Beatsmith Kenny Galbraith on Producing Live Loop Sets

Up-and-coming producer and percussionist Kenny Galbraith tells Headliner how he first got into playing drums, finding his niche producing live loop sets, and reveals how he’s been experimenting with his sound lately...

Originally from rural Nebraska, Galbraith moved to Huntington Beach, California to pursue a musical career when he was just 18. Yet like many live musicians, the biggest change he’s had to navigate has of course been the pandemic, which, despite putting the brakes on his tour schedule, provided a period of reflection and restructure.

“It was a wild transition; I was doing at least a couple of shows a week playing with local bands to some big crowds – experiencing that is addicting,” he begins. “My passion for drums actually started in sixth grade when I heard my teacher play the snare. It was just something about the feeling and the energy contained within the rhythm.

“My music is a fusion of everything I listen to, from ska music, to liquid drum and bass, to downtempo stuff. For me it’s about creating a certain kind of vibe. I love chill music and I love pretty melodies, but I also really like organic, earthy sounding vibes, without things sounding too electronic.”

I don't think I've ever been this excited about where I'm at as an artist and a musician.

In pursuit of said vibes, Galbraith has been busying himself doing weekly live streams, which he says have been a lot of fun.

“Lately I’ve been discovering some really awesome tribal Latin and African house music,” he reveals. “Basically I’ll do a DJ set, where I’ll just play percussion on top of all these fire tracks that I’ve been finding, as well as putting together a live loop set. I think live looping is really where I’m finding my niche; I’ll play guitar and then loop it, and I’ll use a handpan and other percussion – that’s more on the mellow, downtempo side of things.”

Galbraith has also just started to record his own percussion sample packs, and through this venture has started tapping into the burgeoning NFT community.

“I sold a couple of NFTs of songs that I’ve made, and something I’ve been including in there is my Ableton set as well as the percussion,” he says. “In fact, people told me the reason why they bought it was because they wanted those percussion samples.

“In terms of my setup, I just have a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, with all the different inputs for my percussion going in. I have a collection of Blue microphones which are really nice, but my biggest inspiration as far as gear and VSTs goes is my Strymon pedals. I have a BigSky, a TimeLine, and an El Capistan, and I mix those with a volume pedal to get these really cool ambient swells with guitar.

“On the production side I love Omnisphere; it’s hands down my favourite plugin to use. All my tracks have guitar in there somewhere without fail, and I love cinematic, orchestral music. I’ll use Omnisphere to get these pretty sounding strings or pads, or for my bass synths. It really allows you to create sounds and manipulate them however you want, it’s just endless.”

The last 18 months or so have proved particularly fruitful for Galbraith, and have given him more time than ever to experiment with and hone his sound. He’s finally making the kind of music he always wanted to.

“Before the year is out, I’m going to be releasing some new tracks of my own, and then really just trying to build up my live streaming fan base,” he tells Headliner joyfully. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about where I’m at as an artist and a musician. It just feels good to share exactly what’s in my heart; I’m fully stoked on where music is taking me at the moment, and I don’t even know where that is yet! I’m just taking baby steps, and saying yes to whatever opportunities come my way.

“I really want to build a live loop set, and have that as something I take around with me and perform at festivals and different events. My main goal however is to become a master percussionist, and to master this craft.”

believes it’s fair to say Galbraith is well on his way to accomplishing that goal...

Listen to the full podcast interview with Kenny on Headliner Radio here: