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Rennie Foster’s weapons of choice

Rennie Foster has long been known as a producer with an enviously excellent consistent streak, but even by his lofty standards, the last while has yielded some truly great results. His latest releases have come at us via Moonlight Records, an eclectic label with a vision not unlike Rennie’s own.

But what does the Vancouver native use to make his greatest tracks? With his latest release, Crisis Actors, about to drop soon, we put some questions to the man himself re: his techniques and weapons of choice…

Propellerheads Reason

I have been working with Reason as my main creative tool since version 1 came to me on my first computer, a Mac G3 given to me by Phatt Phunk Records in the 90s. I still use Reason, which is now in version 10, and I still use a Mac in the studio. I use hardware as well, so I used to use Reason alongside Pro Tools on my studio computer to sequence that and handle audio editing. But I have long since shed Pro Tools and do all this inside Reason now. It also runs VSTs now and I run a Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk2 on my desktop right inside my Reason rack. I use a lot of Rack Extensions as well and have amassed a very large collection.

Reason is the underdog, the underrated, a lot like myself and my music. I relate to the whole vibe of the brand and always have. They are not into conforming, they have built their own thing and their own style. Artists who are into it know what I’m talking about. It’s just not like your normal DAW. It’s cooler … and looks cooler too.

Quadrelectra Rack Extensions

Recently, a lot of my drums are coming from the Quadelectra company’s dope JackBox creations. I don’t have the tech know how to explain perfectly how these work, but they combine synthesis and sampling in a complicated way that emulates classic boxes like the LinnDrum, 909, 808, Casio RZ-1 and other staples. When I say “emulate” I mean seriously, exactly. The feel, the vibe, all that. I can’t explain it. In Reason you can, of course, flip it around and route it as you like, so it’s exactly like having a 909 right in your Reason rack. It looks like one too and you can automate all perimeters. It’s dope.

Roland AIRA series MX-1 Mix Performer

I have the AIRA TR-8, the TB-3, the VT-3, the System 1, and I put them all together in the studio with the AIRA MX-1 Mix Performer, which is like a digital mixer/effect unit / midi clock sequencer. I don’t always use the MX-1 to use the AIRA gear, but it definitely has been influential in getting me back into the jamming aspect of creating dance music. I can easily jam out ideas and sequences on the AIRA gear and record that into Reason, with the MX-1, and by extension all the gear attached to it, synced to my computer. I don’t just power Roland gear with the MX-1 either, I often have my TB-3 duelling out baselines with the Gorg Volca Bass, may be processed through a Presonus tube pre-amp or mangled in a Korg Kaoss pad before it hits the comp. The MX-1 has awesome onboard processing too including side-chaining at the press of a button.


Nektar Controllers

I have had so many different midi control keyboards I can’t even remember all of them. Every brand you can think of and more. None of them has ever integrated so perfectly with Propellerheads Reason. I do not know why that is, I am sure there are technical reasons for this. but all the stuff that is a pain to map out just isn’t. On my studio desktop I have the Nectar Panorama P1, and this controls all parameters of my rack, mixer, and sequencer in Reason perfectly, including a screen on the unit, transport, faders etc. the P1 has no keyboard though, so I use a very small AKAI MPK mini on my desktop to bang out simple things and drums. For serious playing, I have a Nektar Impact 61+ which I just love and adore. I love to just pull up the Propellerhead Radical Keys Rack Extension and jam out on the 61 keys. It was very affordable and is my favourite control keyboard thus far.

Nektar Panorama P1

Arturia Beat Step Sequencer

This is a handy little thing that is a breeze to jam out very interesting sequences on all kinds of gear. I released a track last year on Subspec called Hollow Grams that is the Beat Step sequencing my Gorg MS-20 mini and sort of shows what sort of madness this thing is capable of. Beauty too, I am often using this to create very intricate and cascading synth sequences. It syncs up very easily with Reason as well. An inspirational and intuitive creative tool.

Arturia Beatstep

Rennie Foster’s Crisis Actors is out via Moonlight Records. Buy/listen to the release here and keep up with Rennie on Facebook, Soundcloud and Resident Advisor.

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