thread: Nikka Wha?
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Old 2nd April 2007
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
Hi Russell,
Nikka Costa's "Everbody..." is one of my favorite and most inspiring albums ever.
I would like to know your thoughts on mixing this album. And if possible, a couple specific areas:
1) Nikka's vocals definitely have a lot of color to them and a lot of harmonic distortion, even on otherwise relatively natural sounding parts. I'm wondering how much of her vocal sound was tracked that way, and how much of it was processing you did during mix time - and in such case, the approach you took to generatic the vocal sound.
2) This album represents some of the best blending of samples/eletronic instruments and retro live instrumentation I've ever heard. The feel is consistent whether computer or live generated. I'm wondering if there are any special insights you might be able to provide with respect to how you treated the two categories of instruments during mixdown to achieve that blend. Thanks, Chris
hello chris,

thanks a bunchheh
i love that album as well. i had great fun working with her. nikka's influences are pretty much the same as mine from led zep to sly stone the beatles to aretha franklin. so she didn't really fight me on any of the creative decisions in the mix. i immediately knew how this record should be sonically.

her vocals on "like a feather" were recorded that way. Justin Stanley, the producer, had an old ribbon mic that he found. i don't remember what it was, but it was really lo-fi sounding on vocals and that's what was used in the mix. for the rest of the vocals i used all kinds of different compression to give her a more edgy quality. i did some re-amping of her vocals as well. i really don't remember much details of those sessions though so i can't really get too specific...sorry.

i recorded a lot of the drums and basic tracks on that album so that was a head start in that direction. Producer "Mark Ronson" had a big hand in selecting the drum samples and loops. he's really good with using samples but in a very musical way. the only other thing i can say about it is that we knew what we were going for and we just went for it. but in general, i try and make things blend so you don't know what might be played live and what isn't. it's a habit i developed dealing with programmed drums in my early career. i always tried to go for a natural sound so that it would feel more like a drummer rather than a machine. i'm really sure if i could describe a technique for it. it still all about experimenting and going for the sound or vision you hear...EXPERIMENT.