'Forest' Sampled Parts Arranged For Kit

Arranging sampled parts on a live kit using odd sounds to replicate sounds.

In this lesson you will be arranging a sampled groove onto live kit using the song Forest by 21 Pilots as an example. The groove in question comes in right at the start of the song and if you listen and is made up entirely of electronically created parts. If you do a quick youtube search for live versions of the song you will see the drummer using a trigger pad to re-create these sounds but these are expensive and most drummers don't have then on this kit. The main aim of this lesson is to try and help you work out how to replicate those parts on gear you would normally own.

Through this page a one bar groove will be built up step by step. The focus will be on listening to the sounds used and working out what would most sound like that. So listen back again to that main groove part underneath the intro. The most obvious part is the bass drum on beat 1 of the bar, most drum kits have a bass drum so that's easy enough! There is also something that sounds like a shaker being played on the quarter note counts. Now, you could actually use a shaker for this and let your left hand deal with some of the other sounds used within the bar. That would sound accurate and later on in the song there is space for you to put the shaker down and pick up a stick but what we are trying to do here is replicate parts. So what sounds like a shaker on a standard drum kit? Some kind of cymbal would be best and it should be something with a shortist sound. To me, a half open hi hat would be the most obvious. So far that gives us this:

Building up the grove

The next thing that jumps out to me is an accented note on the 'a' after beat 2, which could be thought of as the grooves back beat. On the recording this is a sort of scratchy, short, sharp sound and to me the snare drum would be appropriate for this. If you listen closely the pitch of this back beat changes in the second bar of the phrase. If you wanted to get really techical you could use a standard snare for the first bar then in the second switch to a second snare or play a rim shot. With the snare added we have this:

Building up the grove

The next bit gets a bit tricker. On beat four there are some eighth notes that a played with a kind of clicky, wooden tone. The note on the beat is higher pitched than the one that falls on the '+'. If there was just one pitch a Side Stick would work well, but ideally we want those two different tones. Toms are an option but they aren't really matching with the tone so I think the Rims of the toms might be better. That gives you a nice 'clicky' sound and there are multiple pitches to work with. Here's what that looks like with those added in:

Building up the grove

Finally, another of those clicky sounds is on the '+' count right at the start of the bar and is the lower pitched sound. So the full groove arranged for kit would be like this:

Building up the grove

That completes the groove and hopefully has helped with arranging parts in this manner!


  1. Learn the full groove upto a tempo of at least 121bpm, which is the speed of the song.
  2. Listen through the rest of the song and try to pick out some other parts that are samples. Arrange them for live kit.
  3. Apply the groove to a four or eighth bar phrase.
  4. Try playing a long to the full song.