Welcome to Reasonistas Interviews. This is the first of many interviews planned with Music Producers, Audio Engineers, Musicians, Songwriters and Live Performers/DJs using Reason and other Propellerhead Software products.
We will also interview Refill Developers, Rack Extension Developers and founders of other Reason resources on the web to learn and grow together.
Noel González of Reasonistas
Matt "Fresha" Goodchild, CEO of Lab:One Recordings
Producer, Engineer, Musician, Songwriter, Rack Extension Developer, Graphics Designer (3D, Vector Graphics) & Junglist :D
We are proud and honored to officially launch Reasonistas Interviews with Matt "Fresha" Goodchild, CEO of Lab:One Recordings. If you've trialed or own any Lab:One Recordings Rack Extensions, then you are familiar with Matt’s incredible attention to detail and ability to identify and deliver unique top-notch devices to Reason. At the time of our interview, Matt had released the following 6 Rack Extensions and was busy working on another first-ever Reason device:
So, without further ado, here is the interview with Matt.
Question 1 Noel: Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood?
Matt: Born in Sunny Northants UK, spent childhood (and teen years) in same area.
Question 2 Noel: At what age did you discover an interest in music?
Matt: 14… listening to DJ Sasha (even back then a leading dj producer), then got the bug with Commodore Amiga, ProTracker and some Zero G samples from the original Datafile Vinyl. At 17 bought my first pair of turntables from a good friend, and got heavily into djing, learning how to mix beats not only beat matching but dropping at the perfect points for double dropping as well as key mixing to create journeys.
Question 3 Noel: What role has music played in your life?
Matt: Even at early age (10 and 11) was picking up guitar and violin, but was still looking for that ‘key’ style and sound. At 14 as mentioned was learning how tracks were made, ripping Amiga games apart to get the ProTracker MODs out and seeing exactly how these music tracks were being made from samples, so always learning from back then. At 18 a few of like minded friends started local events which always went off big! Setting the way for the next generation before we even knew it. Other aspects involved my website building skills (self taught Flash when that was brand spanking new) and helped forge Flash-driven websites for Club Sidewinder, Accelerated Culture, HTID and True Event nights early 2000’s.
Driving to sessions in London and Birmingham to experience our peers smashing many a sound system (Goldie and the Metalheadz at Leisure Lounge & Blue Note, Fabio at Swerve on a Wednesday night, plus Fabric for many a heavyweight set and The End for up close and personal sets from Ed Rush & Optical, Matrix, Andy C, LTJ Bukem and many more) - those were the days… and the nights getting Police ‘escorted’ out of the cities as they thought we were joyriders, or mental for driving 113 km (70 miles) to go clubbing… good times, a few classic stories I can tell that’s for sure.
Question 4 Noel: Do you have traditional music training?
Matt: No, my Dad’s side always had a bit of something music-related - his Dad used to play electric organ by ear (couldn’t read music but could definitely play), which progressed to my Dad learning to read music, which I picked up something because I can read music (well I know the notes, and some scales!), and I strive towards more sample based and EDM styles… no Freré Jacques or Chopsticks here haha!
Question 5 Noel: How did you learn about Reason and what was your first version?
Matt: After the PC boom started with Windows 95 and 98, and grabbing a dodgy copy of Cubase VST (we’re talking just after Atari version now, waaay back), I came across Rebirth with the two 303’s 808 and 909 - that really set the standard for something new. I came across Reason version 2, and been using it ever since (although I am having another love affair with Cubase Pro 8.5 now, and sneaky liaisons with Maschine Studio too these days).
Question 6 Noel: What are your top three favorite Reason features?
The cabling - no other software really does this (ok some new stuff does like U-HE Bazille, as well as the Korg MS20 softsynth with USB controller for true cable modular connections). Try to tab-flip a VST or AU so you can connect it up to something else in a feedback loop, which leads me onto.
Feedback loops - Props totally understand that you can cause feedback loops with hardware (speaker popping high tones oh totally experienced those bitchy sounds) - other softwares either don’t play ball or simply won’t allow feedback loops. Seriously good.
Bussing of channels (finally) in the awesome SSL desk - looong overdue and does superb 3a) Parallel channels… 3b) Audio tracks in Reason - still can be better visually, with smoother curves (parabolic rather than linear all the time would be nice) 3c)... lol let’s stop there.
Question 7 Noel: What are the top 3 features you wish Propellerhead would add to Reason?
Smoother curves so we can exponential / logarithmic curve fades instead of multiple linear points - other DAWs can do this, so would be good to have these too.
SSL Desk to have track meters change so not always stuck on VU mode. Peak mode for all faders would be a nice touch, like how the Big MEter and the Master Section works - seems a little odd why this wasn’t added in as an option before.
Maybe a more advanced version of the EMI…. one control change just isn’t enough when you’re loopbacking VST standalones.
Question 8 Noel: What made you decide to develop Rack Extensions?
Matt: Have done coding at college (funnily enough aged 16-17, just before I got the raving bug), but that was simple C++ stuff, no pointers, references...very basic stuff. VST coding has always been a bit of a ‘black art’.. You either know or you don’t, there’s no real “transition”. So, after being involved with some testing for Props before, I saw an opportunity to get into creating tools for Reason, for my own productions as well as making tools that others could use too. And the learning curve keeps on rising the more I’m progressing, and really understanding the science side of things so much, that it’s helping even more with my productions because the ‘science’ side is all done and out the way, meaning I get more time to be ‘artistic’ and creative, and I don’t have to think too much about the numbers.. apart from in the code that is.
Question 9 Noel: What is unique about your background that defines the Rack Extensions that you develop?
Matt: The convenience of not having to rely on others to help with the work… I know 3D modelling as well as graphic design (used to do the flyer artworks for the raves me and my mates used to put on, so that saved a cost and I already knew how to use the drawing software in my sleep) - plus I think it’s down to no one else I know locally can do the graphics, or 3D models, or code, or produce / sound design etc… so I took up the mantle to cover all these bases.
Question 10 Noel: What was the genesis of your first Rack Extension?
Matt: I think it began from trying to get a filter to truly work in code. Another developer was kind enough to give me one key detail that got everything rolling - once that was processing audio exactly how it should, well the rest is history.
Question 11 Noel: If you could only pick one, which Lab:One Recording device are you most proud of and why?
Matt: Most proud of.... well ReQ131 because of how many users have got it and no mentioned bug errors since v1. Also proud of Mace for the user interaction side... quite proud of all products to be fair because they all have something unique about each one
Question 12 Noel: How do you go about creating the GUI of your devices? Do you have a process that you go through?
Matt: I like to start from scratch usually, maybe Google image search for various devices and rack units to see what the designs are like, and I replicate them; I seem to have the ability to break down what looks like a complex object into simple components (I can see parallelograms and circles / triangles / squares in lettering since early graphic design work, so use the same approach). Also I see knob controls for various non-music based devices, such as radiators / central heating / aircon units for example and photo the knob control for potential ideas later. I’ll do a 2d ‘flat’ draft to work out the placement we’ll eventually see in the Rack, and use that draft layout on the main panel .Once I get the knob / power cable etc I want to create I’ll model it, 3d paint it and texturize it, then collate in the Propellerheads RE tools and layout the design (using my 2d ‘map’ to layout everything) then get it ready to render - I prefer the 3D route because it’s more ‘tangible’ and believable… plus I can eventually 3D print the actual design to have a real world ‘mini’ unit, for prosperity :D
Question 13 Noel: What studio gear and hardware synthesizers would you like to see in the Reason Rack and why?
Matt: Nord stuff would be nice, maybe some Novation Rack units would not go a miss either. Difficult to say really since I have other options that cover my needs though (Virus Powercore, Sh101 clone on Powercore, Waldorf PPG VSTi….). I have a couple other rack units I might port over since they’re quite rare to get hold of (still looking for the 3rd of the 3 to complete my real world rack unit collection)
Question 14 Noel: Are you able to give us a sneak peek into your next Rack Extension or future Re plans?
Matt: I would but I can’t, been given my double-oh licence if anything gets leaked :D. But seriously, in the next few devices we'll keep on bring out units with their own twists and features, definitely something new for the Rack.
Question 15 Noel: Any words of advice for people interested in kickstarting their own Rack Extension company?
Matt: Don't give up, scoure the net for sources and aiding tools, read up loads, but don’t get downtrodden or disheartened if it doesn’t work straight off… I find it’s better to find the pitfalls early so you can avoid them later and learn from them (it’s all good learning the right way so you don't do things wrong, but if you do something wrong but you followed the instruction, it’s always harder to find the problem if it never came up before). Oh and do it because you enjoy it, the money side of thing can help of course, but coin is always last on my mind. Oh and also no matter how close you are to finishing a product, test it, break it do everything you’re not supposed to so all bugs are ironed out - releasing a product with bugs in can be a bit of an anchor if you want to ‘close’ that project/product - nothing I hate more than going back to fix something that’s already available to Joe Public and his/her mates - making a 100% reliable product is definitely something I like because then the next project/product has my full attention. Oh, apart from updates / upgrades of course (but they can be treated as new ‘projects’)
Question 16 Noel: Anything else you would like readers to know about you or your products?
Matt: The products we make at Lab One have the artist and producer in mind - since we’re all artists and producers in our own right, we’ll make tools where we see a need, or there’s something we want to use ourselves. We also try to make tools that innovate, not imitate every piece of equipment going - we like to pick up the ball and run a bit more with it to put our own twist on things. To check out our products so far, check out https://shop.propellerheads.se/browse/?q=lab%3Aone+recordings
Closing Statement Noel: Thank you, Matt. It was a pleasure to have this interview and to learn more about you and Lab One Recordings. I wish you continued success with your company and future developments.
Matt: Thank you Reasonistas, keep up the good work!
Alright fellow Reasonistas there you have it! An insightful interview with Matt of Lab:One Recordings. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions for me or Matt. You can find out more about Lab:One Recordings at the following:
@Lab One Recordings Website: http://lab-one-recordings.co.uk/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http://lab-one-recordings.co.uk/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/share?url=http://lab-one-recordings.co.uk/ Google+: https://plus.google.com/share?url=http://lab-one-recordings.co.uk/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/lab1recordings/videos
@Propellerhead Software AB Lab:One Recordings’ Shop Page
Until next time, happy music making and keep it Reason-able!