Reason is the perfect platform for creating UK Garage tracks—whether you’re going for an old-school four-to-the-floor vibe, or a modern 2-Step banger. Check out this video by producer, artist and tutor Paul Ortiz to learn.
UK Garage music has a long and complicated history with roots in House, R&B and Jungle music. Garage music got its start and its name from a club in New York City called Paradise Garage, where DJs were known for playing particularly soulful House music. UK DJ’s like Tuff Jam and Dreem Team started playing sped-up Dub mixes of these American “Garage” records at after-parties in the early 90s to keep weary dancers shaking their groove things until the wee hours of the morning.
By 1994 the UK started developing a unique take on Garage music called “Speed Garage.” Harder, faster and bassier than its American counterpart, Speed Garage features four-on-the-floor drum beats with syncopated claps and hi hats, and heavily affected vocal samples from Soul, House and R&B records.
By 1999, the sound of UK Garage had evolved—this new subgenre of Garage music known as “2-Step” eschewed the traditional 4x4 drums of Garage music for jittery, beat-skipping kick patterns more akin to Hip-Hop than House music. Producers like Zed Bias & El-B brought a darker sound to 2-Step, paving the way for even more sub-genres such as Grime and Dubstep.
There are a lot of different ways to go about making a UK Garage track, but no matter your approach, Reason 10 has you covered.
Making UK Garage Beats in Reason
A banging drumbeat is the backbone to any UK Garage track. Start by dialing in a tempo of about 130 BPM, and then use the Groove Mixer to increase the global shuffle to about 55% to give your tracks the signature UK Garage swing.
Trigger pre-made Club loops with Dr. Octo Rex, create step-sequenced drum patterns with ReDrum, or use the legendary Kong Drum Designer to play your own unique rhythm by hand. For old-school UK Garage and Speed Garage beats, start with a classic four-on-the-floor drum pattern—then add a syncopated hi-hat groove and some crispy clap sounds on the 3. If you’re going for more of a 2-Step, Grime or old-school Dubstep vibe, create an irregular kick pattern that skips a beat every now and then.
Most UK Garage basslines are subby and repetitive to keep people dancing. While just about any of Reason’s synths can create a killer bass line, Subtractor is loaded with dark, heavy Club and Garage bass patches to get you started. Use Reason’s Dual Arpeggio to quickly and easily put together syncopated bass lines that dance around your drumbeat.
Next, lay down some rich chords with sampled keyboard, electric piano and synthesizer patches using NN-19 and NN-XT. And don’t worry—if you’re not a pianist you can still create lush chords with the touch of a button using Reason’s Scales & Chords player. Simply set the key of the song and dial in the complexity to create powerful, emotionally resonant chords with a single finger.
Now that you’ve got the basic rhythm track together, it’s time to bring in a soulful vocal sample. Use Reason’s built-in time stretching and pitch shifting abilities to transform vocal tracks to fit with your song, or chop them up using NN-XT and play each slice with a MIDI keyboard to create a fresh new reinterpretation.
Now that you know the foundations making UK Garage beats in Reason 10, it’s time to let the rhythm take control!