We have a lot of very wonderful questions this week beginning with: “How do you go about mentally preparing yourself before starting a mix?”
Marvellous question! Hopefully, the artist, producer, engineer, or whoever supplied you with the multitracks has also supplied you with a rough mix. If unfortunately, they have not supplied you with a rough mix, I’ll just listen, down to the track, a bunch of times.
Quite often if Eric is sitting behind me while I’m answering emails (or responding to your YouTube comments), I’ll ask Eric to play the rough. I might listen to it three or four times before I even think about mixing. I want to know the song. I want to hear the things that I can improve upon; things I might want to take in different directions, make more or less exciting, whatever it might be.
The reality is getting into the song is how I prep for the song.
If there’s something I think is a big issue that I hear when listening to the rough, I’ll go and identify it. It could be the mix itself, but other times it might be something in the recording that needs additional work. Maybe there’s some low-end issues, or some build up!
Ultimately, listening to a rough (or the tracks in a rough) is enough to get me prepared for the song.
I don’t just open it up and start mixing! I spend a few minutes listening to it before I even do anything to the song.
We also cover the following questions during this episode of FAQ Friday!
• Do you ever listen to the music that you mixed, in a car or anywhere?
•What are your thoughts on “over-producing” a song beyond the artist’s ability to perform it live? As a producer, do you limit yourself to within the artist’s or band’s abilities to perform the song live?
•How can you come up with so many different guitar riffs that work with each other? I know a bit of theory but even so, getting multiple guitar riffs to work together is quite difficult. Could you give us newbies some hints on the matter?
•Why do bands record in standard tuning but then play a half step down live? I realize it’s for the vocalist but why not just record it down a half step?