All posts tagged “Dubstep”
Disonata, based in Northampton, UK is a producer, DJ and musician. Making predominantly Dubstep in both hard hitting and chilled out forms, he is working his way up in the scene. He is getting airplay from some of the biggest names in Dubstep like Skream & Benga, Funtcase, Hatcha, BadKlaat, Requake, Lost, Beezy, Jakes and many more. We had a quick chat with him to find out more about his use of Reason.
We caught up with music production duo KOAN Sound to learn a bit more about how they use Reason in their music. Little that we know that they’d reveal some truly amazing tips for designing synths and bass lines. Read on to find out how they create those gut-wrenching bass sounds and mind-bending effects!
Could you tell us a little bit about how you guys approach sound design in Reason?
We use Reason mainly for creating synths and basslines. The Malström synth is used for pretty much every bass sound, and we normally use the different saw and square wave variations. By themselves they’re very chunky waveforms so they provide a great basis for an endless number of sounds. Most of our bass sounds are made by first making a long bass note and giving it some movement so we can later resample it in interesting ways. To get the movement we tend to go crazy with automation and effects until we get a dynamic but clean sound. For example we’ll add an EQ before a Scream 4 in the chain of effects because when you automate the EQ frequency and gain, it combines with the distortion to create really cool movement. Then we’ll usually export and resample the sound.
We resample a lot in Reason with the NN-19. It’s an easy way to get a bass sounding really techy. For example when we have a sound we like in the NN-19, we’ll duplicate it then apply different effects to each one, dedicating one to the low end and the other for highs and mids. For example we might add a bandpass filter to one of them and slightly detune it in the sampler so when the bandpass is automated it sweeps through the frequencies and phases them which sounds pretty nice. We could then export this again and repeat if needs be. Also, the notch filter on the NN-19 is awesome and we use it often to give bass more movement.
The Scream 4 distortion is probably our favourite thing about Reason. It’s such a versatile tool and can completely mangle sounds whilst keeping them relatively clean. We’ve used it to process snares too. The loud, metallic snares in ‘Meanwhile, In The Future’ were made by putting live snare samples through the Scream 4. It created these huge exaggerated tails which didn’t sound overly distorted.
Any specific sound design tips you got that really helped you out?
Best thing we learnt was to think about sounds in three parts: lows, middles and highs. This helps with the overall mix of the track because you can then add and remove frequencies so it comes together like a jigsaw. But it’s also incredibly helpful when thinking about bass sounds. Splitting bass into multiple parts and treating each part differently with filters and effects can create very sonically pleasing sounds.
Do you have any favorite sound or patch or do you create everything from scratch?
For our more melodic tracks we often use the Hall Strings from the NN-XT. When low pass filtered and with some reverb they can provide a very deep and warm layer to the track. Even when we’ve used live recordings of violins, like in our Sanctuary EP, we layered them with these Reason strings to thicken out the mix.
How do you use Reason in your music making?
I use Reason to design different kinds of synthesizer sounds from the ground up which is really exciting due to the modular nature of Reason’s devices. I start off with a set of blank combinators and just connect cables to my hearts content which usually ends up in a huge mess of cables all contributing to a wonderful wall of sound.
The common scenario is that I Rewire Reason to any other DAW I may be working on at the time and just use the combinator controls to automate the sounds of my combinator devices. Reason is a very visual software which is something I like very much and it lets the user go deeper in to programming devices than many other major DAWs and its just a breeze to come up with new sounds.
What’s the best music making tip you ever got?
I guess the best tip I ever got was to think of a tune as a combination of two or three main elements. That simplification has really helped me creatively to concentrate on the elements that matter. As a producer the risk of losing sight of the bigger picture is always apparent as the tools we use are so intricate and provide so many options. That’s not so much of a problem when you’re producing for someone else and they are in charge of the artistic decisions but as an artist I’m solely responsible for the overall vibe of the music I create.
Do you have any favorite sound or patch?
In broad terms I do have favorite timbres that I prefer over others but they are more like personal preferences of how a certain instrument should sound in a particular context. I rarely have a specific patch in mind when I’m writing and in broad terms I’m just trying to select the right vibe for the track by listening to the sounds in my head.
What do you do when writer’s block strikes?
The frustrating part about a writers block is that they are hard to notice sometimes. I might be working on a tune for a week and then realize nothing I’ve done makes any sense. What I usually do is throw the garbage out and start from scratch. Sounds painful but its actually very relieving.
What has been the best moment in your music making career thus far?
I don’t have a specific life defining moment in mind but in general terms the greatest part about pursuing creativity is the small moments of gratification that happen after you’ve created something meaningful. Its that childish excitement that I’m looking for.
Any Words of Wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians?
Work hard, play hard but don’t take yourself too seriously and meet some real people every once in a while!
Max Rehbein (aka Dorincourt) joins us for a guest video, showing you how to create an aggressive, hard hitting dubstep bass. Using the standard Reason devices, learn how to really get your sound to roar by using effects and how to make it sit well in the mix.
After this, you’ll be able to make that love-it-or-hate-it dirty wobble bass we all know!
Tony Cook was just a kid when he saw his brother playing Music 2000 on his Playstation console and in an instant, after seeing two sounds combined to form something entirely new, Tony knew that music was his calling. After attending music college and getting exposed to Reason, his ability to make big sounds and killer beats was quickly apparent. It wasn’t long before Tony was known to the world as Cookie Monsta – DJ, Producer, and Subwoofer-punisher extraordinaire.
We visited Tony in his Nottingham, UK studio to get an insight into how he layers Malström synths up to make his big speaker-rattling sounds.