YouTube Sampling

I don't know about you, but I have a nice spicy meme playlist for when I'm in the car, or cooking, or whatever. I've always enjoyed sampling vocal clips from YouTube (usually of celebrities being horrible people). It's very easy to sample, and most memes on the site seem to become effectively public domain (although, they often are not; people just aren't aware of their intellectual property rights, and once something goes viral online, there's little anyone can do to stop it). That being said, there is a lot of interesting sounds, textures and music to be found on the site. In an interview with Ableton, Bonobo highlights how YouTube has changed his own approach to sampling; " I think what I’m sampling now varies from what I was sampling back in the day. I came from a traditional sort of hip hop cut and paste aesthetic when I started out. I was digging for thrift store drum breaks or raiding the exotica section in record stores to find an interesting sound palette to sample... ...But the source for that is less vinyl these days. I’m going on YouTube and digital catalogues and archives for sounds."

He then continues to address what could be described as the YouTube audio aesthetic; "There’s that sort of grainy quality when you’re sampling something off of YouTube. But also that’s the world we live in now. Not to discredit high fidelity, but if we’re making music in 2016 people are sampling off YouTube, people are playing acoustic cover versions on their own YouTube channels. And that affects the texture. But you can turn that into an aesthetic in itself."

The millennial generation is awash with meme culture; a phenomenon that has spawned it's own fluid and ever-changing YouTube remix subculture. People take popular, or irrelevant movies, TV shows, what ever it is and they "remix" it. Whether it's brilliant musically or not, that is largely irrelevant. What determines the content's popularity is it's share-ability. Is it funny? Is the video well made? Chances are that if you want to share it with your friends, they will share it too; and so forth.

Some of the people that do this, aren't even aware of what sampling actually is. They just find a source, write some music under it and distribute it. Often there is a marriage between the footage and the audio; both being repurposed and made relevant again. As I work on this album, I've been sampling from a range of sources; such as old personal cassettes, weird instruments I've bought at car boot sales and of course; YouTube and creative commons archives.

Below is a list of some of my personal favourite YouTube remixes, re-samplings and mash ups.

1. The Kazoo Kid Remix

This is probably the best as not only is the video really well edited, but the music is also well made.

2. Bale Out

This song always comes out when I'm at parties...

3. Cooking by the Book Lil' John Mash Up Just watch it, it's pretty great.

This one isn't samples, I just like it.

After compiling them all into a list, I'm starting to see why I keep re-watching these and linking them to my friends; they are pretty catchy.


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All photos by Jenny McCord Photography © 2016 Katt Strike

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