Hey Mr. Ross - Thank you so much for jumping in and doing this! Another fantastic discussion about record making that makes Gearslutz so much fun - and invaluable!
I have a big picture question about mixing. When you go into a mix, and you have a list of sonic and aesthetic goals - some general, and some specific - how do you balance the forest and the trees? Obviously - this most likely has two different answers depending on if you are fresh to the record as only the mixer or if you are mixing a record you tracked mostly yourself. I would appreciate more comments on the latter, as this is what I seem to end up doing most of the time. Also, if you could address the mixer/producer relationship and your thoughts about that as well. It seems that as the business has contracted, most of us are forced to wear both of these hats, which complicates things even further!
Mixing drives me nuts - any thoughts on the big picture would be really appreciated!
And thanks again for taking the time to do this!! Just awesome!
Interesting question ..and how you frame your question
Firstly, If I am producing/engineering and mixing my own production I find it way easier to mix the record because I have been basically thinking about the finished product from the get go
If this is not easy for you and you find yourself lost in the process I have to ask, why don't you get someone to mix for you instead of you being frustrated or not happy ? One of my favorite sayings is "Anything you resist , will persist "
If you can't find the forest from the trees, I think you need to step back and recalibrate your needs ...
sometimes you just have to pull everything down to nothing and build it from scratch
sometimes simplyfying will help but I'll just let you sit on that one .. because honestly i love mixing my own records.. i don't find it as challenging as getting a ton of tracks and having to make sense out of it
this is when I am contracted to mix and now I do need to find the forest from the trees
productions these days are getting so cumbersome and engineer producers aren't making decisions and leave it for the mixer
this drives me nuts
how am i supposed to know what was intended
you guys just spent weeks making this record and in 12 hours I am supposed to know all the answers
this is crazy
I think more people these days need to be making commitments and decisions
as far as the producer/mixer
i think communication and boundaries are really important
recently i was asked to mix a record and when i got started I realized that what I thought was cool was not what the artist thought was cool and what the producer thought was cool was not what the artist liked and here i was caught in the middle of all that
i made it clear to the producer that i wanted the artist happy but since he contracted me, he really needed to be happy, but since the artist was paying , if she was not happy, then i probably would have a hard time getting paid
and guess what
thats what happened, i ended up giving the record back because it was becoming a crazy nose bleed that i did not need
I tried everything to open the lines of communication but it was not going to work
so once again
everything you resist will persist
so, i stepped away
because really, i try to be really zen about this all
you can't be all things to everyone
now, this is a rare incident but real altogether
in looking back there are some things i learned from that incident
I try and learn from all things in my life
I find some of the best lessons come from breakdowns and negative situations' where things went south
as far the good side
if communication is good
things go smoothly
i like when an artist or producer says
you don't need the rough mix, there is nothing there to hear .. just do your own thing
thats when i need the rough mix and they are super attached to it and i better not change much
this is when we do whats called
mix/match and improve
that way you save yourself the indignity of hear that the demo or rough mix was better
because they've been living with it for weeks
so once again this business is still more about people and reading the situation then it is all about the technical ..
learn how to read situations and people
it will help in all areas of record making and production