Sought-After Player/Producerâ€™s Recent Projects Credits Include Gnarls Barkley & Marilyn Manson
Chris Vrenna may be best known for his lengthy tenure and seminal recordings with industrial pioneers, Nine Inch Nails (with whom he won a Grammy Award in 1995 as the bandâ€™s drummer). But in the years since striking out on his own in 1997, Vrenna has become a sought-after producer, engineer, remixer, songwriter, and programmer, working with bands including Rammstein, U2, Weezer, P.O.D., David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Guns â€˜Nâ€™ Roses, Gnarls Barkley, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Green Day, Live, Adema, the Wallflowers, and with his own electronic outfit, Tweaker. As a composer, heâ€™s scored music for popular video games including Area 51, Doom 3, Need For Speed, and Quake 4.
No matter the application or format, Vrenna says Propellerheadâ€™s Reason figures prominently in his production process.
â€œI go way back with Propellerhead,â€? Vrenna reflects. â€œI used Rebirth way before Reason as I was a huge â€˜modsâ€™ collector. Now, I use Reason both in the studio and live. Itâ€™s so versatile; as a synth rack, sampler, and effects system. Reason is my main live tool, as well, and the center of my keyboard rig. It takes all the worry out of performing. I set up key-zones in the Combinator, trigger samples using NN-XT, and then build synth patches within Subtractor and Maelstrom. And switching files between songs is super fast. And for specific effects, I can route one sample or a whole synth to distortion, delay, reverb, etc. It would have taken racks of gear to do what I can do within Reason.â€?
While Vrenna has not completely replaced his hardware tools with virtual sythns and sequencers, he does admit that there is an immediacy and ease of use that only software can provide. â€œI still love hardware, but software like Reason sounds so good, and at the same time, is much easier to work with. I work on so many projects at once, that bouncing between songs is easy. And, itâ€™s much faster to create with the GUI that Propellerhead developed.â€?
Some of his other â€˜must-haveâ€™ Reason features run the gamut from sound to simplicity. â€œThereâ€™s too many to list, but the sounds, the effects, and the ease in which I can program, would be at the top of the list. The NN-XT is an awesome sampler, too. I can do so much in just one piece of software.â€?
Making use of Reasonâ€™s sound banks, Vrenna says he owns almost every ReFill available, his favorite of late being, â€œAbbey Road Keyboardâ€?. So whatâ€™s in his current Reason Rack? â€œI like to build a rack from scratch for every song or project I do. It keeps me fresh.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