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The Guitar Sample on Christon Gray's "See You Soon"

The Guitar Sample on Christon Gray's "See You Soon"

Christon Gray's pop/rap crossover on "See You Soon" serves as an encouraging message in these times of quarantined loneliness. A Tracklib guitar sample ties the production together, handled by beatmaker PH4NTOM and the track's songwriter and arranger, Chris Shaban b.k.a. Shabby.

By DannyVeekens
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Chris, you teach a class on songwriting, even adding Tracklib to the curriculum. What are the main things about sampling you aim to teach your students? As I can imagine they didn’t grow up with sample-based music.

Shabby: Before I had even heard of Tracklib, I was preaching the importance of samples in music. It’s a lost art. The red tape and prohibitive cost have scared so many away... I grew up on great sampling from guys like DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, and countless others. I knew if we didn’t teach the newer generation, it may fall off. Then I got introduced to Tracklib by PH4NTOM for “See You Soon” and it was almost like an answer to prayer! The simplicity, the variety, the ease of use… I can’t say enough good things about it. I taught a class on Zoom last night and made sure to name-drop Tracklib three times.

That’s wonderful! Can you explain what makes the art of sampling so important to your music classes?

Shabby: It’s two-fold. First, it gives life to beautiful music that we may have either forgotten about or never hear. Sometimes I end up listening to the sampled record more than the new version because something grabs me. I used to rip through credits to get samples and play the originals. To me, that is too important to let die. Second, it is an amazing way to create classic art. We’re all influenced every time we write or produce something. We don’t need to pretend like every thought is brand new and original. Sampling is too valuable a tool to not use.

"Sometimes all we need is a spark, and Tracklib is loaded with sparks that you can then license to turn into flames"

—Shabby

Which potential do you see for Tracklib for producers in the (near) future?

Sometimes all we need is a spark, and Tracklib is loaded with sparks that you can then license to turn into flames. This should be one of the first places visited for all producers and writers, regardless of genre. My gut tells me that within short order, we’re going to hear many more authentic samples back in our music and no doubt that Tracklib will be a leader in that.

PH4NTOM, to switch to the beat of “See You Soon” that you worked on in collaboration with Shabby: can you please tell us a bit about the production process? Were you looking for a specific type of sample?

PH4NTOM: When I started the production on “See You Soon,” I was just casually looking through Tracklib for some new tracks to sample when I stumbled across Dean Wagg’s “This Epic Life,” I thought the sample would fit really well on a beat designed to mix pop and rap. So I quickly made a demo of the beat, and sent it out.

What was your first reaction when you found “This Epic Life”?

PH4NTOM: Within the first few seconds of the song, I knew that I had to buy the two-dollar lease immediately. I don’t even think that I finished listening to the song before I bought the track because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the sample.

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So what did you want to do with it?

PH4NTOM: The guitar is what immediately caught my ear when I first heard it. It gave off such an inspirational vibe which made me think that it would be perfect for the type of instrumental I was trying to create.

How have you sampled it and incorporated it into your beat?

PH4NTOM: I started by taking the first fifteen seconds of the guitar and looped it to create the main melody. I then added several vocal chops to complement the guitar and give it more of a “pop” feel. I knew that a large portion of “See You Soon” was going to have rapping on it, so I decided to give the drums a heavy trap influence. But overall the catchiness of the sample makes the beat, in my opinion. I couldn't imagine the song any other way.

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