Artist Drop: Dan Briggs

Posted Oct. 6, 2015, 4:44 p.m.

Dan Briggs is the bass player in progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me, jazz fusion trio Trioscapes and the project Orbs.  He's been an avid Reason user since 2003 and uses it both when composing and on stage with his band. Currently he is on tour with Between the Buried and Me and we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions when they made their stop in Stockholm for a show.

Be sure to play Dan's music pieces and when inspiration strikes, open in Reason or Take and collaborate with him!

How do you use Reason in your music making? Do you have any examples of where you've used it?
I use it from the very first note while composing to the very last. I started using Reason when I was in college in 2003, and really it was to use the ReDrum and I would import it into my session in Sonar. As the years went on I was implementing more keyboards into my writing, and then the Reason updates allowed you to record audio and have a session just like I had in Sonar so I just stopped using it altogether and moved my whole operation into Reason and it has been so easy and wonderful ever since.

When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?
Well, my saved rack is Piano, a KONG drumset I put together with drummer Matt Lynch (Trioscapes), two Guitar tracks and a Bass track. That way at the very least I'm able to capture an idea just by starting the program, finding the BPM and rolling.

How do you use Reason in Between the Buried and Me? Do you use Reason in a live environment?
Both in the studio and now live. I had been arranging full songs in there, especially for the new Coma Ecliptic album, and a lot of the key sounds we ended up using on the record were straight from the demos Tommy and I did. So when it came time to put a rig together to play live, I didn't want to get a keyboard and try to replicate sounds as best as I could, so I ended up running Reason on a Microsoft Surface. It runs perfectly and the Surface is a super powerful and reliable device.

How does collaborating work for you in a band context? How does Between the Buried and Me usually write and arrange a song?
It's different for every band I'm in, which is kind of cool. Between the Buried and Me is very much about writing on your own and bringing it together after the fact. We're not super productive sitting in the rehearsal room trying to write songs, and especially the direction the songs have gone it's kind of like a singular vision and less chaotic like everything was in the past. That was literally the result of 4 or 5 minds all throwing ideas against the wall. I would think if someone listened to the new album it might make a little more sense as to how it's written. In Trioscapes, you know it's like a jazz/fusion trio ensemble so it's really about vibing off each other, a lot of magic happens on the spot. Orbs functions as a duo of musicians trying to bring other things out in each other; Ashley [Ellyllon] has really helped harness my creative energy and I've helped expand her mind as to what song formats can be. My new group Nova Collective is a cross continent group with two Americans and two Brits, so Reason has been a real life saver there. We're able to share the same Reason session with each other and everyone can learn a song based off of the midi, or I can show a guitar idea that can then be manipulated and changed, or key ideas that our keyboardist can expand upon. So easy considering how much distance was between us while we were writing!

Have you ever experienced writing blocks? If so, how did you overcome them?
I know when to step away, but honestly I'm usually locked in with a new project almost all the time when I'm home. I like to stay creatively active, and when there's new outlets and people to bounce ideas off of I feel like it could never end. I'm inspired by so many different things; obviously a million different kinds of music, film, sometimes even just reading interviews with creative minds or people in different art fields, or grey days, beautiful days, when the Cleveland Indians win, who knows.

What do you like the most: creating and writing in the studio or touring and playing live?
I like a balance. I like to keep things fresh creatively, so I love living in a project and then kind of moving on to the next thing, so touring on an album for two years I don't really mind, as long as I have other things going on, keeping me active creatively. Between the Buried and Me has been able to tour less the last handful of years which has been good for everyone starting familes and what not, but I stay feverishly busy in my "down time" so I love having time away from touring for that.

What’s the hardest thing about making music, what do you struggle with the most?
On the creative front, nothing really. Creating music is a joy, it's fun to constantly push and challenge yourself. The real struggle is after you've created something. Between the Buried and Me has a great team of people to help push it, but I don't really have that with any of my other projects. It's insanely frustrating because you feel like you're starting from zero every time even though you've been touring and putting out albums for over a decade.

What’s your all-time favorite album?
Impossible question! Some favorites: Oingo Boingo "Only a Lad", Dream Theater "Scenes From a Memory", Mahavishnu Orchestra "Visions From the Emerald Beyond", Genesis "Selling England by the Pound".


The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
KONG, Thor, and ReTron.

What advice would you give to other people who are motivated to become more creative in their music making?
Just do it! Find people to create with, don't limit yourself, just have a blast.

What’s your best music making tips for someone that is just starting out?
Just be adventurous, explore a ton of different music, find out what your favorite artists are inspired by and really dig deep.


Posted Oct. 6, 2015, 4:44 p.m.

Get into the swing with Mocean Worker

Posted Sept. 4, 2015, 3:43 p.m.

Fresh off the release of his new, eponymous album, Mocean Worker has shared a stack of loops and pieces in his signature electro-swing style for you to use. He was also kind enough to talk a little bit about the role Reason plays in his productions. Dive in below and we strongly recommend that you hit play while reading!

In what way is Reason helping you in your music making?

I've been using Reason since version 1.0. I came from using only an MPC 3000 and upon discovering Reason coupled with Recycle my mind exploded. I think it says a lot about a piece of software and its development over the years that I'm still constantly finding inspiration from it. I cannot think of a company that does a better job of adding features and work flow enhancements than Propellerhead (take a bow humble Swedish people! do it! ). Reason is where everything starts for me. All groove ideas, melodic ideas, sound design ideas START with Reason. For my latest album "Mocean Worker" (It's nice to have a self titled album when its your 8th full length) I left Reason exactly one time for a synth in another program (breakdown section of "Soul Swing" @ 1:38 into the track is Cyclop from SugarBytes mangled with) and I mixed 2 songs of the 11 outside of Reason. In other words 95.6% of this album was created and stayed at all times within Reason. There really was not a reason (coughs) to leave the Reason environment. It's just constantly turning into a better and better tool.

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

I've created a very simple template. It consists of 4 REX players and a Kong Drum Machine and One Audio track. I've been recording audio into Reason since the Record days. It's just so straight forward. I find that this template works best for me. Also by default I have the Bus Compressor turned on. It's probably not the best idea on the planet but I love writing into a slight compression setting as it makes everything feel glued together from the get go. Ever since the console came into the Reason/Record workspace I've been really excited. The console is probably my favorite feature. While it existed in a way since the beginning of Reason's existence this current console is ridiculously cool. Everyone I show the console to kind of freaks out especially engineers because everything you could need is there and now with groups and parallel, the sky is the limit.

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

For me it's mixing. I have the ideas and I can do arrangements and play instruments. I struggle the most with getting a sound that's my own, like the actual sound, not the notes and the groove. I've gone a bit crazy with Rack Extensions and creating suites of effects to write into. What I mean by that is I use a combination of effects sometimes on the Master Section just to see what happens. We all have the same tools now. We all have access to so many of the same sounds and presets. My goal is to find ways to make those same sounds have their own sound. It's very difficult. It's tempting to just write something funky and by happy enough with the results. I just can't bring my self to settle for presets though. It's a bit of a drag sometimes as it makes the process of making records take so much longer. I know I can't wait 3-4 years between full length albums anymore. I think I'm gonna definitely head into a cycle of digital only EP releases and be happy with groupings of 4-5 songs and release material more often. We've definitely headed into strange days within the recording industry. I struggle the most with staying ahead of the curve. For example, this latest release is digital only. I found no need to release a physical CD this time. Streaming is here. It's not going away. Folks still purchase MP3's ( yes , people still buy music! It's a good thing too ).

Do you have any production trick that you always use?

I think I mentioned it earlier. The Bus Compressor in the mixer is no joke. It's an incredible tool. I should clarify that I use it as a way to keep things musical and glued together and in a subtle way, until of course I don't want something to be subtle. I think it's really important especially for any kind of sample based electronic music to be mixing and writing sort of at the same time. Constantly be aware of how things sound and work together. Watch levels!! It's important to leave headroom. I know now everything is loud and squared off and super super loud. Don't fall into the temptation of making everything screamingly loud. Leave headroom and if you have the budget for a real mastering engineer you'll be happy you left the headroom in your mixes because the mastering engineer will really be able to do some tricks if you haven't over compressed your mix and made it 300 db's in level. One of the most sort of thrown away things now is mastering. Don't sleep on mastering. Also, I know it's tempting to pre-master or try to master on your own. If you do this, just understand the more you take a mix and compress it, eq it, limit it, maximize the volume, the less mastering can do for you.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?

Dr. OctoRex (I almost called it Dr. Rex, I'm kind of old school ) , Kong Drum Designer, and a surprise non Props Rack Extension the fxpansion Etch Red Dual Filter. I've fallen in love with this filter (and as a 3B answer, the D-Filter by LabortorialT) both of these filters are all over my album and automated and just amazing sounding.

Can I add that I also almost always use some sort of thing from the Props Radical Keys ( sorry, I mentioned five).

As a bass player, are there any particular devices or tricks  that you use in Reason to get the bass sounds you want?

I compress the bass as it's going in. I love the compressor on the mixer. It's really musical. I tend to play one of two styles when I play (especially for this new album ). Either slap technique in the style of Larry Graham or Marcus Miller or a back pick up sort of Victor Bailey / Jaco Pastorious type of sound. Either way I do compress the bass. I just evens things out.  As an aside though I will say for bass players that the sound ultimately is all up to you. It's in your hands. If you are a bass player: practice, practice and really get to know your instrument. The more you play an instrument the better it will sound. I know that sounds weird but it's true. Speaking about devices I don't really use any specific Rack Extensions in recording my bass parts. I like to keep it simple. Like I said earlier I trust that the sound I want is already happening as a result of years of practice and knowing the instruments I have very well.

On your new album “Mocean Worker”, could you tell us a bit about how Reason played a part in the production of it?  

Reason is at the funky, swinging, grooving center of everything. The goal for this album for me personally was two-fold: 1. Re-discover my roots as a bass player. This is my eigth album and to date even though I tell folks I'm a bass player, I had never played bass on my own albums! Kind of weird, no? I'm incredibly proud of the bass playing on this album. I think that my not playing on my other recordings was more to do with the fact that as a player I felt like I had reached a certain level but as an artist I really didn't feel like I had a real voice yet. Now I feel like I've settled in and found my voice. The second goal was to write and mix everything myself. The last three Mowo! albums were made with so many amazing guests joining forces with me. It was an incredible experience but this time out I wanted to see what would happen with very little input from anyone else. Sort of the same way I started out in my room wearing headphones with a bunch of ideas and the limitation of me being the sole voice to get them out. This is where Reason comes in.  ALL of the songs were written in and with the exception of 2 out of 11 ("Soul Swing" and "PunkDisco(Jaco)" were mixed by my main man James Saez in another DAW) were  mixed in Reason. I'm extremely happy to say I mixed 9 of the 11 songs myself. That was a gigantic hurdle for me as I have never really been confident in my mixing. The goal for this album was to not only write the music but also make the music sound the way I really heard it in my head. Reason is the lead starring "actor" in this process. It's the tool that enables me get my ideas out and finished. I know that sounds kinda hokey maybe but it's really the truth. The same way I mentioned really knowing an instrument that you own applies to really knowing the software you use. I've been using Reason since version 1.0 and there are a ton of tricks and tips I still don't know. I still watch tutorial videos just like someone who maybe is just getting started with the software. Knowing the tools you use as well as possible and getting the most out of the least amount of bells and whistles is really the secret here! Less is more folks.

You did a widely appreciated video for our Pulsar Rack Extension, care to talk about that experience?

No I cannot. Ever since the court case and those documents I signed as a result  I've been sworn to a vow of silence.........

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

Keep trying. I don't like to walk away but honestly sometimes just getting a cup of coffee and walking away is the best medicine. I did that a LOT in the last 3.5 years. It's a really tough process to make an album. It's really worth it in the end though. Just fight through it. Writers' block is what it is. Things always come back around. Take a deep breath. You'll get through!

What’s your all-time favorite album?

Wow......thanks. This isn't hard enough to answer at all...........sheesh.  For me it's always a couple of albums: Miles Davis "Kind Of Blue",  Peter Gabriel "Passion"-Music For The Last Temptation Of Christ". I like other artists to note that what inspires you and what your own music actually sounds like very often are not one in the same. I draw inspiration from a wide range of music based on what it makes me feel. The outcome of that inspiration rarely sounds like the music that inspired it. Some folks find that to be odd. I just like what I like it doesn't mean my music has to sound like it. I actually DON'T want my music to sound like it because at that point I'm just copying something else. Right?

Any Words of Wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians?

Yes, find your voice. I know it's easy to follow trends and try to keep up with the cool kids. Don't fall into that temptation. Follow what you're hearing in your head. Get the music out. Everything else will sort itself out when it's all said and done. If you're in this to have fun and not make it your life's work, then really enjoy the process and have a great time. If you want to make this your career? Learn the business. It's not just about the music at all. Trust me on this one. The music is the one place you'll always have fun regarding "the music business". Learn what managers do. Learn what booking agents do. Learn about publishing and registering your music to protect yourself in whatever country you live in. Entering into a career in the music business now is akin to walking into a saloon in the 1860's in the American West. Make sure your weapon is loaded and ready for use. It's not a fun environment out there "pardner".

You can find all the loops and pieces that Mocean Worker wants you to collaborate with on his profile page.

Posted Sept. 4, 2015, 3:43 p.m.

Artist Drop: Matthew Tarach (Scar The Martyr)

Posted July 28, 2015, 12:33 p.m.

In his own words, Matthew Tarach is:

  • Cleveland based Engineer/Producer.
  • Keyboardist for Scar the Martyr
  • Proud Reason user
  • Rum enthusiast
  • Player of video games
  • Looking for some awesome collaborations!

The metal band Scar the Martyr was founded in 2013 by former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison (with other members from bands like Strapping Young Lad and Nine Inch Nails) and they released their self-titled debut album later in the same year.

We had a chance to ask Matthew some questions about his music making and his work with Scar The Martyr. We are also glad to feature an exclusive piece dropped to Propellerhead for you to build on. Check it out below!

When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?
I usually just mess around. I usually initialize a patch on one of the synths and just start tweaking before I even start doing anything important.

In what way is Reason helping you in your music making?
It helps with my workflow immensely. I often use reason in tandem with PT via ReWire.

How do you use Reason in Scar The Martyr? Do you use Reason in a live environment?
Reason is the heart of my live performance. I have NN-XT racks with all the samples I use during the set and individual patches and tracks that I cycle through depending on which song. Typically Combinators with keysplits. The low CPU usage makes it incredibly reliable for touring.

How does collaborating work for you in a band context? How does Scar The Martyr usually write and arrange a song?
We all live in different states, so a lot of the writing (at least my end) is done via file transfers. A few of the guys will write instrumentation and send me PT files. This is where I use ReWire predominantly.

Have you ever experienced writing blocks? If so, how did you overcome them?
Hah, often enough, and with a few drinks and tons of Grand Theft Auto. I've realized it's best to put things down and clear your mind if your current train of thought and ideas will flow more easily. I'll also switch instruments, if I'm having trouble writing piano/keys etc, I'll switch to guitar and vice versa.

What’s the hardest thing about making music, what do you struggle with the most?
Knowing when to stop on a song. Especially in a digital age, I can just keep adding more and more layers. At one point you need to know to just say "OK, I'm done".

What’s your all-time favorite album?
Oh man... that's difficult. I don't know that I really have one. I do constantly binge "Death Cult Armageddon" by Dimmu Borgir and "Sound Awake" by Karnivool.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Subtractor, NN-XT, Scream 4 Distorsion.

What advice would you give to other people who are motivated to become more creative in their music making?
Listen to tons of different music and genres. Find sounds you like and try to replicate them, chances are you'll find out how to make new sounds that inspire awesome songs.


Learn more about Scar The Martyr on their official website:


Posted July 28, 2015, 12:33 p.m.

Elite Session with Lucky Date

Posted July 20, 2015, 2:15 p.m.


House producer and long time Reason user Lucky Date recently joined up with Pyramind and held a two hour Elite Session which is now available online over at their website. Among LOTS of other things, Lucky Date talks about his production process and workflow in Reason and also how he came to the name "Lucky Date". We get an in-depth exploration of his own tracks and how they came about, as well as a discussion about collaboration techniques when working with other producers and musicians.

Check out the video teaser below and then head over to Pyramind's website for the full two hour Elite Session.


Click here to watch the full two hour Elite Session with Lucky Date!


Pyramind Training, the San Francisco music production school, operates side by side with Pyramind Studios. Pyramind offers a wide range of programs; Music for Picture and Games, Electronic Music Production and Rock & Acoustic recording as well as four online programs centered around specific DAWs.

Click here to learn more about the courses at Pyramind Training!



Posted July 20, 2015, 2:15 p.m.

Artist Drop: D.K. the Punisher

Posted July 15, 2015, 8:34 a.m.

Donovan Knight, better known as D.K. the Punisher, is a producer/songwriter/DJ from Baltimore, MD. D.K.’s journey with music began in 2000 at age 8 when he began rapping, and continued 4 years later when he began making beats for himself and other rappers. D.K. has produced records for Dom Kennedy, Mac Miller and many others.

In 2013 D.K. produced Justin Bieber's single All That Matters,  along with Andre Harris.

D.K. dropped a few beats to Propellerhead for you to build on, and we also got a chance to ask him how Reason helps in his music making.


When you load up a brand new Reason song, what’s the very first thing you do?
First I do is start browsing through sounds. I have a dope template set up already, so all I have to do is search until something catches my ear.

In what way is Reason helping you in your music making?
Just by completely facilitating my creative process. Reason is sort of responsible for the way I approach music making, even in other DAWs. I like to tweak and create my own sounds a lot to give an advantage over my peers.

The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
NN-XT, Subtractor, Combinator

What’s your all-time favorite album?
Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life

What advice would you give to other people who are motivated to become more creative in their music making?
Explore as many types of music and experiences as possible. Inspiration is everything, and having many points of reference when it comes to creating is just as crucial.



Posted July 15, 2015, 8:34 a.m.

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