Swedish rising star producer Tobtok a.k.a. Tobias Karlsson has teamed up with his Uppsala native producer colleage Oliver Nelson to release their new single 'Yellow' on February 22, featuring lead vocalist Liv Dawson. We are happy to present the opportunity for you to enter a Spotify pre-save campaign for a chance to win a brand new copy of Reason 10 – the music making software choice of Tokbok. We got the chance to speak with Tobtok during his hectic release schedule about how he approaches music making and producing in Reason.
How did the collaboration between you and Oliver come about? What does your songwriting process look like?
We have worked on a bunch of collabs now over the years, and ever since we first got together in 2013 we’ve worked very closely together and been involved in each others careers ever since! I’ve always been working in Reason since I first started with music-production in 2009 (celebrating 10 years with Reason!), and Oliver has always worked in Ableton, so we’ve had to combine the two over the years.
We have a few different ways of working. Sometimes we sit together throughout the whole process as we live literally 1 minutes from each other which is quite convenient, but we also often swap stems and work of different elements of the song. For example, in “Yellow” Oliver was more in charge of the drums while I worked more on the Instruments, and then we did the final mixdown in Reason!
I think that the fact that a lot of the big elements in the song is Reason-made sounds make it stands out and doesn’t sound like everything else out there.
How did you write 'Yellow'? What was the creative process?
We actually got a demo sent to us from the hugely talented Madfun and M-22 who originally wrote it. Everyone in our camp thought that it was special and had an interesting theme that we wanted to explore. Me and Oliver put our spin to it and made it to what it is today!
What's your favorite thing about Reason?
There is so many things I love about Reason, but if I have to pick one it’s how great and easy the interface is. I’ve tried out pretty much every DAW out there and I found myself being most comfortable in Reason, because it’s just not overly complicated, it’s almost like playing with Lego! I also like that there’s a bunch of really handy tools incorporated into the program, for example the Vocal Pitch Edit mode is so handy and much better than other programs that you can tune vocals in etc. also the main mixer is top notch!
"The number 1 rule in Reason is to always put everything in combinators!"
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
The number 1 rule in Reason is to always put everything in combinators! I see a lot of people who ignore this, and it does my head in! It’s so easy and makes the whole project more tidy, and most of all it’s very efficient when you want to save the sound you’ve made rather than saving all patches or presets individually.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
At the moment it’s Radical Piano, Parsec 2 and Audiomatic Retro Transformer.
What are your tips for new producers wanting to start out making music?
Have fun with it, always strive to improve your sound design and watch tutorials on how to mix properly, because a nice piece of music can get ruined with a bad production. I’ve learned a whole lot watching Reason’s tutorial clips on your website over the years hehe.
Tobtok was kind enough to share three of his custom Combinator patches used in the single 'Yellow'. Click above to download them! Please note that the patches require Parsec 2 and Fab Filter Q2.