“What up everybody, it’s your girl Jelie from Kickback Couture.”
If you’re familiar with this phrase, then you’re probably no stranger to the great amount of Reason tutorials that rapper, producer and engineer Jelie (pronounced “jell-eye”) has published on her YouTube channel Kickback Couture for the past couple of years.
We had a chat with Jelie on how she began making music and how she approaches beat making and music production. And be sure to download Jelie’s free ReFills below!
How did you start out making music? How did it all begin?
I started babble rapping when I was four, if that counts. My dad was into rapping and producing his own music and I wanted to do everything he was doing. He let me make drum patterns on his Boss DR-550. and I’ve been hooked on the production side of music every since then.
How do you get started with a new song? What sparks your creativity?
I usually prepare production sessions by curating what I want to use in the tracks before hand. That includes samples I want to chop, one shot drums I think sound good together and synth presets I want to create melodies or chord progressions with. Many times I’ll do a sound design session and build the sounds I want to use based on the style of production I’m going for.
What do you do when inspiration just isn’t there? How do you tackle writer’s block?
I go on YouTube and watch videos of my favorite producers in the studio. Either interviews or footage of them producing. Also living life is generally the best way I get through writer’s block. Life experiences and emotions are the direct solutions to curing any creativity problems I have.
How did you get into making videos on YouTube?
I started making videos on YouTube because finding content that correlated with my style and choice of production software was rare. The Reason tutorials I’d watch for inspiration and production tips were all at least 5 years old. I had to learn new production techniques by watching people use other DAWs. Although I could understand and translate between DAWs, I realized that many beginners wouldn’t find the same ease of use when transferring concepts to a platform that looks different and has different functions.
“The ease of chopping samples is my favorite thing about Reason”
Favorite thing about Reason?
The ease of chopping samples is my favorite thing about Reason. There’s a lot of flexibility in using the sequencer’s Slice Edit Mode to chop a sample into segments and be able to transfer it to a variety of devices as a rex file. Depending on the type of sample I have the option of using Kong, Dr Octo Rex, NN-XT etc. If I don’t want to import the sample in a sampler I could simply arrange it in the sequencer. The processes within Reason is incredibly fluid when I want to reach for sample driven techniques.
What are your tips for new producers wanting to start out making music?
1. Learn the DAW! The more you know the more you can manipulate the tools to get the results you want.
2. Learn audio terms! If you don’t know what compression means or you don’t understand the purpose of limiting, etc you could potentially lose out on a lot of time and money. Many times I give people tips for improving their Reason template and they have 3 separate devices that all accomplish the same task. If we don’t understand what the devices are doing, we don’t know if it’s making it better or worse.
The three most used devices in your Reason rack?
ID8, Umpf and Drum Sequencer Player
Do you have any special Reason production trick that you always use?
I often use Kong as a send effect. I love the reverb so I set it up and saved it in my template. I also combinate devices often to quickly create layered instruments that spread across the stereo field. Another trick I use in Reason is generating melodies or riff ideas with the player devices. This ranges from Dual Arp to the Quad Note Generator.
Name three of your favorite artists!
Freddie Gibbs, 9th Wonder and Gucci Mane
Jelie is giving away four of her custom ReFills and Combinator backdrops for free.