Niki & The Dove: Artist Feature

Posted Feb. 14, 2017, 8:23 a.m.

The way they both got into making music, by embracing mistakes and deviations in their piano lesson homework, is just the beginning of a highly compatible and equally unique take on songwriting and production for Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf. As the two producers in Niki & The Dove, they work together as a set of checks and balances - as much musical collaborators as editors, carefully crafting their sound. In this artist feature we sat down with Gustaf and Malin and had them both take us through a couple songs on their latest album, "Everybody's Heart is Broken Now."

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Follow Niki & The Dove on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube.

Posted Feb. 14, 2017, 8:23 a.m.

Announcing Reason 9.2

Posted Jan. 25, 2017, 8:41 a.m.

We're happy to announce that Reason 9.2 and a new version of the Rack Extension toolkit is now available!

When we created Rack Extensions we wanted to build a plug-in format that truly felt like Reason, with all the great workflow you guys expect. CV and audio connections, full automation, undo, integration with the Reason browser and much more.

Now, we've taken the next step! With Reason 9.2 and the new Rack Extension toolkit, developers can create devices with Reason's unique sampling feature and create much better, more user friendly interfaces with hideable widgets and panels, improved displays and more. We believe this will lead to even more exciting instruments, effects and utilities to help Reason users everywhere make more and better music. To show you just how great the new features are, Blamsoft and LoveOne have created two amazing synths.

Blamsoft's best-selling synth Expanse has been updated to version 2. The most exciting feature is that you can now load your own samples to create custom wavetables! It's also fully compatible with the Serum wavetable format, bringing an unfathomable number of new synth sounds to the Reason rack. I've personally had a lot of fun using Reason's sample feature to sample my guitar to create my own wavetables. Try it out and check the video below to see it in action.

 

Proton, developed by LoveOne in collaboration with Selig Audio, is a brand new synth and the first granular synth Rack Extension, which is exciting in itself. Based on the Neutron plug-in, Proton can load up any sample and synthesize new sound by throwing "particles" on the waveform to play parts of it. It sounds a bit like science fiction, but it's extremely fun and easy to use. Endless experimentation and interesting soundscapes awaits by simply dropping a sample on Proton and tweaking some parameters.

To update to Reason 9.2, simply launch Reason 9 or 9.1 and download your free update. And if you're on an earlier version or don't own Reason yet, there's never been a better time to get started. I'm really looking forward to see what new, exciting Rack Extensions that will be released. The only thing I know for sure is that there are now even more ways to get creative in the Reason rack.

Read all about Reason 9.2 here!

Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Reason Product Manager

Posted Jan. 25, 2017, 8:41 a.m.

Music Talk: Tobtok

Posted Jan. 16, 2017, 12:42 p.m.

Meet Tobtok, a.k.a. Tobias Karlsson, a 24 year old house DJ/producer hailing from Uppsala, Sweden. Growing up with Michael Jackson and Nile Rodgers being huge influences, Tobtok took the natural route via French-sounding house and nu-disco before delving deeper into his own niche of electronic music, where Reason always has played a big part. Tobtok is currently signed to legendary UK label Ministry of Sound and in 2016 he released the song "Fast Car" which to date totals over 30 million streams on Spotify and Soundcloud. Be sure to download the Reason lead synth combinator patch from that song further below!

We spoke to Tobtok about his song writing process and how he uses Reason in his productions. Check it out!

What's your favorite new Reason 9 feature?
It's definately the new Pitch Edit feature! I've always tried to stay in Reason for all sides of production but it's been hard working with vocals up until now. I love to work with samples in all its shapes and with this new feature it can be applied and used with all kinds of sounds. I've been editing guitar-leads with the pitch-edit and it gives the sound a whole new and interesting character.

How do you get started with a new song? What sparks your creativity?
I often start out with a Radical Piano to write basic chords, usually around a vocal. Sometimes you stumble upon an interesting sound or sample and play around with it which engages the rest of the music making. I usually ignite my creativity with hours of listening to music. Later on, bits and pieces that caught my interest kind of gets imprinted into my memory and in to the music making. Today for example I was listening to some Swedish pop song and found a specific percussion sound that I got obsessed with. After a good few hours of investigation I found out that it was a "Wooden Frog". It is now sitting nicely in my latest tune!

Sometimes creating a new track can be easier than finishing one. How do you decide when you're done?
My archive of unfinished clips has really stacked up over the years. I'm very fortunate to work with a lot of the major labels and with it comes deadlines. Usually the record has to be done in a few days so you have to make big choices and just let it be finished when it sounds right in the moment. It's so easy to think that you are finished when the arrangement is good and the mix is sounding tight, but after a few listens you always hear new stuff that you want to change. But sometimes you have to say to yourself that this is a finished product, let it go and move on to the next project. The industry is moving very fast and it's all about keeping up with it.

Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
Well, I think the biggest advantage in Reason is that it has its own sounds, which a lot of people are missing out on. I always use a lot of Reason's own sounds because it stands out and always maintains a standard.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Radical-Piano, NN-XT Sampler, Audiomatic Retro Transformer

What’s your all-time favorite album?
I have to be a bit boring and say Michael Jackson - Thriller! It's hard to beat.

Any words of wisdom for other music makers out there?
Have fun and just keep learning new ways of working, because the beauty with softwares  and computer-made music is that there's no limits to what you can do! Also, believe in your own talent and respect the craft. It's hard to stand out with your music in this day of age, and a lot of people are following the same formulas so it's a big advantage to try and take yourself out of those barriers and create something people have never heard before. Although it's always good to take inspiration from others but try to put it into your own perspective! Lastly, don't be driven by fame, because you should do music for your own pleasure, and if others enjoy what you're doing it's a bonus but your own passion is the most important thing!

 

DownloadDownload Tobtok's Combinator patches

 

 

Fast Car Steel-Synth
This is a synth-based steel-drum sound which I used to layer the lead melody and plucks in my single "Fast Car"! I've used variations of this patch in a lot of tracks and it has this carribean vibe to it!

Radical Piano - Nice Standard
Probably my favorite and most used instrument in my productions is the Radical Piano. I usually start out with this patch because it fits well with house records as I've boosted the highs to make it more stabby and pop out in the mix.

Pretty Dope Xylophone
Used in a bunch of my remixes. This Xylophone sound is quite heavily compressed to give it this "in your face" attack. Great if you are looking to do a nice tropical lead!

 

Follow Tobtok on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram!

 

In August 2016 Tobtok opened for Avicii during his Ushuaia residency on Ibiza.

Posted Jan. 16, 2017, 12:42 p.m.

Save Your Mixes with Mono!

Posted Jan. 16, 2017, 9:53 a.m.


If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of taking a mix you've done outside your studio only to find out it doesn't sound nearly the same or nearly as good on other playback systems and devices, it's time to take your stereo mixes into the mono realm.

If mixing in mono for better stereo results sounds counter-intuitive right now, watch as Ryan takes you through some of the benefits on a huge multi-track production by songwriter Matt Tinsley.

Learn more about Reason:
http://www.propellerheads.se/tryreason

Hear Matt's song, The Hardest Part:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTn6...

Music Talk: SKYWLKR

Posted Dec. 14, 2016, 12:54 p.m.

Detroit raised producer/DJ Skylar Tait a.k.a. SKYWLKR woke up on his tour bus one snowy December day in Stockholm, while being on tour with rising hip hop star Danny Brown, and immediately tweeted his favorite music software company with a request to hang out. Naturally we obliged.

SKYWLKR has made a name for himself by producing music for, and touring the world with hip hop artist Danny Brown who recently released the album "Atrocity Exhibition". Besides selling out venues with Danny Brown, SKYWLKR is also a member of the Bruiser Brigade crew, where said Danny Brown also is a member. SKYWLKR came by the Propellerhead office to hang out in our studio and talk about what he loves about Reason and what to do when writer's block hits. You also get to know what his all-time favorite album is.

What's your favorite new Reason 9 feature?

It’s gotta be Scales & Chords! I wasn’t musically trained so sometimes I don’t really know what I’m doing. It’s really cool to being able to form chords by just pressing one button on the keyboard, and at the same time you’re learning too because it shows you what the chord looks like on the keyboard! That’s a cool thing so my new favorite thing in Reason 9 has to be the Players, and especially Scales & Chords.

Do you work with vocals? Do you use the new Pitch Edit in Reason 9?

I haven’t got a chance yet! I am working on this project back home but I have been on tour for so long. I’ve watched the tutorials and I can’t wait to get back home and use it.

How do you get started with a new song? What usually sparks your creativity?

I don’t really have a formula to making beats. Sometimes I’ll just sit there and I’ll be drumming on the table, or I’ll hear a sound or a melody in my head and I’ll put it out on MIDI and then I’ll just go through patches and find a patch I like and tweak it a little bit. So I don’t really have a formula but I’ll just say I get started in my head when I’m not even in front of my computer.  

If I come up with a cool melody, I’ll browse presets or sometimes if I’m bored, I’ll do both at the same times: play something on the keyboard and browse patches at the same time. A patch or a sound might give me inspiration. It’s not really one way or the other, it’s really both. Sometimes I have the melody and I need the sound and sometimes it’s the other way around.

What do you do if writer's block hits? Any tips to break out of it?

That’s what I love about ReCycle! I have this folder full of 200 songs that I’ve chopped up in the past. I have so much stuff  that’s never been put out so when I’m bored or when I have writer’s block, I’ll go through my pre-chopped samples and just sit there and try to come up with a new way of flipping the sample. Some times I’ll be on the keyboard and I think everything sounds terrible, or everything I’m playing sucks, like I’m garbage. I’ll open up my REX files folder and I’ll just go through it.

I find that an easy way to surpass writer’s block is to just go through my REX files, hit a few keys, seeing if something clicks in my head. I might do little stuff like changing the pitch or reversing it. That usually gets me through writer’s block.

SKYWLKR on stage with Danny BrownDo you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?

I swear by the tape setting in Scream 4! You could almost put that on every single sound or drum hit. It makes it sound warm, you know? Other than that I like adding things to the master, even an odd thing like Polar pitch shifter, I use that on everything!

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?

Polar, Scream 4, Thor. Thor is my synth of choice! You can just get the most creative with it! Make a whole new sound, make it wobble, make it gate, change the pitch as it goes. You can do a lot of crazy stuff with Malström too! Try loading the Thunder graintable in Malström and make the movement stop at the perfect spot and it sounds like a synth note. I would pick the Thor over the Malström at this point in my life though.

What do you use for drums? NNXT or Kong?

It’s funny, when I started I used to put all my drums in one or two Redrums. The kicks, snare and hats all in the same Redrum. Later I got into opening a new NN19 for every single hit, so all my drums would be on nine different NN19s. I know you can do it with Kong, EQ different hits differently but I’m so used to the NN19 way. Since Reason now has Drag and Drop–a lot of times I’ll just drag the hit right onto the screen and go from there.

I use a lot of sounds from the Kong kits because there’s a lot of cool sounds in there. I use a lot of those hits, but I just don’t like having all my drums on one track. I know you can do each hit on a different track, but in my head it’s easier to use NN19 to use drums.

This is a hard one: what’s your all-time favorite album?

It’s gotta be Oval - 94 Diskont. That’s my chill music! When I’m just chilling, that’s what I like to listen to–minimal and ambient and relaxing. That’s gotta be my favorite. I can’t listen to it when I’m partying, it’s not really a party album but as far as every other situation in life, it’s my go to album.

Check out SKYWLKR on Soundcloud or follow him on Facebook!

 

 

Posted Dec. 14, 2016, 12:54 p.m.