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 Aerotronic's Combinator patches



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.

Artist Drop: Timothy Bailey Jr

Posted Dec. 3, 2015, 2:34 p.m.

Timothy Bailey, Jr. is an American producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who's made a name for himself as one of the most trusted bassists and beat makers on the west coast. As a part of the production team The Beat Traffickers, he's placed music for artist on major labels like Def Jam and Capital, and provided the backdrop for many television networks from MTV to E! and VH1 just to name a few. As an electric/synth bassist, Timothy has either toured, recorded and performed with Ariana Grande, Lalah Hathaway, Big Sean, Justin Bieber among many others.

We asked Timothy to drop a handful of bass loops that you can use in your own music. Visit his Allihoopa profile for more loops! Timothy also took the time to talk with us about how he's using Reason in his music productions and on stage. Check it out!


How do you use Reason in your music making? Do you have any examples of where you've used it?
At least 97 percent of my music creation starts within Reason.  I was introduced to Reason 10 years ago, and have not been able to get away.  The greatest thing that ever happened to this platform was the incorporation of audio recording, and then the addition of the Rack Extensions.  Before then, I would start songs in Reason and have to go to another DAW to finish up the job, but at this point, I can complete entire productions within Reason.

The most recent examples would be Hip Hip Violinist Josh Vietti's project released November 23rd (2015), where I produced and tracked everything in Reason 8 with the exception of Josh's violins (all while out on the road with Ariana Grande). Some of the live drums, horns and guitar tracks were sent to me and added into the Reason sessions.

Def Jam's Elijah Blake's title track Shadows and Diamonds was produced in Reason (version 7). The Comic special Laffapalooza Live From Vegas (Hosted by Tracy Morgan) was produced entirely in Reason as well.  For a more in-depth discography of other works, check out my production team's Soundcloud page.


You're working both as a producer in studio as well as in live situations (with Ariana Grande), could you tell us a bit about how you're using Reason on stage and on tour? Any pitfalls to avoid?
I actually used Reason to trigger all of my synth bass sounds on Ariana's first tour (The Listening Sessions Tour in 2013).  We had some back line challenges, so in order to get the sounds from her album, I had to create them at home in Reason and take them with me, using a keyboard controller. There were definitely no complaints as far as the tones were concerned. Even though it was a tedious job, I had all the tools at my disposal to create my own patches emulating the basses on her "Yours Truly" album.

This year, I used all hardware for her live shows, but while we were prepping for tour I was called to put bass on a few arrangements.  So many of the early versions of the tour arrangements contain electric and synth bass tracks recorded in Reason.  Some of those recorded basses even made it to the actual stems that we used live.

One thing to be careful of: If you're using Reason during a live show or recording, make sure you turn off your notifications on your computer. There's nothing more embarrassing than hearing a sound blare out of the house speakers that originated from your computer and you didn't trigger it. How I learned this lesson is unimportant . . . (lol)


When you start a new song, what’s the very first thing you do?
I have a few different templates that I pull up, depending on what specific project I may be working on calls for.  I got a template from a YouTube channel (Jasper Janine's "How To Setup The Best Reason Template Ever") that I modified just a little to my specs.  I like having the side chain option ready to go in case I want to use it.  If I'm working on a sound designing type project, I built a "Media Composition" template that has various orchestral sounds, synth effects, atmospheric sounds, drum hits, sweeps, modulating synths, etc.  But often times, I'm starting from scratch with basic effects, pulling up a Kong Drum Designer and a Radical Piano, and I'll go from there.

What's the best music making tip you ever got?
I've gotten so many great music making tips over the years that it's hard to choose just one.  But if I had to I would say, "don't be afraid to try something different and experiment" would be one of the best tips.  And I would call it one of the best because I still have to constantly challenge myself in this area.  As producers, we sometimes get caught in the trap of needing to be current and "hip" to be validated at this present moment. We're told to make music somewhat similar to what we hear on the radio at this present moment.  And if we do something that we feel nobody would "approve" of, we can be quick to trash that idea.  But it's okay to think differently and be outside of the norm.  You've struck gold when you can find that happy medium between "current" and "futuristic", but don't be afraid to go against the trends and find your voice.  And like I said, this is something that I am still working on to this very day, hour and minute.

Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
I'm never too proud to go on YouTube to find out new Reason tips.  I love learning new things about Reason, and I find it fascinating that no matter how much I think I know this program, there are whole other worlds within these Reason racks that I haven't even tapped into.  One day, I plan on really tapping into figuring out the External MIDI Instrument functions.  I just haven't had the chance to yet because my rack has kept me so busy as it is.

I'm understanding the SSL board more and more, and one thing that I make frequent use of is the Low and High Pass filters.  I do a lot of Low passing for effects, but in a lot of my heavy 808 based tracks, to keep things from getting muddy in certain frequencies, I like to high pass a lot of instruments, even if it's just a little bit, to allow certain instruments to sit better in different frequencies.

Also, I start out all my songs in Block View.  That was the next greatest thing that ever happened to Reason.  Sometimes, I have an idea that I may think is a verse.  Then I'll take what I have in that Block, copy it to another Block, do some editing (mostly muting and cutting), and I realize that maybe my verse should be a hook.  Or I may have a hook that's pretty awesome to me at the time, but as I develop more, it feels more like a bridge.  The fact that I can figure all of that out before putting the song together in "Song View" makes life so much easier for me.  So it's normal for me to start a pattern in Block 1, and copy that pattern into the next 8 Blocks, and then construct a song from that point.

As a bass player, any favorite tips and tricks on getting good bass sounds in Reason?
I like my live bass to be clean, punchy, and full.  So what I generally do is get my live bass sound exactly the way I want it before it hits my audio interface, and if I need to add anything after that, I'll gently adjust after that point.  Usually, I'm bringing up the highs about a decibel at 8.3 kHz, cutting the HMF 2 decibels at 2.51kHz, and playing around with the LMF, usually boosting a notch around the 588.9Hz range.  I've also started adding a touch of a plate reverb so it's not too dry.  In general, I like the natural bass sound, and that's what I'll send out when I'm tracking for other people.  I'll let them compress or effect at their discretion.

What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?
I just don't force it.  Sadly, sometimes I'll just go take a nap.  Haha!! But generally, I'll revert back to YouTube, or go through my iTunes library and start listening to various music.  I'll usually revert to some classic R&B or Soul, some straight ahead and smooth jazz, some current Pop and Hip Hop and EDM, or some Contemporary Gospel.  My musical taste is quite wide. From Kierra Sheard to David Guetta to Kim Burrell to Miles Davis, from Drake to Marcus Miller to Katy Perry, Jill Scott to Fetty Wap to Herbie Hancock, Kanye West to Taylor Swift to Hiatus Kaiyote to Snarky Puppy . . . just completely all over the place. Haha.  I just love music in just about every form.

What’s your all-time favorite album?
This is the toughest question known to man.  If I'm asked this same question next week, my answer will probably be different.  But for now, it's going to be a toss up between Jill Scott's "Who Is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds Vol 1", D'Angelo's "VooDoo", Brandy's "Full Moon" and Stevie Wonder's "Songs In The Key of Life."  I couldn't pick just one if I tried, but the aforementioned will always be in the running for that "all-time favorite album" spot.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
As long as there are Rack Extensions, this will change, but as of lately, I will always have a Kong Drum Designer. After that, there will be at least an A-List Acoustic Guitarist, an A-List Electric Guitarist - Power Chords or a Radical Piano, and the Rob Papen Predator RE Instrument.  I can't seem to get away from these instruments.  They definitely fuel my inspiration!

Check out Timothy's Allihoopa profile for more bass loops and beats!


Posted Dec. 3, 2015, 2:34 p.m.

Artist Drop: Chimp Spanner

Posted Nov. 5, 2015, 10:39 a.m.

Paul Ortiz is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer from the UK. His solo instrumental project Chimp Spanner is widely considered to be at the core of the new wave of technical and progressive Metal, and has seen him tour Europe and North America. More recently his attention has turned to commercial sound design and library music composition for various clients across the world.


When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?
I usually head straight for the device I've been using the least! There are so many great sound sources, it's easy to over-look them. Even with the stock devices there's still stuff to learn or new ways of using them to find. And that's not even counting  all the third party ones I have. So yeah, I pick the instrument that needs the most love.

How do you use Reason in your music making? Do you have any examples of where you've used it?
Virtually all of my library music and sound design work at the moment is Reason, including a series of Kontakt instruments for trailer composers I'm working on. And it appears throughout my Chimp Spanner material; generally wherever I need some kind of soundscape or ambience, or super modulated/evolving sounds, I go straight to Reason. But fingers crossed, you'll be hearing Reason in a few adverts and trailers in the near future!

What’s the hardest thing about making music, what do you struggle with the most?
Over-thinking things, whether it's the actual music or the mix; you can spend hours working on a song but without really writing/creating. Lately I'm trying to work faster and more spontaneously. If I have an idea I just get it down, save it, catalogue it. The moment I start to dwell on the idea and over-complicate it, the "spark" is gone. I've been finding Blocks to be super helpful in that regard because once a section is done I just move on, and work on the next without constantly going back and fiddling.

Being a guitar player, do you have any go-to guitar rig presets in Reason or special tricks on nailing "that" sound?
Pre-tone shaping is where it's at, especially for low tuned or heavy guitar tones. I like to cut the lower frequencies and boost the high mids to really tighten things up. Scream 4 is good for this, or Blamsoft's DC-9.

What's the best music making tip you ever got?
Many years ago, a guy on a forum whose name I completely forgot gave me some feedback on a song, and was talking about the concept of the uncanny in music; making the listener feel like they know the song, even if they're not sure why/how. It's about leaving little signposts and recurring motifs, rhythms and phrases throughout. That's how I try to approach my writing. I guess it makes it more accessible, but it also naturally leads to more depth because you're constantly finding ways to reference the song within itself through mimicry, variation, all sorts!

You do a bit of sound design as well. Tell us a bit about your process there!
I'm a very "visual" kind of person, so when I'm making a sound effect I try to imagine what's making the sound; what space it occupies, how big it is, how it's moving or what it's doing. I find it helps me make decisions as to where to place emphasis, what kind of effects to use, etc. Sometimes it's a cool idea to just browse through concept art or watch trailers with the sound off and see what sound comes to mind. Or just coming up with a cool, descriptive or evocative name for the sound first can work too. I also try and keep things really clean/minimal. Not just for the sake of the mix but because large projects scare, confuse and frustrate me.

Do you have any production trick that you always use?
I love tape saturation effects, especially on low end stuff. Scream or Audiomatic is really good at this. I also like using ducking on my sends, so you'd send a bass to a reverb, but also to a compressor after the reverb so the effect stays subdued until the bass is silent. Stops things from getting too muddy.

What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?
I stop trying. Seriously there's nothing so frustrating as being surrounded by all the gear and software you could ever want and not being able to make a note with it. So I just do something else, which usually involves drinking tea and watching Star Trek, or sometimes just disconnecting completely and giving myself some silence to re-think what it is I'm trying to do.

What’s your three all-time favorite albums?
Ah! I don't know about all-time but Meshuggah "Nothing", Burial "Untrue" and In Flames "Reroute to Remain" - those albums will never get old!

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Thor, Antidote and Kong for sure. If I only had those three devices I think I'd be okay!

What motivates your creative ideas and creative activity?
An over-active imagination and the ability to enjoy my own company haha. But more than anything I just love to tinker and experiment and try new things out. I think I'd be doing it even if it wasn't my job. It's a great feeling to be able to take something from my mind and turn it into something that other people can enjoy!


Posted Nov. 5, 2015, 10:39 a.m.