To sample or not to sample—that is the question. Actually no it’s not, of course you should sample anything and everything—and the more samples the merrier! In this article and accompanying video, we’ll show you how to sample in Reason 10.
But before we go any further, let’s take a quick stroll through the history books to see how sampling got started (yes, there was a time when sampling didn’t exist…shudder). So what is sampling?
Sampling first appeared in popular music in Jamaican dub music in the 1960s, when artists such as Lee “Scratch” Perry started using pre-recorded samples of reggae rhythms to produce new tracks. The technique quickly spread to psychedelic rock, jazz fusion, and minimalist music during the mid 1960s, and continued to gain traction in electronic and disco music production in the 1970s.
But sampling wasn’t considered a mainstream production technique until the mid 1980s, when DJs manipulated vinyl using two turntables and an audio mixer to create an entirely new genre of music that would dominate the world: hip hop.
With the global rise of hip hop and the release of dedicated digital samplers in the 1980s, sampling quickly found its way into every corner of the music world. And although music and audio technology have changed and evolved over the decades, sampling has remained an invaluable production tool for every conceivable genre—from indie rock to R&B.
Sampling in Reason is incredibly easy and intuitive, with a rich feature set that offers a range of sampling methods to fit any music creation workflow. In this video, hip hop producer, teacher, and sound designer MG The Future provides an in-depth sampling tutorial that will show you how to quickly create captivating arrangements using samples in Reason.
You’ll see how to use Kong’s Nurse REX Player, Slice Trigger Mode, Chunk Trigger Mode, and more to create deep and layered tracks with any sampled sound source (a must watch for J Dilla fans).
Watch the video now to learn how to chop samples in Reason 10!
The world of hip-hop music production is full of genres and sub-genres, each with its own unique history and style. Take Boom Bap hip-hop for example. The central elements are a hard-hitting sampled kick drum (boom) and snare drum (bap), typically with the snare on two and four and the MC rapping on the beat.
Boom Bap developed out of the 1980s New York City breakbeat scene, and hit peak popularity in the 1990s, when artists like Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest made Boom Bap one of the defining sounds of hip hop. Hip hop production has evolved a great deal since then, with the snare sound frequently replaced with a hand clap or other sample. Still, Boom Bap remains a popular, albeit retro technique that’s sometimes incorporated into other types of hip hop.
One such variation is Jazzy Hip Hop, which is related to the electronica subgenre Chill Hop. It features a mellow, jazzy groove made up of Boom Bap drums and short chordal samples taken from jazz records that typically provide much of the harmonic content.
Reason 10 provides the perfect toolset for creating Boom Bap and Jazzy Hip Hop beats, among many other styles. With myriad instruments and sample players, a massive effects collection, and powerful recording, editing and mixing features, all you need to add is your creativity.
In this video, producer, musician and educator Stefan Guy (stefanguyaudio.com) takes you step-by-step through the creation and production of a Boom Bap/Jazzy Hip Hop beat using Reason 10. He deploys Reason instruments such as Kong Drum Designer, NN-XT Advanced Sampler, and the brand-new Humana Vocal Ensemble—along with effects like Audiomatic Retro Transformer (which he uses for vinyl emulation)—showing you lots of cool production tricks along the way.
Artist Feature: Key Wane - Beyoncé, Drake, Big Sean
It would be easy to forget when looking at his album credits that Key Wane is just 27 years old. He has the producer/artist roster some work decades to rack up. In fact Key Wane seems to have a knack for not just working with A-List artists at the top of their game, but providing them with hit single after hit single.
But with all that success and more platinum records than he even has time to hang on his walls right now, Key Wane is staying humble, hungry and active. We caught up with him to talk shop and hear his story.
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.
Having worked with Madonna, Billy Idol, Marcus Miller, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and many, many more—Dave Isaac has some truly impressive credits under his belt. Not only that, he's earned 3 Grammy Awards too! In the studio, Reason plays an important part of his productions.
Want to find out more about his approach to music production? Then read on below.
How do you use Reason in your music making? Morris Hayes and myself (a production team known as The Kommittee), are constantly crossing DAW platforms in our writing and mixing stages. We use each DAW for what it's great for and what it's not necessarily known for. I like the fact that Reason adds another element to the computer world with the ability to wire your rack how you want it to be. Now that's a ReWire!
What's the best music making tip you ever got? Don't add things to the music just to add them. When you add a sound, you don't have to add it throughout the entire song. To hear it once makes it more special. When it comes to writing lyrics, don't add nonsense just to rhyme. Have a conversation with somebody and everyone will get it. Make everything count, make everything mean something and make everyone get it in 60 seconds or less.
What do you do when inspiration just isn't there? I listen to music without any distractions and with my eyes closed. I will put on different genres than what I would normally listen to. I play them in “Shuffle Mode” so I won't know what to expect. The music will begin to give me the lesson for the day and plenty of ideas to get back to writing or mixing. Next, I will go to instruments or software instruments that I wouldn't normally use and go from there.
What has been the best moment in your music making career thus far? I've been blessed with many moments in my life. When I look back, some to this day feels like a dream! But if I had to choose just one, it would be the first time that I answered the phone and someone was on the other end crying, telling me that their music sounded so beautiful and thanked me for it.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring producers and musicians? To me, music is about the camaraderie of people relating to each other from the soul. Don't let a computer compensate for the lack of a human conversation. Strive to create music that's easy to recreate live, meaning to actually perform in real time. To know that what I just did in front of that person made them react beyond what I expected. What can I do to move people today and tomorrow? Strive to create music that gets better with time. Whether your music is performed instrumentally, acoustically or in a different genre, it should get better. Most importantly, when you can help someone have fun and party, fall in love, relax or escape bad times, now you're making music! Make music to move people and change the world as you change the game.