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Old 7th June 2017
Gear Maniac

Smoothing out vs leaving rough edges

Hi Jacquire! I'm really curious about how you handle the challenge of keeping an intriguing sonic landscape while maintaining a fat, huge, radio-friendly sound.

For example, the mix for Modest Mouse's "Good News for People Who Love Bad News" is so much thicker and more lush than their previous records - was achieving a more accessible sound an explicit goal of the band, or were they ever afraid of sounding too clean and had to be coaxed?
Were you dirtying it up & adding treatments, or was it more about finding space for (or discarding!) what they had recorded?

More broadly, I'm wondering what your approach is when either:
-an artist wants to follow a direction or empasize sounds that you think will be too distracting from the song itself
-the opposite problem, where you are trying to push the envelope to find exciting sounds but the artist isn't comfortable and feels like it's too over-the-top

Reconciling those two opposites is always one of the toughest parts of production, so I appreciate any insight you have on this topic!!