With dance tracks, there are few things that make one stand out from another. It’s not their fault, the dance floor DJs rely on songs that have similar drumbeats so they can maintain a seamless blend of music that can last hours, upon hours…in some cases.
As a result of this, many of the artists that are supplying the DJs are constantly trying to evolve outside of certain required parameters, while still staying somewhat within. By this I mean: they want to do something outside of the box—but not too far outside of the box, otherwise no one will spin them, right?
Dirty Vegas’s club hit, Days Go By, did a great job of giving itself an original spin, while at the same time keeping its groove, BPM and drums confined to the usual dance floor parameters, which ultimately led to its ascendancy.
I would like to point out one thing about the track that did really stand out to me, besides the vocals: the bass. There is a very simple, yet groovy bass line that plays repetitively through Days Go By that really keeps your attention.
In this tutorial, I’d like to show you how to create this particular bass line in Reason. Perhaps you can modify it and make another club hit of your own!
Step 1 - The Sound
The bass line in Days Go By is a very low, under the radar patch that sits well with the drums and gives the lead, drums and stab a place to sit comfortably. To create a similar bass patch, I used the Subtractor in Reason. While this isn’t a 1 for 1 match, it does the job.
It’s created by mixing a Triangle wave with a Sawtooth one. The Sawtooth is octaved down once to give a little more growl and depth. I’ve also Modified the phase mode on the triangle wave as well so that we’ve got a little more thickness. Replicate the patch you see below!
Step 2 - The Pattern
To recreate the actual bass line, I’ve employed a Matrix step sequencer. The resolution of the pattern should be at the default 16th-note setting. Octave down from Octave 3 to 2 on the Matrix and enter the following notes:
Go back up to Octave 3 and input the notes displayed here:
Step 3 - The Beat
Once you have the bass part programmed, everything else is easy. My suggestion in the next step would be to drop in a 4-on-the-floor kick drum and build up from there.
I used the 'House Kit 03' from the Reason factory soundbank. This kit has an appropriate hi-hat, and kick that can be easily modified for the original song. Or, you can just take the basic groove and do something entirely different! That’s the beauty of this bass groove, it’s under-the-radar, but adds a lot to a song because it’s not just one note being played repetitively, it has a bit of a melody!