Tutorials

Tutorial: How to Create Catchy Hooks in Reason 10

Posted Feb. 12, 2019, 9:36 a.m.

Start making your own catchy hooks today!

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Have you ever been working on a song with a great beat, an interesting chord pattern, and a beautiful melody, but still found it lacking something? What your song needs is a hook. Put simply, the hook is the special part of a popular song that makes it catchy. Next time you’re at a concert, pay attention to when the entire audience sings along. The part of the song the audience shouts back is the hook.

But what differentiates a hook from a good melody? A great hook is a combination of familiarity and surprise. The predictable part of a song lures the listener in with familiarity, while the unexpected hook elements are what get the song stuck in their head. In this tutorial, we’re going to use Reason 10 to teach you how to begin incorporating proven techniques to modify or accompany your melodies with catchy hooks that listeners will crave to hear again and again.

Shout It Out

If you want to hear your audience shout back at you, you have to give them something to shout about. The first and easiest way to include a shout-able hook in your song is by adding a simple word like “hey!” in an unexpected place in the melody. It’s easy to create a convincing sing-along effect in Reason 10. Simply record yourself shouting the hook a few times (or drop in a sample), then duplicate each clip several times. Pan your duplicates out wide and slightly adjust the pitch and timing of each copy for a more realistic effect.

Patterns and Melodies

Another way to add a hook is to integrate surprise elements within your main melody. As an example, let’s use Reason’s Scales and Chords Player to create a rhythmic harmonic pattern using four chords. Next, use one of Reason’s many synths – such as Subtractor or Maelstrom – to record a simple melody over the first two chords. Now repeat the same melody over the third and fourth chords. The melody will sound familiar, yet unexpectedly different the second time. When crafting radio-ready hooks, repetition is your friend – but too much repetition can bother our ears. You can keep your track sounding fresh by simply moving a single note in the repeated melody to a different pitch.

Embrace the Unexpected

Another successful technique for crafting hooks is to punctuate the song with stutter edits, repeated words or notes, or unexpected snare hits. Let’s take the melody you just created and spice it up with some catchy punctuation. Find the longest note in your melody. Then use Reason’s Draw tool to add a few shorter, syncopated notes above it. This punctuation technique simultaneously breaks up the most static part of your melody and transforms it into a hook that will get stuck in your listeners’ heads.

Finally, if you’ve exhausted other options, don’t be afraid to get weird with it. Play around with utilizing Reason’s user-friendly automation to tweak knobs or settings on your lead synth in real time.

Now that you know how to write hooks and make your songs catchier, it’s time to practice crafting hooks that will be stuck in your listeners’ heads for days.

Posted Feb. 12, 2019, 9:36 a.m.

Crew

The return of Reason Drum Kits

Posted Feb. 8, 2019, 9:39 a.m.

Yes! Your favorite Reason Drum Kits are back! This time as a mean, lean, simulated-drum-recording-session-in-a-super-easy-to-use-Rack-Extension-machine. We’re happy to announce Reason Drum Kits. Again.

Following the success with the re-release of Reason Electric Bass, here’s another darling instrument from the past getting a new lease of life. Reason Drum Kits was the best-selling ReFill library we ever did at Propellerhead Software, and it’s easy to understand why. The samples are great, the drum kits sounded just like live played drums and the concept of Hypersampling (which was born with this product) made all the creative decision of a truly drum recording session available to the Reason user.

With the Rack Extension version, we could add a customized user interface to these great samples, and make Reason Drum Kits much easier and faster to use. Now, all the controls and settings are readily available and the click of a button or turn of a knob, whereas in the ReFill version, you’d have to dive into huge, complex Combinator setups and know exactly which of the stacks of NN-XTs to tweak for that perfect rim shot.

The Rack Extension version retains the fantastic sound and live feel of the original. For the tweak-happy producers, there’s the back panel with separate outputs for each instrument so you can mix your drums using any signal chain you can dream up.

If you already own Reason Drum Kits, you can upgrade to the Rack Extension version at a much better price. Use the voucher code below at check-out in the shop. This is regardless if you registered your ReFill version or not.

Code:
RDKSAVE

Apply this voucher at checkout to get your discount. Offer lasts until April 30th, 2019.

And if you’re feeling a bit of Reason Drum Kits nostalgia coming on (we sure did when working with this project), here’s the introduction video that we did a long time ago.

 

/Lukas Lyrestam, product manager

Posted Feb. 8, 2019, 9:39 a.m.

Artist stories

Artist Feature: Phonix Beats

Posted Feb. 1, 2019, 9:30 a.m.

Darius Barnes, professionally known as Phonix Beats (or simply Phonix), is an American record producer and songwriter from Los Angeles, CA. Following the footsteps of his father, (established musician/producer John Barnes, who worked extensively with Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, and Bill Withers, amongst many others) Darius began a career in music production and became known for his successful recordings with artists such as J. Cole, 50 Cent, Bryson Tiller, Fabolous, Trey Songz, and many others.

How did you start out making music? How did it all begin?

I was born into a musical family, so music was apart of my life from the very start. I began playing drums and singing at an early age. My parents always had a studio so I learned how to use vintage equipment, tape machines (reel to reel), patch bay etc.
I began playing around with my fathers LINN 9000 drum machine around 11 years old and my brothers MPC 2000xl around 13. I always wanted to produce music but being so young it wasn’t like it is today where you can just plug up and play – it was way more involved. Around 16 years old my fathers friend came over the studio (Inner Sound Studios) and had the very first version of Reason. He showed me how to use it and I was hooked immediately. I loved how I didn’t need outboard gear to make music and the stock sounds (Reason Sound Bank) where absolutely amazing. 18 years later me and Reason have grown to new heights. I am now a Grammy nominated producer and the CEO of a new recording label “FANKLUB ENT.”. Who would’ve known it all started with Reason.

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

It depends on the situation. On one hand I will open up a Redrum and begin constructing a solid drum pattern that I know I’ll for sure want to use and further produce. On the other hand, I will go through melodies, sounds, and or samples. I like to use the NN-XT for my loops/ samples because for me it’s more complex than the NN-19. Once I have the melodies locked in place I create the foundation for the composition (Drums).

What are your tips for new producers wanting to start out making music?

Have fun at all times and DO IT EVERYDAY !!!! You have to work hard to master your craft but it’s worth it. You will create your own musical identity that will be exclusive to only you. Kinda like a finger print.

Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?

I love to use the Combinator to create new sounds from scratch. It can be strenuous if you’re not a patient person. I will spend days, even weeks just solely creating new sounds, in search of new musically creative discoveries. Some I can make on the fly, some take a slower process.

How do you get started with a new song? What sparks your creativity?

Anything can spark my creativity, honestly. I can be walking down a street and a sound from a passing truck with a chain hanging off the back can trigger a whole beat in my head instantly. I am never unplugged from the world so because of that anything from nature, random sounds, other music, TV or video games can cause me to jump on my computer and make music.

What do you do when inspiration just isn't there? How do you tackle writer’s block?

I used to just push myself through, no matter how frustrating it would get. That ultimately wasn’t good for me because I would feel more empty trying to force music and it would show in my work. Nowadays, I do things like step away from music completely. I’ll read, travel, meditate, cook etc. There are so many aspects of life that you miss just sitting in the chair cranking out music like a factory machine. You must enjoy other parts of life because it plays a vital role in your musical development. music is a life path and music is free-spirited at heart. We must strive to be that as well, to make timeless music.

What are your best tips for producers and beat makers wanting to get into the business?

Always make sure you finish your product. Always have a strong mix not matter how tough it is to get it done. Find an artist / writer that compliments your sound. Work diligently to create your sound with him/her. If you’re doing placements. study the artist and understand their sound so that you are familiar with their capabilities.

ALWAYS HAVE FUN !!!! Because it reflects in your music.


Follow Phonix Beats on Instagram, Twitter, Soundcloud.

 

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Posted Feb. 1, 2019, 9:30 a.m.

Tutorials

Watch: DivKid's Complex-1 MEGA TUTORIAL

Posted Jan. 28, 2019, 12:30 p.m.

Want to know what Complex-1 is all about? Watch this MEGA TUTORIAL by DivKid and learn the basic concepts of modular synthesis (and beyond) and what Complex-1 can do for your music!

Blog

Watch: Phonix Beats on the making of J Cole's "No Role Modelz"

Posted Jan. 16, 2019, 3:44 p.m.

J. Cole’s Platinum hit, “No Role Modelz,” is the highest-charting single from his third studio album, ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive.’ Co-produced by Cole and Phonix Beats, the fan favorite peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and interpolates Project Pat’s 2001 hit, “Don’t Save Her.” Phonix Beats recently sat down with Genius to explain how the beat was made, in Reason.

 

Want to start creating your own beats? Reason is everything you need to create amazing music, collaborate with others and have more fun! Get creative with unique instruments and effects. Stay focused with Reason’s intuitive flow.

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