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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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Update December 15, 2016!
Aerotronic made 50 patches for Parsec 2 that they want to share with the Reason community! All free! :)
People have been requesting we show a method for creating currently trending version of a classic sound: the Reese Bass - namely, the "Dirty" Reese Bass, which is characterized by heavy distortion, compression, and filtration. When it comes to dirt, grit, and nasty sounds, Malström is a fantastic tool for the job. So in this tutorial I'll show you one of the many ways you can approach this type of sound, while thinking out loud along the way so you can gain some insight into custom patch creation in the Reason Rack.
If you're cray cray for #TayTay or gaga for... well... Gaga, then this tutorial is for you. Electro Pop drums are all about hard hitting, crisp, beats that support the song and give you just enough to clap along with.
In this episode of the Super Neat Beat Cheat Sheet series, Ryan walks you through the creation of pop drums but also shows you his favorite Drum Machine in Reason and it's one you might not even know exists.
The world of Cid Rim circles around the boundless magic and mythical formulas of funk. When speaking of his influences and musical socialisation, the 28 year old viennese producer and drummer of JSBL inevitably ends in the 70's of the past century. While starting as an enthusiastic sample digger, his current works has a playful and interlaced sound, shifted with deep chords. A hybrid of programmed beats and analogue drum patterns meets razor sharp grooves and monumental power-steps. We had a chance to ask him some questions about his music making and feature an exclusive track dropped to Allihoopa. Check it out below!
How do you use Reason in your music making?
Reason is my main production software. It was the first proper program i got, when i was 14 or so and it still is.
What are the three most used devices in your Reason rack?
NN19, Redrum, Subtractor... still!
You just released your new record Charge / Kano and we've been playing it loud in the office. Could you tell us a bit about the creation of these two tracks?
I had a loop of the beat in the beginning of "Charge" lying around. Then I came up with the main chord progression on the piano and when I started to put those two together on the computer i had something in mind, like a huge wall of big band brass for the chords. I tried out how close I could come to that feeling with synth sounds. As soon as i had the main part, the rest of the track went quite easily.
Then when I had it finished, I already knew I wanted to put it on the A side of a record with two club tracks only so I needed another one that fits. Inspired by the drum rolls of the A side I thought I could maybe go even more into to a higher, faster, ridiculous show-off fusion vibe with the second one. It's named after the Mortal Kombat Character "Kano" that can perform a horizontal and upwards roll to hit the opponent. The fast hook of the track reminded me of that move.
What motivates your creative ideas and creative activity?
Just music making itself. I'm enjoying lots of other activities that could seem to influence my music but ultimately I think my main inspiration comes from making music. It's not like the fantastic dish you ate yesterday will get you an idea for the track you're making today. It's rather the amazing beat you just programmed or the bassline you just played that inspires you to go further and maybe make an entire track out of it.
Being a drummer, how does that influence your song writing and producing? The track Saturated Phat Boy you dropped to Propellerhead has quite a complex rhythm.
It helps, but not as much as you'd think. I believe that you can learn how to compose beats on a drum set as well as on a drum computer. In fact the mixture of both is probably a very healthy one, but its not essential. I know producers composing the sickest chord progressions without ever having touched a piano before, so...
Is there something that you do to put yourself into a creative state of mind?
I think the important point is not how to get inspired, but to keep on trying if you're not!
If you have experienced creative blocks, how have you overcome them?
Even more trying. It can help if you start doing things differently. If you got a certain pattern of working, try to lose it, mix it up, go from the back to the front. Or just work with sounds you've never used before. Flip things up and surprise yourself. Just don't stop trying and playing around, I think that's the most important thing.
What advice would you give to other people who are motivated to become more creative in their music making?
It takes time to achieve something. Creativity comes from playing so take your time for playing around. Perfection comes with practice and time, so again, take your time and be patient. If you like making music and you're good at it you just need to do it every day!
Cid Rim also dropped an original piece of music to Allihoopa called "Saturated Phat Boy". Take a listen below! Want to add vocals, an instrument or remix the song? Just open it in Take or Reason to add your own part and join the music making.