thread: Blazing Arrow
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Old 4th May 2007
Originally Posted by Middy View Post
Hi Russell,
I haven't seen Blazing Arrow mentioned much but it is one of my favorite albums--such a diverse assortment of guest artists and musical styles, and yet it's all glued together into one really cohesive, organic sound.
Any comments on the making of this album, working with Gift of Gab, Chief Xcel, and all the guest artists? How much input did you have and what was the creative workflow between you and Blackalicious like? Also, it sounds like both live musicians and samples were used equally, but they blend together so well--any tips on achieving this? thanks so much, Miles
hello miles,

thanks for mentioning blackalicious. i too am surprised no one mentioned them earlier. i was introduced to blackalicious through ahmir. he played me their "nia" record and i thought it was really good. and then a few months later they contacted me to mix their next record. i was thrilled getting that call because i knew i'd have a lot of fun mixing for them. their songs are have so much room for creative mixing. chief xcel and Gab are so comitted to their art and it reflects in their music. not to mention that they're 2 of the coolest people on the planet!

from the start X told me to just go for it. do whatever i felt and take things to the extreme. both X and Gab are into my style of mixing so it was a great collaboration. X would describe the sound he wanted for the overall mix in terms of colors. he also would say things like, can you make it sound like gab's under water or can you make the drums sound like it's pitching down? my main input was in the mix. i wasn't part of much of the tracking and o'd's. X gave me full creative control in the mixing stage. he gave me as much time to get as creative as possible. he did have definite concepts for certain songs but left me to it once i understood his vision. it's a similar synergy to working with the roots and ahmir.

i think it all works mostly because of Xcel's meticulous ways of sampling and choice of sounds. on the mixing angle; i just tried to keep a concept of everyone playing as a band. so i treated every element like it was played entirely together or live. i think this concept applies to most things i do.

all the best