Prep & Mix Process Q&A
Do you ever let the band sit in on the prepper mixing process and on a similar note what if the band wants to mix at a standard that isn't up to yours? Uh yeah that's actually a really good question I don't like the band to be there when I prepped and first get the first impression with mixed but I do a lot of time is I get it all going now let me also out I will preface this with us I'm ah very alone person I like to sit in a room and be by myself I don't like you know this is exhausting to be around people all day for me I'm one of those types so I tell them it's best if I get this other way so they're not talking and wasting time with that with me in the room because it does take you know if I'm telling you about everything I do or we're just talking music business or talking whatever it's going to waste some of their money so I try to prep it and get the mixto a rough and neutral place and then if they want to be there for the mix they can come in after I have that going make some ...
comments and develop the mixed with me if they like I actually tell all of my clients and I will say this ninety eight percent of the records I mix and master I send it home to that because the one thing about coming to my studios they hear it on my monitors in the, which is probably the best sound was something that they've ever heard any music in their life they're hearing in this controlled environment instead of where they're comfortable they've heard music on their own stereo system a million times and they know when something sounds right or wrong on these everything sounds amazing I mean, I could put on the worst sounding record there are cold my god, that sounds great so it's not usually that good of an idea for them to come in during that process would I suggest the other two percent of the time is that if they have changes that seems so complicated to my mixes that they should come in at the end will do all the changes together but very rarely can I not communicate these changes better than if they all listen on their own individual stereos come together and I have them all talk about them exchanges together and then send me an email of everything they agree on and then I shape it from there and keep sending it so they can keep hearing on their system on the second part this question which I really also love is what if they want something that's not to your standards I have this problem all the time that I shouldn't even say it's a problem because I actually see it as a challenge I think one of the big things that somehow we left out of this is a philosophy that I have, which is that a lot of engineers go man, this panis terrible like, you know, when engineers get together all we do, we're like, you know, a circle of cats that make fun of the other cat around a quarter talk about how ratty and nasty it looks at how it's been sitting the garbage for two log and just say, I can't believe I didn't hang out with that cat engineers just go with that bids terrible would got me to where I am today is that I took every terrible band I said and I would literally like my philosophy when I became a producer in the way I got where I am today is I'd find the local band that was pretty terrible it's song writing but really, really worked hard and got on all the shows and was really busting it to get out there and I would sit in a pre production rule on my own time and I'd work with them on storm right and working with them on getting their sounds and I take a lot of my own free time make a record side good than everybody in the town in that scene would go wow, that band got so good what was the clue here oh they worked with jesse and then I get all the better bands to record with me and I did that for so many years and I've had a systems to it and it works and the one thing I will say is my philosophy is that you know you take that terrible band and you're only as good a producer as the worst sounding record you make so that's one aspect this but so what about when they turn to you and say I really want this to sound like this absolutely awful sounding record and you're like kill me I take that as a challenge to I say you know what I have to find a way that I satisfy both myself end their terrible taste that they want this to sound like you know there's like just some records that I like when I listen to what I want to die just even hearing it and it kills me but I say how can I make a good sounding version of this that makes both of us happy and sometimes that doesn't work out yes I have my name on some records that I'm like when people like what happens here and I'm like yeah I get it but you know like a the same time and you know I will fully admit that like there's even been the times that the band's been like make the vocal sound worse I'm like you and then sure enough everybody loves that record so the other thing is some humility that you don't I'm thirty six I don't always know what the eighteen year olds love these days some twice their age sometimes we're not right and sometimes this is below our standards but maybe they have a little bit more of a clue than us and you know like the reason I got into production is like I went to his studio my father was kind enoughto pay for my band when we were seventh grade I want to say and go the studio I walked out I heard I was like this doesn't sound like appetite for destruction this guy sucks I'm gonna learn how to do this and then later in my life the engineers would never turn off the reverb on our punk records to make it sound like a metal recording so I learned how to go up to that ox return it and turn it down myself and that's why I did this and sometimes the artist is right and we don't understand them we need to have that humility to let them fulfill their artistic vision we are not the artist our name is not as big on their records so we have to adhere to their standards great question though in great cancer thank you you're so humble yeah just listen to you talk all day wait, I am you have a question ready yes s o I thought this was a really good one if from pablo picasso and I've got to say we have some great names on our chapel really dio people just hanging out about when mixing do you think it is more constructive to finish mixing one song before you move on to the next one? Uh absolutely I what I always do you know is I get the first song done I make sure we're good before I move on to the second one because you never know when some ways go just say you know I make it very clear to beds and this wasn't the case when I first started off is that I can make something twelve different ways and if they show me what they like I can get it closer to what they like like you know, um there's been a lot of this really twenty bass sound that I'm not the biggest fan of going around on some of the records I like lately but when somebody wants that I find that and do it but I also don't want tohave toe go back and remix the whole record like that when I could just do that now will I prep well I prep some songs before that and like while I'm waiting for feedback well I maybe like know for a fact that were pretty good for me to keep triggering a drum or getting out the breaths on a vocal or shooting the vocal, I'll take care of that stuff in the interim while I'm waiting for feedback, but yes, one song at a time so you know you're on the right path and the other thing that we're going to go through a little later is that a lot of the time what you want to do is you want to compare your mixes, tio the best sounding mix on the record and keep trying to make sure it's in line with that, so our record sounds consistent, I a b to the other songs on the record to make sure you know what there's not going to be one song where the kick drums sixty be louder on the record, then the mastering engineers gonna want to murder me, so I think it's really important to set a standard of the first mix question came in from christian w who said, do you recommend any reading about sound color description? It can be ambiguous for people to describe a sound, so I have a philosophy about sound color description if we're talking about like how somebody says warm were means, something different to everybody cold means something different, everybody, especially when you get across like I have some clients there, forty four and I have a lot of clients were eighteen those words mean nothing to each other what I tell everybody to do is I want you to play me five records you like the sound of it tell me what this you like about these sounds do you like the guitars on this record? Do you like that? And if I hear consistencies throughout those I could start to do if you tell me five records you like I start to know how process do you like your vocals? How much training you like on your vocals? You like raw guitars do you like guitars that are buried do you like really triggered drums? Do you like really natural drums? Do you like a lot of room sound on your drums get to know the group's tastes and what they like and how it applies to them now this could be also tough that when you're like working with a pop on ben they tell you well I will really like faith know maurine prime miss and you like great now so how does that apply? Teo? You know your music tell me records you want your record to sound like and if I hear that stuff and if they're feeling like they're not hearing it back or my mixes I say, you know when they're like we want the guitars warmer on like cool can you play me tell me a record I can listen to on spotify that is more like that because I think that's more helpful but he did ask for a book there's only one good recording book in my opinion, it's called mixing with your mind it is really, really hard to order on the internet you can't get it on amazon just a real shame but if you google mixing with your mind I think that's the best book on recording I've read it like five times its the equivalent to these classes it's the only book that comes close to a class like this and that's kind of sad but that's recording books for you. Nice. Okay, thanks. Have another good question here. Um kind of along the same lines as our early one earlier one and I think he touched on this, like with the radio had example, have you ever tried of or heard of people mixing whole albums in one mixing session? The subtext there is that did not end up as a trade one train wreck. So I'll say this that in general no, I think there's exceptions that rule but I you know you have I mixed a lot of records, especially in the analog tapes days like where that those records did really well, they didn't open rolling stone and on mtv and all that in a weekend. Sure, I think there's a certain point where there's not enough time to do it, but you know, if we're talking about just a bunch of elliot smith songs where it's just a guitar and a vocal, sure people make a day all all the time, if it's a full rocker idiom thing, no, I don't think that that's enough time for most of it, but I will also say this if you track your music well, like, oh, you know, two and a half hours I can get a really good vibe on a mix of a song I tracked really well, and my average mixed time for bands that a budget is, I say, like, I don't want to mix a song in under five hours now five hours also includes me doing changes for them, so I'll usually do it in about four to four and a half hours, but for me, that's, like, I know you don't have a lot of money and I'm going to this what I like more time on the last song, sure, but sometimes do I need all that time. The vibe is good, and sometimes, you know, I should also say this when we talk about printing mixes there's a lot of times when I get a ah, point where I'm like wow, this this is feeling really good, but I want to go further. I just hit print on a mix so I could see if I go too far and a lot of time I go back to the mix. That was maybe our four, but I did six hours I printed one hour for our five on our six hour four five a lot of time beats our sex so I think you could spend too much time. You can suck out a vibe you could get off track, I think there's something to that. If it's really well track material, you could do it fast. But I also will say that yeah, taking one day to mix and I know bands these days I get the e mails all the time wear book a day to mix our record and I'm like a day no that's not happening and I think you have to also, as a mix engineer, learn how to be kind and educational to the bands that there's no record that they like that's mixed that passed. All right, speaking of time let's do one more question before we go to break all right, tae brown, ninety, wants to know how long does it usually take you to complete a mix for one song like a three minute average song four hours, if it's edited properly, is usually where I'm about happy. But that could be as much as eight hours. Like I had a mixed last week that was tracked really bad. And I did eight hours and lost an inch off my hairline and, you know, drank myself into a stupor that night from how difficult it was four hours, though, for most stuff, because most of struck pretty well these days.