Timothy Bailey, Jr. is an American producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who's made a name for himself as one of the most trusted bassists and beat makers on the west coast. As a part of the production team The Beat Traffickers, he's placed music for artist on major labels like Def Jam and Capital, and provided the backdrop for many television networks from MTV to E! and VH1 just to name a few. As an electric/synth bassist, Timothy has either toured, recorded and performed with Ariana Grande, Lalah Hathaway, Big Sean, Justin Bieber among many others.
We asked Timothy to drop a handful of bass loops that you can use in your own music. Visit his Allihoopa profile for more loops! Timothy also took the time to talk with us about how he's using Reason in his music productions and on stage. Check it out!
How do you use Reason in your music making? Do you have any examples of where you've used it?
At least 97 percent of my music creation starts within Reason. I was introduced to Reason 10 years ago, and have not been able to get away. The greatest thing that ever happened to this platform was the incorporation of audio recording, and then the addition of the Rack Extensions. Before then, I would start songs in Reason and have to go to another DAW to finish up the job, but at this point, I can complete entire productions within Reason.
The most recent examples would be Hip Hip Violinist Josh Vietti's project released November 23rd (2015), where I produced and tracked everything in Reason 8 with the exception of Josh's violins (all while out on the road with Ariana Grande). Some of the live drums, horns and guitar tracks were sent to me and added into the Reason sessions.
Def Jam's Elijah Blake's title track Shadows and Diamonds was produced in Reason (version 7). The Comic special Laffapalooza Live From Vegas (Hosted by Tracy Morgan) was produced entirely in Reason as well. For a more in-depth discography of other works, check out my production team's Soundcloud page.
You're working both as a producer in studio as well as in live situations (with Ariana Grande), could you tell us a bit about how you're using Reason on stage and on tour? Any pitfalls to avoid?
I actually used Reason to trigger all of my synth bass sounds on Ariana's first tour (The Listening Sessions Tour in 2013). We had some back line challenges, so in order to get the sounds from her album, I had to create them at home in Reason and take them with me, using a keyboard controller. There were definitely no complaints as far as the tones were concerned. Even though it was a tedious job, I had all the tools at my disposal to create my own patches emulating the basses on her "Yours Truly" album.
This year, I used all hardware for her live shows, but while we were prepping for tour I was called to put bass on a few arrangements. So many of the early versions of the tour arrangements contain electric and synth bass tracks recorded in Reason. Some of those recorded basses even made it to the actual stems that we used live.
One thing to be careful of: If you're using Reason during a live show or recording, make sure you turn off your notifications on your computer. There's nothing more embarrassing than hearing a sound blare out of the house speakers that originated from your computer and you didn't trigger it. How I learned this lesson is unimportant . . . (lol)
When you start a new song, what’s the very first thing you do?
I have a few different templates that I pull up, depending on what specific project I may be working on calls for. I got a template from a YouTube channel (Jasper Janine's "How To Setup The Best Reason Template Ever") that I modified just a little to my specs. I like having the side chain option ready to go in case I want to use it. If I'm working on a sound designing type project, I built a "Media Composition" template that has various orchestral sounds, synth effects, atmospheric sounds, drum hits, sweeps, modulating synths, etc. But often times, I'm starting from scratch with basic effects, pulling up a Kong Drum Designer and a Radical Piano, and I'll go from there.
What's the best music making tip you ever got?
I've gotten so many great music making tips over the years that it's hard to choose just one. But if I had to I would say, "don't be afraid to try something different and experiment" would be one of the best tips. And I would call it one of the best because I still have to constantly challenge myself in this area. As producers, we sometimes get caught in the trap of needing to be current and "hip" to be validated at this present moment. We're told to make music somewhat similar to what we hear on the radio at this present moment. And if we do something that we feel nobody would "approve" of, we can be quick to trash that idea. But it's okay to think differently and be outside of the norm. You've struck gold when you can find that happy medium between "current" and "futuristic", but don't be afraid to go against the trends and find your voice. And like I said, this is something that I am still working on to this very day, hour and minute.
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
I'm never too proud to go on YouTube to find out new Reason tips. I love learning new things about Reason, and I find it fascinating that no matter how much I think I know this program, there are whole other worlds within these Reason racks that I haven't even tapped into. One day, I plan on really tapping into figuring out the External MIDI Instrument functions. I just haven't had the chance to yet because my rack has kept me so busy as it is.
I'm understanding the SSL board more and more, and one thing that I make frequent use of is the Low and High Pass filters. I do a lot of Low passing for effects, but in a lot of my heavy 808 based tracks, to keep things from getting muddy in certain frequencies, I like to high pass a lot of instruments, even if it's just a little bit, to allow certain instruments to sit better in different frequencies.
Also, I start out all my songs in Block View. That was the next greatest thing that ever happened to Reason. Sometimes, I have an idea that I may think is a verse. Then I'll take what I have in that Block, copy it to another Block, do some editing (mostly muting and cutting), and I realize that maybe my verse should be a hook. Or I may have a hook that's pretty awesome to me at the time, but as I develop more, it feels more like a bridge. The fact that I can figure all of that out before putting the song together in "Song View" makes life so much easier for me. So it's normal for me to start a pattern in Block 1, and copy that pattern into the next 8 Blocks, and then construct a song from that point.
As a bass player, any favorite tips and tricks on getting good bass sounds in Reason?
I like my live bass to be clean, punchy, and full. So what I generally do is get my live bass sound exactly the way I want it before it hits my audio interface, and if I need to add anything after that, I'll gently adjust after that point. Usually, I'm bringing up the highs about a decibel at 8.3 kHz, cutting the HMF 2 decibels at 2.51kHz, and playing around with the LMF, usually boosting a notch around the 588.9Hz range. I've also started adding a touch of a plate reverb so it's not too dry. In general, I like the natural bass sound, and that's what I'll send out when I'm tracking for other people. I'll let them compress or effect at their discretion.
What do you do when inspiration just isn't there?
I just don't force it. Sadly, sometimes I'll just go take a nap. Haha!! But generally, I'll revert back to YouTube, or go through my iTunes library and start listening to various music. I'll usually revert to some classic R&B or Soul, some straight ahead and smooth jazz, some current Pop and Hip Hop and EDM, or some Contemporary Gospel. My musical taste is quite wide. From Kierra Sheard to David Guetta to Kim Burrell to Miles Davis, from Drake to Marcus Miller to Katy Perry, Jill Scott to Fetty Wap to Herbie Hancock, Kanye West to Taylor Swift to Hiatus Kaiyote to Snarky Puppy . . . just completely all over the place. Haha. I just love music in just about every form.
What’s your all-time favorite album?
This is the toughest question known to man. If I'm asked this same question next week, my answer will probably be different. But for now, it's going to be a toss up between Jill Scott's "Who Is Jill Scott: Words and Sounds Vol 1", D'Angelo's "VooDoo", Brandy's "Full Moon" and Stevie Wonder's "Songs In The Key of Life." I couldn't pick just one if I tried, but the aforementioned will always be in the running for that "all-time favorite album" spot.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
As long as there are Rack Extensions, this will change, but as of lately, I will always have a Kong Drum Designer. After that, there will be at least an A-List Acoustic Guitarist, an A-List Electric Guitarist – Power Chords or a Radical Piano, and the Rob Papen Predator RE Instrument. I can't seem to get away from these instruments. They definitely fuel my inspiration!
Check out Timothy's Allihoopa profile for more bass loops and beats!