Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Drew Lustman aka FaltyDl has been releasing his eclectic electronic music over the years on such renowed labels as Planet Mu and Ninja Tunes, as well as his own Blueberry Records imprint. Drew has put out six albums including his most recent ouput Heaven is for Quitters and he has also toured with James Blake, opened for Radiohead and remixed for the likes of Seun Kuti, Photek, The XX, Disclosure, Tricky and Ellen Allien.
Drew makes all his music in Reason and we figured it was time for a chat about how he goes about creating his music in Reason and what the thinking is behind it.
What's your favorite thing in Reason 10?
Reason 10 really nailed the integration of VSTs. I had started to play around with some 3rd party plugins in Reason 9, but everything jelled with Reason 10. It's funny to think my favorite thing about Reason is using non-Reason products with it, but that’s the spirit of music. Inclusion, experimentation and freedom. I used to feel tied down by the limitations of not being able to use VST’s, now it's been blown wide open and my wallet is my only limitation haha. Also being a lifetime Reason user, it's really nice that the GUI has been solid for the past few versions. If there is one thing every artist hates, it's change to their workflow. Although once you push through, new opportunities usually arrive.
How do you get started with a new song?
Just play. Have fun and experiment. I can honestly say, 10+ years into making electronic music i still don’t have a clue what I am going to make when I head into the studio. And every time I think I do, it comes out completely different. I’m not accurate like that. But I never cared about it either. My advice is make everything you want to make. You can decide later if its crap! Also, no one has to hear it… hehe
What's the best music making tip you ever got?
What you don’t know starting out is if music becomes your livelihood, pays your bills etc. your relationship with it may change. Go with the flow, go easy on yourself when the tunes don’t just come naturally. They will again.
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
I like saving racks, songs Ive completed, then erasing every single note and just letting the set up remain for another day. It’s a good way to get a vibe going quickly.
I like treating the mixer as an instrument.
I like treating the mixer as an instrument. Doubling instruments, giving sounds multiple channels to phase against each other with LFOs can really make some freaky human sounding stuff. I still smash ‘tab', switch Reason around so to speak and wire things awkwardly. One thing I am trying to be more conscious of these days is relative volume across different levels, meaning Line Level vs Instrument Level vs master level etc. I try and leave enough headroom at the end of a track so i can mix more freely and not worry about adjusting everything.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
Scream 4 Distortion has been a mainstay for me since Reason 3. The tape saturation is pretty spot on!
I use the NN-XT sampler in pretty much every track. I come from before you could just print audio into Reason and had to start a track before the sample is triggered in order to hear it. It was painful back then, but created a good listening habit which made me a more active listener. I find I can focus on the most minute musical event in a song and completely forget its context, only to then listen to the entire song and think what the hell did I just do for 45 minutes?
The tape saturation is pretty spot on!
Dr OctoRex is still a beast. I don’t think I use it to it’s full potential, but I come from sampling breaks and have always used this alongside recycle. Integrated audio has changed the need for this but hey I’m a bit old school.
What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?
Leave the house. Go for a walk, call a friend. Move a muscle, change a thought. Forcing the thing works maybe 10% of the time. Collaborate! Send stems to a pal and ask for some back. Inspiration, muse, whatever you call it is a fickle thing. It never shows up on time and often when you aren’t even close to your studio.
Inspiration is a fickle thing. It never shows up on time and often when you aren’t even close to your studio.
What’s your all-time favorite album?
Impossible to nail down. Here are a few;
- Feed Me Weird Things - Squarepusher
- In a Silent Way - Miles Davis
- Apostrophe - Frank Zappa
- Drum and Bass for Pappa - Plug
- Ruins - Grouper