Bon Harris made a name for himself in the early â€˜80s/mid-90s as the founding member of the quintessential British industrial group Nitzer Ebb, programming the bandâ€™s signature sound. In the years since, the composer, producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has become an in-demand collaborator working with Depeche Mode, Smashing Pumpkins, Evanescence, AFI, Avril Lavigne, Bush, Marilyn Manson, Billy Corgan, and with his new band Maven. Propellerheadâ€™s Reason has played an integral part in his production work since the softwareâ€™s inceptionâ€”from that of principal sound generator and mangler, to idea â€˜sketch padâ€™ and sonic layering tool.
â€œReason is a constant musical companion for me,â€? he explained. â€œIt is so well put together, is very efficient, stable, and flexible. I can assemble any signal chain imaginable, without frustrating limitations, in a very quick, simple fashion. Reason is also very democratic. Everybody has it, or access to it. Itâ€™s become a common musical language, making it very easy to collaborate. And with ReWire connectivity, I can work on a musical sketch anywhere, and plug that into a host for expansion and refinement if needs be. As Iâ€™ve said often, Reason is like a Swiss Army Knife for music productionâ€¦ except itâ€™s Swedish.â€?
The ability to have an onboard exhaustive library of sounds and sound banks provides Harris with an unlimited palette of tools at his immediate disposal. â€œI have a large library of sounds now at my disposal, so itâ€™s very easy for me to call up a pre-assembled rack, or build one from scratch, using any style or combination that I can think of. I use the Factory and Orkester sound banks often. They are particularly handy if you find yourself in a situation where someone has Reason installed, but doesnâ€™t use it often. You can always rely on that collection of sounds to be there, so itâ€™s good to get to know them. I wonder how many computers in the world have those sounds installed. I donâ€™t use presets much, but the Subtractor, MalstrÃ¶m and Thor patches are excellent to have on hand if you need some â€˜habit breakersâ€™. Not to mention the Redrum patches, to kick things off quickly. The NN-XT is very quick to browse, audition and load sounds, too. Browsers are not generally considered to be the sexiest part of any software, but try working with a clumsy one and watch the hours and inspiration melt away. Reasonâ€™s browser is top notch. My hat goes off to The Browser Master(s)!â€?
But perhaps the most significant boon to his workflow is Reasonâ€™s flexibility, speed and portability. And for an artist that is constantly on the go, itâ€™s easy to see why Reason has become an integral part of his workflow. â€œAs soon as I can think up an idea, I can execute it, save variations, re-load alternatives, etc. Reason allows me to work very swiftly. I can also bicycle over to a studio with a complete, mixed arrangement in my backpack. That didnâ€™t work so well with the System 100mâ€™s, Moog Modulars, etc. The semi-modular nature is a dream for modular synth fans. It allows you to achieve sounds that would be difficult, if not impossible, using hardware. I still use software and hardware together, but the advantages of software are portability, total recall, and a small physical footprint. With software and a laptop, you can make an album at the kitchen table, on the bus, laying in bed, wherever. My favorite is at the library, actually. I take some sandwiches and make a day of it. Just keep the headphone level down! Whether you are using a laptop or a full-featured studio setup, Mac or PC, Reason is very consistent and allows you to get music written without imposing limitations.â€?
So, whatâ€™s in Bon Harrisâ€™ Reason rack?
â€œDepends on the situation. If Iâ€™m scoring for picture itâ€™ll be stuffed with NN-XTâ€™s, maybe a couple of Dr Rexâ€™s, reverbs and delays. If itâ€™s more band type stuff then Subtractors and lots of effects. The rack will change to suit the situation, and Reason proves flexible enough to handle it all very well.â€?
About Propellerhead Software
Propellerhead Software is a privately owned company based in Stockholm, Sweden. Formed in 1994, Propellerhead has created some of the most innovative new music software (ReBirth, ReCycle and Reason) and technology standards, including ReWire and the REX file format, which are used extensively in all kinds of music production. Propellerhead ReBirth program was the first virtual emulation of vintage analog gearâ€”a trend that now dominates music software. www.propellerheads.se