My first post as a gearslut! Long time listener, first time caller sort of thing.
I mixed and co-produced this record last year with my good friend and owner of The Boneyard Studio (where we made the record) Andrew Francis. Any and all feedback welcome. I think this is probably my best work to date and the band loved it, which is all that matters really.
Anyway, looking forward to getting to know all those who hang around on here!
Last edited by Phil Humphreys; 11th December 2012 at 02:53 AM..
Reason: Youtube video blank...?
I love the second half of the song. When it turns into this moody, soundgarden-like trip. I like the mix as well, it is not overhyped, which makes it maybe less eye catching at the first glance, but much more listenable on the long run. The only part that is less captivating is the first half of the song. Interestingly enough, after the middle part, the same style verses/chorus sound much more convincing. I think the music is great, I love the style. It is just something that is missing at the beginning to lure you into the rest of the song. To me, it was a no brainer - I had to listen till the end. But for many who are not into this kind of music, the potential problem is that they may not have the patience to listen to the whole song. I am not saying make it bubble gum 'clap your hands, shake your body' in the intro, but in this age of music overload, I think the beginning of the song may be more inviting. Maybe the vocals more exciting/attention grabbing in the first half?
After listening to it over and over again - one potential problem is that the mix is very guitar/bass-centric, at the expense of the drums. The drums are too safe - they are barely heard, cymbals are not exciting, the punch from the kick/snare is missing. That makes it sound too 'clean' in a sense to me. Great guitar/bass work that is not backed enough by wild drumming. The drum performance sounds great, but it does not come out in the mix that way. I know it is all a game of compromises when it comes to the mix, but the cymbals, I am listening to it right now, sound like Spandau Ballet, not like what this is supposed to sound. Please don't get this critique in a wrong way, I love the song, just trying to understand what may be missing to make it translate better.
Just to let you know this one is an album track, not really single material coming in at nearly 7 minutes but I thought it would be a good example of a delicate (and at times complicated!) mix.
I know what you mean about it taking a while to get going, out of all the band's songs, we cut most down to 3, 4 or 5 minutes but I think we actually made this one a little longer! It comes at track 8 on the album by which point, it's a welcomed break and chill session as a lot of the songs are harder and faster.
Listening to it now, I can tell what you mean about the cymbals but it was a conscious decision to make them softer to get the drum hits to be perceived harder - maybe we went a little too soft but I'd have to check the album as a whole to be sure.
If you want to have a listen, the whole album is available on Spotify. I won't tell you which tracks are the "intended singles", I'll let you guess to see if I've done my job properly
Unfortunately We7 is 'not available in your country'. Checked all 6 alternatives and couldn't find it. I was able to find 'like the wind' on youtube. Again, I like the song overall. And again, the drums sound too safe to me. I guess it comes down to personal taste. Guitars, bass - perfect. It is just the drums that don't work for me, and I think big part of it is the cymbals/hihats - they sound to me scooped and softened to the point that I feel it could have been programmed in midi and noone would notice. I understand the approach - it is actually very close to outshined soundgarden in terms of the mix, which in turn is close to sabbath war pigs. But those two sound wilder and more exciting. To, me, it is lacking that element. It somehow feels to me like marrying rock with pop smoothness - that smoothness is exactly what makes me feel like I am listening to a great rock song that sounds a bit too pop-smooth.
Again, please don't take my comments as bad criticism, I am just trying to understand and convey what does and what does not work for me with these songs.
btw - great job on doubling the vocals at just the right spots - this helps a lot. With his very clean and smooth singing, it is a bit of contrast compared to songs, but it can work (just in the previous example, soundgarden vs sabbath - the latter is very clean in terms of vocals, but it works). If he could put some element of surprise and excitement to his otherwise perfectionist singing, that could help too (but this is out of the scope of the topic at this point, which is the mix).
Thanks for sharing this with us, and if there are other ways to hear the rest, please let me know.
Hey Max, thanks for the feedback, I do get what you mean and no offence is taken - I wanted critique after all . As far as my mixing is concerned you've pointed out some of the things I'm still trying to work on. Personally I've never been as happy with my overhead cymbal sounds and my bass sounds as I am with every other aspect of my mixes. Still trying out different micing and mixing techniques with drums, cos the drums we record at the boneyard sound great, probably 80% there IMO but it's that extra 20% I'm striving for and I know a lot of that is going to be the overs / room mics. I want to get it to the point where I barely have to mix them at all, allowing them to sound more natural and of course, less scooped.
Playing around a lot more with phase in more recent projects and that seems to be helping a lot more, especially with bass. Something I'm trying to pay more and more attention to, in fact I'm giving it priority.
Will post more recent stuff when they've been released