Designing Bread & Butter sounds for Europa

Back in the day, months before Reason version 3 was released, I was asked by Propellerhead to design patches for Reason. The Props needed many patches for the Factory Sound Bank so a few international sound designers were asked to do so. I was very happy to do this for the Props, the money was good and it felt as a natural next step for me.

Factory Sound Bank expansion

I bought Reason 1 in the month it came out and under my nickname Raapie I started a blog about Reason. That became a very successful blog. Every day I was programming sounds for the Subtractor synth just for fun and sharing them on my blog. Then in 2003 I started my own company Melodiefabriek and Propellerhead contacted me if I was interested in designing patches for Reason. The rest is history…

I did several hundreds of patches for Reason 3 and 4. The Factory Sound Bank was expanded a lot in these years. And one of the most important type of sounds the Props wanted us sound designers to program was what we call Bread & Butter sounds.

Dressed To Impress

Many synths, both hardware and software, often come with patches which are not useful. They sound great though, but they are only meant to impress you. We sound designers call these type of patches Dressed To Impress. Don’t get me wrong, these patches are great showcases. But they are not at all functional. You most certainly won’t use these patches in your track because they are too outspoken, too flashy, too gimmicky, and simply way too full and complex sounding. You might use these patches to impress your colleague. And these patches do well when performed at the NAMM and in the music shop.

What you need for your music are the tasty functional sounds. These are often hard to find, many synths lack them.

This is also the reason why we are still using stuff like a 808 for a kick drum. The 808 is a very basic sound (a sine wave with a small pitch drop). But that sound works fine in a lot of music. It fits the music nicely.

Searching for a great bass synth? A one oscillator Korg Polysix type of sound might be perfect. Looking for a great pad? An old Roland Juno type of patch might be perfect for this. Just your ordinary well programmed Bread & Butter sounds.

photo by Whitney Wright on Unsplash

It all began in the 80s

Synthesizers are in fact older than the electric guitar. Invented in 1876, but it got real interesting to me when they became polyphonic. In the 80s musicians started to use synths a lot more in music. Many bands from the UK were using nothing but synths and drummachines, sometimes using tape machines on stage for the “sequenced parts”.

During the 80s many of the classic sounds we’re still using today were created and used by European bands like Ultravox, The Human League, OMD, Eurythmics, Level 42 and so on.

Because Europa by Reason could use a bunch of the classic Bread & Butter sounds I decided to make a package for it myself. After months of programming this resulted in 80s, my package of 80s sounding bread & butter patches. I consider it as a must have! So please, check it out!

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