All posts tagged “Hip Hop”
Harald Austad is a producer and songwriter from Norway. He’s worked with artists such as Spellemanns winners (Norwegian Grammys artists of the year) Karpe Diem, Madcon and Jaa9&Onkl P and winner of Norway’s Got Talent, Sirius, selling platinum albums and singles. An avid Reason user, we sat down to talk music with Harald.
Before he was Kool Kojak, Allan Grigg and his brother built their own drum set out of tape and pvc pipes and created their own recordings using their boombox. It was the start of a lifelong quest to make the hip hop sounds that inspired him from childhood. His tenacity led him to New York where he interned at legendary hip hop studios, saved for years to get his prized MPC drum machine, and made musical friendships that would lead to number one hit songs around the world.
Kool Kojak’s success is no fluke. He works hard but he plays hard, not afraid to push himself into experimentation and find his own sound. His reputation and credits have led him to work with artists like Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Ke$ha, and many many more.
Benjamin Laub or Grieves as he’s known to fans, critics, and rappers the world over graduated from his MPC2000 to Reason after getting introduced to it by his long-time collaborator, Budo. Once he realized the depth and possibility, his production quickly shifted over almost entirely inside Reason. And when Grieves set out to take his latest album on tour he was faced with a problem: How could he get his live band to sound EXACTLY like his record sounds. Being a perfectionist, the nearest facsimile just wouldn’t do for Grieves and thanks to Reason’s rock-solid stability and legendary backwards compatibility, he had an obvious solution.
Opening up his entire back catalog of production files – years worth of music – Grieves was able to save patches to new document and create a live performance set up that includes the exact sounds off his record, complete with the same effects, same combinator routings, keyboard splits, etc. The result is a perfectionist’s dream on stage and a fan’s delight. We caught up with Grieves and his new band as they finished up rehearsals in Seattle and took their show on the road with the first show in Portland, Oregon.
How do you use Reason in your music making?
Reason has basically been the center for my music making process for the past couple years. It’s the program I use to capture sounds and make tracks. I don’t use any other programs.
What’s the best music making tip you ever got?
The best music making tip I ever got was to mix with my ears, and not my eyes. It’s easy to just get behind the knobs and put presets that you think sound good but it’s best to let your ears mix.
Do you have any favorite sound or patch?
If i had to pick a favorite sound or patch I’d have to be generic and go with the 808 bass drum; I like to put the Scream4 on that or some other fun effects and make my tracks bang.
What do you do when writer’s block strikes?
I just layer synths and put delays and reverbs on them and export the wav’s and sample myself and stretch and reverse the audio, just make cool sounds. It’s completely experimental, I never really know what i’m doing.
What has been the best moment in your music making career thus far?
I don’t know, there’s been lots of cool shit. I’ve got to collaborate with some of my favorite artists, I’ve gotten to play my tracks in front of thousands of people. the coolest moment was probably when “XXX” came out with Danny Brown, it was the first time a lot of people got to hear my beats.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians?
As far as Words of Wisdom for aspiring producers or artists in general, it would be to just have fun and do what you want to do. Don’t get caught up in formulas, be experimental.
Ask someone to describe hip hop music and they might say “slow beats at 90BPM, gritty samples, and politically charged rhymes from the streets.” They might not know it but they’re describing hip hop as we know it thanks to Hank Shocklee. It’s no exaggeration to say that not since George Martin has a producer had as much influence in the direction and development of a cultural movement. Hank doesn’t stop to reflect on all his accomplishments, however. He just continues to do what he always has… make music. Since the early 2000s, Shocklee moved his elaborate hardware based production workflow out of the studio rack and into the Reason rack.
For this interview, there were too many great stories to fit into a single interview so be sure to check out Hank Shocklee’s deleted scenes.