Mar 23

Learn from a band that’s changed the face of music since the 70s.

by in Melodics

Kraftwerk’s journey to becoming one of the most influential pop groups of all time began in the late 60s and early 70s. In the pop-cultural vacuum of post-world-war Germany, Kraftwerk struggled to find a new artistic voice. But few would have predicted that these reclusive European experimentalists would form a foundation for electronic music that would help build music as we know it today. Here are 7 reasons why:

1. Who Sampled Ya?

Kraftwerk who sampled

One of the most sampled acts in history with over 1000 samples used and counting…

As one of the most sampled acts in history, it’s unlikely you’ve never heard a Kraftwerk Song before. They’re often hiding in plain sight on tracks by artists as diverse as Chemical Brothers, Busta Rhymes, LCD Soundsystem, Panda Bear, DJ Shadow, New Order & Jay-Z.

Hip-Hop DJs used Kraftwerk albums religiously during the B-Boy era and Pioneering DJ Afrikaa Bambataa was the first to press a remix to vinyl – sampling Trans-Europe Express on the blistering electro track Planet Rock in 1982. The song catapulted itself into the charts and paved the way for Hip-Hop to start dominating the airwaves.

Check out the full list here.

2. Godfathers of electronic music

Kraftwerk inspired early Techno, Electro & Trance producers from the get go.

As one of the earliest groups to explore the use of synthesisers and electronic instruments, 
Kraftwerk were painting on a refreshingly blank canvas. They both defined and foreshadowed what the world would sound like in the digital age, leaving a fingerprint on all electronic music in their wake.

Sequenced drums and driving minimal beats informed Electro, Techno & House. Hypnotic hymns and ambient explorations can be found in Trance and Downtempo styles. The sheer amount of Kraftwerk samples used by EDM greats across decades, which still find their way back into modern dance tracks, prove that Kraftwerks influence is still as strong as ever.

Kraftwerk revolutionised the music industry with their use of drum machines. These devices enabled them to craft precise and rhythmic beats that couldn’t be replicated by conventional drum kits, thus making a lasting impression on the evolution of music. 

3. Minimal influence

They influenced David Bowie’s highly acclaimed Berlin Trilogy which made a ripple effect of influence for bands alike and thereafter.

While Kraftwork found a home on dance floors in the UK & America, their minimal, ambient aesthetic influence also helped shape the sound of the burgeoning New Wave scene and other avant-garde music. David Bowie and Brian Eno travelled to Berlin to meet their new heroes. This encounter and Bowie’s subsequent stay in Germany heavily influenced his ‘Berlin Trilogy’. This series of 3 albums are now regarded as the strongest and most innovative period of his career – influencing a legion of rock, goth, industrial and post-punk acts in its wake.

4. Computer Love

Kraftwerk computer love

Modern pop artists and bands have used Kraftwerk melodies to create emotional, anthemic music.

Kraftwerk is well-known for minimal ambience or cold robotic soundscapes, but they also know how to write catchy, heart-stirring melodies. Miley Cyrus, Ciara and many more have injected Kraftwerk into popular music to create depth and emotion. Coldplay famously used ‘Computer Love’s’ lilting heartsick keyboard line on their 2005 single ‘Talk’, turning the melody into a stadium anthem.

5. Digital Soul

Kraftwerk vocal processing influenced aaalllll of that autotune stuff!

While vocal effects were already enjoying a heyday in the 70s (Peter Frampton and his Talk Box guitar solos are just one example) – Kraftwerk were the first music act to really infuse robotic-sounding vocals with humanity and emotion. Florian Schneider’s patented ‘robovox’ technology (1990) still remains a mystery but gives a clue into the group’s vocal synthesis methods. It’s no exaggeration to say that Daft Punk, T-Pain & Kanye’s 808’s & Heartbreaks and all of that auto-tune we hear today, owe so much to Kraftwerks early vocoded experiments.

6. Man Machines

Kraftwerk drums

Reimagined the human voice in music through the use of vocoders and autotune

Kraftwerks early development saw a move from mere flirtation with electronic instrumentation to embracing it completely. With 2 drummers in the band, this evolution necessitated the move to drum machines, and their creation of DIY electronic drum kits – some of the first ever made.

This enabled them to craft precise, rhythmic beats that meshed perfectly with synthesised sounds, and couldn’t be replicated by conventional drum kits. In a time before the mass production of such instruments, Kraftwerks percussive sound was radical and revolutionary – inspiring the next wave of electronic music and the popularisation of electronic drum kits in the 80s.

7. Mannequin Act

Their high-concept live act showed bands how to go beyond a cliche rock show

Kraftwerk was notoriously uncomfortable with the fame and popularity that came with their music. They developed an innovative live show which rejected typical rock tropes, preferring to simply line the band up in a row in front of their instruments and present the music.

As they rejected the spotlight more and more, their presence on stage was replaced by mannequins that moved robotically to the music, fully realising the concepts inherent in their music – humanity replaced by technology.

From the 80s until their reunion shows in the 2000s, their live show held this theme while developing new costumes, choreography and visuals. Kraftwerk’s unique & artful approach to stagecraft set a new standard for how bands could present themselves in concert, inspiring countless other acts to follow with high-concept performances.

Learn it in Melodics!

Kraftwerk The Model MelodicsKraftwerk The Model MelodicsKraftwerk The Model Melodics

We’ve broken down their iconic track, The Model, into separate Melody, Baseline, and Drums lessons. Get into the kick and snare rhythm on pads or cruise the autobahn on keys with their signature bassline and mechanical melody.

Let’s play!

Mar 16

Learn ‘Ride’ by Twenty One Pilots

by in Drums

Buckle in for the ultimate ‘ride’ with our latest drums lesson by Twenty One Pilots.

Twenty One Pilots Ride

The unconventional duo comprises singer and guitarist, Tyler Joseph and drummer, Josh Dun, who have taken the world by storm since their self-titled debut album release in 2009.

‘Ride’ was released in 2015 and featured as a single from their award-winning album, ‘Blurryface’. The track follows an emotional journey that explores perseverance through life’s challenges when all seems overwhelming – a message that really appeals and represents their fleet of fiercely loyal and passionate fans known as the “Skeleton Clique”.

In true TØP style, the upbeat production and cheerful instrumental arrangement work perfectly with the ominous message. The pair are masters of working with contrasting themes and musical concepts. Drawing from a rich and upbeat reggae influence, the track features shimmery synths and brooding baselines which are all tied together in a groove that emphasises the upbeat – a track worth adding to your drumming repertoire.


Twenty One Pilots (TØP)
Twenty One Pilots Grammy

Whether it’s their riveting and energetic live shows or their urgent and profound lyrics, TØP have succeeded in unapologetically owning their ‘sense of self’ while connecting with a world of listeners who seek the same solace from their music.

Their impressive set of accolades consists of Grammy wins to MTV and Billboard awards including: Best Alternative Album of the year for “Trenches” (2019) and Favourite Pop/Rock Duo (2019).

It’s time to place your 16th-note hi-hat rhythm on autopilot. Cruising to a groove that effortlessly combines elements of rock, hip-hop, reggae, punk, electro and pop.

Get on your kit and hitch a ride with Melodics to level up your skills with this iconic Twenty One Pilots lesson.


Mar 09

Could Kate Bush be one of music’s most underrated Pop artists?

by in Music

Kate Bush Stranger Things

So, who is Kate Bush? And why isn’t she widely recognised as a musical icon? You may know her track ‘Running Up That Hill’ in the Netflix hit, Stranger Things. But beyond that, we’ve unknowingly grown accustomed to the sounds she evolved and just how much her influence has broken boundaries for women in music.

Where it began.

Kate Bush is a singer, songwriter, and musician who has been captivating audiences with her unique style and cutting-edge sound since the 70s. By 17, Kate released a demo that landed the attention of EMI who took the plunge to sign Kate at a time when the British music industry was generally stagnant. Genres like progressive rock and experimental acts were being considered as a means of revitalising the industry — and it worked.

Kate’s influence.

By ‘78, Kate was topping charts with her hit single “Wuthering Heights,” crowning her as the first female artist in the UK to reach number one with a self-written song. Her 4th studio album also broke records as she became the first female artist to reach number 1 in the album charts while achieving artistic independence in the process – an uncommon phenomenon in the 80s.

Kate Bush Fairlight synthesiser

Powerful storytelling and the exploration of contentious themes over experimental sounds are only some of the traits embedded into Kate’s artistic identity. Her revolutionary use of the first digital keyboard sampling station, the Fairlight synthesiser, and the headset microphone onstage (a brand new invention at the time) show just how much Kate’s music was inspiring a fleet of kindred artists along the way.

Billie Eilish, FKA Twigs, Stevie Nicks, Grimes and Sia are just a few artists who evoke the unconventional spirit of Kate Bush in their work. Whether it’s her avant-garde and experimental production, distinguished stage presence or dramatic vocals, Kate’s influence in music extends beyond genre and decade.

37 years after its release, ‘Running Up That Hill’ has now been streamed almost 500 million times and featured in 2.7 million TikTok videos introducing a new legion of young devotees who have discovered the seminal artist for the first time. Despite never winning a grammy, you won’t find Kate begging for the limelight. Her influence speaks volumes about why she should be recognised as a force in the music industry. Her authenticity has proved how running up that hill isn’t too bad once you’re at the top.

We highly recommend checking out her work and exploring elements of her sound in your own music. You can learn ‘Running Up That Hill’ on keys, pads, and drums with Melodics. From VI VII i pop chord progressions, to unequivocally 80s drum rhythms and synths.

Play it today and experience the unique and magical world of Kate Bush for yourself.

Happy International Women’s Day!