Q&A with Jackson Reazin (Landfill Sessions)

Jackson Reazin (Landfill Sessions) shares his inspirations, songwriting process, and a great message: “Create the music in your head. It was put there for a purpose and someone needs to hear it.”

Instruments: Guitar/Bass, synth, DAW (digital audio workstation) controllers, drums/percussion

What inspired you to start creating and performing music?

Scripture, growing up in a musical family, watching/listening to others create something from their heart… And those times when I don’t have any words or can’t gather my thoughts, but a line or melody from song I know comes to mind and stays there for the duration.

How would you describe your music?

Electronic/techno, ambient, and loud

Please walk us through your songwriting process.

I use a laptop for every part of songwriting.

Usually I’m noodling around on guitar, piano or in a DAW. When something catches my ear, I try to get it recorded or structured as quickly as possible. Often, I layer other instruments or sounds on top. As I’m putting more pieces in, I bounce out/save each instance so I can reference or use it again later. When I’ve got a chord progression, I do my best to figure out what key it’s in and label it as such.

Something that gets a lot of negative attention are programs that “generate” chords and progressions. Using a piece of software like this is no different than working with another band member or friend. I use these quite often as it’s an avenue different than my own self and inspires melody/harmony I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.

It’s a valid strategy to imitate favorites. I’ll never be them, but it gets me going when I’m feeling slow. I like to use Yamaha’s Chord Tracker app to get the key and chord progression for songs I enjoy then use that as a jumping off point for a new song.

All of that is how I get started. Once I have the idea in my head down, I use my own library of sounds and finish out the song. Bass lines often start out as the root notes but an octave down. I’ll play that bass line on guitar or piano then add embellishments that give excitement and groove. Drum loops initially are used as is then layered, chopped, and rearranged. If I get stuck, I bounce out what I’ve got and put it on my phone for listening throughout the day. I’ll then bring up that session later and add ideas I’ve jotted down. After that it gets mixed down and mastered.

Who are your biggest music influences?

Rich Mullins, Zao, Strongarm, Jon Gooch (Spor/Feed Me), my family (parents/siblings)

What is your favorite song to perform? Why?

Gotta be honest, I’ve never been brave enough to play out anything I’ve written. Leading worship at church, “My Deliverer” by Rich Mullins has got to be my favorite; it has a message I love to be reminded of.

As a musician, what challenges have you faced during the COVID-19 shutdown?

Getting together with other musicians for recording

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