits are massive in this pack, just saying! It won’t take too much layering to get those hits just the way you want them - beefy and cutting edge!



Closing Thoughts

While it’s great to use samples from various sound designers always keep in mind that the sound design you create from scratch really gives you an advantage when it comes to developing your own sound. A lot of composers are using the same samples so it’s very common that certain sample libraries will go “out of date” after a couple of years because publishers and editors are always looking for new sounds. Using these sample packs are great for tight deadlines, but if you have some time try creating your own signature sounds to use in your future tracks. You’ll be more proud and happier with those tracks because you’ll have sounds no one else has!

January : Work Recap // What I Did This Month

January : Work Recap


Over the past couple months I’ve had this idea that I wanted to start using the blog portion of my website more frequently. Up until this point I’ve only published one other blog post, and while I enjoyed the article topic, I felt like I really wasn’t letting anybody into my life as a composer, and let’s face it; having a personal website without little to no content about yourself is kind of a bummer. I figured it was time to change that, and with 2018 being a slower year for me in terms of output I decided that this year would be the year that I would start to create more aside from just writing music. In a way I suppose you could call this my “New Years Resolution” however, these changes i’ve been wanting to make began taking place around November, I just wanted to start writing about these changes now.

To start off this year off right I decided that I would share a monthly blog talking about what work I had done within that month. With 2018 being a slower year for me in terms of music and additional content output, I thought that sharing something each month would be a great way to keep myself accountable towards staying on top of the things I want to accomplish.

So let’s talk about what I did this month.

On the music side of things, January focus has been on finishing up tracks that I had started in 2018, but never got around to completing. I think in total I’ve wrapped up about 5 or 6 tracks this month that will be solely for industry releases. A few of those tracks have been collaborations tracks with two phenomenal composers (something I’m extremely excited for, but more on that in the months to come). Some of these tracks have been written for publishers that I’ve never written music for before, which is a good thing because you never know where those tracks could end up placing, plus I think it’s good networking and could open more doors down the road.


Outside of Library/Trailer music I’ve also managed to post a public release track called “Taking the Nest”. Its a tension/suspense based cue that has a bit of trailer influence behind it, but doesn’t quite push it to that extreme. The inspiration for this track came about when I picked up a sample library called “Dan Brown Jr. Crime Scoring Toolkit” by SampleHero. This Library is full of cool sound design and loops aimed at crime based music. I layered some loops and hits from this library as well as some arpeggiated sounds/Fx from Hybrid Two’s Project Bravo to really get a modern, electronic music bed. Once I had that foundation in place the rest of the track came together within a couple of hours.

Listen to Taking the Nest below

The film scoring side of things - As some of you know, I’ve been hired as lead composer for a film coming out in 2020 called “Winter’s Reach”. There isn’t much I can say about the film per say, but I will share some information about the process that has already been shared publicly by the film’s director. So this month I was sent a rough cut of a trailer for this film to write music for. Up until I was sent this footage, I hadn’t seen anything other than a script and a couple music ideas… So it was very exciting watch this all come together. Writing music for a trailer like this has been a pretty fun challenge because this trailer requires me to write to picture as opposed to writing music based off a formula that an editor would piece together later on in the process. Writing music for a full length feature film will really force me to think differently about how I write music and will push me outside of my comfort zone. I’m really excited about this film, and will share more information on it as soon as I’m able to.


Additional Work

So there are a few things I’ve been working on this month that have little to do with my music, but I still find important to share with you guys. Back in November I started a podcast called “The Thought Collective Podcast” and have been posting an episode every month. The whole point of my podcast is for me to talk about my thoughts about being a composer and working your way up in the industry. As of now, these episodes are all recorded out of my car (I get my best thoughts while driving), but will probably change a little bit when I decide to have guests on the show… for obvious logistic reasons. At first I didn’t really want to lock myself into a podcast schedule, but it’s kind of turned into this one a month release sort of thing. January’s podcast was the 3rd episode I've released and it talks about keeping ideas fresh, and ways I try to stay out of writers block. I’ll post a link to it below, but the thought collective podcast can be found on iTunes/apple’s podcast app, as well as my youtube channel (enter “subscribe to my channel” plug here).

Involvement with other artists

One last thing I’d like to talk about in this blog post is my involvement with a hip hop artist named “Don”. Don recently released an album this month called “The Eviction Notice” and I’ve really been involved with creating promotional content for him. From creating basic promotional visuals all the way to filming “Vlog-like Styled” behind the scenes videos for the music video “Little Nicky”, I’ve been helping Don grab the attention his album deserves. It’s been a lot of fun working with artists and trying to help them create a brand for themselves.

A still from Don’s music video “Little Nicky” (I’m in the background with my camera filming a behind the scenes for this whole process) Filmed in Grand Rapids, MI

A still from Don’s music video “Little Nicky” (I’m in the background with my camera filming a behind the scenes for this whole process) Filmed in Grand Rapids, MI

Closing Thoughts

I’m excited to consistently post on my website more often, and I think these blogs are a great way to do that. If you’ve read down this far I just want to thank you for taking the time to do so. It’s becoming a belief of mine that it’s important to document your process of working toward your dreams, and I think someday this type of thing could really be helpful to somebody who wants a step by step game plan of a composer’s workload on a typical month.

Thank you for reading this, and I’ll be back again around the end of February.

The Best Percussion Libraries for Trailer Music

The Best Percussion Libraries for Trailer Music

Written by Grant Borland


I’ve seen questions about percussion come up time after time on various forums and Facebook group pages. “What is the best percussion library to use for epic drums?” or, “What kind of drums were used in this trailer or that trailer?” While there are many different libraries out on the market that nail that perfect trailer drum sound, I’d like to talk about three different libraries that I use on a daily basis. I’ll also explain why I use them, and hopefully it’ll give you something to consider when purchasing your next percussion library. After all, buying sample libraries isn’t cheap!   



    Action Strikes    

Action Strikes is a Percussion library developed by Native Instruments. It gives you 12 different ensembles, 65 single instruments, and 12 different hit sets that are all recorded with meticulous detail. The quality of this library is unbeatable which is why you see it so frequently used among composers. One of the things i love most about this library is the sound of it’s Mid-low end. I’ll typically layer this library underneath other libraries to really give it a deep, boomy low end that sounds huge in the production. Get your hands on this library, and you’ll know exactly what I mean in a matter of seconds! This library comes with an ensemble patch that has many different loops to get you inspired right away. These loops can be changed in realtime using different keyswitches to make your rhythms sound more unique.  These loops also come in a variety of different time signatures as well! 

Action Strikes lets you control your sound by offering many different tools such as EQs, Compressors, Filters, Reverbs, and more. You can also control the microphone position on the drums to either get a close dry sound, or a big room sound. I’m a big fan of adding my own reverbs to this library, but the reverbs they have built in sound incredible too. Action Strikes retails at $300, but I think it’s almost a necessity to my arsenal of sounds. 



Link to Action Strikes:



Damage is a library created by a company called Heavyocity (probably one of the best sample library developers out there). Damage is everything you’d want for glitchy, rhythmic, hybrid-type percussion. I use this library all the time when it comes to writing trailer music, because it does what it’s intended to do. Damage features orchestral percussion as well as edgy/electronic sound design. This thing is aggressive, and will bring the intensity of your tracks to life. This library comes in at around 30 GB with over 700 different loops, 500+ one-shots, and 58 drum kits. (Studio Armageddon Ensemble is my personal favorite to use!)

This library has many different customization features and effects such as ADSR, distortion, Lofi, reverb, delay, compressors, and more. It also has a mixer section where you can balance different microphone positions to give you a close/dry sound; a distant/hall sound, and everything in between. I personally enjoy using this library for it’s mid-high range frequencies. I’ll layer Damage in with Action Strikes and I’m immediately in heaven! Get a nice sounding bus compressor on both drum libraries and you’ll get a nice punchy sound that’s ready for the big screen! 



Link to Damage:



Decimator Drums

 Decimator Drums is a percussion library developed by a company called Audio Imperia. This library is pretty new to the market, but it’s probably one of the best percussion/sound design libraries out there! I’d say this library probably inspires me most when it comes to trailer music. The drum sections are so loud and punchy, and really cut through just about anything in the mix. I’m a huge fan of all things Audio Imperia, but decimator drums is my most used library from them. Decimator Drums (DD) comes in at 2.19 GB, and requires the full version of Kontakt. DD is split up into four different sections: Ensemble Drums, Designed Kits, Loops, and Extra. I know this is a percussion library, but it’s worth the $160 just for extra section alone (109 atonal FX, 39 Tonal FX, 10 Risers, 6 Arps). If you own an Audio Imperia library, then you know how phenomenal their sound design is, and i think DD is some of their best. Their drum patches have 6 different round robins with 10 different velocity levels which really makes these drums sound realistic. I’ve heard tracks that have been used in big movie trailers that were created using only Decimator Drums. I’ve even written some trailer tracks for publishers where 80% of my track was Decimator Drums. It’s an extremely inspiring library, and sounds great right out of the box!



Link to Decimator Drums:



Additional Tips

While all of these libraries sound good on their own, I highly reccomend blending and layering all three of these to get that full, epic trailer sound. I always make sure to use my own reverbs on these drums to make them sound uniform and coherent. It’s really important to get your samples to mix well with each other! Another tip I’d like to mention is to run your percussion through a good bus compressor. I find that when you compress all your drums it really glues them together giving a solid sound! Make sure you set quick attack and release times on them and they’ll begin to sound even punchier which is critical with trailer music! 

A close friend of mine suggested I use a compressor called TDR Kotelnikov by Tokyo Dawn Records. This compressor is extremely transparent, and it’s actually FREE! It’s basically all I use when it comes to percussion compression now. 



Link to TDR Kotelnikov:



Closing Thoughts


 While these three percussion libraries are fantastic, also note that there are many other libraries out there that sound incredible too. I think part of developing your own unique sound is to research all types of libraries on the market and find the ones that really grab your ear. There are plenty of other libraries I use when layering my percussion, but I think using the three libraries I mentioned above will really get you headed in the right direction. If you’re looking for some other suggestions I recommend looking at libraries from Spitfire Audio, ProjectSAM, Soundiron, Strezov Sampling, or 8 Dio. All of these companies have fantastic libraries for percussion and are worth taking a look at. When in doubt listen to library demos and watch walkthroughs on Youtube. I can’t tell you how many times watching walkthrough videos have helped me decide on whether or not to purchase a library. I hope this article helps you guys out when choosing percussion libraries for your trailer tracks!