Artist Feature: AnonXmous

Posted Nov. 16, 2016, 12:58 p.m.



The age-old adage, “be in the right place at the right time” leaves out the most important third element. “Be ready.” AnonXmous did what he had to do to make sure he put himself in the right place, ready for the right time. But long before that he invested countless hours honing his skills so that when those did converge serendipitously he would also be ready. And now he’s got three Grammy nominations and a Universal publishing deal to show for it.

AnonXmous is the creative mind behind Nicki Minaj’s biggest single to date (Anaconda), as well as records with Chris Brown, Timbaland, Fergie, and work on the best selling Empire soundtrack. To hear him speak of his accomplishments however, he’s just getting started. We sat down to hear his inspiring story and learn some clever techniques he has to stay creative and inspired himself when approaching new writing sessions.

Want to read more and collaborate with AnonXmous? Check this out!

Follow AnonXmous on Twitter and Instagram!

Music Talk: Dunderpatrullen

Posted Nov. 15, 2016, 1:12 p.m.

Dunderpatrullen is a four-man electro-collaboration with roots ranging from the wild, untamed forests of northern Sweden to the flower covered fields of southern Scandinavia. The quartet makes music and visual entertainment in a category of its own. Behind the powerful music-making machines, the band members Jim, Stefan, Patrik and Erik fill the musical void left behind by now obsolete retro-consoles you once grew up with and still love. Dunderpatrullen takes you on a musical adventure through a full-color shower during which they make you feel like riding a mental roller coaster of nostalgia.

We had the chance to speak with them about what role Reason plays in their musical production. They've also been so kind to make two video tutorials showing a couple of their secret tips and tricks! Check it out!

What's your favorite new Reason 9 feature?

The new Player devices, hands down. They are amazing for creating new
ideas you probably wouldn't think of otherwise. The new Pitch Edit is
pretty neat as well.

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

The way of getting started with a new song varies. Jamming along to a loop
with drums and a bass line might do the trick. Sometimes it could be more
specific like "I feel like making a really fast and explosive track", or
"let's try out this mellow vibe I've been thinking of".

Inspiration comes from all types of sources. It could be a really great
video game or movie soundtrack, a random song or sometimes an idea just
pops up in your head out of the blue. For some reason the bathroom has
become this holy place for melodies to pop up in the head while taking a
shower.

Scales & Chords is also a great way to mess around with unusual scales
or keys you perhaps don't use that often.


What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?

We do something else! You can't force inspiration, so chilling out with a
gnarly video game or watching a movie does the trick sometimes. Hanging out with friends is another neat
way to replenish your inspirational resources. Forcing creativity just tend
to get you frustrated, and creativity and frustration doesn't match that
well.

Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?

Not that we ALWAYS do this, but we work with sampling stuff from our own
video clips and turn them into "audiovisual experiments", as we like to put
it. We chop up the audio sample and put it into Recycle to turn it into a
rex file. Then we just mess around with it on the keyboard to find some
catchy phrases and sometimes match it to the respective video.
 

A great thing with Reason is that it’s really easy to come up with some of
the strangest ideas and actually make them work.


The three most used devices in your Reason rack?

Erik: It has to be Thor, Synapse GQ-7 Graphic Equalizer and Kong.

Jim: It's probably the good old Subtractor, NN-XT and Thor.

What’s your all-time favorite album?

Erik: Tough one.. I think I'll choose Sigur Rós' "Takk...". Timeless record.

Jim: Funny thing - I had also wrote down Sigur Rós before we combined our
answers. I choose their untitled album with untitled songs and made up
language. I think they are really good at creating instrumental music that moves you
without the need of explanation with lyrics and titles, and to me that's a
really important part of music.

Check out more of Dunderpatrullen's music over on their website!

Music Talk: Aerotronic

Posted Aug. 3, 2016, 8:51 a.m.

Jordi Moonen and Laurens Van Steenbergen, also known as Aerotronic, met each other at the age of seven and discovered at this very young age to share the same taste of music. A couple of years later, they decided to start experimenting with dj-ing and producing, leading to developing a passion that has been growing ever since.

Aerotronic has released their music on labels such as Teenage Riot Records, Sex Cult and Boxon Records, and gained support from many artists including Mr Oizo, Zombie Nation, Fake Blood and Mixhell.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Jordi and Laurens about their relation to Reason and their thoughts on our latest release, Reason 9. Be sure to download and check out their top 5 custom Combinator patches below!

What's your favorite new Reason 9 feature?
The Dual Arpeggio is definitely a game changer. It’s so easy to program polyphonic sequences now. I like it that you can make it as simple or complex as you want. It feels like a fusion of the Matrix Pattern Sequencer and the RPG-8, but even bigger. And you can perfect your loops with the ease of clicking the send to track button, which transfers the arpeggio sequence into midi data. Super useful. I also found myself to be using the ‘Bounce in place’ function quite a lot. It allows for quick loop creations. Overall, R9 is a superb update, from the players to the pitch edit. It’s all really solid.

How do you get started with a new song? What usually sparks your creativity?
We just listen to a lot of different music. It does help a lot that we have a very similar taste in music, that makes it easy for us to agree on production decisions. Then, when we start to make music, it all really depends on what new sound design we come up with. Sometimes it’s a melody hook. Sometimes it’s some percussion loops we’ve made. Then we try to build a theme around it. Sound design is a big part of what we do. Mostly we come up with some new sounds in seperate sessions, later we record the results and manipulate them. Building the full track happens later. Once we’ve established a couple of decent loops, we try building them up and down into a structure that makes the most sense to us.

What do you do if writer's block hits? Any tips to break out of it?
When we don’t have any ideas with the material we made, we just let it sit in our computer folder for a couple of weeks. So you fully forget about the progress you made. When you come back later with a fresh mind, you can easily spot what you like or dislike. We recently finished a project that was over 3 years old (see the song ZYX below!). So anything can happen really. I also noticed that once you run out of ideas, the best thing is to go do something completely different. Otherwise you’re wasting time. It also helps to take risks, do things to your track that you wouldn’t normally do, if you’re lucky, that kind of experimentation can pay off.

Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
It’s standard for us to cut the frequency of our kick drums below 60hz with the Main Mixer EQ. The spectrum analyzer has a highpass filter which you can move to cut some of that useless low end. Another one, is to use Thor’s low pass filer on other audio sources. It’s simply a great filter, and our songs have a lot of filter automations going on. The new bounce in place feature from Reason 9 is also a clever trick to save some DSP on your overall project.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Tough question. Malström is definitely among the most imporatant three. It has been a vital part of the Aerotronic sound. Especially the very glitchy synths. The RV7000 is also very important to us. Amazing sounding reverb/delay unit. It’s so easy to make it sound good too, adding a bit of wetness to the overall mix. Our last choice would be a tie between Redrum and Kong. We both used these so much. Redrum handles our sample-based drum sections and with Kong you can create some stellar drums from scratch with the built in drum synths.

 

Download

Download Aerotronic's Combinator patches

 

 

Aeropitcher
This is the arpeggio you can hear throughout the song ‘ZYX’. It sounds best when you layer it with other analog sounding synths. Gives drive to the track.

Revelation Lead
The lead stab to our song ‘Revelation’. It’s so simple it works. The song has one of our favorite buildups from the entire Aerotronic discography.

Kinda Acid
There are numerous acid style synths you can spot in our songs. This is one of them. Build with a Malström, and it sounds so dope.

Gearshift Lead
By automating the pitch and the free rate of the RPG-8, you get that glitchy type of sound that we made in the song “Gearshift”. Also build with a Malström.

Night Tales Bass
In one of the darker cuts of our album, we have this huge bassline going on that drives the track from beginning to end. The more you chop your notes the better it sounds. Listen here!
 

Collaborate with Aerotronic on Allihoopa!

Music Talk: Speakerbomb

Posted April 12, 2016, 8:44 a.m.

Sidney Miller III, also known as Speakerbomb, is a record producer and musician from Los Angeles, USA. Sidney has worked with artists like Lupe Fiasco and The Knux and has also released albums and toured with his own band Malbec. Recently Sidney worked with rap artist Freddie Gibbs on his critically acclaimed 2015 album "Shadow of a Doubt". We spoke with Sidney about producing in Reason and he also shares his favorite Reason production tricks!

How do you use Reason in your music making? Do you have any examples of where you've used it?

I use it in a variety of ways but the main way that I use it is for starting musical ideas from scratch and if I’m not going to be recording any vocals on the idea yet, I usually finish the entire beat / idea in Reason.

On the Freddie Gibbs’ “Shadow Of A Doubt” album I used it to produce tracks from scratch, to enhance sounds from other existing tracks, to create sound effects and I also used it to put together some vocal ideas. On “Mexico,” I took the existing 808 track that was in the Pro Tools session and ran it through the Scream in Reason. Specifically on “10 Times,” which features Gucci Mane and E-40, I did everything in Reason except for record the verses. I started off with a Gucci Mane a cappella verse, put it on the grid and then built up a whole beat around it. Then I took a catchy piece of Gucci’s verse and chopped it up so that I could repurpose it as a hook, using delays, pitch shifting and stuttering effects.

 

When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?

I like to be open to all kinds of inspiration, so there isn’t one way that I always start a song, but if I already have an idea in my head, I usually go straight to the ID8 and load up a stock piano or rhodes. I like to write my chords, melody or both with a basic unflattering sound so that I know I have a good foundation start with before reassigning that MIDI to a cooler sound. 

What’s the hardest thing about making music, what do you struggle with the most?

I would say that the hardest thing about making music is the ever-growing decline of people paying for music. There used to be so much more money poured into the music industry, but now although music is more popular than ever and more of a part of our daily lives than ever, people spend less money on it than they ever have before.

The hit song button doesn’t exist in any DAW

What's the best music making tip you ever got?

Don’t spend too much time jumping around trying find some program that’s going to automatically make hit songs for you.  The hit song button doesn’t exist in any DAW.  The best thing you can do is focus on one or two programs and master them inside and out so that you can become an expert.

Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?

One of the biggest tricks that I use all the time is reassigning MIDI. Once have a MIDI clip that I feel works, I love reassigning it to different instruments and patches to see what other colors or textures that I can add to the part. You never know what you are gonna get when you go reassigning MIDI and the magic that comes from doing often is what makes a track special.

One of my other favorite trick would be the “body” section of the Scream distortion unit. I was told that it is supposed to be some sort of speaker cabinet emulator, but the important thing is that it makes things go boom! Just turn the body on and start playing with “type” knob.

The most basic production trick that I use all the time is just stacking sounds. Whether it's drums or synths, I stack complimentary textures and sounds to create bigger more complex sounds that catch the listener's attention. I also apply the stacking concept to the mixer. One of my favorite additions to Reason in the past few years is the “create parallel channel” shortcut. Parallel channels allow me to use parallel compression to layer more texture and more importantly punch to my sounds.

Crushing a parallel channel with the built in compressor on the mixer is one of the best tricks that I can suggest for getting great sounding drums.

What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?

When inspiration isn’t there, I like to fall back on my REX file library. I have an amazing resource of a couple hundred GB’s of REX files that I have compiled and chopped up over the past 15 years. I usually just pull up a Dr. Rex player, start thumbing through samples and I usually have song inspiration soon after. The folder is all organized by the artist sampled and so it makes it really convenient to find stuff.

What’s your all-time favorite album?

Tough to say but as an album you can’t really beat Prince’s “Purple Rain”. It's just the perfect album, no lulls and everything transitions into each other so seamlessly like a singular piece of art. It doesn’t hurt that all nine songs on it are hits as well.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?

One would have to be the Redrum. I have at least 6 running on every single song that I make and sometimes as many as 30 of them running. I like to have one Redrum for every drum sound. It keeps things organized and it also automatically makes sure that I have a fader on the mixer for every drum sound. Unless it's a drum loop out of the Dr. Rex, I do every single drum sound in my songs using the Redrum, and even with with Dr. Rex Drum loops, I always use Redrums to stack more sounds on top of the loops. Sometimes I use a MIDI controller to write the drum parts, but I usually just program everything in the Redrum step sequencer.

The second one would be the Synchronous Effect Modulator. The design of the modulation matrix on it is just genius and so easy to use. I like all the effects on it but honestly the one that I use 99% of the time is the lopass filter. You can modulate it so easily and it really instantly gives you that filtered vibe that is so popular in today’s urban music.

The third one is a new addition to my setup but it's getting a lot of use, the Hydronexius ROM Workstation from DNA Labs.  It's a combination of a ROMpler and a Oscillator based synth. The presets for it are awesome and DNA Labs keeps designing more of them. It's definitely my first go to synth.

Honorable mention has got to go to the RV7000. It's just so versatile and I use it for both extreme, obvious effects and for adding subtle space or depth.

All the algorithms sound great but most of the time I don’t even get past the standard Hall setting. It's the only reverb that I like to use on big snares too.

I use the combinator all the time too, but I feel like including it is cheating because it can contain anything. I do use them all over the place though, as instruments or on channel strips or as a send/return effect on the mixer.

What motivates your creative ideas and creative activity?

I get motivated just hearing any music that was put together well. I definitely get a lot of motivation and inspiration listening to classic records but I also get just as much, if not more, inspiration from listening to new music. Once you’ve really studied every aspect of music creation, there is always some element in a song that can give you ideas. Everything from a lyric, a melody, a chord, a drum sound to just simply an arrangement can inspire me to start a song.

Want to collaborate with Speakerbomb? Check out his music and follow Speakerbomb on Allihoopa!

Posted April 12, 2016, 8:44 a.m.

Artist Drop: Matt Walker

Posted Dec. 18, 2015, 10:01 a.m.

Matt Walker also known as “MAT MEGA” is a hip hop producer from View Park, California and he's been an active producer for 15 years. Over the years, Matt has worked with all types of artists and enjoys making not only hip-hop tracks but rock and pop as well as dancehall, funk, jazz and electronic. Matt says: "I like to keep a open mind when it comes to music. I’m currently working with two bands “The Milky Way Band” (Keys / Production), and  “Palms Side Ent” (Dj / Production) rocking shows from San Francisco to Long Beach".

Matt took some time to talk to us about how he's using Reason and he's also dropped a few beats for you to continue working on.

When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?
When I load up a brand new Reason session I'll set my rack up with what I'm gonna be using for the track. That way my work flow is smoother and it helps the the process move faster.

Do you have any production trick that you always use?
Oh yeah, you always gotta have a few on stand-by. One trick I like would be putting Scream 4 on my drums. By doing that, it gives the drums more slap.

What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?
Whenever inspiration isn't there, I'll go dig for samples to catch a vibe from, to put me back in the zone.

How do you use Reason in your music making?
It honestly depends what kind of song I'm working on. The only thing I'd say I rarely switch up would be how I lay drums. I usually stick to ReDrum or Kong when laying drums. Anything else like synth, bass, keys etc I'll use almost anything from Kong to the combinator.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
3 most used devices for me would be the NN-XT, Kong, and Dr. Rex.

What’s the hardest thing about making music, what do you struggle with the most?
I would say what I struggle with sometimes would be the mix. Just getting it all mixed down to where everything sounds crisp and clean. I think that's one of the most important things when creating music. Getting your mix tight to where you can hear everything clear within the mix.

What motivates your creative ideas and creative activity?
There's a few things that motivates me: either I could be listening to another producer and get motivated or when I'm around my bandmates, I could hear one of them play something and get motivated. I could even be watching tv and hear a crazy sample and immediately wanna go take that sample and chop it up.

Posted Dec. 18, 2015, 10:01 a.m.