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 processing......wow, 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: http://www.scarthemartyr.com/

 

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

Your new drummer—free drum loops for your music!

Posted July 23, 2015, 2:23 p.m.

Get a new drummer for your next track! This week we've made a feed with acoustic drum loops, perfect if you need a solid foundation for your next song or just want something to jam to. Check out the feed, open a loop in Take or Reason and make some music!

Figure drum loops

Do you prefer waveforms and filters to sticks and cymbals? Check out this feed of electronic drum loops made in Figure! Ready to build on in Figure, Take or Reason.

Posted July 23, 2015, 2:23 p.m.

Free reverb resources - where to find impulse responses

Posted July 22, 2015, 12:37 p.m.

Hi there, Stefan here. I just wanted to go through a few resources of where to find new impulse responses to use with the new convolution mode in the updated RV7000 MkII–when you're finished going through the massive RV7000 MkII ReFill, that is.

There is a plethora of free impulse responses (IR files) out there on the web which are free to acquire and free to use. This is only a list of a few of them, so if you're feeling bold, just do a google search for "free impulse responses" and I'm sure you'll find even more.

Another cool trick is if you use Logic Pro, you can simply rename the .sdir files used in Space Designer to .aiff or .wav and they can be used in the RV7000 MkII!  You can find the .sdir files in the following directory: ~/Library/Application Support/Logic/Impulse Responses.

Starting with the most important ones, well, since I'm a guitar player.

Guitar cabs

RedWirez
Marshall 1960A cabinet.
http://www.redwirez.com/free1960g12m25s.jsp

GuitarAmpModeling.com
Huge amounts of guitar cabs, and general talk about IR use.
http://guitarampmodeling.com/viewforum.php?f=32

Kalthallen Cabs Free
Guitar cabinets.
http://cabs.kalthallen.de/kalthallen_free.html

Signalaudio's God Cab 1.4
Mesa guitar cabinet.
http://signalsaudio.com/product/gods-cab-1-4/

Spaces

AirWindows
Huge spaces sampled here.
http://www.airwindows.com/airwindows-impulses/

EchoThief
Lots of unique spaces.
http://www.echothief.com/

Intelligent Machinery Productions
Experimental and artifical and unnatural spaces.
http://www.intelligentmachinery.net/?page_id=764
http://www.intelligentmachinery.net/?page_id=114

OpenAIR
Real acoustic spaces, interesting buildings and other sources.
http://www.openairlib.net/

Balance Mastering
Try your mix through the Funktion One sound system at The Hive Project night club.
http://www.balancemastering.com/blog/free-funktion-one-impulse-responses-ir-irs-convolution/
A very cool and unique space here, how about an old German NSA listening tower?
http://www.balancemastering.com/blog/free-teufelsberg-nsa-listening-tower-impulse-responses-ir-irs-convolution/

Voxengo
Various spaces.
http://www.voxengo.com/impulses/

Diego Stocco
Free/donation for this bonus pack, good for rhythmical material.
https://gumroad.com/l/FFSCA

Samplicity
Two free halls.
http://www.samplicity.com/download/

Reverbs

Lexicon 480L
Classic reverb.
http://www.housecallfm.com/download-gns-personal-lexicon-480l

Fokke van Saane's Impulse Responses
Lots of classic reverbs, springs and speakers, and also: his own mouth (!).
http://fokkie.home.xs4all.nl/IR.htm

Pipelineaudio
Eventide DSP4000 and TC Electronics M5000.
http://pipelineaudio.net/downloads/convolution-and-impulses/

zidee
Lexicon PCM90.
http://homepage.hispeed.ch/zidee/

Samplicity
Bricasti M7, classic reverb unit.
http://www.samplicity.com/bricasti-m7-impulse-responses/

Signal To Noise
Lots of classic reverb units
http://signaltonoize.com/?page_id=4188

Posted July 22, 2015, 12:37 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.